One of the most anticipated features of BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1 is the new LifeCycle Manager (LCM). In its first iteration, LCM is a separate web-based application from the CMC. According to David Brockington, who presented a breakout at the recent Global BusinessObjects Network user conference, the next release of BusinessObjects Enterprise (XI 3.2?, XI 4.0?, nobody’s telling) will integrate LCM into the Central Management Console as well as introduce additional features and platform support that just couldn’t fit into the inaugural release.
Getting Started with LCM
The LCM installation process was painless. We’re already using Tomcat as our web application server, so the default deployment was sufficient. Finding the documentation was a bit of a challenge. I’ve so far been unable to find LCM documentation on either the SAP Help Portal or SAP Support Portal. I also didn’t find it in an “obvious” installed location but did manage to locate the PDF files in the temporary directory used by the self-extracting zip download.
On the security front, LCM shows up in the CMC as an application. By default, the Administrators group has Full Control and Everyone can View, which is ironic because Everyone cannot (thankfully) log onto LCM. Our pratice is to simply assign administrative users to the Administrator group, either directly or via a subgroup, so no special security tweaks were required to get going.
The inaugural release of LCM utilizes the open-source Subversion as its version control system. Future releases will provide hooks into other version control systems such as IBM/Rational ClearCase. In addition, an unspecified future release of Business Objects Data Services (Data Integrator + Data Quality) will utilize LCM rather than its current stand-alone scheme of local and corporate repositories.
There are some interesting nuances in the UI that we’ll have to see how they play out in the next release. For example, promotion jobs can be organized into user defined folders. However, the movement of jobs is done using a “Cut and Paste” metaphor which is what InfoView XI 3.0/3.1 does, not the “Move/Copy” metaphor from the XI 3.0/XI 3.1 CMC. For whatever reason, I prefer “Move/Copy”, as it’s a single operation, rather than a two-step cut and paste.
Also, I find the workflow for mappings a bit awkward, but I’m grateful that the LCM already supports re-mapping universe connections, QaaWS service URLs (really pumped about this one), and Crystal Reports connections.
It also seems that the addition of CMC folders for QaaWS in XI 3.1 caught the LCM developers off guard. Everything works, but the QaaWS should have a tree control but doesn’t.
As you can see from the screenshot below, success was achievable without too much sweat.
We did have some minor glitches today. LCM appeared to become inoperative; however, the culprit was not LCM. The Administrator account that I was using was accidentally switched from named user back to concurrent (our environment has both license types). Since multiple team members use and abuse the Administrator account, I later learned that we were exceeding the number of concurrent users. The Administrator was switched from concurrent back to named user, and all was well. Don’t hold me to this, but it seems that LCM uses a LOT of connections, so you’ll probably want to run it as a named, not concurrent, user. I’ll need to spend time researching this topic further.
Overall, the LCM software developers and product managers are to be commended for getting so much thoughtful functionality into the first release of the product. As today was my first time using LCM, the purpose of this post is to provide my initial enthusiastic impressions. We will be utilizing LCM extensively through the remainder of the year and I’m sure I’ll have more to say later… Until then…