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What BW System requirements are needed ahead of SAP Analytics Cloud Updates?

How can I know what on-premise SAP BW system requirement changes are needed ahead of time, so all the stories and dashboards etc. in my SAP Analytics Cloud Service continues without issue?

Freeze periods and BW system changes needed by SAP Analytics Cloud

This is a common question and frequently asked by organisations that have ‘freeze’ periods. The freeze period this there to ensure continuity at a critical business time such as year-end and means you cannot make system changes including updates to your on-premise SAP BW system.

Let’s say your Analytics Service is updated on the ‘quarterly release cycle’ and that quarterly update is going to be made right in the middle of your organisations ‘freeze’ period. You know that each update of your Analytics Service may require additional BW notes to be applied to your on-premise BW system.  You’re naturally concerned that you’ll not be able to make those required BW system changes as you’ll be in a freeze period.

This leads to two fundamental questions:

  1. How can you know ahead of time, which BW system requirements are going to be needed?
  2. Is my existing content going to stop working?

What BW system changes are needed?

Before we answer this lets just look at the release schedule:

There are two release cycles, the bi-weekly and the quarterly release. For those on the quarterly release cycle it means their service is updated just once a quarter, if you like missing the intermediary updates. It means the next quarterly release will receive a considerable number of updates as the culmination of all those intermediary updates made on the bi-weekly release cycle.

Today, your Analytics Service is likely to be either already on the first quarterly release of the year or it will be later this month. This will be wave 2019.02. For those on a bi-weekly release you’ll probably already on the next release wave 2019.03 as we don’t perfectly line up the quarterly with the bi-weekly. To find out the wave your service is on, just login and select from the menu ‘System-About’.

The second quarterly release of 2019 is currently scheduled to be about wave 2019.08 (subject to change). However, the ‘system requirements’ for wave 2019.04 have already been published by SAP. This is great for those on the bi-weekly as they have a few weeks yet to make the necessary changes.

But this publication is also very helpful for everyone else on the quarterly release. Since the requirements for that quarterly release are ‘at least’ those of wave 2019.04.  This means that BW system owners have months to apply those changes and can know in advance of the Analytics Cloud quarterly update.

However, there are likely to be many other system requirements updates made to other intermediary waves, so it should not be assumed these are the only system requirements changes needed.

I recommend Analytics Cloud Service and BW system owners:

  1. Follow the SAP Note 2541557 for updates. Run the SAP Note Analyser and check which SAP Notes your system may require. Do this every time the note gets updated.
  2. Check the name of the SAP Note analyser xml file. Today it’s called “SAP_BW_Analytics_Cloud_Connection_2019-wave04_onwards.xml” and this name gives away which Analytics Cloud service wave it corresponds to! So, it’s a great idea to save it, as once the note is updated you’ll not easily get back the version that corresponds directly to your quarterly release!
  3. Follow my SAP Analytics Cloud Support Matrix for updates to a table “BW System Requirements changes by wave” where I track the changes. This is particularly helpful as you can see which wave releases are on the quarterly cycle and since then what new requirements have been added to those ‘intermediary’ bi-weekly updates.

    I’ve even generated a sub page listing a summary of the changes. I’ve done this, so you get an idea of what changed and the overall effort:

Will my existing content stop working if I don’t update?

The language I’ve used in this blog has been ‘system requirements’ for on-premise BW. But this wasn’t strictly correct! Its time to correct this! Sorry I’ve misled you a little

The minimum system requirements are documented in the SAP Analytics Cloud help pages. Login to your SAP Analytics Cloud Service and in the help search ‘system requirements’.

These system requirements are the minimum and won’t be changing particularly frequently at all. This is unlike the SAP Note 2541557 which lists system requirement to ‘Support further SAP Analytics Cloud BW features’.

What’s the difference? Well the SAP Note 2541557 ‘Support further SAP Analytics Cloud BW features’ is not the minimum requirements, but actually the requirements for additional features and functions that we bring into the service. Our rate of innovation is so great the BW requirements change quite frequently, but these requirements are for new features and functions, not existing ones.

It means that if your SAP Analytics Cloud Service is updated and you do NOT update your on-premise BW, existing SAP Analytics Cloud content (Models, Stories, Applications, etc.) would typically continue to work as before. The SAP Note 2541557 is for further features, not existing ones!

Should your SAP Analytics Cloud Service be updated but your BW isn’t updated as per SAP Note 2541557, perhaps because you’re in a ‘freeze period’, it just means some of those new BW features may not work entirely well, but existing content would continue to work.

