Backing Up and Restoring the SAP BI Platform

Backing Up and Restoring the SAP BI Platform

Best Practices

The SAP BI Platform is the general name given to SAP’s Business Intelligence Server Platform, which allows end users to run, create and schedule reports via a web application – this can be referred to as:

  • SAP Crystal Server
  • SAP BusinessObjects Edge
  • SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise

These best practices cover the various methods whereby you can back up your SAP BI Platform, in case it ever needs to be restored for any reason. It is based on SAP BI Platform 4.0, 4.1 and 4.2 (SAP Crystal Server 2011, 2013, 2016 – are the equivalent versions).

Backing Up

You can choose any of these methods, or implement all three, this will all depend whether the SAP BI Platform is critical to the business.

Method One – Backup the Filestore and System Database

A method that is highly recommended for both virtual or physical servers, more so with physical.

System Database

Behind the SAP BI Platform runs a system database which is called the Central Management System database or referred to for short in this guide as CMS Database, which contains meta data about things within the system such as users and groups, security, folders, SAP BI content (for example Crystal Reports, Dashboards, Web Intelligence) and the locations of where it stores the files for the content amongst much more.

During the installation of the SAP BI Platform it requires you to specify whether to use the default CMS database, or if you can choose to host your own and choose the database vendor.

The majority of our customers either opt for the default CMS database, which is SAP’s own database technology called Sybase SQL Anywhere (SAP BI Platform 4.0 and 4.1 use version 12.0.1, SAP BI Platform 4.2 uses versions 16.0, 17.0 depending on service pack) which gets installed on the same server as the SAP BI Platform application meaning everything is on one server, or they use Microsoft SQL Server (2008, 2008 R2, 2012, 2012 R2, 2014, 2016) which is usually installed and managed on a different server than the one your installing on, although some do install an instance of MS SQL Server on the same server to keep everything on one.

Sybase SQL Anywhere

If you opt to use the default Sybase SQL Anywhere that comes with the installation there are instructions here on how to schedule regular backups of the CMS database here.

MS SQL Server

If you opted to host your own CMS database using SQL Server please either refer to your manual for SQL Server or there is a useful link here.

For all other databases please refer to your own guide in how do this.

Filestore

This brings me onto the next thing, there are files stored in a location this is usually within the installation location of the SAP BI Platform on the server itself, unless this has been amended during the configuration of the server. There are many backup vendors to choose from to backup file locations on a server, use these to backup everything in the filestore on a regular basis.

inputfilerepository

There is an input filestore (folder) which stores the files that you upload to the application, this maybe after you have developed content locally on your machine and want to publish this, such as SAP Crystal Reports, dashboards, Lumira documents, universes etc …

The location of this inputfilestore by default is: \SAP BusinessObjects XI 4.0\Filestore\Input

Note: if the location of the installation of the SAP BI Platform hasn’t been changed during installation the default install location is C:\Program Files (x86)\SAP BusinessObjects

Outputfilerepository

There is an output filestore (folder) which stores anything coming out of the system, such as your scheduled reports.

The location of this outputfilestore by default is here: \SAP BusinessObjects XI 4.0\Filestore\Output

If it is neither of those locations above, you may need to check whether the filestore location has been moved, this can be checked by doing the following:

1. Log into the Central Management Console (http://:8080/BOE/CMC (default URL)) as an administrator of the system.

2. Navigate to Servers, then once in servers go to server list.

3. Find the InputFileRepositoryServer and right click and go the Properties of this, and find the Location information and note this down.

4. Repeat this for the OutputFileRepositoryServer.

Now that I have introduced the CMS database and the filestore, please remember that you will need to backup both of these at the same time interval on a regular basis. So for example if it is every evening at midnight both the filestore location and its files and the CMS database need to be backed up at the same time. The reason we do this, is if we ever had to restore the system, both the CMS database and the file locations would be in sync, if they are out of sync and they were both restored back to the same time then there could be content missing when you log into the application, or errors when trying to run reports.

Method Two - Snapshots

More and more of our customers nowadays install their SAP BI Platform on a virtual server. VMWare and Microsoft Hyper-V seem to be 2 main players when it comes to virtualization technology. With servers being virtual this means that regular snapshots, can be taken, which takes a copy of the virtual machine’s disk data at a given point in time. These snapshots can then be kept for a certain period of time, just in case you need to revert back to an older snapshot.

We are finding that customers are using a software technology called Veeam, which can utilise your investment in either VMware or Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization technology, to backup and replicate your snapshots on a regular basis. More information can be found here.

**Please don’t forget that if your filestore and CMS database are not all on the same server as your SAP BI Platform please refer to method 1 as well to ensure you run the snapshot backup’s at the same time as CMS database and the filestore if it’s not on the same server, this will then ensure if you need restore the server itself, CMS database and filestore if applicable that they are in sync.

Method Three – Disaster Recovery Server

Depending on how critical your server is, some customers choose to install a copy of the SAP BI Platform on a Disaster Recovery server outside of their network usually at another site location.

This works well if you keep both of your systems in sync with content so if a failure were to happen on Production, you could be up a running within the hour using the Disaster Recovery Server.

By using the promotion management feature within the Central Management Console web interface you can schedule jobs to copy content across on a regular basis to your Disaster Recovery Server.

Alternatively, I have seen companies on a regular basis perform disaster recovery test scenarios whereby they take the backup of the CMS system database and filestore and restore on the disaster recovery server. There is a process that can be followed to achieve this. If you do require this get in contact with DSCallards for information on how this can be achieved.

Recycling Bin Feature in SAP BI Platform 4.2

In the most recent version of the SAP BI Platform 4.2 (SAP Crystal Server 2016) Service Pack 3 and above there is a new recycle bin feature, which works the same way as our windows based one, so if you accidently delete content from the system such as a user, reports or folder it will go into the recycle bin first, until you empty this.

So, there is even more reason to upgrade to 4.2 (SAP Crystal Server 2016) to give users this flexibility if they accidently delete something important from the SAP BI Platform. More information on this new feature can be found here.

If you have accidently deleted something you shouldn’t have in the past on your SAP BI Platform prior to 4.2, in order to get it back you would have needed to restore your system from using any of the back-up methods you chose at the start of this document, which could also means you may lose reports you have written in between the backup time and the present time or schedules that may have happened as well.

Posted By Rebecca Morris, Senior Business Intelligence Consultant, on May 21, 2019