In a previous post I mentioned previously How to Manage Instances in Business Objects XI R2, well – that’s only half of the story – rather than having to go and delete old instances yourself it’s far easier to have Business Objects tidy up after itself. This is one of the few scheduler-related features that can be found in the CMC under “Settings” and “Limits” allows you to specify…
- The maximum number of instances to be maintained (anything above will be deleted).
- How many instances should be kept for each user/group (I choose Everyone).
- How many days these instance should be kept for each user/group (again, I choose Everyone).
Please note that the excess instances do not get deleted immediately after the change, in my case it seemed to happen by the next day so do be patient! This will really help to cut down the size of your FRS and may disaster recovery much easier.
I enjoy going to SQL Server community events, I usually find they provide a refreshing look at what other people are doing and provide inspiration and ideas of what I could be doing myself. Vendor-run events are different so I attended Microsoft’s SQL Server 2008 R2 Tech Days event with mixed expectations, not sure if it was going to overly marketing-heavy or whether it really would be worth taking a day out of the office.
Thankfully I was in luck, Microsoft did a great job of treading the line between promotion and information and whilst the intro and the first 5-10 mins of each take were quite marketing oriented the majority of the content was realistic and provided honest demonstrations of the product. Also throughout the talks presenters were offering to answer questions via SMS or via the Twitter hash-tag #uktechdays, this was a great touch and even though there wasn’t time to answer all of the questions it really added to the interactivity of the event.
First up was Power Pivot, as a product it looks to be immensely powerful and provides lightning fast analytical capabilities though I imagine it needs a decent amount of RAM and an up to date processor to achieve it – the most amazing part is that it’s a free add-in for Excel 2010! Essentially PowerPivot allows you to extract up to a million records from a database and perform in-memory analysis with that set of data, including combining it with other data sets, combining it with data in your spreadsheet, performing calculations, making summaries, etc. It’s well worth taking a look at the demos, PowerPivot is a massive leap forward in Excel’s capabilities but to me it seems like a step backwards in terms of the centralised BI ‘single version of the truth’ concept – allowing users to rip a million rows out of the Data Warehouse, mix them up with other data sources and then send them around via email or even publish them via SharePoint. As it goes the Share Point integration was also pretty remarkable, allowing other users to use published reports not only for viewing but also as a data source on which to build new reports – pretty ground breaking stuff but I’d hate to be the guy debugging a report based on a report based on a report based on… (you get where I’m going). Overall I’d give PowerPivot a 5* rating for innovation but it seems that Microsoft is using a common tactic from Formula One – trying to get ahead of the competition by taking a contrary strategy, but will it turn out like Jenson Button in Shanghai (he won) or like Lewis Hamilton in Australia (he didn’t)?
After a relatively dry talk on virtualisation and Hyper-V Live Migration (impressive stuff but I’ve seen it before) the next talk was about Report Builder 3 and having never been a user of Reporting Services I thought I was just going to sit through it and twiddle my thumbs – I was wrong. Having been knocking about in the BI world for about 8 years or so I can really say that this release of Report Builder really cements Microsoft’s position in Business Intelligence. It’s still not very slick from a usability standpoint but the visualisations they’ve added are stunning and having been a long-time user of Business Objects the talk actually did make me think “how hard would it be to switch?” – since I have a mature installation the answer is very hard but it still made me think. The most impressive visual elements were the Spark Lines, Data Bars and Indicators but the maps were also pretty good especially given that you can use ESRI shape files.
The next talk was “Maximising your existing hardware CPU, memory and disk” by Ramesh Meyyappan, I’ve seen Ramesh before at SQLBits and he’s always very good, very detailed and straight to the point. It was a great talk, taking place mainly in Management Studio rather than PowerPoint and if you get the chance to see one of Ramesh’s talkes in the future you should definitely go (but have a cup of coffee first). Following Ramesh’s rollercoaster of a talk was much more relaxing run-through of Microsoft’s ‘database in the cloud’ offering SQL Azure, a product I find extremely interesting but don’t have an immediate use for though I expect in time as the feature-set converges with SQL Server I will be changing my mind. Next up was StreamInsight, R2′s Complex Event Processing (CEP) solution for analysing large data streams (10k rows/sec+) on the fly without touching the relational engine – it looks interesting but I don’t have those sorts of requirements at the moment so I don’t have much of a reaction. The day was rounded off by a presentation by Andrew Fryer about Master Data Services, a difficult topic to present in a jazzy way but it looks very interesting and if it will integrate with the spaghetti-junction of systems floating around in most organisations it could do a lot to help us keep our data warehouses in line with corporate naming conventions, it sounds like a lot of fuss over a little issue but if you’ve ever actually tried to solve the problem yourself in a company with more than a couple of source systems you’ll understand how hard it can be.
