Real Life Upgrade from SAP BI 4.x to SAP BI 4.3 (kind of!)

SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3 has been released on June 12th, 2020.  I’m sure you know that by now!  You can read a lot more about the announcement and release here.

There are different paths to Upgrading or Migrating BOBJ to this latest version based on where you are coming from.  And your preferences.

Source: SAP Note 2921811

For the purpose of this article, I’ll focus on the right side of this picture: BI Platform 4.x to BI 4.3.

Source: SAP Note 2921811

As you can see there are two methods:

  • Upgrade “in-place” – I.e.: Install SAP BI 4.3 on top of SAP BI 4.x
  • Upgrade “side by side” – I.e.: Like a migration, install a fresh SAP BI 4.3 then promote the content

I have done many upgrades and migrations in my 20+ years career.  Not long ago I wrote a blog about my experience and the pros and cons of each approaches: “In Place” vs “Side by Side” Upgrades.

Those who know me are aware of my favorite method.  As I’m writing this sentence before actually starting the work, let’s see how it goes!  Let’s just say that in the past, I have had more problems than successes with in-place upgrades.

Below you will see all the steps I have undertaken to run an in-place upgrade on my test environment.  It’s not as comprehensive as a real Production environment but this should highlight real steps and possible issues.

I’ll share at the end my thoughts about the entire process.

Architecture: Single Node with AWS EC2 t2.xlarge. That’s 4 Cores and 16GB RAM.

Products Installed:

  • SBOP BI Platform 4.2 SP08 Server
  • SBOP BI Platform 4.2 SP08 Client Tools
  • SAP BusinessObjects Explorer 4.2 SP08
  • SBOP BI Platform 4.2 SP08 Crystal Reports for Enterprise
  • SAP Crystal Reports 2016 SP08
  • SAP Lumira Designer 2.3
  • SAP Lumira Discovery 2.3
  • SAP Lumira Server 2.3
  • SAP BusinessObjects Analysis for Office 2.8
  • SAP BusinessObjects Analysis for Office 2.8 – Server Add-on

Languages: English, French, Finnish

Important: Make sure you have a backup of your BOBJ platform and all its dependencies.

Sounds obvious but make sure the last backup was successful and you have everything available in case you need to restore:

  • SAP BI Server
  • SAP BI System Database & Audit Database
  • SAP BI File Repository Server (FRS)

Go to SAP Software Download > Support Packages & Patches > Analytics Solutions

See SAP Note: 2936923

These are the components I need to download and install:

  • SBOP BI Platform 4.3 Server
  • SBOP BI Platform 4.3 Client Tools
  • SBOP BI Platform 4.3 Crystal Reports for Enterprise
  • SAP Crystal Reports 2020

You will need new License Keys for:

  • SBOP BI Platform 4.3 Server

  • Crystal Reports 2020

SAP Support Portal > Request Keys

SBOP BI Platform 4.3 Server

SBOP BI Platform 4.3 Client Tools

SBOP BI Platform 4.3 Crystal Reports for Enterprise

SAP Crystal Reports 2020

Installations Completed

SBOP BI Platform 4.3 Server

Tomcat

Before:

After:

The version of Tomcat changes to Tomcat 9.0.26.

This will have impacts on changes you have made to your server.xml for instance to change port numbers, SSL, etc.

It will also have impacts on any other customisation you have done under %INSTALL_DIR%\SAP BusinessObjects\tomcat\webapps

This may have an impact on your SSO and also your .properties if they only reside in in %INSTALL_DIR%\SAP BusinessObjects\tomcat\webapps\BOE\WEB-INF\config

License Keys

As mentioned, SAP BI 4.3 requires a new license key.

  1. Logon to the Central Management Console (CMC)
  2. Click License Keys
  3. Delete the old license key(s)
  4. Add the new license key(s)

Finally, you will need to enable your BOBJ Services as they get disabled when there is an expired or invalid license key.

  1. Logon to the Central Management Console (CMC)
  2. Click Servers
  3. Enable all Disabled Servers

SAP Crystal Reports 2020

As mentioned, Crystal Reports 2020 requires a new license key.

  1. Open Crystal Reports 2020
  2. Add the new keycode
  3. Click OK

Optional: Cleanup

I followed these instructions to delete in bulk deprecated content from my BI Platform Repository after the update of SAP BI 4.3 (SAP Note: 2914654)

I ran the following command:

java -Dtracelog.logdir=C:\DeprecatedContentDeletionLogs -jar DeleteDeprecatedContents.jar administrator Password1 localhost XL.XcelsiusEnterprise XL.Query DataDiscovery DataDiscoveryAlbum

It completed successfully and all my SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards (Xcelsius) 4.2 SP08 and
SAP BusinessObjects Explorer 4.2 SP08 documents are gone.

Log file: SAP_BO_BI_DeprecatedContentDeletion__20200618_1592496984401.log

Thu Jun 18 17:16:37 BST 2020 [INFO] SUCCESS: Script finished successfully.
Thu Jun 18 17:16:37 BST 2020 [INFO] Total objects deleted from Repository: 3, from Recycle Bin: 3

Optional: Delete old versions

One issue with in-place upgrades is that you are adding yet again more software on your server.  I want to remove these old versions…

It’s not only about freeing up hard disk space, here are other benefits:

  • Future update installation launching will take comparatively less time, as the number of versions to be calculated will become less.
  • Simple and elegant way to get rid of intermediate versions of BI Packages, where which you do not need to uninstall and reinstall the latest version.
  • Multiple intermediate versions of different packages of BI Suite in a BI System can be uninstalled in ONE go.
  • Tool does not require any downtime of the BI system servers or services and applications.

