BO XI Patching, An Introductory Deep Discussion

Patching your Business Objects XI Enterprise system can be a daunting and confusing endeavor. I hope that this little article can help dispel some of the confusion surrounding the topic.

For your reference all Business Objects XI base version and patch installation files can be found here:

Let me first establish some fundamentals to be sure that there is no confusion. First let’s define the terminology of base, patch, service pack, fix pack, ADAPT, MHF, CHF, and LA Fix:

Business Objects Patch Glossary

Base: This is the full install of the base version of the Business Objects Enterprise product. For example, the installation package for Business Objects XI 3.1, without any patches included.

Patch: This is a generic word used to describe any install package that is not the base install package. It may be used to describe full install packages which are occasionally created for Service Packs.

Service Pack: These are large groupings of bug fixes that may also include some new functionality of performance enhancements. Usually a new Service Pack (SP) is released once the current version reaches a Fix Pack level around X.5 and they seem to be released every 8 – 14 months (depending on the stability of the release). SP are numbered, such as SP1, SP2, SP3, etc.

Fix Pack or FixPack: These are smaller groupings bug fixes that are released every few months or so. FixPacks (FP) are associated with particular Service Packs and therefore any given FP can only installed against the SP for which it was released. Fix Packs are numbered after the decimal and share their parent ServicePack’s number before the decimal. For example, FP 2.6 is the 6th FixPack released against Service Pack 2.

Limited Availability Fix or LA Fix: This is the lowest level of patch. These are usually obtained by large customers of SAP Business Objects or by customers who pay a premium to obtain a fix for a single bug. LA Fixes are used by BO customers to fix bugs either as soon as possible without having to wait for the fixes inclusion in a Fix Pack or, in special cases, they may fix a bug that is also fixed in a FP or SP, but the BO customer can’t install the FP or SP due to some restriction on the customer’s side. PLEASE NOTE, LA Fixes do not go through the strenuous QA testing cycles that are applied to FP and SP. LA Fixes often do not come with an installer, but rather they are a few binaries and some instructions on how to “install” these binaries. It should be noted that LA Fixes are made to be applied only to a certain patch level (that of the requesting customer). This means that once an LA Fix is installed, an administrator should not install any patches until it receives confirmation that the bug which the LA Fix corrects has been fixed in desired patch. One can expect that new bug fixes released through LA Fix, may not be included in the next fix pack to be released, or possibly not even in the FP after that. This will depend on the severity and priority assigned to the bug.

ADAPT: Business Objects tracks their bugs through “ADAPTs”. The following describes the birth of an ADAPT: Customers or BO personnel bring a bug to BO support. The issue gets escalated through support and through a technical escalation. Passing these, the bug is verified and an ADAPT is initiated to track that bug and pass it on to the product development teams who will determine its priority and eventually its inclusion in planned FP and/or SP.
MHF or CHF: These are old acronyms and terms (monthly hot fix and critical hot fix) that were used prior to BO XI. They more or less correlate with FixPacks.

Interesting BOE Patch Details

The following are a few interesting aspects of Business Objects Enterprise patches.

  • Usually when at about the fifth Fix Pack associated with the current Service Pack the next service pack is released. If you are keeping current with patches this is a good time to move to the new SP. All future FP released on the old SP will continue to fix newly reported bugs, but upgrading to the next SP will give you some scary errors if you install these FP’s. My best recommendation is to jump to the newest SP once it has its first FP. Let others discover the bugs and suffer the pain for you.
  • Most patches are incremental, meaning that they require that you install the preceding level of the product. For example, incremental Service Packs will require the installation of the base version, Fix Packs require that you install their associated Service Pack.
  • FP are cumulative, so if you are on FP 1.1 and you want to get your system up to FP 1.5 you only need to install FP 1.5. SP are similarly
  • Full installs are patches that do not require the installation of the base version or any other patches. They are standalone Service Pack patches. These are usually large in size, but smaller than the sum of the incremental patches that would get you to the same level. It is recommended by most admins and by SAP Business Objects that one should always install the highest available full install, and one should not install the base version with incremental patches when a full, standalone patch install is available. By leveraging the full install one can expect a cleaner install directory, with a lighter foot print.
  • Full Standalone Service Pack Installs are not released with each new SP. In Business Objects XI R2 full installs were made available on even-numbered Service Packs, such as SP2 and SP4 (it should be noted that SP6 was an incremental upgrade). For XI 3.1 it appears that full installs will be released on odd-numbered Service Packs (SP3 has a full install, but I don’t recall one for SP1).
  • Patches will write a large number of “backup” files to the “/setup/backup” folder. Since these folders are located in the same parent folder as “bobje” one must take care that they do not “steal” away too much free disk space from your Business Objects application. By the way, these files are only used to uninstall patches and therefore they can be relocated if necessary.
  • All BO XI 3.X patches require that you first install the patch on a single CMS machine (running only CMS and Input/Output FRS, with all other machines in the cluster NOT running their BO servers), and then after this a successful installation one can proceed to install the patch on all other machines in the cluster. Therefore your total patching time will be at a minimum the time it take to install on a CMS machine plus the longest duration taken to install on the rest of the machines.
  • Language Packs can lengthen the duration of base and patch installation considerably. Choose your language packs carefully as they will lengthen your downtime for patching in the future. For example, make sure your user(s) will actually make use of the Finnish language pack before you just decide to throw it in to be safe. Everything has a cost. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Also, please note, that new language packs may be made available with new Service Packs; however, you may need to take special steps to be able to install these as language pack selections are often only done with full installations.
  • In a multi-machine cluster plan out which servers will take which roles. If, for example, a machine/box will always only run WebI Processing Servers and nothing else, there is no need to install CMS, Crystal, FRS, DeskI, etc. on the server. By limiting the installation you can expect future patching and initial installation to run more quickly.
  • A huge oversight is to forget to patch your Windows client tools. Do not make the mistake of failing to patch your Designer, Import Wizard, Desktop Intelligence, and WebI Rich Client applications. BO does not always stop lower patch version of client tools from connecting to higher patch level BO systems, but the ramifications of such uses could be quite severe. DO NOT FORGET to patch your administrative client tools and have your users install the patches as well.

