Thinking of upgrading to SAP BusinessObjects 4.2 SP4? – Not so fast!

SAP BusinessObjects 4.2 SP4 offers numerous new features and many of these features have been anticipated for years. Below is just a sampling of all the great new enhancements found in SAP BusinessObjects 4.2 SP4.

  1. The Web Intelligence DHTML designer can realistically now replace the Java Applet Designer. You can again create WebI reports with Google chrome and without the need to deploy an Oracle JRE.
  2. There is a new optional HTML 5 (Fiori Style) BI LaunchPad and Web Intelligence viewer.
  3. There is a new CMS Database Driver for metadata reporting against the CMS database. I always thought it was odd that you could not generate reports based on metadata generated by a BI reporting platform.
  4. You can create Run-Time Server groups and they can be assigned to folders, users and security groups. This allows you to setup dedicated “server nodes” to process workloads.
  5. New Virus Scan integrated support with the FRS Services.
  6. A User Accounts status icons now appear when listing user accounts in the CMC. Quickly identify disabled user accounts.
  7. Administrators can now limited the number on Inbox items. Just like with other folders, the system will delete the oldest documents when the limit is exceeded.
  8. The Promotion Management (LCM) Command Line now allows you to define a batchJobQuery parameter. The query in this parameter acts like a cursor for the ExportQuery parameter. For each row returned by the Batch Job Query, the ExportQuery a value can be passed to the Export Query via a place holder.
  9. Update the platform from a combined support package and patch stack. You no longer need to first apply a support pack and then apply its patch. This might be the most important enhancement of the group given the amount of time it saves.

See for yourself all of the enhancements available in 4.2 SP4:

Be cautious when upgrading!

While many of these enhancements are outstanding, there are a few issues related to performing an in-place upgrade on the Microsoft Windows OS. Specifically, SAP included an upgraded Windows OS installation compiler with the 4.2 SP4 media. The “compiler upgrade” impacts both historic patches and add-ons within the platform. Add-ons such as  Lumira, Design Studio, AAOffice and Explorer are all impacted by this change. SAP Note 2485676 explains the impact in further detail.

The short version of the story is that you might want to consider deploying a fresh BOE 4.2 SP4 environment and then moving your existing content to it. Because the compiler was upgraded, you will not be able to remove prior patches, repair installations or remove add-ons. This assumes that you are performing an in-place upgrade without first removing all of the historic patches and add-ons.  I do not recommend that you attempt to remove all of the historic patch stacks or add-ons because historically that can create more problems than it solves.

In my experience, the 4.2 SP4 upgrade was very problematic. I had an issue with the Lumira and Design Studio plugin after the upgrade and the resolution was to run an installation repair. Unfortunately, the repair no longer worked after upgrading to 4.2 SP4. To resolve, I had to manually backup the CMS DB, FRS and configuration files and then uninstall the software using the steps outlined in SAP Note 1691555. I then reinstalled from the base 4.2 SP4 full installer and recovered the DB, FRS and configuration files. I then installed compatible plug-ins using SAP Note 2467541 as a guide. Compatible plug-ins use the same compiler as 4.2 SP4 and will not have this issue. However, the upgrade required almost 6 full days because of these unexpected issues.

SAP Note 2485676 indicates that you can install a new 4.2 SP4 system side-by-side with your existing 4.x system as a workaround. It also indicates that you can use the promotion manager GUI to migrate you content. However, as most experienced BOE administrators know, the promotion management GUI is not a scalable tool when you are trying to promote 20,000+ objects between two 4.x systems. With that said, based on enhancements in 4.2 SP4 Promotion Management Command Line Interface (CLI), it might now be a scalable option. Regardless, promotion manager is not the easiest way to promote mass content between two environments.

In addition to the recommendations from the SAP note there are a two additional upgrade options that I will outline below. These options prevent the need to use promotion manager. However, they do take time to complete. You also truly need to be experienced and have a sound backup / restore solution in place.

