A few weeks ago, SAP BusinessObjects released support pack 3 for the 4.1 build. There were several enhancements in this support pack and one in particular that adds much needed functionality to the Central Management Console (CMC). Administrators now have the ability to remove (Kill) a user’s session. This is a particularly important feature for organizations that have purchased CSBL (Concurrent Sessions Based Licenses). CSBL licensing allows an organization to scale and distribute the SAP BusinessObjects software as needed but it limits the system to a fixed amount of concurrent sessions. For example, Administrators can define 500 users in the CMC but, the system can be limited to 50 user logons at the same time. When a user logoffs, ideally their session is removed from the system allowing another user to consume that licenses at a later time. CSBL licensing is a bit of a gamble because administrators are effectively betting that (for example) only 10-20% of their defined users logon to the system at the same time. However, CSBL licensing is handy because there are no licensing restrictions surrounding the quantity of server nodes or CPU’s that are used to run the software. It also has advantages over the NUL (Named User License) model because each and every user no longer needs a dedicated license under the CSBL model. With NUL licensing, organizations often have to purchase multiple blocks of licenses overtime to accommodate growth or adoption. This often lead to disjointed maintenance and support payments or growth limitations when organizations choose not to expand access to the platform. CSBL also has an advantage over the CPU based model because the CPU model is limited to a fixed number of CPU sockets and cores. The CPU model often prevents an architect from deploying the software effectively due to the limitations surrounding the types and quantity of server nodes that can be leveraged. With that said, there are also good reasons for organizations to purchase NUL or CPU licenses. However, I am choosing to save that conversation for a future posting.
The down side of the CSBL model is that there is a limit to the number of concurrent sessions. A single user can consume multiple sessions and there are a few workflows in the platform that result in multiple user sessions (for the same user) being created. SAP BusinessObjects 4.1 SP3 now allows the administrator to remove a users session if they deem their sessions to be old or stale. Before this feature was added to SP3, administrators would literally need to restart the SIA to clear user sessions. It was an all or none approach as well. With SP3, administrators can pick and choose which user sessions to kill. This should make the use of CSBL licensing significantly more manageable.
To access this feature, logon to the CMC and choose SESSIONS. Located at the bottom of the sessions window you will see a list of sessions. Within the list select and highlight one or more sessions. With the sessions highlighted, click the End Session button or right click and choose End Session. (See image below)
In addition to the new End Session manager, there are several other new features found in 4.1 SP3. The following list will outline a few examples. However, the official SAP BusinessObjects 4.1 What’s New guide will contain a more complete listing.
- Direct to Folder Linking: In the BI Launchpad, users can now right click a folder and generate a restful URL or link that can be utilized to directly access a repository folder and it objects in the BI Launchpad. The format of the URL is /[HOSTNAME]:[PORT]/BOE/BI?startFolder=[FOLDER CUID]&isCat=[true / false] but user can also have the system generate the link with a simple right click of any folder. This is a feature that many organizations have requested and I am glad to see that SAP has implemented it.
- Promotion Management Overrides: The Promotion Management utility will now use the CMS database to host the LCM or Promotion Management overrides records. This has an added advantage of allowing for better scalability and clustering on the LCM services. Previously it used a file based DB (Derby) that only allowed a single LCM service to run actively in a BusinessObjects cluster. This active / passive approach made it difficult to provide a proper SLA for the LCM application and its associated activities.
- VMS / Subversion clustering: Architects can now deploy a clustered environment for the LCM and VMS. This was always possible except for the ability to cluster the overrides database.
- Analysis for OLAP can now Export to Excel in the newer XLSX format.
- Crystal Reports for Enterprise will now allow developers to change the order of prompts generated (for example) from a BEx query.
- Web Intelligence:
- When you duplicating a report, it now duplicates its input controls.
- Queries based on Excel data sources can be refreshed
- Enhanced charting abilities in Web Intelligence. Adjust line thickness and many other features.
- Web Intelligence Java Applet will load faster due to a consolidation of the required .jar files.
There is also a major Web Intelligence prompt fix in 4.1 SP3 (SAP Note 1991389) . In 4.0 SP6+ and 4.1 SP1+ , there is an issue with datetime based prompts. With this issue, the entered timestamps for a WebI prompt (against a datetime field) were incorrectly converted to UTC time. For those on the east coast, it was adding +4 hours. This has been a major issue with the platform for the last few months. ADAPT01710199 claims to have fixed this issue in 4.1 SP3 and I can also confirm that it has resolved the issue for several customers we work with.
For a complete listing of what new, please review the SAP BusinessObjects 4.1 What’s New guide.
SAP BusinessObjects 4.1 SP3 forward fits to the following Support Packs and Patches. Keep this in mind before you decide to perform an inplace upgrade.
BI 4.1 Patch 1.2 – 1.4
BI 4.1 Patch 2.1
BI 4.0 Patch 5.15
BI 4.0 Patch 6.7 – 6.9
BI 4.0 Patch 7.3 – 7.5
BI 4.0 Patch 8.1