Not only does Bluefin work with clients to implement their SAP solutions, we also use SAP products internally to ‘run simple’. So when we heard about the Ramp Up program for SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise 4.2, we applied to be part of it as a customer so we could upgrade our internal systems to this latest release. The journey was surprisingly easy with only some mild bumps along the way.
Historically, there have been some challenges involved in upgrading to the newest release of SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise, but everyone involved - SAP, their clients and partners - have learnt valuable lessons which, in turn, have contributed to making the next release smoother.
Remember the Import Wizard with the nerve-racking merge vs update screen which could ruin your whole migration if you got it wrong?
This was replaced by the Upgrade Management Tool which, in its early days, caused issues for anyone with a decent sized repository. Yes, its dependency management was simple and automated, but a challenge for an incremental approach.
… and today?
The good news here is that SAP hasn’t decided to introduce a completely new installer to the one we have been using for years; we have confidence in that part. So how do we upgrade from SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise 4.0/4.1 to 4.2? Well, simply apply the patch and you are more or less done! Well, that’s the actual upgrade, however there is still all the usual work attached to the process outlined as follows.
- Determining available maintenance windows
- Communication to users
- Incremental or full upgrade options
- Providing upgrade test environments
- Analysing current usage and disabling scheduled activities
- Bringing the system to a safe stop
- Ensuring repository integrity.
- Log file analysis
- System checks
- Due-diligence upgrade testing
- Re-enabling schedules
- User communications.
I have always recommended having an initial system available to test the upgrade processes and tools themselves before you start on your full landscape. You don’t want to install the updates to your Development system only to realise there is an issue which could cause a significant delay. This also gives you a chance to practice the various scenarios you might use and have available to you, for example, full or incremental, when using the Upgrade Management Tool.
But the main test you need to undertake is to determine how long the upgrade process will take. Without this information you have no way of being able to plan your downtime, or know if the upgrade will fit into your scheduled maintenance window.
We decided we would test the upgrade on our internal demo system first. Now as SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise deployments go, it wasn’t the neatest out there but it has a great representation of diverse content. We did the normal tidying up beforehand to remove orphaned/redundant content and then proceeded with the upgrade.
...and here come the bumps
Now this is where we had our only issue. The upgrade went well, everything looked good and seemed to be working. The reports and dashboards were all refreshing fine. It was only afterwards we noticed the problem.
We had failed to realise that the demo environment was not only being used for all of our BI demos, but also for the Data Services product line. Upon discovering this we also realised that Data Services was not yet released for the 4.2 release we were using.
Every cloud has a silver lining
This at least meant we got to test the uninstall process too! We removed the 4.2 patch which took us back to our previous release of 4.1. Then we uninstalled the Data Services components so that we were left with just the core BI platform. We re-installed the patch to take us back to the 4.2 release and started our post upgrade testing.
In summary, we got two important insights when it comes to upgrading your SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise platform to the 4.2 release:
- Be sure you know what add-ins you have installed on your environment, what versions they are and if they are compatible with the newer upgrade.
- It is a simple upgrade which is much improved upon from past ones.
Using the demo system shows how useful it is to have a separate environment you can work with when planning your upgrade. In our internal landscape (Development through to Production), we do not have any Data Services installed on the SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise platform so were confident in continuing with our upgrades. Naturally, we had to plan around year end activities, but then who doesn’t?
Now we are fully up and running on the latest release and we are starting to look at how the new features available will make us run even better than before.