If you have any comments, questions, or thoughts to share on this topic please do so below.

For your reference all Business Objects XI base version and patch installation files can be found here:

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59 thoughts on “BO XI Patching, An Introductory Deep Discussion

  1. Thank you for the article.

    Is it a way to set up notification on SAP site to receive email notification when you BO Sp become available? Instead of constantly check the website.

    Best regards,

  2. Hi Alex, I REALLY wish that there were something like that, but as far as I know there is not. It is super annoying, especially when your BO contacts say the patch is coming and then you start checking everyday. They could really learn a lot from the Web 2.0 community. Subscriptions and notifications are the wave of last decase, SAP Business Objects it is time to put your board in the water and start paddling.

  3. Is there a simple way to see what fix pack a particular component is at? Eg my EDGE XI 3.1 Rich Client is version – I believe its FP1.2 , but there is no obvious 1.2 in that string…

  4. Hi Simon,
    The following is a list of BO XI version numbers matched to their Service Pack and Fix Pack names:

    BO XI 3.0
    BO XI 3.0 + FP1
    BO XI 3.0 + FP2
    BO XI 3.0 + FP3
    BO XI 3.1 or
    BO XI 3.1 + FP1.1
    BO XI 3.1 + FP1.2
    BO XI 3.1 + FP1.3
    BO XI 3.1 + FP1.4
    BO XI 3.1 + FP1.5
    BO XI 3.1 + FP1.6
    BO XI 3.1 + FP1.7
    BO XI 3.1 + FP1.8
    BO XI 3.1 + FP1.9
    BO XI 3.1 + FP1.10
    BO XI 3.2
    BO XI 3.2 + FP2.1
    BO XI 3.2 + FP2.2 or
    BO XI 3.2 + FP2.3
    BO XI 3.2 + FP2.4

    From this list I would infer that either the FP 1.2 was never installed or that it did not install properly.

  5. We installed XIR2 SP4 FP 4.12 on both client and server in a test region. (We can’t upgrade to higher SPs yet due to overall environmental support issues.) Before patching, we forgot to migrate reports from the prod region, that doesn’t have the fix pack, to the test region. Now that the pack’s on the test region, is it safe or recommended to migrate reports from the lower version environment into our higher version test environment?


  6. Hi BO Sleuth, I’ve missed you and I obviously missed your comment. I have an answer for you. Good news.

    You can always take an objects from a lower version and migrate it to a higher version. The only trick is to use an Import Wizard client that is patched exactly to the same level as the target environment. I have done this MANY times.

    Just in case, please never try to migrate a report from a source system that is patched higher than the target system.

  7. hi. im Yasu from Japan.

    our BO is bellow.

    BusinessObjects Edge 3.1
    IntegrationKit for SAP (connecting to SAP ERP)

    we use Web Inteligence reports.

    I’m thinking about patching our BO because we wanna solve
    some product bug.
    Now I plan to patch “FixPack 1.2”.
    At first I plan to patch “SP2”. but I stoped it because I heard
    patching”SP2″‘s impact is not small.

