Managed Connections is the way to go for Lumira!
Since Lumira version 1.29, you can now connect to and host Lumira content on the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform (BI Platform). This enables you to re-use existing ‘enterprise’ assets:
- Security (authentication & authorisation) and sharing content via folders, in-box etc.
- Platform scheduling (inc. events, notifications etc.)
- Auditing, Life Cycle Management (Version & Promotion Management) etc.
But it also enables you to consume ‘managed’ connections that are controlled inside the Central Management Console (CMC). This blog is about how you consume these managed connections from within Lumira Desktop, the benefits of doing so and also to share SAP’s plans to extend managed connections for the next release of Lumira.
Q. Where are ‘managed’ connections managed?
A. Within the ‘CMC-Connections’. With BI 4.2 you can see both OLAP and relational ‘managed’ connections in one screen and manage their security:
Q. How does Lumira Desktop connect to data sources?
A. It can connect ‘directly’, or ‘via the BI Platform’.
Lumira Desktop can connect to data sources ‘directly’, as shown in the diagram above by the green arrow. When it does this is uses the local middleware installed and configured on the Desktop.
Lumira Desktop can also connect ‘via the BI Platform’. When this happens the middleware on BI Platform performs the database connectivity and acts as a ‘proxy’.
[added 25/10/2017] For Lumira 2, the BI Platform acts only as a proxy for Universe data sources, for BW and HANA the Lumira Discovery 2 connects directly. Please refer to the Lumira 2 workflows for more
Shown by the solid black line in the diagram: Universes have always been consumed ‘via the BI Platform’, you have to login to the BI Platform before consuming a Universe. In Lumira version 1.29 you can consume ‘SAP BW’ managed connections ‘via the BI Platform’.
Q. What are the benefits of Managed connections?
A. There are a number of advantages, ranging from control, security to cost of ownership
- Access rights determine which users can consume them. Ideal if you want to limit who has access to which database.
- All the connection details are hidden, such as the username, password, database, server etc. and so keeps these details secret, ideal for security control.
- Only need to update the managed connection once, for example with a new password, rather than updating the connection on each client desktop saving significant effort.
Q. How do you consume a Managed connection?
From Lumira Desktop version 1.29 you may consume a SAP BW managed connection.
Step 1: Select File-New and then ‘Download from SAP Business Warehouse’
Then press Next.
Step 2: On the next screen you have a choice with ‘Connect to’. Either connect ‘directly’ using the first option ‘local BW System’ or ‘via the BI Platform’ with ‘SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform’. Select ‘SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform’:
You need to login to the BI Platform to gain access to the ‘managed’ connections you’re allowed to consume.
For ‘System’, enter the hostname of the BI Platform which hosts the CMS (Central Management Server).
For ‘Authentication Type’ you need to select the one you normally use and when consuming BW content will typically be SAP.
Once you’ve entered your user name and password, click Connect.
Step 3: You are now presented with the list of SAP BW managed connections available to you. (Technically they will be OLAP ‘SAP BICS client’ connections). I have just one called ‘A4H’:
Now you can select the BexQuery the connection is pointing too. The connection can either point to a specific BexQuery or it can be unspecified allowing BW to show the BW Queries you have access to. After clicking ‘next’ you can then select the measures and dimensions you’d like to visualise and present in a Lumira document.
Q. What are the known issues with BW Managed connections?
A. There are a few known issues with version 1.29 and we’re busy working to resolve them, probably in version 1.30.
Issue 1: When you consume a BW Managed connection in Lumira and then you later update that managed connection, for example to use a different BW system, the system name will not be reflected in the Lumira user interface, even though it will refresh against the new BW system.
Issue 2: When you consume a BW Managed connection in Lumira that is not set as ‘Single Sign On’ and then you later update that connection to be ‘Single Sign On’, you will receive an error on refresh and the document will not refresh successfully.
A Life Cycle Management workflow can expose these issues. For example, let’s say you have a development system and the connection is defined to use the development BW system. You create Lumira documents on that connection in development. You then use Promotion Management to promote the connection and the Lumira documents into production. You then update the connection details, in production, to use the production BW system. The Lumira documents, in production, when refreshing will say they are refreshing against the ‘development’ system even though they are not.
Q. Remind me, what are the Best Practices for Managed connections?
A. Always, always create the connection in one environment (i.e. dev) and promote it to other environments (test, prod) using Promotion Management. Then update the contents of the connection, within the target system, to their equivalent databases (test, prod).
Never create a new connection in the target system (test, prod) and expect documents promoted from a source system (dev) to use it.
Why? Every object (document, connection, folder etc.) in the BI Platform is identified and related to by an ID called the CUID. If you create a new connection (or anything else, like a folder, document etc.) in another system we guarantee the CUID will be different, even if you create it with the same name. Since documents are associated to the connection by the CUID, then when you create a new connection those documents will no longer point to your new connection so you’ll have to ‘repoint’ all those document to use the new connection. This a lot of work and should be avoided!
‘Repointing’ documents to use a different connection is something that can be done in Web Intelligence, for example when it consumes a BW Bex connection, but this isn’t even possible in Lumira. So, remember update contents of the connection, within the target system, don’t create a new connection.
If you don’t want to manually update the connection you’ve promoted to the target system ‘in the target system’, then you can use the Promotion Management Connection Overrides to automatically update the connection as it’s promoted into the target system.
Q. What about consuming other managed connections?
A. With Lumira Desktop version 1.30 we are planning for you to consume a SAP HANA managed connections. At the time of this blog, we are still in development of the feature so there’s no guarantee it will be available and plans do change!
Assume this is provided, we plan to provide additional Single Sign On support when using Lumira and consuming HANA managed connections. Both Kerberos and SAML authentication means are planned to be supported as follows:
|SAP Lumira Desktop connecting ‘directly’
||SAP Lumira Desktop connecting via BI Platform to consume a ‘managed’ connection||SAP Lumira Server for BI Platform||SAP Lumira Server for Teams|
|Download from SAP HANA (offline)||SAML No||SAML Yes||SAML Yes||SAML Yes|
|Kerberos Yes||Kerberos No||Kerberos Yes||Kerberos Yes|
|Connect to SAP HANA (online)||SAML No||SAML Yes||SAML Yes||SAML Yes|
|Kerberos Yes||Kerberos No||Kerberos Yes||Kerberos Yes|
All Lumira to HANA connectivity is provided by an OLAP connection using a JDBC driver and not using a HTTP driver, unlike Analysis for Office.
Moving to HANA Managed connections means some of the current limitations will be removed, for example multiple login prompts and official Kerberos support.
There’s a plan to allow for further ‘managed’ connections, but it’s too early to give any definitive plans or timescales right now. Remember, plans do change.
Lumira Connectivity Matrix Wiki
There are a good number of connectivity options for Lumira and I’ve complied a wiki page to collect them together. You’ll find the above table included in this wiki with a number of helpful comments. Your feedback on this wiki and its usefulness if very welcome and any suggestions for improvement too. I don’t want to duplicate what is already available in the Lumira PAM.
Lumira 2 [section added 25/10/2017]
This blog post was written before Lumira 2 was available, however the principals in this blog equally applies to Lumira 2 as it does for Lumira 1. Always use a managed connection if you are using the BI Platform!
Matthew Shaw (Twitter: @MattShaw_on_BI)