in System Administration

BI4 Content Promotion Options

One of the first things that an SAP BusinessObjects administrator will notice after an upgrade to BI4 is that the Import Wizard, the best option for moving BI content from one environment to another, is dead and gone. This is both a blessing and a curse, because although the Import Wizard was easy to use, it was often buggy and slow. However, the Import Wizard has no clear successor in BI4 — instead there are a range of options that each have their pros and cons.

I thought it might be helpful to list all of the current options in one place for easy reference.  Keep in mind that no one option will be sufficient for every situation — they each have their place in the BI Administrator’s toolbox.  That’s not to say a more complete solution from SAP wouldn’t be welcomed!

CMC Promotion Management

The Promotion Management tool found within the Central Management Console may seem like the clear successor to Import Wizard, as it was introduced in XI 3.1 and is featured prominently throughout SAP’s literature. However, this tool is best for small batch promotions — SAP recommends no more than 100 objects per job.

+  Straightforward web-based interface
+  Automatic dependency detection
+  Powerful Overrides capability for connections and web service URLs

–  Practical limit of 100 objects per job
 Subject to web server timeouts (default 20 minutes)
 Performance can be slow with larger jobs/more dependencies

Lifecycle Management Command Line

As I covered in a previous post, SAP realized the issue with Promotion Management and have been working on a better option for promoting large amounts of BI content. This solution is the Lifecycle Management Command Line tool, or LCMCLI, which has been included in the product since BI4 and has been vastly improved.

+  Most powerful and flexible option
+  Can promote thousands of objects in a single job
+  Not subject to timeouts

–  Least user friendly option — no user interface
–  Steep learning curve due to use of the BusinessObjects query language
–  Promotion failures are difficult to troubleshoot

Upgrade Management Tool

Out of the box, the Upgrade Management Tool is not able to promote content between BI4 systems. However, with an often discussed command line switch, you can tell UMT to skip the version check.

Adding the switch -internal_use_only_noversioncheck to your UMT shortcut will allow you to move content between your BI4 systems, but keep in mind that this is not supported by SAP and could cause unexpected results.  In practice, it has worked pretty well for me and is sometimes your best option if LCM doesn’t want to cooperate with you.

+  Easy to use wizard interface similar to Import Wizard
+  Clearly visible promotion progress indicators unlike LCM

–  Not intended for content promotion between BI4 systems, could produce unexpected results

System Copy

The final option is really intended for creating a clone of an existing BI system. For example, if you wanted to create a Test environment from your existing Production environment, you could use the System Copy approach to achieve this. Explained in detail in the BI Admin Guide, the System Copy involves restoring a backup of one BI system to a second system.

+  Will create a complete copy of your environment including all content

–  Very involved process requiring DBA support
–  The source server has to remain isolated from the target server during process
–  May require modification of the CMS database to avoid the two systems becoming a cluster

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