BO XI Distributed Environment: The Standalone Java Application Server

When you are building a small sandbox it is great to put everything all in one place and create a Business Objects solution that is a one-stop shop (a.k.a. putting all of your eggs in one basket). This works for lots of small-to-medium sized BO systems, but sometimes you want to do a little more. Sometimes you want some fault-tolerance, high-availability, and/or fault-tolerance. In any of these cases you might decide to build something really cool: a distributed Business Objects Enterprise XI 3.X Environment.

In this article, I would like to talk about putting your Java Web Application Server on a separate dedicated machine. You could chose Apache Tomcat, or your could get a little more crazy and go with Oracle’s WebLogic. Either way, the principles are the same.

Does BO Support Mixed Mode?

Perhaps your BO CMS, job, and reporting servers are all running on Windows machines. Perhaps you are thinking that you would like to run your Java applications on a Linux server. No problem. Business Objects has documented that it is acceptable to mix different Operating Systems in your BO environment as long as all servers running a particular component are of the same Operating System. What does this mean? It means that you would be running in a unsupported mode if you ran one CMS in your cluster on Windows and another CMS in the cluster on Linux. But if you put all of your web applications on Linux you should have no problems getting support and you should not expect any unusual issues. In fact, in my opinion, if your web application servers are not clustered, you could get away with running Apache on one Windows server and WebLogic on a Linux server, since they do not communicate with each other.

How Do I Create a Dedicated BO Web Application Server?

The hardest part is setting up your Java Web Application Server. I won’t help you here, but there is plenty of help out there in the great Internet to guide you in configuring Tomcat or even setting up WebLogic. Once this is setup all that you have to do is copy the WAR files over to the server (or you can even upload them from your client machine using the WebLogic Administration Console). Yes, this is all you have to do for Business Objects XI 3.0 and later.

Don’t I Need to Install BO on the Server?

No, do not believe the documentation. You do not need to install BO on the server as long as you can generate the WAR files from some other server. It is true! The documentation would have you believe that regardless you need to copy over at least the “deployment” folder and a “java” folder, but this is not true. These are ONLY needed if you are needing to run “wdeploy” on the Java Web Application Server. In my case, I can always use a CMS machine to generate my WebLogic and Tomcat WAR files so why would I want to put BO software on another server? If I put some of the BO binaries on my Java Web Application Server then I have to worry about maintaining/patching the software on that server as well. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need more work and more things to forget to do.

Where Do I Get the WAR Files From?

As I said, go look at the CMS machine. Follow the documentation* to help you find the “wdeploy” application (it is a command-line driven application, probably found here /deployment/wdeploy.*). Since you are probably running a CMS cluster and you would like your web applications to be aware of this cluster I would recommend using wdeploy with the “predeployall” option. So basically, all you need to do is to run the command “> wdeploy weblogic10 predeployall“. You do not need to configure any “config.*” files for your Java Application Server as these are ignored when running with the option “predeployall”. After you run the command successfully, take about 4 to 7 minutes, then you will be told where your WAR files will be located, for example: /deployment/workdir/weblogic10/application/. You will then need to make your changes to these WAR files (cluster, authentication, single sign-on, enable path queries, etc.) and then get them somewhere that your Java Application Server can reach them. Then you just need to deploy them properly and you are done. Congratulations!

What About XI R2, Do I Need to Put BO on the Web App Server?

All java deployments/application except for the “webcompadapter” are standalone applications that require nothing more than a supported JVM to be installed on the Java Web Application Server. The only application that uses the “webcompadapter” is CMC, so if you are intending to provide CMC access through some other method (such as a small unadvertised Tomcat instance installed on a CMS server) then you do not need to install any Business Objects binaries or libraries on the Java Web Application Server. The issue here is that the XIR2 still has some JNI calls in CMC, it was not fully converted from COM to Java and so the “Web Component Adapter” is required by the CMC and it requires that certain binaries of Business Objects Enterprise XI R2 be installed on the server.

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* Recommended published BO documentation is the “BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1 SP2 Web Application Deployment Guide” or if not running Service Pack 2 then use the “Web Application Deployment Guide” for your OS (hint: Unix applies to both Unix and Linux). Of course, the file names will look more like the following: xi3-1_deployconfig_unix_en.pdf or plugin-xi31_sp2_webappd_unix_en.pdf (for example)
Note: I have not played enough with IIS and .NET to know much about deploying the different application there. I am sure the process is quite different, so I would not try to use this article as a guideline for any .NET BO web applications.

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4 thoughts on “BO XI Distributed Environment: The Standalone Java Application Server

  1. Is it necessary to install the web tier for a BOBJ 4.0 install, if you have already generated the .ear/.war files on another server? I am assuming this is all for BOBJ 3.1?

  2. Hi Scott, if you have already deployed the .ear/.war files to another server there is no need to install these components on your Business Objects BI 4 server; however, in my experience leaving out this software is usually a bad idea for the following reasons:
    1) You never know what strange connections SAP has put int he installation package between the server components and the web components. For example, you may find that by leaving the web components out you will not have the proper fonts that would otherwise be included.
    2) If you don’t install the web components on the BO server then you may not have easy access to be able to generate new .ear/.war files if the need arises (like after a patch is applied).
    3) You will not have that BO-installed Tomcat back door which is nice to have when debugging issues with your web server.

  3. Hi,

    We have installed the BOE xi 3.1 on the winodws server and the web applications on the web server having tomcat 5.5. We have currently SP3 pack and want to upgrade to SP7. We can patch the windows server but web application server cannot be upgraged because it is shared server with other application. SP7 supports >tomcat 6.0 Please suggest what we can do in this case ASap

  4. Hi Yogesh, I don’t think that you should upgrade Business Objects XI 3.l to SP7 if you can’t install the corresponding patched BO web applications. Could you just get a virtual server to function as your web server?

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