As I don’t plan to ever uninstall SAP BI 4.3 and roll back to SAP BI SP08 or even the older SAP BI SP07 which is also on this server, I’m going to try for the first time the SAP BusinessObjects ONE Uninstaller (SAP Note: 2846512 and SAP Blog).

*** Note: There seem to be a bug with the solution.  SAP is investigating.  I’ll update here later. ***

Testing is important.  Always is.  I like to separate my tests in three sections:

  • Functionality Testing.  Are all features working?
  • Content Testing.  Are my Universes, Webi, Crystal, etc still working and as expected?
  • Performance Testing.

Functionality Testing

I would usually do over hundred individual tests here.  For the sake of this blog I have only done couple of basic tests…

Products:

  • SBOP BI Platform 4.3 Server:
    • Web Intelligence – Create / Open / Refresh / Modify / Schedule: OK
    • Crystal Reports 2020 – Open / Refresh / Schedule: OK
    • Crystal Reports for Enterprise – Open / Refresh: OK
      • Open / Refresh: FAIL

      • Schedule: FAIL

Error Message: com/ibm/icu/text/NumberFormat (CRS 300003)

SAP Note: 2235156 did not help.

  • Workflow Assistant: FAIL

The templates are unavailable.

  • SBOP BI Platform 4.3 Client Tools
    • Information Design Tool (IDT): OK
    • Universe Design Tool (UDT): OK
    • Web Intelligence Rich Client: FAIL

There are some Universe Dimensions that work in Information Design Tool (IDT), Web Intelligence (Web) but not in the Web Intelligence Rich Client.

  • SBOP BI Platform 4.3 Crystal Reports for Enterprise: FAIL

I can Create, Open from the BI Platform but cannot save back to the BI Platform.

  • SAP Crystal Reports 2020: OK
  • SAP Lumira Designer 2.3: OK
  • SAP Lumira Discovery 2.3: OK
  • SAP BusinessObjects Analysis for Office 2.8: OK
  • SAP BusinessObjects Analysis for Office 2.8 – Server Add-on: Not Tested

Regression and Performance Testing

I work for a company called 360Suite by GB&Smith.  We have an automated regression testing solution called 360Bind.

The July release (2020.3) will support SAP BI 4.3.  Until then…

Looking forward to properly test lots of Webi, Crystal Reports and Analysis for Office and see what the results are.

At the beginning of this blog I mentioned that I do have favorite method with regards to doing a SAP BI Upgrade.

For me and without doubt in most cases, a side by side approach will be better.  You can read some pros and cons here.  But here are my thoughts about doing this specific upgrade “in-place”:

  • Installation: One benefit of doing it this way, is that there no real preparation to do.  Download.  Backup BOBJ.  Run.  The process was very easy.
  • Speed: This is a test environment so I had a lot of client tools installed already with some to be upgraded.  I wouldn’t have so many in real life environments.

Regardless, to install everything and considering also that I have 3 languages, I have to say it went much faster than expected.

If you unzip everything up front (I like WinRar for that) you will save even more time.

    • SBOP BI Platform 4.3 Server: 80 minutes
    • SBOP BI Platform 4.3 Client Tools: 15 minutes
    • SBOP BI Platform 4.3 Crystal Reports for Enterprise: 4 minutes
    • SAP Crystal Reports 2020: 4 minutes
  • Post-Installation: The work around Tomcat will have to be done whichever method you choose.  No issue here.
  • Tests: I didn’t test everything as I would do in real life.  As you have seen, even with limited amount of tests on a tiny environment, there were problems.

So… it was easy.  And it was fast.  That’s it.  Would I do it in-place in real life on my environments – especially in Production?

No.

Or unless I have no client tools, no add-ons, just Web Intelligence and have thoroughly tested the process on a mirrored environment and it was successful.

Some considerations if you’re still debating which method is best:

  • It’s time for spring cleaning!  Your BI 4.2 server was built years ago.  You have installed a lot of stuff over time.  Maybe it was even a SAP BI 4.1 before that!  It’s time for a fresh start, go with the latest supported Operating System and other newer drivers.
  • This server will be around for many years!  The lifespan if BI 4.3 is at least 7 years (2027).  Your old Windows Server 2012 R2 will be long gone by then (ends 2023).

For completeness, this is the second time I try this upgrade.  The first attempt went really bad so I had to revert to my VM backup.

  • Originally I had Live Office installed.  It did’t work once in BI 4.3.  I tried to do a “Repair” in Add/Remove Programs.  It broke everything.  Although it finished successfully, something went wrong and my Tomcat and SIA would no longer restart.  This could have happened with something else.  Because I had 4.2 SP07, 4.2 SP08 and 4.3 SP00, I had to select BI 4.2 SP07 to be able to do a repair.    Maybe that’s why.  I managed to put it back by repairing something else but my trust in this server was very low.
  • If you decide to remove (manually or using SAP’s script when it works) older versions of SAP BI, note that you lose the possibility to do Modify or Repair installations.  This is a real issue as seen with SAP BI 4.2 SP08 when they added the Snowflake driver.
  • On that.  If I uninstall CR Enterprise 4.2 SP07.  Then SP08 so there is only CRE 4.3 remaining.  The software is no longer available to be used.

Hope this blog was useful.   Please do share your thoughts and comments.

Next step is to do it side by side.  What’s this space!

Feel free to “like” and post it on social media!

Always happy to connect: https://www.linkedin.com/in/pperrier/

Take care… A+