Other options when upgrading to 4.2 SP4

1.) Upgrade the system in-place using the 4.2 SP4 upgrade. Backup for FRS, CMS DB and any configuration files. Manual remove the BOE binaries, installation metadata and registry settings using SAP Note 1691555. Install BOE 4.2 SP4 using the full media and then restore the FRS and configuration files. In my case, I used the existing CMS and Audit DB during the full install without any impacts. The CMS DB backup is a “just-in-case” step. You can then install compatible plug-ins as needed.

2.) Upgrade the original systems in-place using the 4.2 SP4 upgrade media. Add additional hosts as if you were clustering in additional servers. On each additional host, use the full BOE 4.2 SP4 installer. Move all service operations to the new hosts. Install compatible plug-ins to each new host as needed. Remove the services and SIA from the original host using the CMC / CCM. This effectively de-clusters the old systems from the environment and those hosts can be retired.  You now have all new systems without any compiler upgrade issues.




  1. Great notes, wish we had read them before executing our upgrade. We had some report incompatibility issues post go live, reports created in the prior version and edited in the query panel could not be saved. Repointing the data source back to the universe using the change datasource wizard fixed them, It was only mildly painful.

  2. I had the EXACT same issue mentioned within this blog. I learned of it (meaning compiler issue) the hard way after upgrading to Lumira 2.0. I had issues with Lumira 2.0 not connecting to the BO Platform so the recommended approach to fix was run a “repair” which lo and behold couldn’t be done because of this issue. This issue should be explained in a pop up during the update install to 4.2 SP4 stating in big bold letters that you can no longer run repair or modify or uninstalls….similar to how they did when upgrading to 4.2 and it requiring a new license key. You can’t move forward with the install until you click ok saying you acknowledge this!!!

  3. I agree. This is why I wanted to get the information out to the public and my clients. SAP does this with SAP application servers, forcing clients to read an SAP note and supply a password contained within the note.

  4. Jonathan, if I understand this correctly, the issue only arises if you need to uninstall the 4.1 software after the upgrade, yes? You can just leave the old software there with no issues other than consuming drive space?

  5. Yes, until you have a system issue that requires either a “modify” or a “repair” then you cannot do those because they error out with the above mentioned. Perhaps not a show stopper for some, but I’m advising my clients to NOT go down that path because as a BO Admin for 15+ years I have encountered too many situations or issues which have required those capabilities.

  6. You can’t perform a modify / repair which might be an issue down the road. Modify might be required to add a component to a node. Repair might be required to fix issues. This is why my recommendations were mentioned in the blog.

  7. ARGH!! VERY glad I found this information – sure haven’t seen it on an SAP site. This should be in huge red, blinking letters on every page where SAP discusses SP4, not relegated to a footnote of some note hidden in SAP KB-land. Sounds like this really should have been a new release, not a SP. Unfortunately, a lot of bugs we sent to support are supposedly fixed in the SP4 line, so we need these patches, but this adds a HUGE new wrinkle to our plans.

  8. Hi

    I would like to know if anybody have try to upgrade from BOBJ 4.1 sp7 to BOBJ 4.2 SP4 over linux red hat, and if really did , i will appreciate what items i have to take with care in order to get a succesfully upgrade

    I have to upgrade urgently one server

    Thanks a million

  9. Great article, you are right. SP5 is coming soon (mid december), and there is a lot of new features, especially on the BI Launchpad part which was very nice but quite poor in features. Maybe the best is to wait SP5 now ? 😉

  10. The notes referenced haven’t been updated in months. I’m trying to determine if the behavior (compiler change) is the same in 4.2 SP5 now that it is available. I haven’t been able to find an answer to that question in my research. Can anyone confirm?

  11. My assumption is that the same applies unless you upgrade from 4.2 SP4 to 4.2 SP5. If you upgrade from any version before 4.2 SP4, you might have this issue.

