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christopher.vozella and Saroj Parmar, SAP provided this ASUG webcast earlier this week. They discussed how SAP delivers fixes for BI4, and what is the strategy points behind it.

Figure 1: Source: SAP

What testing occurs?

Figure 1 shows an overview for the maintenance strategy

How align with SAP across products – first requested item

What are the standards, including the quality and governance program; this is why SAP does ramp-ups

Critical corrections – from SAP BusinessObjects standpoint – getting a fix in time for go-live – for XI3 – LA fix but had downstream challenges

Figure 2: Maintenance Delivery: Source: SAP

Figure 2 reviews maintenance delivery vehicles.  Chris suggested printing this for reference.

A minor release is a larger release/rollup of SP corrections, generally around 1 year, with 2 years support with a 1 year between a minor release

Figure 3: Source: SAP

KBA 1479533 contains published release dates.

Frequency is an estimation. Review the KBA will give you information on the published release dates.  Customers will put messages in – this is the KBA to check the guidance.

Lifetime is a common question.  How long will SAP support my product?  Use the Product Availability Matrix which has formal EOL dates for the products and for the maintenance life cycle.

Cumulative release plan – BI4 is a cumulative release – if you consume a patch, all the later patches contain fixes from earlier patches.  You need to be aware of Forward Fits and the cutoff points.

This is to help plan release cycle.  When consuming fixes, Chris says to go to the most recent release.  If you go to SP6, go to the most recent patch.

Figure 4: Source: SAP

Figure 4 discusses critical patches

If you have a go live issue is covered KB 166157 outlines requirements.

Business case needs to be included. Always go through a message, Chris said.

When a critical patch is raised, coordination occurs with development and IMS.

Figure 5: Source: SAP

Figure 5 shows the Patch Priority Paradigm, which is a visual representation of low to high.

Minor releases should have the highest number of releases.

Critical patches are high priority, major show-stopping critical issues.

2013 Focus

Figure 6: Source: SAP

Figure 6 shows their 2013 focus, including simplicity around Forward Fit plan.  SP4 and 5 was confusing.

Forward Fits should not be complicated, says Chris.  They are simplifying the Forward Fit plan starting with SP6

Improve quality and fixes

With transparency, they are still making improvements to Service Marketplace

New BI4 Forward Fit Plan

Figure 7: Source: SAP

Saroj said they received strong feedback from customers about regressions, as a result they made changes to Forward Fit plan to address this.

Starting BI4 SP6 they made changes to Forward Fit.

Every fix on previous fix on SP get forward fitted to the highest SP and patches (see Figure 7).

Customers should not have to think about it – take the latest release and not lose any fixes.

Figure 8: Source: SAP

The patches delivered on previous lines get forward fitted to unreleased lines.

Anything on 5x 6x get Forward Fitted to SP7 line.

Patch 6.1 is where SAP got caught up.

Figure 9: Source: SAP

Figure 9 shows the BI4.1 line

Any patches on BI4 SP5, 6 are getting forward fitted to BI4.1 SP1

Patches are delivered to the highest patch line

There is a code cutoff; there is a period in the project release lifecycle where they stop taking changes in that maintenance line.

During that time, there is no new changes that go in; there may be a time period where patches are missing due to code cutoff period to stabilize the release.

These changes will get forward fitted to the first patch to “catch up”.  There is a maximum gap of 3 weeks when it is released.

Figure 10: Source: SAP

XI3.1 SP and Fix packs are getting forward fitted to BI4.1 not BI4.0, said Saroj. 

SP’s are cumulative; if you take SP1 you can jump straight to SP6 – you don’t have to go sequentially in 4.x

Patches are cumulative as well.

Question & Answer

Q:  When we have to patch hundreds of workstations (eg. Clients, CR4E, CR-2013, etc)  in different regions for our it "Best Practice" to patch the BI Platform Servers first, then the desktop clients.? Any risk / issue with having the out-of-SYNC.?

  A:  good question.  Best practice is always to keep them in alignment.  I believe we have a KBA on the topic - will double check.  There will not always be a problem when not in synch but definitely a best practice.

  A:  1807514 - How To: Patch a BI4.0 Cluster  - one good KBA but will confirm additional. 


Q:  Which SPs and FPs are included in SP7? What is the cut-off for Sp7?

  A:  Fixes from SP6, patch 6.1, 6.2, patches from 5.6 - 5.9, up to patch 4.15.  Patch 6.3 will be FF to Patch 7.1 going forward.


Related Links:

Bernd Bergmann shares details on a New Patching Policy for SAP BI - written by Bernd Bergmann

BI4/4.1 Maintenance Demystified!

Old blog:

Business Intelligence BI 4.0 Maintenance Model and Roadmap - an ASUG Webcast

Slides from ASUG Annual Conference

Ask Ingo - Season 4

ASUG Promotion:

Newsflash: New e-book, Webcasts, TechEd

SAP TechEd Las Vegas | October 21–25, 2013 | ASUG Pre-Conference Seminars

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