In this Q&A session, experts from SAP provided answers to questions about all aspects of upgrading to SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2, including the planning and technical considerations you’ll need to make before the move. They also addressed key new migration processes designed to save your organization time and effort when making this change.
If you missed the chat or need a refresher, we welcome you to view the online chat replay or read the edited transcript below.
Meet the panelist:
Sathish Rajagopal, Director, GTM, SAP
Sathish has been with SAP since 2005 and has been working in the BI space for the last sixteen years. Sathish is a Senior Director, part of SAP’s Analytics Solution Management GTM team. Prior to moving to this team, Sathish was a Platinum Consultant in Services division of SAP.
Melanie Obeid: Hello! Welcome to today’s live Q&A on ensuring a successful SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2 upgrade, which is Part 1 of our SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2 series. I’m Melanie Obeid, EVP and Publisher at SAPinsider, and I’m excited to introduce today’s panelist, Sathish Rajagopal, Senior Director, BI Solution Management GTM at SAP Labs.
Joining Sathish are some of his SAP colleagues and fellow experts. Please welcome Ravichandran Mahadevan, Vice President – Product Management, Business Intelligence; Reena Sethy, Senior Product Manager; Maheshwar Singh, Director, Product Manager BI Platform; and Ramu Gowda, Product Manager.
Hello everyone! Thank you so much for being here today to answer readers’ questions.
Sathish Rajagopal: Hello everyone.
Melanie Obeid: There are already several questions from readers in the queue, so I’ll let you get started on answering them now. To our audience, please continue to post your questions for our panelists. They are eager to share their insights!
Comment From Robert: Is SAPBI Dashboard (aka formerly XCelsius) being maintained in BI 4.2, or will it eventually be replaced by Design Studio?
Maheshwar Singh: Dashboard continues to exist in BI4.2
Comment From Thomas: Is the upgrade management tool is available with BI4.2 and can it be used to migrate contents between BI4.0 and BI4.2 environments?
Sathish Rajagopal: First of all, there is no need to migrate contents from BI 4.0 system to BI 4.2 because moving from BI 4.0 to BI 4.2 is called UPDATE. Simply download the update installer and install it on top of your BI 4.0 system. Then your BI 4.0 system becomes a BI 4.2 system.
Comment From Robert: Is the move to SAPBI 4.2 an "UPGRADE," as opposed to the "UPDATE" mode performed in the past, such as when we moved from SAPBI 4.0 to SAPBI 4.1? Is it more a matter of "migration" now? Is it preferable to setup a SAPBI 4.2 side by side with our current SAPBI 4.1 SP6 (which itself comes from an update of SAPBI 4.0 SP5)?
Reena: It’s an UPDATE from 4.1 to 4.2 and not an UPGRADE.
And since there is no upgrade, it’s not required that you migrate content. It’s simply an in-place update from 4.1
Comment From Robert: What are the requirements related to server OS, workstation OS, MS Office version, JVM version, and Internet Explorer?
Maheshwar Singh: The latest PAM has all the details. The BI4.2 PAM is available here: https://support.sap.com/content/dam/library/ssp/infopages/pam-essentials/SBOP_BI_42.pdf
Comment From Hello, I am not su...: I heard that BI 4.2 requires its own license. Can you please tell why this is so and how we can get it? Thank you.
Sathish Rajagopal: If you are an existing customer, you need to request a new license key when you install BI 4.2. This change was made mainly to ensure we have the proper record in the support system and to provide faster support to our customers
Comment From Robert: What about our Java BIP SDK custom implementations? What are the risks of impacts, and potential regressions?
Ravichandran: The Java BIP SDK continues to be supported.
Comment From Ravi: We have an environment with 4.2 SP2 and 4.1 SP3. The content is not migrating properly to 4.2. What is the best way to do this migration?
Sathish Rajagopal: First of all, there is no need to migrate objects from your BI 4.1 system to BI 4.2 because it's an UPDATE project. But if you want move to objects from one BI4 system to another BI4 system, then you need to use promotion manager.
Comment From Rohan: What are advantages of 4.2 over 4.1 from performance point of view? In short, what would trigger a client to move to 4.2 when 4.1 SP6 is quite stable?
Maheshwar Singh: 4.2 has a bunch of new functionalities, like a recycle bin, user notifications, shared objects in WebI, etc.
From a performance point of view, there are improvements in the upgrade manager, promotion manager, auditing, launchpad, web Intelligence, etc.
The entire functionality list is available here: http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-68333
Comment From Robert: Will there be any convergence of SAPBI Live Office, Analysis for Office, and MS Power BI?
