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Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas

Best Practices and Additional Visualization Options for SAP Design Studio ASUG Webcast Part 1

Today we had an ASUG webcast covering Best Practices and Additional Visualization Options for SAP Design Studio with Visual BI’s Ingo Hilgefort who is a SAP Mentor and an ASUG Volunteer.

Best Practices

Starting with the data sources, Ingo said they often receive questions from customers


Figure 1: Source: Visual BI

What are the main items I need to watch out?  One of the main things that impacts performance is the underlying data and how much you load

You should only load what you really need.  If your dashboard contains multiple pages and tabs the person who consumes only sees the first tab so there is no point in loading all the data sources up front.

Move data sources that are not present on initial page to background processing so they can keep loading and present your dashboard to your user.

If you do that, you want to make sure you are adding logic to the dashboard so it is not loaded twice. If you have 2 pages or 2 tabs, and switches between so on event you want to check that the data is already loaded.

Design Studio loads data in sequence; no parallel loading.  This is planned for 1.5 around SAPPHIRENOW


Figure 2: Source: Visual BI

The next part is around query design; not just for Design Studio.

Figure 2 shows you should properties “Use Selection of Structure Members” and the query read mode so data is read as you navigate

For calculations such as actual minus budget use the query’s calculated key figure

For large data volumes, configure the safety belt; default is 500K cells but configure what you feel comfortable with.


Figure 3: Source: Visual BI

With display attributes, you can show in prompting.  This is important that means they are loaded and this may not be needed – which of display attributes do you need?

There is a BADI to limit volume of data from the input screen.  See the note in Figure 3.


Figure 4: Source: Visual BI

Design Studio has 3 options for you to filter data, shown in Figure 4

You can use variables in the case of BEx Query and set values for those variables

You can set a filter – e.g. dimension country to value US

The setDataSelection is specific “my bar chart should use measure revenue for the year 2014”

They are ordered in terms of impact of performance

Variables have the highest impact on performance (a negative impact)

The reason – if a dashboard has 2 BEx queries with variables, and you are passing values, it impacts both queries


Figure 5: Source: Visual BI

Customers worry too late about sizing. If you are using SAP BI4.x as a platform, it follows the sizing guidelines in Figure 5

You want to take a look; BI4 in general is memory hungry

Sizing doesn’t mean just throw hardware, but configure the system memory settings

You want to have your own APS on BusinessObjects so the server is configured for Design Studio and allocate memory

Session parameters default is 15 sessions – you want to be sure you configure to the right value

If you allocate a Design Studio APS – for 20-25 users you want to allocate 8 GB but it depends on how large the Design Studio applications are.  See note listed in Figure 5.

If run BI platform for Design Studio you want to activate the JavaScript compression to transfer – see the SAP Note for details

You can start the profiling in local mode and it explains where the time is being spent – time on BW, Java layer – see the blogs above.


Figure 6: Source: Visual BI

If you want to allocate more memory on your client, see blogs on Figure 6 that explain the settings


Figure 7: Source: Visual BI

Figure 7 shows the data selection feature that comes with Design Studio out of the box with the least performance impact

On the right you see 4 key figures and posting periods; by default your chart will show everything your data source provides.  You can use the data selection tool to limit what the chart shows

This allows you to re-use one data source for multiple charts


Figure 8: Source: Visual BI

Figure 8 shows a Visual BI extension called the Data Utility allowing you to select a dimension or member

Standard tool doesn’t allow you to select both

This would allow you not to have different data sources for a different slice of data

Two dimensions, pick dimension, pick measure and the chart will show what you are referring to


Figure 9: Source: Visual BI

Figure 9 shows how Design Studio is executing item.  First it initializes data sources, then executes on variable initialization – this is where you want to pass default values.

The third step is the prompt dialog

Then the application is initialized and on Startup event to pass in items

Items are rendered and then the background processing starts.

Background processing can be used to offload items you don’t need in the initial load of the dashboard


Figure 10: Source: Visual BI

Figure 10 shows the important notes for Design Studio

There are central notes for the add-ons, semantic layer and the release schedule.  Note # 4 includes performance tips and tricks.  Note #3 shows how you can do your own analysis if there is a problem.

To be continued…


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For ASUG members the webcast recording and slides are at URL: (ASUG logon required)

Next ASUG SAP Design Studio Webcast is March 18:

Building Real-Time Visualizations with Design Studio and SAP Event Stream Processor

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      Author's profile photo Mustafa Bensan
      Mustafa Bensan

      Hi Tammy,

      A very useful reference summary for Design Studio best practices.  I was hoping you could help clarify a point of confusion for me regarding the BW "safety belt" that is mentioned here.  Although this setting is configurable in the back-end, my understanding based on this comment is that any custom setting of the safety belt mechanism is actually ignored by Design Studio because it always applies the default value of 500,000 cells, even if the BW configuration for this is changed to another value.  Can you confirm this either way?



      Author's profile photo Ingo Hilgefort
      Ingo Hilgefort

      Hello Mustafa,

      you can very quickly try that yourself. Simply configure a safety belt of something like 1000 cells for example and see what Design Studio does.

      Design Studio does ignore the setting right now - even when it is lower than 500.000 cells, which - my view - is simply wrong.

      and yes - Design Studio has a hardcoded limit of 500.000 cells for BW right now.

      The reason why I am still mentioning the safety belt in the best practices is also the fact that - even when Design Studio limits the data set - you wanna still make sure that a potential request from a user does not use too much resources even when Design Studio stops at 500.000 cells.



      Author's profile photo Mustafa Bensan
      Mustafa Bensan

      Hi Ingo,

      Thanks for the suggestion.  I tried setting limits both below (1,000) and above (600,000) the 500,000 cell limit and as expected, in both cases Design Studio issues the message shown below in the Initial View Editor:


      So to clarify for my understanding then, if the Design Studio limit is fixed at 500,000 cells regardless of the custom setting in BW being higher or lower, how does this ensure that a potential request from a user does not use too much resources in Design Studio as they will always be allowed to process upto 500,000 cells?



      Author's profile photo Ingo Hilgefort
      Ingo Hilgefort

      Hi Mustafa,

      Design Studio is not your only tool I assume - or ?

      the fact that Design Studio "ignores" the setting is simply wrong as I have seen implementation where the number is even lower than 500K and that simply doesn't work right now with Design Studio.

      ... but lets assume that customer are using more than just Design Studio.


      Author's profile photo Mustafa Bensan
      Mustafa Bensan

      Hi Ingo,

      Okay, that puts it into context now if we are referring to other tools apart from Design Studio of course.  I realize I can be a bit of a perfectionist at times 🙂