SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.2 (BI 4.2) went into General Availability last month (March 8, 2016) with its Support Pack 2 patch level. Nearly every area of the platform has received new features, including the Central Management Console (CMC). Besides the new Recycle Bin (see Jason Gardieff‘s related article, Retrieving Accidentally Deleted Objects in SAP BI 4.2 Using the Recycle Bin), BI 4.2 introduces the BI Administrator’s Cockpit, a dashboard that provides important metrics about what is currently happening on the BI platform. The cockpit is a Fiori-based teaser that appears to be rendered with HTML5-based Lumira-esque charting. The dashboard is organized around four key metrics that each have drill-down capabilities: Servers, Scheduled Jobs, Content Usage and Application.
The servers metric allows an administrator to see at a glance servers are running, stopped, or not running due to an error/crash. In the example below, I have manually stopped two of the servers.
Clicking on the metric allows the administrator to navigate to a listing of all the servers, similar to the presentation in the Servers management area. Notice that the Dashboard Cache Server and Dashboard Processing Server have been stopped. There are also navigation options to see only failed or running servers.
You can see server details by clicking any server. Notice that the stopped server can be restarted from this screen- a handy feature.
Next, let’s take a look at the Scheduled Jobs metric.
The Scheduled Jobs metric displays the aggregated total of successful, failed and running jobs. This format is much easier to understand than manually counting rows from the CMC’s Instance Manager to infer the same information. The default is “today”, but an administrator can also view the metric for Last 7 days, Last 30 days, Quarter, and Year.
Clicking on the metric allows the administrator to drill down to a listing of jobs. In the screen shot below, I’ve navigated to the filtered list of failed jobs.
By clicking on the failed job, an administrator can see detailed information similar to that available from the Instance Manager or the History screen of a specific item. Notice that the job can be restarted from this point using the “Run Now” button.
Clicking on Statistics shows the top five jobs with most instances and top five jobs with longest run time for the date range selected from top-level metric. The charts suffer from truncated labels but Internet Explorer users can get the details from a hovering tool tip. Tool tips weren’t available when I tested with Apple’s Safari browser. These metrics can help a BI administrator identify opportunities for adding an instance management rule to limit instance growth or reports that can benefit from universe and/or database tuning.
Next, let’s take a look at the Applications metric.
The Applications KPI is a metric that describes how much new content has been created. Like the Scheduled Jobs KPI, the default is “today”, but an administrator can also view the KPI for Last 7 days, Last 30 days, Quarter, and Year. It wasn’t immediately obvious, but through trial and error I discovered that this metric only measures brand new content creation. Scheduled jobs and their instances do not increase the document counts on this metric.
As such, this metric will prove to be useful in monitoring self-service BI and the policies and procedures that the BI Competency Center puts around self-service.
Finally, let’s take a look at the Content Usage metric.
The Content Usage metric displays how much of the total BI content has been “active” during a specified date range.
By clicking on the metric, an administrator can see a detailed listing of active content…
Or detailed listing of inactive content…
By sorting on the run time, an administrator can see which content has never been run.
Lastly, there are some content usage statistics for Inboxes with Most Unread Content, Universes with Most Content, and Folders with Most Content. By “content” it appears that only authored content (and not scheduled instances) are measured. For all three of these bar charts, I wished that I could drill down to another level of detail. I also wish that Tuttle would empty his own Inbox…
The same help information is also available online via the CMC’s Help link.
While I’m glad the documentation is available in both formats, I do wish more details were provided on how the metrics are obtained, as it’s not immediately obvious what activities are being counted and which ones are excluded.
In addition to its SAP Fiori-based appearance, the BI Administrator’s Cockpit provides other clues into what we’ll see in future releases of the BI platform. Besides the auditing database, the BI Administrator’s Cockpit leverages the WACS server, BI platform RESTful web services, and monitoring service. A full list of prerequisites is spelled out in the documentation. There’s a lot of immediate value provided by the first iteration of this new Central Management Console feature, but also some obvious low-hanging fruit for improvement. For example, it would be great if BI administrators could set the cockpit to be their default home page in the Central Management Console. SAP BI administrators can expect this feature to evolve each time SAP delivers a support pack. A full Fiori version of the Central Management Console is planned but won’t likely debut until the next major release of the BI platform. The BI Administrators’ Cockpit should definitely be one of many reasons considered when building a business case to upgrade to BI 4.2.