Sathish Rajagopal: Power BI is a Microsoft product, so there are no plans to converge with that. But LO and AO are part of the overall convergence plan.
Comment From Thomas: What is the suggested best method or tool for migrating contents from older BI editions to a to BI4.2 environment? (Promotion management or UMT?)
Maheshwar Singh: If you are on BI3.1, you will need to use UMT to migrate to BI4.2.
If you are on BI4.0 / BI4.1, you can do an in-place update or use promotion management.
Comment From Robert: Do we still benefit from BOXI3.1 SP7.2 Desk Intelligence DCP with SAPBI 4.2 (making the migration from BOXI 3.1 to SAPBI 4.x tactically easier)?
Reena: Yes, you can still benefit from the BO XI 3.1 SP7.2 DCP with BI 4.2 to make it easier for migrating DeskI.
Comment From Robert: Does SAPBI 4.2 Live Office still exist? Which minimum version of MS Office is it compatible with?
Ramu Gowda: Yes, Live Office is supported with BI 4.2. The minimum supported office version is Microsoft Office 2010 SP1.
Comment From So what happens if...: So what happens if the UPDATE isn’t completed successfully? Is there a rollback or uninstall to restore the environment to its previous state?
Reena: You can uninstall the latest update, and it will roll back to the previous version from which update was initiated.
Comment From William Peck: Is there any place where we can access a live demo system for BI 4.2? We are planning our upgrade from XI 3.1. I know there are a ton of tutorial videos out there, but there's nothing like the real thing. We just want to play with 4.2 with eFashion.
Sathish Rajagopal: William, we've deployed a real demo system for someone like you to play around with before planning your upgrade or purchase. Go to this link for more details - http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-73473
Comment From Sean: We are upgrading from XI 3.1 SP7. It's quite a leap for us, as we have several large, multi-cluster environments. Do you have any specific recommendations and tips for upgrading?
Maheshwar Singh: You can look at the pattern books available here, as they have a bunch of detailshttps://wiki.scn.sap.com/wiki/display/BOBJ/SAP%20BI%20Pattern%20Books%20-%20Pattern%20Book%20on%20BI%204.1%20Upgrade
Comment From Robert: What about our current customizations of adaptive processing servers, adaptive jobs servers, WebI processing servers, and so on? Are they preserved or do we need reconfigurations?
Ramu Gowda: Robert, the configurations of servers are preserved after the upgrade to BI 4.2.
Comment From Hi, We would like ...: Hi. We are waiting to find out when the 4.1 BOBJ Edge maintenance ends, please. Thanks.
Reena: The end of maintenance date for the 4.1 EDGE is the same as the mainstream BI 4.1 product.
Comment From Rohan: What are the recommended methods and tools for upgrading/updating from 3.1, 4.0, and 4.1 versions to 4.2, respectively?
Maheshwar Singh: If you are on 3.x, you will have to use the UMT.
If you on BI4.0/4.1 you can do an in-place update or use the promotion manager. Make sure you take a backup of the CMS and FRS before doing an update.
Comment From Sean: Now that UNX universes are able to use linked core universes, is SAP still committed to the UNV format?
Ramu Gowda: Sean, the UNV format will continue to be supported.
Comment From Sean: Can you provide a link to sizing recommendations for a large 4.2 environment?
Maheshwar Singh: http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-33126
Comment From Oli: When does the BOBJ 4.1 EDGE maintenance expire? Ravichandran: 4.1 mainstream maintenance ends by Dec 2018. 4.1 Edge will follow the same schedule.
Comment From Thomas: Thanks Sathish, but we will be setting up a brand new environment for BI 4.2 and would not want to touch the exiting 4.0 due to few business reasons, hence the need to migrate the contents.
Sathish Rajagopal: Got it, Thomas. In that case, it makes sense. You can use promotion manager (LCM) to move objects from your BI 4.1 to BI 4.2.
Comment From Marek: What about customizations done to the Bl Launchpad logon screens? Are they preserved, or will the update replace them with default screens?
Maheshwar Singh: If you have done the customization based on the SAP guidelines (http://scn.sap.com/community/bi-platform/blog/2013/06/01/tutorial-branding-and-theming-of-bi-launch-pad) they will be retained.
Comment From do you recommen do...: Are full migrations the best way to migrate/upgrade?
Reena: There are pros and cons of doing full vs incremental migrations. For example, full migrations are ideal for small deployments, whereas incremental ones are ideal for large departmental systems where you can lock down each department at a time to migrate.
Comment From DebS: We are planning a dual path for upgrading from 4.1 SP4 P4 to 4.2 SP2. This will also require testing against all the new client tools. Is it possible to update the client tools ahead of time to work with an earlier version of BOBJ, in our case 4.1 SP4 P4?
