Shared SAP EIM and SAP BusinessObjects Servers – Good, Bad, or Ugly?

EV Technologies has been a part of a few SAP Enterprise Information Management (EIM) 4 implementations for customers already having made or planning to make the move to SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4 (BI4). Hopefully you have already made note that a slim version of the SAP BusinessObjects BI platform, called SAP BusinessObjects Information Platform Services (IPS), is a prerequisite for this implementation. A burning question that seems to keep coming up is “why not just co-locate EIM4 with BI4?”. I vote no. Read on.

Can you leverage your existing BI4 environment if you already have it in place? Certainly. Should you? I don’t think so. Let’s consider some landscape options. Take this first, very rough diagram that denotes SAP Data Services components are tightly integrated into the BI4 landscape.

eim4noips

In this deployment, the dependency on IPS is fulfilled by the BI4 environment. Web application components are deployed on your BI4 web tiers, and the application components are deployed within BI4’s application tier. This would surely simplify the deployment by requiring fewer EIM4 environment servers for either a web tier or an application tier that IPS would use.

But this, to me, creates a great big dependency between your EIM4 and BI4 environments. The EIM Product Group at SAP has done a great job of getting major releases of EIM out the door. That creates dependencies on fixed/point in time versions of BI4. Need to patch EIM4 but not BI4? Or vice versa? As always, reference the appropriate Product Availability Matrix (PAM) and let it be your guide. Don’t take my word for it. Consider the case where a released EIM4 patch cannot be run on your current version of BI4 and you must wait for BI4 to catch up.

Instead, consider a landscape that uses disparate infrastructure to avoid cross-platform dependencies by leveraging one or more IPSs. The BI4 landscape is segregated from the EIM4 install and the IPS is used instead.

eim4ips

In this deployment, IPS can live on a stand alone VM or physical box and- at your discretion- involve a fault tolerant node. To me, this is another great use case for virtualization. Further, we ensure that the IPS doesn’t rob workload from the already bulky BI4 deployment system requirements. The IPS does not have to a budget breaker here.

This is a quick and simple point. I don’t think there is a great deal of need for debate on whether to leverage IPS in place of BI4. The most concerning part for me in this is a split voice from SAP. I’ve had SAP pre-sales guide customers towards the co-location, but have also had really trusted friends at SAP in the EIM space indicate that customers should not.

Werner Daehn is a product manager for SAP EIM, a friend of EV Technologies, and periodic guest on the Diversified Semantic Layer. In an exchange he states:

“I came to the conclusion that DS and BI too often have a different release cycle at customers. They are very reluctant to move the thousands of BI users to the next version just because of a feature whereas with Data Services they upgrade more often.”

That’s good enough for me. A consistent message from SAP on this would be fantastic. In the meantime, my vote is still no… you know… like it’s a democracy or something. Do you have a story that drives the conversation in one direction or another?

Leave a Reply