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Hello BI community,

It’s been a long time coming but we have finally released SAP BusinessObjects BI platform support tool 2.1.  In this article, I will go over the new features and changes both large and small.

For more detailed information and to download the new version refer to the BIPST Homepage:
https://wiki.scn.sap.com/wiki/display/BOBJ/SAP+BI+Platform+Support+Tool

For demos and detailed webinar, refer to:

 

Unix/Linux Shell Version

For those customers where Unix/Linux is the only option, we have created a Unix/Linux shell version of the tool that allows you to configure your landscape and run the Landscape Analysis directly from within the console.

Schedule the Landscape Analysis Report

You can now automate the generation of the Landscape Analysis Report by using the Scheduling feature.  This feature replaces the old version 1.9 program object and is managed by the client itself.

When you schedule the Landscape Analysis Report, the support tool will publish a program object to the SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform and schedule this object to run on a schedule of your choosing.   This is useful if you want to keep a weekly report on how the landscape is configured (useful for Change Analysis).  You can also run the report during off business hours when there is less load on the system.

 

The report output can be

  • Stored in BI Platform (“Managed” in the Enterprise Repository)
  • Saved to disk (Unmanaged Disk)
  • Sent via email (SMTP)
  • Sent to SAP for analysis (Predictive Support Alerts)

Landscape Analysis Report

This section describes enhancements made to the Landscape Analysis Report.

New data included in reports

  • SIA command line (Server & Services Analysis)
  • Windows Registry Info (Server & Services Analysis)
  • Server settings stored in .properties files (such as MDAS, LCM, DSL Bridge, Platform Search) (Server & Services Analysis)
  • BO_trace.ini settings (Server & Services Analysis)
  • Deployed Web Applications and deployment descriptor properties (Web Application Server Analysis)
  • Deployed Web Applications BI product version SP and build (Web Application Server Analysis)
  • BI Web Application customization properties files (Web Application Server Analysis)
  • Corba IOR stub for each BI server (Server & Services Analysis)
  • New object counts added (Content Analysis)
  • Oldest Content in Recycle Bin (Content Analysis)
  • Users with most deleted items (Content Analysis)
  • OLAP connections (Semantic Layer Analysis)

New analysis report types

BI Applications Analysis

The BI Applications analysis type provdes details on all of the applications installed on the BI Platform.  The information collected here is the same as the details found in the Central Management Console → Applications menu.  This analysis type is useful for troubleshooting, alerting, and Change Analysis of BI Application settings.

 

Timeouts Analysis

The Timeouts Analysis report consolidates timeout settings from all across the BI landscape into one convenient location.  The data is analyzed in order to check for timeout inconsistencies between the BI web applications vs the backend BI servers. If the timeouts are not in sync, it is possible for a session to timeout pre-maturely while waiting for a report to refresh.  If any timeouts are found to be different from the default settings, the row is highlighted yellow.

 

JQuery UI has improved CSS and looks better

Some tweaks have been made to the CSS and the look and feel is better.  In a future patch version we will be changing the report UI to SAPUI5 to align with the look and feel of other SAP applications (Fiori).

Exporting to Excel

  • All new Analysis Types will be included in the Excel export
  • Enable CSV Format (Semantic Layer Analysis) – It was discovered that large data sets in the Semantic Layer Analysis causes the Excel export to run for an extended amount of time. Enable this option to make this data easily exportable to CSV format (about 100x faster than regular Excel export)

Complex Alerts

Complex Alerts are customizable alerts that combine two or more alert formulas. If all of the defined formulas evaluate to true then the complex alert is triggered. This type of alert is useful for doing more complex evaluations. For example, you could alert if there is a server that is a jobserver and it is running more than 10 jobs concurrently.

System Alerts

System Alerts are alerts whose thresholds and formula logic are defined by the BIPST development team in order to perform more complex checks on the system (for example, a check to make sure all BI nodes in the system are at the same SP / Patch level). System alerts typically leverage data from many different analysis reports at once to perform a more complex logic evaluation. Therefore, to insure all system alerts are checked, make sure you run all available analysis types in your Landscape Analysis Report.

System Alerts can now be disabled in the Alerting interface if you would no longer like to check for that specific alert.

Many new system alerts have been added in this version.  For a list and description of the alerts, refer to System Alerts in BIPST 2.1

Change Analysis

Added all Landscape Analysis types (except Semantic Layer Analysis) to the Change Analysis application.