It’s impossible to be 100% certain about system requirement changes because those changes will happen in the future, so there’s always needs to be some caution.

For those that demand even greater certainty then consider a Preview on your Test Analytics Service. Your Test Edition Service is updated weeks in advance of general availability and it be on the bi-weekly release schedule. The combination of the bi-weekly release cycle and the early access to the next release enables your organisation to validate new features. You can then either update BW or act over problematic content.

I hope you found this blog helpful. As always feedback is most welcome.

Matthew

Twitter @MattShaw_on_BI

6 Comments
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  • Interesting article! I have couple of questions here.

    1. It´s possible to move content from Test tenant (preview subscription with bi-weekly release schedule) to Productive tenant (with quartely releases) without waiting to have alignment between bi-weekly and quarterly release? It´s clear we should not transport any new feature until it´s available after quarterly release.
    2. Will be there any different versioning (numbering) for quarterly releases? We have now 2019.2.3

    Thanks in advance

     

     

    • Hello Saul,

      Thank you for your comments.

      Question 1:

      It´s possible to move content from Test tenant (preview subscription with bi-weekly release schedule) to Productive tenant (with quartely releases) without waiting to have alignment between bi-weekly and quarterly release? It´s clear we should not transport any new feature until it´s available after quarterly release.

      Answer 1:

      It is not possible to move content from the Test Preview service to any other service because the version of the ‘test preview’ is one version ahead of all your other services, as ‘older’ software isn’t aware of how to read a newer version of content. This is applicable regardless of what release cycle your productive service in on (bi-weekly or quarterly).

      A normal ‘test’ service will always be on the same release cycle as your productive service.

      A normal ‘test’ service is intended for the traditional test phase of developing content (models, stories etc.) that you then ‘promote’ (via export/import) from test into production.

      The ‘test preview’ service is there so you can see and explore the new features and also validate your content based on those new features. The ‘test preview’ will always be ahead of any other service. A ‘test preview’ service should not be used as part of content development life-cycle.

      It means there’s no problems aligning versions, since it is not supported to promote content from a ‘test preview’ to any other service.

       

      Question 2:

      Will be there any different versioning (numbering) for quarterly releases? We have now 2019.2.3

      Answer 2:

      No. Every two weeks a new release of service is made, we call them ‘waves’. The first wave of 2019 is called 2019.01, the second wave is 2019.02 etc.  If you are on the bi-weekly release then your service is updated as each new wave is released. If you are on the quarterly release cycle, then you will get an update only once a quarter.

      For this year, and for those on the quarterly release cycle, the first time your service is updated will be in February/early March with wave 2019.02. Your service will then not be updated again until the next quarter with wave 2019.08 (though the exact wave version may change). Wave 2019.08 will be the same software regardless of which release cycle you are on (bi-weekly or quarterly). It means those on the quarterly release cycle will receive a significant number of improvements in one go, compared to those on the bi-weekly release cycle.

      For ‘2019.2.3’, then ‘.3’ bit is referring to a very minor update we’ve made to ‘patch’ an issue.

       

       

       

  • Hi Matthew

    I am using different tenants and they are not updated at the same time. When you state bi-weekly, when is it bi-weekly from? There could be up to 14 days between updates. And some tenants are still running on build 2018.19.5

    Is there any way in knowing when a tenant is being updated

    Br

    René

     

    • Hello René,

      There are currently two release cycles ‘bi-weekly’ and ‘quarterly’, but this doesn’t necessarily mean the service is updated exactly every two weeks on exactly the same day, or exactly once a quarter on the same day of the quarter.

      For each there will be some movement around the exact date for many reasons including things like avoiding an update in the same maintenance window, as other Cloud service updates. For example the main SAP Cloud Platform gets updates too. The maintenance window is only so big and updates are scheduled accordingly. It might mean things for SAP Analytics Cloud get moved back or forward a little.

      If you think your service should had been updated, then please log a support incident https://www.sapanalytics.cloud/resources-support/ to find the particular reason behind your service update. Do remember that we have data centres all over the planet and so some customers will be updated before others, it all depends on the scheduling for that data centre.

      Each service owner should receive a notification email before their service is updated.

      For those users on the Quarter Release cycle that have opted in for learning emails will also get an email. A good tip is to login to your service, select your ‘Profile Setting’ then select (press edit first) ‘Product Updates & Learning’ as you’ll then get emails about all the new features:

      Once your service is updated then the first time you login, you’ll see a notification saying it been updated.

      Regards, Matthew