The role of business intelligence and subsequently, analytics, has become more prominent in recent years and as such, the management of the infrastructure to support these platforms has become just as important. In June 2020, SAP released version 4.3 of BusinessObjects and in December of the same year, the first service pack was also released.
The new release of 4.3 is known as the hybrid release and introduces a brand new HTML5 Fiori Launchpad, as well as integrated support for cloud connectivity. It is also the first release to deprecate Flash components and add-on components that rely on these such as SAP BusinessObjects Explorer. These changes do have an impact on how a BusinessObjects 4.3 environment should be sized and can impact the resource requirements for a new install or upgrading an existing installation.
Keeping Pace with Infrastructure Updates
To gain the best performance in an SAP BusinessObjects 4.3 environment, multiple factors must be taken into consideration. For example, how many servers do I need? How many CPU cores? How much RAM? What is the current supported operating system?
These questions have multiple answers: Either the answer for an environment that is being scoped, installed or upgraded, or the answer for an organization well into the management of an existing platform that may need to be resized because it has outgrown its current footprint.
When looking at these questions, the cost, management, and security of the servers and environment required also needs to be taken into consideration. While many installations of SAP BusinessObjects are still local, the emergence of affordable, easily manageable and dynamically sizable cloud platforms have made consolidating analytics environments and other systems into the cloud an appealing option.
SAP BusinessObjects had historically been installed on physical servers even if the servers weren’t being utilized at full capacity. This was addressed with the advent of virtualization on these servers, which was already in mainframe and midrange servers.
Virtualization and Cloud
Virtualization allows the partitioning of resources in a server or across multiple servers to distribute its physical resources such as CPU, memory and hard disk access across these partitions. Installing SAP BusinessObjects in a virtualized environment allows better distribution of resources and can make it more efficient to run on existing hardware platforms.
Cloud platforms can be considered the next step in server and application management. The primary component of cloud platforms is the compute platform which is virtualized hardware and utilized for software like SAP BusinessObjects. This differs from on-premise virtualization in that it is hosted outside your environment at a larger scale and provides centralized tools to handle the management and deployment of parts of the infrastructure.
SAP BusinessObjects in the Cloud
Similar to on-premise virtualization, SAP BusinessObjects 4.3 has expanded support on servers in major cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure Cloud Services, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), IBM SoftLayer Cloud, Alibaba Cloud and SAP HANA Cloud.
Moving to a cloud environment still involves a similar sizing and maintenance cycle; however, this can be managed by either an internal cloud team or a partner that provisions and maintains the compute platform or it can be a fully hosted solution such as what SAP or Protiviti offers. Both options provide a level of flexibility and scale not found on local server installations.
While utilizing the compute platform, the SAP BusinessObjects sizing, installation and migration are similar to a local instance but the level of management and maintenance that is to be involved can vary. This can range from a customer fully supporting the cloud, SAP BusinessObjects installation, SAP BusinessObjects administration and development, to a customer only handling development work while a partner such as Protiviti will host the installation, provide support and administer the system. Protiviti also provides a pre-built virtualized solution to help clients jump start their SAP BusinessObjects investment in either Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure Cloud Services. Along with Protiviti and other partners, SAP now offers their rebranded SAP BusinessObjects Private Cloud Edition which is hosted by SAP and provides an out of the box supported solution.
While the primary focus in SAP analytics has been the SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP is fully committed to SAP BusinessObjects and support until 2027. Analytics has changed rapidly over the past few years and so has the infrastructure needed to sustain it and grow with it. This change is where cloud computing can help ensure that the SAP BusinessObjects system deployed can remain relevant as business needs and usage patterns change.