BusinessObjects and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

I have owned a motorbike most of my life and used it both for work and pleasure. When I was at university in the UK, I earned extra cash by being a motorcycle dispatch rider doing deliveries in Central London. We were often referred to as “suicide jockeys” due to both the stunts we did to get around traffic and to the high number of accidents and deaths. Nowadays, I just ride for pleasure maybe once a week on my little Honda Rebel. 

Last week the chain came off. It was 105F (cool time of the day in Phoenix) and I was about 5 miles from home and a similar distance from a repair shop. I decided to try and fix it myself and I managed to get it back on in a couple of minutes and made it home safely. 

I was lucky, and I have to replace the chain which I had known I had to do for the last 6 months but just never got around to it. Despite owning bikes all these decades, I have never learned to maintain them outside of taking them to a repair shop where the experts do their magic. 

Typically, I take the bike in for an annual checkup and service once a year but I have been traveling a lot this year and let it slide. I will now take it to an expert and have the chain replaced along with a full checkup and service. 

BusinessObjects is no different to my motorcycle when it comes to maintenance. It also needs regular health checks and services. Even organizations that have full-time BusinessObjects administrators taking care of the system daily need to religiously perform at least an annual (or even semi-annual) health check. 

Just like brakes, tires and chains need adjusting or replacing on a motorbike, so BusinessObjects services, caches, configurations need adjusting and changing over time depending on use, load and a multitude of other factors. 

Many customers will wait until they update the release or service pack of BusinessObjects before doing a checkup and are surprised to find all the issues that are occurring in their deployment that should have been addressed months before. 

While there are third party tools like MetaMiner and 360Eyes that can help audit your BusinessObjects deployment, there are SAP delivered tools in BI 4 that can provide a ton of information. These include the BI Support Tool 2.1 that can capture a minimum level Landscape Analysis.  This tool can be further enhanced with the additional installation of the SAP Host Agent 7.21 and the configuration of JMX for Tomcat settings to capture more information. 

BusinessObjects also has a new feature, the ERRINFO log files, that capture the information about specific reports that are running when services fail.  The idea is that these reports may be the cause of the failure.  Revisiting the SQL and performance of these reports often helps prevent the same issue happening in the future. 

You have heard me talk about the new SpeakBO PLUS annual subscription membership in my last blog. The membership will also include access on how to utilize these tools and provide additional utilities that you will find useful. Over the coming weeks as more tips, tricks, tutorials, tools are added, SpeakBO PLUS will become a useful “Swiss utility knife” for all BusinessObjects users. 

While you can use these tools yourselves, it is often better to use an expert and let them perform a complete health check for you (just like me any my motorbikes) but definitely don’t wait until the chain falls off! 

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