All in all a good day, I’ll give a shout out to the staff at Jumbucks in Shepherd’s Bush where I had breakfast and bought a bagful of Australian confectionary and to the Vegetarian Chinese buffet over the road for providing me with much needed sustenance.
Categories: Business Intelligence, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft SQL Server, Reporting Services, The Cloud Tags: 2008 R2, excel, F1, Formula 1, Hyper-V, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Master Data, Microsoft, Microsoft SQL Server, powerpivot, Report Builder, Report Builder 3, Reporting Services, SharePoint, sql, SQL 2008 R2, SQL Azure, SQL Server, SQL Server 2008 R2, SQLBits, StreamInsight, Tech Days, Twitter, Virtualisation
When I moved from old-school Business Objects (6.x) to XI Release 2 I was happy that the scheduler would now be available for all users directly in WebI, unfortunately along with the improvement came the down-side – no Broadcast Agent Console (BCA Console) to monitor jobs. The lack of an admin tool for the scheduler becomes a pain every now & again since without very careful control you’ll quickly lose track of which documents have been scheduled by whom and whether they’re still running, if they’re failing, etc. Additionally if you experience some sort of system failure (e.g. FRS goes down) you may need to see what failed in order to make sure it is re-run manually.
Well, despite the fact that the CMC doesn’t include a great deal of schedule management functionality, there is a tool bundled with the standard BO installation which can at least help with the issue. The tool is called the Instance Manager and it’s part of the SDK ‘use case’ examples provided and can be accessed via the Administration Launchpad URL as so…
… effectively this redirects you to here…
After selecting the Instance Manager on the left-hand menu (see image above), log in with the relevant credentials…
Select the status you want to look for and a username for which you want to search (username optional for everything but ‘All Statuses’) and hit Go!
You then see a list of instances (note, this is Instances not Jobs)…
Please be careful since this screen will allow you to delete instances (up to 100 at a time) if required and whilst there is a message box asking “are you sure you want to delete…” I don’t know of any way to roll back the changes.
Every now and again I have to use FTP (and Secure FTP) from the command line, in fact it’s actually my preferred method as it keeps my knowledge of the syntax nice and sharp rather than relying on GUI clients (though if you do need a good free FTP, SFTP and FTPS application you should try FileZilla).
Today I had to retrieve a set of log files from a supplier, we can use the MGET command to fetch multiple files using wildcards (e.g. *.csv) but the default behaviour of MGET is to ask the user to confirm that they want to download every file – not very convenient if you’re talking about tens of thousands of logs! Instead of resting a book and a penlid on the ‘Y’ key (I’ve seen it done) you can turn off the interactive prompts simply by issuing the PROMPT command to toggle on/off the prompts.
Additionally if you’d like your FTP responses to be less wordy you can use the VERBOSE command which will pare down responses to the minimum.
There are some areas of functionality that the Business Objects admin tools really lack, one is the ability to view who is currently using the system and then kill a particular session. These tools can be useful if you’re diagnosing problems and whilst BO don’t provide them the SDK does allow for them to be created and thankfully Johnny Ye has created the Business Objects XI Session Removal Tool, it’s fairly rudimentary in design terms but it does the job perfectly and I’m sure if you know Java and HTML you could customise it easily.
Out of the box it should work with XI R3 but I’ve not tried it since I’m currently running XI R2, in order to get it running on Release 2 you’ll need to modify Johnny’s instructions as follows (instructions taken from this thread on BOB)…
1. In the new_utilities.jsp file change the
result += "Delta " +conn.getDelta()+"<br>";
result += "Delta " + "na"/*(conn.getDelta()*/+"<br>";
2. Copy the library files from:
NOTE: ~ = “C:\Program Files\Business Objects”
3. Restart Apache/Tomcat (I’m using IIS so this didn’t really impact my users).