Sathish Rajagopal: Our recommendation is to have both server and client on the same version for proper functioning and support.
Comment From Oli: The title of the Q&A session indicates and upgrade, but in the chat people are saying it is an update.
Ravichandran: If you are moving from 3.1 to 4.2, it would be an upgrade. If you are moving from 4.0/4.1 to 4.2, it would be an update.
Comment From Eric Wojcik: Can you relay any findings from other clients that have already upgraded? What were the top pain points? Is there anything in particular that requires additional testing or remediation?
Maheshwar Singh: The feedback on BI 4.2 has been positive from a quality and stability perspective.
Comment From Steve: Is there any “gotchas” that I should be aware of when upgrading from BI4.1 to BI 4.2?
Sathish Rajagopal: Again, it's not an upgrade but an update. In general, feedback is very positive. Check the release notes and forums like SCN for any feedback on issues or challenges other customers faced.
Comment From Marek: Do you have any comments regarding changes in the WebI calculation engine between versions and how to prepare for them?
Maheshwar Singh: There are no changes in the WebI calculation engine between BI4.1 and BI4.2.
Comment From Shawn Herring SNC: Is Apache Split recommended in 4.2? We are currently running BO 4.1.7 with Apache Split because we have a significant user base across WebI and Crystal. Is Apache Split necessary in 4.2?
Sathish Rajagopal: It's pretty much same as BI 4.1 and there are no changes for Apache split in BI 4.2, so you should be able to.
Comment From Andrew: Will updating from 4.0 to 4.2 overwrite any customizations to configurations or .ini files?
Maheshwar Singh: Hi, Andrew. The recommendation is to backup and restore the files.
Comment From Sean: Now that Oracle has announced plans to end of life the Java browser plugin, how does that affect the editing of WebI and Crystal reports using the Java app in the BI Launchpad? In other words, what action is being taking to address this?
Reena: The Crystal Reports Java Applet (“Web Java”) viewer is not supported with JRE 8. Please use the Crystal Reports DHTML (“Web”) viewer instead. Also, we recommend working with the Web Intelligence HTML Interface (also sometimes referred to as the DHTML interface).
Comment From Marek: There are changes in WebI calculation engine between XI 3.1/4.0 and 4.2. How should we prepare for them?
Maheshwar Singh: Hi, Marek. Refer to http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-39973 for details.
Comment From Susan: I saw the question about “gotcha's” from 4.x to 4.2. I see others are also upgrading from 3.1, so how about specific “gotcha's” for this migration?
Sathish Rajagopal: Susan, my answers is the same as my response to the UPDATE scenario. The process and tool for upgrading from 3.1 to 4.2 are improved. But for actual feedback, you can check for other customer's feedback and questions on forums like SCN.
Comment From Murali: We would like to use the phase-wise 4.2 feature while upgrading/patching BI 4.2, and we need your help to answer following question: We want to upgrade from BI 4.1 SP05 Patch 7 to BI 4.2 SP2 Patch 2. Usually with the old method, we would apply 4.2 SP2 first, then apply 4.2 SP2 Explorer and patches SP2 Patch 2 for Enterprise, and then install Explorer We patch CMS first on the servers and then in parallel on the Tomcat servers. How can we use the phase-wise installation feature in BI 4.2? What is the best sequence?
Reena: Basically, the sequence has not changed with the phase-wise install. You can use the phase-wise approach when you are updating from 4.1 to 4.2 itself.
Comment From Robert: What are the main enhancements for multi-tenancy?
Maheshwar Singh: The BI4.2 future service pack will have an option to assign an exclusive server group and all its related servers to a user group. This is extended to multi-tenancy. There are also some enhancements to the onboarding process
Comment From Lamont P: After migrating to 4.1, many clients experienced performance issues with prompts in Web Intelligence documents that were not present in 3.1. Has that issue been specifically addressed in 4.2?
Sathish Rajagopal: Lamont, there are improvements for sure in BI 4.2 around performance, but I would suggest you to test it against your use case. I’m not sure which data source or specific scenario you are talking about.
Comment From Rohan: In response to a reply posted by Reena: But the DHTML mode has less features compared to the Applet mode.
Reena: Correct, but we are bridging the gaps between the DHTML version and the Applet mode.
Comment From Guest: Are there any specific improvements that will reduce a customer's testing efforts prior to going live with this new version?
Sathish Rajagopal: As mentioned earlier, the overall quality and stability of BI 4.2 are improved, so less testing effort may be required. But for complete system testing after upgrade, refer to the OEM partner's solution.
Comment From Arun: I’ve heard BI4.2 has a new install option that can reduce downtime during the install. Can you explain the quicker install process?