 

Security Improvements

  • Disable internet feeds (SCN and Twitter feeds on dashboard)
  • BIPST installer executable is now signed and certified by SAP
  • JMX SSL is now supported
  • Host Agent SSL is now supported
  • Corba SSL is supported
  • All SSL configurations can now be defined per landscape in the UI

 

Data Privacy

  • Data Retention settings available for Landscape Configuration data.  Here you can tell the BIPST how long you want to keep a landscape definition before it is deleted
  • Data Retention settings available for Landscape Analysis Data.  Here you can tell the BIPST how long you want to keep a landscape report data before it is deleted

Support for many BI Platform Versions

In order to support both 4.0, 4.1, and 4.2 versions of the BI Platform, we are now shipping SDK versions compatible with each version.  The version of the SDK needed is detected automatically at CMS logon and the client will restart automatically with the necessary SDK version if required

Webi Doc Data Masker

When working with SAP support, it is sometimes required to provide SAP a Web Intelligence document with saved data so that an issue can be reproduced and debugged in the SAP lab system.  In the event that the data contained in the report is confidential it is often impossible for this document with saved data to be provided to SAP.  The Webi Doc Masker was designed to allow the customer to obfuscate and scramble sensitive report data before sending this to SAP Support.  The document formulas and structure are kept intact such that the original issue can still be reproduced.

The Webi Doc Masker works by first creating an xlsx datasource from each Webi dataprovider.  It is then exported to the CMS, and recreates a new webi report based on this xlsx datasource by copying formulas & block definitons from the original reports.  Finally the new Webi document is published back to the CMS as specified by the end user.

The aim is really to recreate a faulty behaviour (as it appears in the original report) to be reproduced on sap support side. While doing this, one can choose to obfuscate along the way the DataProvider data dimensions & measures, reports strings & metadata, making it impossible to figure out the data or reverse-engineer it.  The obfuscation process is generating a secure, randomly generated transient dictionary that is only used once per session.

More info:  https://wiki.scn.sap.com/wiki/display/BOBJ/Webi+Doc+Masker

 

Publications Analyzer

The Publications Analyzer allows an administrator to explore the publications in their CMS system and get various metrics and detailed information about the publication objects and instances.

 

Various metrics can be charted for Analysis

More info:  https://wiki.scn.sap.com/wiki/display/BOBJ/Publications+Analyzer

 

Improvements to other Landscape Tools

  • Universe Analyzer now allows you to select one or more unv/unx to analyze (instead of all of them)
  • Enterprise Alias Manager will now alias more than 1000 users at a time
  • More object types added to Security Analyzer and Dependency Analyzer
  • Many other fixes and improvements

 

Predictive Support Alerts (Now uses Web Service)

Predictive Support Alerts is a new support channel that goes live in 2018.  This service allows you to safely upload your Landscape Analysis Report to SAP Product Support.  When new configuration issues or bugs are discovered, we can understand which customer landscapes this issue applies to and proactively send you a customized email notification along with a solution.

 

 

In version 2.1, the upload to SAP now occurs over an HTTPS Web Service and should work on 99.9% of customer networks (during the beta we were using FTP and found this to be problematic.

 

More information about this program coming soon.

 

 

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5 Comments

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  1. John Skrabak

     

    I’m liking what I have seen so far.  One quick question on the Server and Services Alerts.  It is flagging  my Input and OutputFileStoreService for. Maximum Retries for File Access setting saying that the “Recommended value is 10”.  I tried to find a Best Practices document or Note that offered guidance on this setting without success.  I found on blog post that suggested a maximum value of 2.

    So I would just like clarification/affirmation that the recommended Retry value is 10.

    Thanks.

     

    (1) 
    1. Toby Johnston Post author

      Hi John,

      When I return from holiday’s I’ll dig into it and let you know.  Typically, all BI specific alerts come from an official whitepaper or some official documentation.  I’ll get back to you asap

      Cheers
      Toby

      (0) 
    2. Joshua Kuhn

      Hi John,

      We’ve been actively looking into this one during the break and I’ll come back with more info once I have a better answer.  I found the SAP Note you referenced and although it does say to use 2, it’s a note that probably needs to be archived.  There’s very little information in the note and it’s not linked to a customer incident. Plus the engineer is no longer with SAP and we cannot ask for more details about why it was written.

      But I’ve analyzed part of the FRS code to try and find where and how the timeout is used and what the wait time is in between each retry.  I think its best to ask IMS directly before I make any further recommendations.  Personally, I think it all comes down to how long it waits to do a 2nd, 3rd, etc retry and under which conditions.  At this point, what I can tell you is that the FRS value of 10 was used in the BIPST alert to match the recommendation in an internal doc.  We’re now going back to IMS to verify these other factors so we can adjust the alert.  My guess is it should be changed to more of a range.  Something like 3-5 or 3-10.  I’d like to see more than 2 attempts in case network stability or a file lock can trigger the retry.  In any case, i’ll get back to you once we’ve adjusted the alert.

      Regards,

      Josh

      (0) 

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