This blog is part of the SAP BI Version Management series.

Version Management is a critical component in the software development lifecycle and it plays a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of the deliverable. In the case of SAP BI platform where artifacts are in the form of reports and visualizations, the role of version management is even more crucial. When a developer accidentally over-writes a financial report with a development version that has formatting issues, effective version management will be the option that has the least effort involved in getting things back on track.

SAP BI Version Management is a built-in option that is less known and one of the least understood features in the BOBJ platform. We will be covering this feature, its functions, limitations and best practices in a series of blogs.
 

Need for Version Management in BI Platform

 
SAP BI is a well architected platform with multiple components. It has its own repository and a metadata database. However, its repository and DB are designed for a specific use case and they don’t offer version management. So, a separate version management component is available as part of the BI platform to take care of this requirement and it can be controlled from SAP BI CMC. Let us start by looking at some of the reasons why version management is required in the BI platform.
 

Artifact Manageability

 
When version management is not available, developers will have to save multiple versions of the same report. This will increase the number of objects in the system and it will be a maintenance over-head. Also, in BI Platform promotion management works based on CUID (techname). So the final version has to over-write production report to maintain the same CUID. When there is no version management, developers/admins have to rely on additional backups to restore production content in case of issues.
 

Collaboration

 
In common practice, multiple developers will be working on the same report and there is a greater probability of work getting over-written (or) deleted accidentally. A proper version management system can help to restore the deleted content.
 

Backups and Traceability

 
When a commit is performed in the version management system, it stores required information like user, time, date and a comment. This gives some understanding and track of the changes. Version management tools are handy as they offer some backup options. Even though they are not exclusively designed for backups, backups are integral part of version management.
 

Making things simple

 
Without version management, developer folder will look like this
 
SAP BusinessObjects Version Management - 1
 
With Version management, it is simple like this
 
SAP BusinessObjects Version Management - 3
 
However multiple versions are managed like this
 
SAP BusinessObjects Version Management - 2
 
Pros of SAP BI Version Management

  • Built-in option and does not need third party software (Also supports integration with some third party software)
  • Very minimal configuration effort – Enabled in most 4.x systems as part of installation
  • Easy management – Feature can be accessed via CMC
  • Extensive Support – Not limited to reports/connections. Supports most manageable objects in SAP BI platform
  • Permissions can be controlled from BI platform security
  • Metadata is not transferred to external system and Version management fetches required information directly from BI platform
  • Offers most common version control features and allows restoration of deleted content
  • Object can be added/removed anytime

Limitations of SAP BI Version Management

  • SAP BI objects must be manually added to VMS for versioning
  • Only checked-in changes are available in VMS versions. Not all CMS changes are stored
  • Once removed from VMS, stored VMS versions are lost

Hope that summarizes the need for version management and some pros of using it. Terminologies, Architecture, how-to(s) and best practices will be shared in the upcoming blogs.

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