Ghosts in the Database

Platform Search in SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0

It is a little early in the year for ghost stories, but this chilling tale can’t quite wait for the leaves to change and the apple cider to harden. Let me spin my haunting tale. Come with me if you dare.

It was a dark and stormy night. Storm clouds billowed in the distance in the light of the full moon, punctuated by the occasional flash of lightning, foreshadowing the torrential storm to come.The shiny new BI4 system hummed quietly along after the day’s successful upgrade of content from XI 3.1. Then, suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, the DBA’s paged me, your humble on-call BOE Administrator, saying the database is going crazy with queries. The source of all of the queries is the BI4 system. But how can that be? The system is brand new. Nobody is logged in yet. There are no scheduled jobs yet.

My heart started pounding, I could hear my pulse in my ears. Something was wrong. Terribly wrong. I logged into the Central Management Console, and looked at the Monitoring Dashboard. There was nobody logged into the system except for me. Ghosts in the Database! I ran across to the Servers tab, stopped and disabled all of the Job Servers just to see if something migrated over and was kicking off a schedule on its own. SIA’s were bounced as the goosebumps on my arms just wouldn’t go away. Ghosts in MY database. I pushed the frightening thought away and focused on the task at hand. There had to be a logical explanation. I let the DBA’s know that the strange queries should go away now, since no scheduled jobs could kick off. They went off to check while I started chewing my nails. After just a few minutes, the queries were back! There WERE ghosts in my database.

Alright, enough ghost stories for August. This is true though. What was really going on was the super-enhanced Platform Search engine was doing what it was written to do. It was opening up every single report, running it, and indexing the heck out of it. Sound like something you’d like to turn off? Let me show you how.

First, head on over to the Applications section of the CMC, and choose the Platform Search application. The default settings for this super-steroid charged Search Program is to have it continuously crawl your CMS for new content. You can imagine the feast it was having on a fresh migration.

PlatformSearch1

Click the button to tell it to Stop Indexing, then switch from “Continuous Crawling” to “Scheduled Crawling”, like so:

PlatformSearch2

Next, to stop the Platform Search application from actually opening and running your reports, you’ll want to switch the “Level of Indexing” down from the default “Full Content” to something more reasonable like “Platform Metadata”. This will keep traffic on your databases much lower.

Here’s how it looks by default:

PlatformSearch3

Along with turning down the level of indexing, it’s probably a good idea to turn off all of the content types you know you won’t be using as well. This will save you some cycles.

PlatformSearch4

And there you have it! Ghosts are gone. A perfectly logical explanation for a seemingly bizarre behavior from BI4.

If you can talk your DBAs into calming themselves for a bit, you might want to let the Platform Search monster have its way for a while, and build that first massive index. Subsequent indexing runs would likely be hardly noticeable which is probably what SAP had in mind when they created this Franken-indexer. Metadata is good, and will help your customers find their content more easily, so turning it all the way down probably isn’t the best answer either. But in a case like this where everyone has their knickers in a twist, it is certainly good to calm things down for a while until you can reassess your Platform Search strategy going forward.

“I see dead queries”.

6 thoughts on “Ghosts in the Database

  1. And no less than three SAP KB (1805208, 1871939, and 1890412) describe how Platform Search will clog the Audit database with thousands of events if “continuous crawling” (the default) is selected over “scheduled crawling”. Sigh.

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