10 Steps to SAP BusinessObjects BI4 – Defining Your Migration Path

Let’s Get Moving

We’ve made it through the first 5 steps on the journey to BI4 and are now over halfway there.  By this point, you hopefully have your new BI4 server in place and you’re ready to start moving content. Fortunately SAP has provided us with the handy Upgrade Management Tool (UMT) to facilitate the process.  The tool itself is not difficult to use, but the migration’s complexity may vary based on the size and configuration of your environment. The UMT may remind you of the Import Wizard, however its sole intended purpose is for moving content from older XI3.x or XIR2SP2 systems into BI4.

Tips and Tutorial

In an earlier article, we provided some useful tips and a basic introduction to the Upgrade Management Tool (see related article, Fun with the SAP BI4 Upgrade Management Tool).

Key points from that post are:

  • The UMT copies files to the temp directory on your local disk drive before writing to the target. Make sure you have plenty of free disk space performing the migration. If necessary, redirect your temp directory to a secondary drive.
  • When running, the system RAM acts as a go-between. To improve performance, increase the JavaHeap to at least 2GB, but preferably set it to as much RAM as you have available.

Please refer to our post, Fun with the BI4 Upgrade Management Tool, to learn more about these tips and to receive a brief overview of how to access and use the UMT.  You can also learn more about the UMT, and other BI4 tools, in SAP’s BI4 documentation and guides.

Reminder: Inventory & Cleanup

In Step 7, Coy Yonce discussed cleaning up old and unstable content. This was touched on a bit more in Step 5 when we looked at cleaning up Desktop Intelligence content. If you still haven’t cleaned up your CMS of stale content, the migration to BI4 is an excellent time.

Of course, to tidy up your content, you first need to know what you have. Simple.  Perform an inventory of your system. Do you have old reports in your CMS that are never used? Do you have multiple copies of universes taking up space? So first, determine what you have, and then decide what needs to be moved, and what can be archived or deleted. The inventory task can be intimidating, though leveraging a tool like Sherlock® can greatly simplify the process.  Sherlock® can potentially reduce the time required to inventory your systems down from weeks, or even months, to just a few days.

Additional Preparation

One additional step you may need to consider prior to migrating is regarding your user accounts. What type of authentication does your BOBJ system use? If you are using Enterprise authentication, you should be ok out of the box.  It is still never a bad idea to identify and clean up old user accounts though.  Old enterprise accounts should not cause major issues, though they will increase the migration’s size.  A quick run of Sherlock® can help us quickly identify accounts where a user has not logged in for over a year.  Then, if desired, those users can be backed up to a BIAR, and then purged from the system.

Now, if you use are using LDAP or Windows AD authentication, you likely will need to resynchronize and address disabled user accounts.  This could be a major blocker for you.

AD Error

Errors like this may require coordination with your company’s AD admin to clean up the old accounts before you can complete the migration.

The Migration Process

Once you have finished with the cleanup and have identified what to move, it’s simply a matter of deciding when and how to move the content. Will you move everything in one batch, or will you move it in stages. The answer to these questions may depend on the quantity of content in your system. For some, it may make sense to simply move everything into a new Development BI4 box, test, and then promote up through the chain into the BI4 Production box. If you have a lot of content shared by multiple teams, it may make more sense to migrate in stages, segregated by department or project.

Ideally, in a perfect scenario, you could just queue up everything and it would migrate quickly and cleanly.  Unfortunately, based on my experiences, that is very rarely the case.  When I use UMT, I always use the incremental Upgrade option.

UMT first screen

I then migrate in multiple passes in the following order:

1: Users and User Groups
2: Universes
3: Everything else EXCEPT Users and User Groups, Universes, Folders and Objects
4: Folders and Objects

Incremental Upgrade

When you migrate the users and user groups, by default it includes user favorites and inboxes.  This means that this first migration can be huge!  As was pointed out above, when migrating, the content is copied first into memory, then to a temp directory, and finally to the destination.  Make sure you have enough space free before starting. Then l like to break this step into multiple passes. How you decide to group content will depend on how many users you have.  An example of one approach could be to do one pass of all users whose last names start with A-G, then H-N, then O-U, and finally V-Z. Or maybe you have a much larger system and you are only able to do the first half of users whose last names start with A, then the second half of As, then the first have of Bs, etc.  This is a decision that you will need to make based on each unique environment.

Universes and other other content, aside from public reports, generally moves a bit smoother.  On your first migration, default settings are usually fine.  If you remigrate content in the future though, you likely will want to deselect the Upgrade Options to overwrite the connections and security.

Upgrade Options

Finally, the Folders and Objects should be handled in a manner similar to Users and User Groups.  If your system does not have a lot of public content, then simply select the whole group and let it go.  However, depending on your system, you may also need to move your public content stages, as was done with the user content.

Be aware that this is not a fast process, and each environment can present its own set of unique challenges.  As long as you prepare and go in with a plan, you will be ready to move on to the step #3 to BI4 before you know it.

For a step-by-step look at the migration process, pick up a copy of SAP BusinessObjects BI System Administration book by Greg and Eric and check out chapter 6.