    I would like to ask you.
    Does patching “FP1.2” influense on WebI report that we use?
    I would like to know what kind of influence we get when we patch

  8. Hi Yasu, thanks you for the feedback. I’m glad you found this article useful.

    You would want to review the SAP Business Objects published release notes and fixed issues PDF before you install any patch. Having said that you cannot install FP 1.2 with Service Pack 2, but SP2 should contain all of the fixes that are in FP 1.2 and more. If you have the option, and it seems that you do, I would seek to install Service Pack 3 and then possibly Fix Pack 3.3. This would patch your environment to the highest level available. I have used and tested SP3 quite a bit and it is a fairly stable release for Business Objects Enterprise (I cannot speak for Edge).

  9. Hi Julian.

    thank you for your reply.
    Actually, I agree I should patch SP3 and FP3.3.
    And my decision that I plan to patch FP1.2 to our BO came from our office’s “political” reason (not technical reason).so I also think I have to patch latest SP and FP near future.

    And what i would like to ask you in my last question is…
    have you had experience you got some trouble when you patch FixPack? like “report didn’t work after you patch FixPack” or “drill down function didn’t work properly after paching fixpack” or so.
    sorry for my poor English.

    Anyway, I think BO and SAP connection have a lot of restriction at present.
    when you use BO and SAP, you have to retrieve data via “BW Query” not from database table directly.
    “BW” is SAP’s BI module and “BW query” is the query function of BW.
    like this.
    (SAP) > BW query > Universe > WebI report.

    so you have to define universe for each “BW query”. you can’t define tables(also cannot join them ofcourse)

    I wish this information useful for anyone.

  10. Hi Yasu, your concerns are valid. I always have a test environment where I can try the patch out. Sometimes you can even do this on a powerful PC. Having an extra CMS database can be your limiting factor. Most Fix Packs will leave you better than you were, but there can be issues.

    Thanks for your words on BO SAP connections. I have not used those yet, I connect mostly to ORacle and SQL Server data sources.

  11. Hi Julian,

    I have one issue with the upgrade, we had BO XI 3.1 we update it to BO XI 3.1 SP3. after installation we found that few of the servers in CMC are not updated to SP3.

    If we look at the server metrics properties, Job server version shows with SP1 and CMS server version is SP3.

    What could be the reason, in incomplete ugrade of servers?

    Would you please help me with this.

    Thanks in advance.


  12. Hi Srinivas, since I don’t know much about your system I will share a few points I would check:
    1) Check the “ProductId.txt” file in the installation folder of each machine in the cluster. All should have the text “BuildVersion=” If they do not then the service pack install was unsuccessful.
    2) Check “Add and Remove Programs” on each machine (different locations for Windows, Linux/Unix) and make sure that Service Pack 3 is listed there. If not, then the service pack install was unsuccessful.
    3) If every machine appears properly patched then you might attempt to create a new Job Server and we what details it shows afterwards.
    I will take a look at my SP3 system and get back to you if I see something helpful there.

  13. Hi Julian,

    Thanks for such an helpful article.

    Right now I have BO XI R3.1SP3 installed on three different physical servers, all of them joined together as a BO cluster, all the three CMS re-named as BOPROD.

    I want to install Service Pack4 and one LA on all the three installations. Can you please elaborate what is the best possible way to do that?
    I am thinking to keep running all the BO servers on machine1, stop all the BO servers on machine2,3 and then install SP4 and LA respectively. Similarly while installing SP4 on machine2, I will stop all BOservers on machine 1,3. I will give the CMS name as BOPROD while installing on all the three machines.

    Please suggest whether this is the right approach to install SP4 and LA.


  14. Hi Jaat, I’m glad you like the article. Here is how I would do it:

    1) Stop all BO servers on all machines. Completely shutdown everything.
    2) Since all servers have a CMS the order does not matter (as you pointed out), so let’s just named them machine 1, 2, and 3. I am also assuming all servers are running an Input/Output FRS, if only one machine has these FRS then that would be machine #1.
    3) On machine #1 start up the BO servers. Log in to CMC and shutdown all BO servers except for CMS and Input/Output FRS (if Input/Output happen to be on another server see step 2 or if that server running FRS has no CMS then start that one too).
    4) Patch machine #1 with SP4. After SP4 installs, stop and restart everything. Stop all but the CMS and FRS again (keeps jobs from running and is prep for LA Fix).
    5) On machine #2 start up the BO servers. Logon to CMC and shutdown all BO servers on this machine except the CMS. Leave machine #1 up and running.
    6) Patch machine #2 with SP4. After SP4 installs, stop all BO servers and leave it down.
    7) On machine #3 start up the BO servers. Logon to CMC and shutdown all BO servers on this machine except the CMS. Leave machine #1 up and running.
    8) Patch machine #3 with SP4. After SP4 installs, stop all BO servers and leave it down.
    9*) Patch machine #1 with LA Fix. Stop and restart BO on the machine, leave all of the BO servers up and running.
    10*) Start BO on machine #2. in CMC shutdown all BO servers on machine #2 except for CMS. Patch machine #2 with LA Fix. Stop and restart BO on
    the machine, leave all of the BO servers up and running.
    11*) Start BO on machine #3. in CMC shutdown all BO servers on machine #3 except for CMS. Patch machine #3 with LA Fix. Stop and restart BO on the machine, leave all of the BO servers up and running.

