I’ve had a number opportunities to see BI 4 from both the perspectives of a demonstration as well as hands on. The more I see it, the more excited I get for what lies ahead for us. So as I try and fight my way through a two-month case of writer’s block, I intend to start gearing us all up for what we need to start considering to strategize for those well-planned upgrades (you know you want to). The first thing I want to tackle being an “all-things-server” lover, is what the new semantic layer means to your environment.
If you’ve missed the memo or haven’t been listening to the Diversified Semantic Layer podcast, the new and improved universe is on the horizon. The driver of that change, and this blog post, is federation incorporated into the semantic layer. This is cool on so many levels. We’ll finally be able to take disparate databases and combine them into a single universe.
That leads me to the point of this blog post. I think major consideration needs to be given to a few dimensions of your near-term BI strategy:
– Figure out if multi-data source universes even needs to be a blip on your radar
– Determine if you have major hardware upgrades on your horizon
– Get ready for 64 bit
Multi-data Source Universes
Do you really need them? Depending on the size of your warehouse, or lack thereof, the answer is probably a yes. Requirements always change. New lines of business are added. New partnerships are formed. With all that, new data needs to be acquired. Ideally that data ends up in a warehouse and as a larger part of your BI strategy. But I think BI 4 is going to accelerate time to market in giving us the opportunity to take that disparate data and get it into a singular reporting structure, made possible by that new semantic layer.
If you are eyeballing big changes to your environment and aren’t pressed to do so, wait. BI 4 is going to add new servers to the SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise stack that will do the work of taking that combined data and pulling it together into something your users can consume in a report. To date, I haven’t personally seen any specs or requirements on how big those boxes should be. If I had to guess, there has to be some correlation to the size of environments used for Data Federator. SAP BusinessObjects must do new work, aside from what it does today, to get and store data for this to work. I’m excited to learn more about this architecture and see it in action.
The point is, though, hardware specs for environments may have to adjust a bit in order to support this new capability.
What a great move. What a great answer to an ongoing need to be able to tap the resources of larger environments to support growing user populations. Sure, you can install SAP BusinessObjects on 64-bit systems today. But the reality is, at least in the Windows world, we’re still clamoring for that full 64-bit support. I’m still eager to see what servers in the stack will have made the transition to full 64-bit support (let’s be honest, we’re going to see some 32-bit stragglers).
I don’t doubt for a second that system requirements aren’t going to go up to support this new architecture. However, for me, this feels oh so worth it. That said, if you are planning an upgrade or migration, choose your new hardware carefully for the chance to add the migration path to 64-bit to your roadmap.
Wrap it Up
I realize there is not any deep technical content. It’s ok to strategize once in a while. We’re going to go a little deeper (soon I hope) and will also talk about this with some good friends on the Diversified Semantic Layer podcast.