The acquisition of BusinessObjects by SAP paved the way for a very welcome tighter integration between the two softwares. One of the challenges coming out of that tighter integration was the performance of Web Intelligence against an OLAP universe generated on SAP cubes and BEx Queries. The reality of SAP project implementations was that SAP Netweaver experts designed large cubes and large queries. And why not; after all this was the OLAP world?! Large SAP cubes and large BEx Queries make sense for OLAP.
However, Web Intelligence is not an OLAP tool, it builds a cache of data referred to as a ‘microcube’. Note the word ‘microcube’. Attempting to pass large volumes of data from an OLAP query to the microcube could cause the Web Intelligence engine to perform poorly or crash. BISB have observed this on numerous occasions when undergoing performance testing at client site. Problems with the version of Explorer dependent up on the Web Intelligence engine have also been observed for the same reason.
But failing to process large volumes of data was not a weakness of Web Intelligence. On the contrary, Web Intelligence was designed for smaller, fast, ad hoc queries. Users experiencing problems with large volumes of data and Web Intelligence could consider the use of Crystal Reports. Crystal Reports uses a different cache infrastructure to Web Intelligence.
The above mentioned data volume issues have made the SAP BI 4.0 road map very welcome. Using the new Data Federator connectivity through the SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 universe means that the SAP MDX engine (OLAP) is bypassed. This removes one of the big issues of the SAP OLAP data volumes, namely MDX crossjoins. Other development means that the BI 4.0 universe now has connectivity to SAP HANA. If you have the budget available this makes SAP HANA highly desirable for Big Data and Analytics.
Finally, ardent OLAP users that cannot live without a cube have not been left out in the cold. BI 4.0 ushered in the end of the Voyager OLAP tool, replacing it with the new Advanced Analysis for OLAP tool.
The view expressed in this article is from BISB and not necessarily SAP. Russell Beech was Senior Analyst in the BusinessObjects Analytic Applications Division for almost six years. Check out Web Intelligence In Under Three Minutes here.
It is both frustrating and unnecessary to endure an under-performing BI system. If you are on the BI DIY road you will find several articles and whitepapers on this website that may help you by pointing you in the right direction.
Performance optimised code for Web Intelligence is intrinsically tied into a relationship with the SAP BusinessObjects universe. There is a short article on this entitled: Increased Performance Through Optimised Universe Design. There are also various techniques that can be employed such as Improving Web Intelligence Deep Drilling Capabilities with Vertical Hierarchies.
However, for optimised performance the data warehouse design must be given serious thought, consider The Aggregate Advantage. Similar principles hold true if you are using the SAP Business Information Warehouse with Web Intelligence and need Cube and Query Design for Performance Boost.
It is always advisable to give consideration to Sizing, Hardware & Licensing Models before implementing your BI system, especially where the full SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise is to be deployed.
We will be adding many more whitepapers and helpful information as time progresses and you may also find our videos on this website and YouTube of some help. But, if you are experiencing issues that you cannot seem to rectify you can engage us via our Contact Page.
The new SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform release BI 4.0 ushered in a new era by providing multi-source universes. In earlier versions developers attempted joined up data through ‘linked’ universes and synchronised data providers within Web Intelligence, and the now deprecated, Desktop Intelligence.
BI 4.0 universes are now integrated with Data Federator connectivity. This connectivity then exploits further powerful integration between Data Federator and SAP Netweaver. This means that in a single SQL based universe relational SQL data can be joined with SAP Netweaver data and is no longer being forced to use the MDX Engine and an OLAP based source.
The original Data Federator product was acquired by BusinessObjects a few years ago at the time that Russell Beech was employed with BusinessObjects UK. Consequently he has had an interest in and knowledge of Data Federator for several years.
BI System Builders have now established a Data Federator system and are currently developing multi-source universes to support their live customer demos.