SAP BusinessObjects Cloud (previously known as SAP Cloud for Analytics (C4A)) enables user-driven Business Intelligence, which appears to be the holy grail at the moment. But what use can such an application be without access to your own gold, by which I mean your precious data? I was lucky enough to spend some time setting up a connection to Bluefin’s on premise data; here’s what I learnt.
When I recall the effort of installing and configuring data source connections from SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence to Bluefin’s backend systems, it’s understandable that I was a little bit sceptical. However, I must confess, it was a walk in the park compared to that experience.
The diagram below provides you with an overview of the type of connections there are currently available. I’ll be focusing on the connectivity between the SAP BusinessObjects Cloud (SBOC) running in the Public Cloud to our Local Network using the SAP HANA Cloud Connector (HCC) and the SAP BusinessObjects Cloud agent.
Source: SAP SE
So why do you need the SAP BusinessObjects Cloud agent?
As you can tell from the above diagram, the only currently supported option you have to access on premise data from the SBOC is using, as a minimum perquisite, a SAP HANA Cloud Connector (HCC). After you have installed and configured the HCC you can access data stored in your SAP BPC NW 10.1 system. However, if you would like to access your data stored in SAP S/4 HANA or SAP BWoH, for instance, you have to install the SBOC agent.
1. Installing is easy!
The installation and configuration of the mandatory SAP HANA Cloud Connector and the SBOC agent is a pretty straightforward process. There’s a great insight on SCN by Harjeet Judge (SAP Canada) which provides you with detailed information on how to install the SAP HANA Cloud Connector, the SBOC agent and the deployment of the SAP JCO connectors.
2. Technical issue with the Java Runtime version
I encountered an issue using Java Runtime Environment version 7 (JRE 7) and the SBOC Agent on Tomcat version 7. As a result, I recommend using Java Runtime Environment version 8 (JRE 8) and Tomcat 8 instead. To prevent further technical issues, I would advise you use the latest version of the SBOC agent. The version I used is C4AAGENT13_0-80000881 which you can download from the SAP Marketplace.
3. Deployment of the SBOC Agent
In my demo landscape I decided to install the SBOC agent on top of an existing SAP BOBJ server, just to save time and to reuse existing hardware. However, the ideal deployment scenario, and my recommendation, is to use a dedicated server for the SBOC agent. The main reason being that the product is heavily changed by SAP and you do not want to update Java or Tomcat software components on production servers which other business critical applications are dependent on.
4. Role of the SAP Development Operations team
Currently, the SAP HANA Cloud Connector setup for SBOC still requires some manual activities from the SAP Development Operations team. To connect your local SAP HCC server to the SBOC tenant you have to provide the following information to SAP via a SAP OSS message to component LOD-ANA-BI:
- Landscape host = hana.ondemand.com
- Account Name: <this will be provided back to you by SAP Development Operations>
- Display Name: <meaningful description>
- Account User: <the S-User you would like to use to connect>
SAP will provide you with the details of the Account Name which you have to configure in your HCC environment. Future SAP plans include the ability to make this a self-service process for customers.
5. SBOC multi-tenancy
For each SBOC tenant, you need a unique Account Name provided by SAP and configured in your SAP HCC environment. For instance, if your SBOC runs on tenant 005, and you were assigned an HCC Account Name for that tenant, then you cannot use the same HCC Account Name for tenant, say, 008. So, only one HCC Account Name can be assigned to only one tenant. You can provide the same S-user to each client as the Account User.
6. Stay up-to-date
As SBOC and the SBOC agent are fairly new products, the number of changes provided by SAP are quite frequent. Naturally, as SBOC runs in the public cloud, SAP manages all updates and patches, however I would recommend applying the latest version update of the SBOC agent. Please do keep in mind that there are some restrictions with the version of your SBOC tenant and the SBOC agent. See SAP Note 2331600 for more information.
If I’m honest, I’m usually a bit of a sceptic when it comes to new SAP products, but I must admit that I really enjoyed setting up the connectivity from the SBOC environment to our on premise systems. I do, however, wish that SAP would develop one single SBOC Connector which can be deployed in your landscape to access all your different on premise systems. I hope you find the experience as easy as I did. Good luck!