Reena: With BI 4.2, we have a new way of installation called phase-wise installation, through which the install caching step can be completed without any downtime. Once the caching is completed, you can resume the install, and that’s when the CMS needs to be brought down. So it reduces the overall downtime.
Comment From Lamont P: When will the gap be fully bridged between the DHTML version and applet? It’s great to say you recommend using the DHTML client, but that doesn't help in actuality as long as a gap exists.
Maheshwar Singh: We plan to fully bridge the gap in the future service pack. It is a high priority for us to close this gap.
Comment From Ashok Singh: Does Live Office and Dashboard install with Office 2016 on BI 4.2?
Ramu Gowda: Ashok, Microsoft Office 2016 support is planned for future releases of BI 4.2.
Comment From Marek: The BI 4.2 SP3 version is planned to be released in August. Will it bring any new features? Do you advise waiting for it or going with BI 4.2 SP2?
Maheshwar Singh: If BI4.2 SP2 meets your requirements, please go ahead with it. Any service pack released by SAP, including SP3, will have some new features in it.
Comment From So the DHTML clien...: So the DHTML client will be fully bridged in SP3?
Sathish Rajagopal: It's work-in-progress. It will take few SPs to fully bridge DHTML.
Comment From Guest: Are there any improvements to Platform Search? I've heard many customers have had to turn this feature off in 4.1 for performance reasons.
Maheshwar Singh: There is better control of the objects to be indexed in BI4.2 compared to BI4.1. We will continue to enhance the performance in future service packs, as well.
Comment From We created a 4.2 s...: Is there a way we can see what's planned for BI 4.2 SP3? If SP3 contains some of the enhancements to bridge the gap between the DHTML and the Java interface, then it may make sense to wait for SP3.
Sathish Rajagopal: We are working on publishing a document on what's in BI 4.2 SP03 in next few days. That will give you a good idea about the new features.
Comment From Sean: Coming from XI 3.1, are there any specific access level changes that I should look out for when moving to 4.2?
Sathish Rajagopal: Yes, Sean. The security ACL has some changes for the better. Read the admin guide for details on the access level changes.
Comment From Pradeep Prakash: What happens to the SSO configuration and any custom settings in the Tomcat during the 4.2 update?
Maheshwar Singh: As a best practice, please backup the files before the update.
Comment From Rohan: Has the performance improved for continuous crawling? This was a pain point in 4.1.
Maheshwar Singh: The behavior is better in BI4.2 compared to BI4.1.
Comment From Pradeep Prakash: Do we need to plan for any downtime during the update from 4.1 to 4.2?
Reena: Yes, it does involve downtime. However, it’s reduced with 4.2 if you use the phase-wise install option.
Comment From Oli: Why is it just an update and not an upgrade, given that the version is changing?
Maheshwar Singh: The major version remains the same. BI4.2 is a minor version.
Comment From E.H.: Thanks for a lot of great info. I hope there's time for my question -- are there any improvements for consuming BEx queries in BI4.2?
Ramu Gowda: You can find detailed list of supported BEx Query elements for different clients in the following SAP Note:http://service.sap.com/sap/support/notes/1869560
Comment From Rohan: What key areas could make or break a BI upgrade?
Reena: There could be many areas. However, the first and foremost thing is to plan your upgrade. It needs to have milestones, backup, and test strategies like a project, and you need to check the platform and product changes in the planning phase.
Also, you need to identify what needs to be tested prior to the upgrade.
Comment From Anne Marie: When you say you are planning to fully bridge the gap between the DHTML version and the applet in a future service pack, I presume that means there continues to be a gap in the current 4.2 release. What gaps remain, and when do you expect to close all those gaps? What fix pack will it be in, and what is the time frame?
Sathish Rajagopal: This is one of our top priority items. There will be improvements around the DHTML gaps in future releases, starting with BI 4.2 SP03.
Melanie Obeid: As we come to the end of the Q&A, I’d like to thank you all again for joining us. And a special thank you to Sathish, Maheshwar, Reena, Ravi, and Ramu for all of your informative answers!
Sathish Rajagopal: Great session. Bye for now.
Maheshwar Singh: Great session. Thanks all.
Reena: Thanks everyone for great questions and good participation from all. Bye.
Ramu Gowda: Thanks all for a great session!!!
Melanie Obeid: Thanks again, everyone! It’s been a great discussion today.
Readers can review the chat replay from today’s Q&A at any time, and we’ll send you an email when the transcript of today’s chat is posted.
And we welcome you to attend Part 2 of the SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2 Q&A series – “Discovering the Newest Developments of SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence 4.2,” coming up on August 11.