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Six Critical Considerations when Migrating or Upgrading BusinessObjects

Onsite at a client location, I asked “What is the main function of I.T.?” A client responded, “It’s keeping up with technology!”  In our world, we are constantly bombarded with upgrades and future migrations.

Today, I am sharing my knowledge as an expert in BusinessObjects landscape assessments, migrations and upgrades.  Having delivered many of these at customer sites over the years, I have witnessed first-hand processes that brought upgrade or migration projects to a screeching halt. I want to assist you in avoiding these pitfalls and have prepared an outline of the six critical considerations you need to address prior, during, and post migrating or upgrading your business environment to ensure success.

First, let’s back-up and chat about BusinessObjects aggressive road map for releasing Service Packs and Fix Packs to keep up with the technology and competition. Embrace the updates. You need to prioritize the updates based on new features that will benefit your deployment as well as keep up with new platform technology.

I will discuss in more detail the following six considerations, so you are successful.

  1. Environment Planning
  2. Inventory Analysis
  3. Clean-up plan
  4. Actual task of Upgrade or Migration
  5. Testing and roll back Strategy
  6. Follow up Tasks

1. Critical Environment Planning for Migrations and Upgrades

During the migration consider the capacity and scalability of the new platform and where the software will be installed. It’s also a great time to introduce new processes in the environment if they do not exist (e.g. Introduction of QA, DEV, or Sandbox Environment).

Don’t miss the opportunity to layout the infrastructure, ensuring there is enough resources and room for future upgrades.

Upgrading? Check to see if there is enough horsepower available to support the new features. Vertical scaling needs more RAM and CPU. Make sure you size the disk space and then consider planning for the FRS location change.  

2. Inventory Analysis of Migration and Upgrades

Migration requires determining what exists in the current environment and tallying it up for the new environment. How many Universes, Reports, Connections, User Groups, Access Levels etc. are there?  If auditing exists, then more than likely you have inventory analysis. I recommend clients to use the third party tool 360Eyes for accurate inventory analysis.

3. It’s Time to Clean-up Prior to Migration and Upgrade

A migration is the perfect opportunity to clean-up. In my years of working with companies, they fail to execute a clean-up on a periodic basis. Why clean-up? It reduces the Meta Data, keeps the folder clean and precise, resulting in improved application performance.

Number One Excuse I hear: We do not have time, let’s just bring over everything.”

Deciding not to clean-up results in unused content migrating to the new environment. The pitfalls of not cleaning up data prior to the migration or periodically are:

  1. Increases the scope of the project
  2. A build-up of unused inventory confuses employees of the future
  3. The unused inventory confusion leads employees to not remove the inventory

Upgrades need clean-up as well.  This is a perfect opportunity to analyze usage, clean house, and archive objects accordingly. The auditing tool 360Eyes is also helpful for clean-up.

4. Manage Upgrades like Migrations

In my experience the teams who approach migrations with planning take upgrades for granted. Upgrades should be managed as a project. Many companies do not perform POC’s or dry run the upgrade in their Sandbox or Dev Environment to learn or understand what the upgrade’s impact may be. I recommend applying the updates and patches in a test environment and sometimes even QA.

Plan timeframes according to the team’s availability (DBA, Network Admin, Windows Admin etc). If you encounter an issue on install, there are options to run a repair or analyze the install log. If there is zero time to troubleshoot, having a rollback strategy to restore operations is critical.   

5. Test and Be Prepared with a Roll Back Strategy:

Develop a Testing Plan. I do not recommend installing an upgrade over the weekend and going live on Monday with no back up plan. Prepare a checklist of important or significant reports that will show or prove that the upgrade is functioning correctly and the numbers match. Next, run an inventory analysis to ensure all is well. For example, confirm all BO schedules are ready and the number of schedules match prior to the upgrade. Please sign up for the Post Upgrade and Migration Checklist here.

A quick anecdote on why I recommend reviewing your backup and disaster recovery process: A company lost two months of work, as they failed to notice their backups were missing. They finally noticed when things went wrong, and their only backup was from two months prior. This was an expensive operation mistake as well as time-consuming for I.T.. YIKES!!!

Three key components essential for a successful backup include:

  1. FRS
  2. CMS and Audit Database
  3. BO Server Snapshot (if VM)

If all else fails, a solid backup can be restored immediately. Remember to keep team members in constant communication as well.

6. Create Follow up Tasks:

When upgrading or migrating, there may be new features to start adopting soon. As you know, we are in the I.T. realm, which means, at one point, you will need to set these up after the install/update is completed. Examples of follow up tasks include:

  1. Setting up a commentary database
  2. Split new APS server
  3. Setting up new security for these features depending on Access Levels

By including these six critical considerations in your migration or upgrade processes you will become more efficient and effective.  Of course, there are additional tasks that you may have to perform, especially if you are migrating from a very old version to a new one. Stay tuned for my next blog. I will share my expertise on successfully planning, implementing, and executing a massive upgrade from a 12-year-old BO environment to a current BO environment.

I look forward to sharing my expertise and experiences, and hope this blog assists you in your future Migrations or Upgrades.

About Minith Patel

Minith Patel is an Enterprise Architect with InfoSol Inc. He is experienced in all phases of the creation, installation, optimization and deployment of Business Intelligence, Enterprise Performance Management and Data Warehouse applications. His passion for building data-driven solutions has allowed him to successfully work on many global design, implementation and development projects. This self-proclaimed Japanophile is also well versed in all things BusinessObjects and excels at programming, analysis, project management, client/customer relationship management, system integration, data warehousing and enterprise architecture.

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