  12. Hi Jonathan, very information and I must say you saved a million lives. Question: We are on 4.2 SP3 upgrade platform and we are planning to upgrade to 4.2 SP5 using upgrade package of SAP. To avoid issue with Lumira and other add on’s cannot we just uninstall Lumira software 2.x and go with fresh install of just Lumira.. may it be 3.x?

    Would we see any other issues apart from these addon’s not working properly, any issues running the schedules/Webi/Crystal and other stuff which runs BAU in production? Plz help!!

    Thanks a ton BTW.

  13. Hi – We’re looking to upgrade to B.O 4.2 SP4 but we already have a universe built in BO 3.1. When we upgrade our server to BO 4.2, will the universe still work and be accessible?
    Any help in this area will be greatfully recieved?

  14. Thanks for your help Jonathan – I’ll let you know if we encounter any issues that were unknown via this thread.

  15. We are planning to upgrade from BI Edge 4.1 SP6 to BI Edge 4.2 SP5. We currently don’t have Lumira, we basically have Webi and Crystal Reports, so I assume it wouldn’t affect us?
    Or do you still recommend installing 4.2 SP5 on the side?

  16. Hi,
    thank you for sharing this. Il like to upgrade from SAP BI 4.1 SP7 to 4.2 SP5. I will do a fresh install of 4.2 SP5 in a new server then move all content of the existing system in the new one.
    Can I move all content using export/import .biar whith the promotion management tool ? If not, how can I move content from 4.1 SP7 to 4.2 SP5 ?
    Thanks in advance for you help.

  17. Hi Jonathan – when you say

    “Other options when upgrading to 4.2 SP4

    1.) Upgrade the system in-place using the 4.2 SP4 upgrade. Backup for FRS, CMS DB and any configuration files. Manual remove the BOE binaries, installation metadata and registry settings using SAP Note 1691555”

    Are you saying to first make a backup then do an uninstall of 4.x, then do a full install of 4.2 SP4? or first update from 4.x to 4.2 SPx, then do a backup and then do an uninstall then do a full install of 4.2 SPx?


  18. We are having an issue upgrading the BI4.1 sp7 to SP8, the current BI version is BI 4 SP7 on windows 2008 server sp2 version server.

    We got the attached error message from the GUI while launching the setup.exe script manually.

    it is saying , it is finding some BI4 version installed, but my current version is BI4.1 sp7, then why it is asking for BI4.

    control panel ,program list along with installed BI4.1 updates can be seen in attached snap.

    Through CLI as well , it was coming out after some time.

    Snapshot and log attached.

    Kindly suggest the way forward , if you have faced this kind of issue earlier asap.

  19. If you are running Windows, I would migrate and not upgrade. 4.2 SP6 includes a new desktop based Migration Wizard to help you move all of your content.

  20. Yes we are planning to deploy WIN 2016 Servers and 4.2 SP06. Any blogs on migrating all content from current 4.0 SP09 to 4.2 SP06 or recommendations around migration?

  21. Thanks Jonathan. Your Recommendation on going to 4.2SP06 or SP05 or SP04 which is more stable, we primarily use Crystal and WEBI in our reporting today?

  22. Hello Jonathan, we are currently on BO 4.1 SP5 -> BO 4.1 SP5 Patch 5 -> BO 4.2 SP4 We need to get up to SP5. Do you have any recommendations on what we should pick. Some bugs were found at the time of update where SAP recommended we move down to BO 4.2 SP3 to then reinstall SP4. Is my understand correct that the best would be for me to uninstall SP4, install SP3 instead and then SP5 so I can run repair/modify?

  23. Hi Jonathan, in your experience, how long does it take a complete upgrade from 4.1 to 4.2? We have 2500 webintelligece reports

  24. Hello,
    We are currently on 4.1 SP 10 and planning to upgrade to 4.2 SP 06.
    Should we apply patch on our existing application which will then not require any migration of contents.

    Or should we have afresh installation and them migrate the contents to new version?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.