    * = Note that LA Fix might have specific install instructions that I do not know and may not require any BO servers to be stopped. Most LA Fixes will require a stop and restart of some or all BO servers, however.

  15. Julian,

    One more clarification:
    BO SP4 installation guide says:
    (If you are installing the upgrade on clustered backend servers, the name,
    CMS port, and log on credentials for the first CMS you upgraded in the
    cluster must also be used when upgrading the other servers in that cluster.)
    I have named my CMS’s as PROD1, PROD2, PROD3 and the name of cluster is @PROD.
    While installing SP4 on all these servers as recommended by you, do I need to put the CMS name as PROD1, PROD2, PROD3 for the respective servers or else I have to use @PROD for all the servers??
    This statement in the guide is little confusing!!


  16. Julian,

    My Progress:
    As suggested, I stopped everything on all the clusters, started BO servers in PROD1, stopped all the servers in PROD1 except CMS, Input and Output FRS, installed SP4. During SP4 installation, I tried entering the cluster name i.e @PROD, but it was not accepted, so I have to enter the CMS name PROD1.

    The installer didn’t prompted me to enter the login details for web application as mentioned in the installer guide.

    Now after installing SP4 on PROD1, all the servers on PROD1 were started. The CMS and many other servers are on version, but the following servers are still showing the previous version
    -Adaptive Processing Server
    -Input File Repository Server
    -Output File Repository Server
    -Multidimensional Analysis Server
    -Predictive Analysis Server
    -Web Application Container Server

    Any clue what could be the reason behind this??

    Thanks Again!!

  17. Hi Jaat,

    #1 Yes, as you figured out you should use the hostname and SIA for PROD1 whenever prompted for CMS information. I have actually learned the hard way that you have to patch in the same order that you originally installed. For some reason BO is just now alerting folks to this requirement.

    #2 You may have noticed that the service pack created all of the default BO servers. I usually delete all of the ones I never use, but they come back to haunt me after any BO Service Packs of Fix Packs. Regarding the different in version I suspect that this means the BO didn’t really have any improvements for those servers and someone forgot to update their version. Perhaps this is normal, but I don’t think they usually forget to update their version. I can’t confirm yet that this is the same thing I get, but I will as soon as I install SP4.

    Good luck, I think you are doing fine.

  18. Hi Julian,

    Thanks again for all your help!!
    You are really awesome!!

    Everything seems to be fine on all the servers.


  19. Hi Julian,

    Thanks for your usefull article.

    You said that “a new Service Pack is released once the current version reaches a Fix Pack level around X.5”.
    But I have a question. SAP released the SP4 for BO XI 3.1 on June 4 and the FP 3.6 on June 20. Why did SAP release a FP 3.x after the SP4 ?
    I guess that this Fixpack is not include in the SP4.

    Thanks in advance

  20. Hi Stephane, the correlation of BusinessObjects FP to SP is not a rule, but a guideline. Even SAP-BO does not come out and say which FP has the same fixes in it as the SP. Now, I think that you may have made an assumption that once a Service Pack is released all future FixPacks will be based only on that SP. This is not true. Most Service Packs get at least a few FixPacks after a higher Service Pack is released.

  21. Hi All,
    We are planning to do an upgrade of BOXI R3 SP2 FP 2.6. We are evaluating between SP3 FP3.2 and SP3 FP3.5/3.6. Any suggestion or pros and cons in case you have come through in above versions.

  22. Hi Jai, I don’t have personal experience with any of those exact versions, but I can warn you that some of them may have issues with exporting graphs to Excel. I suggest looking closely at the known issues list and aiming for a higher version if all else is equal for you.

  23. Julian: Thanks for the suggestion. There are some bugs which are fixed in FP3.2 related to our environment. Wondering whether FP3.5 have all fixes related to FP3.2 as well. I will get in touch with SAP on this.

    Thanks again!! I have learnt a lot from you and expect to learn more going ahead. I always refer to Query Builder guide and Web Intelligence reference guide and it has never disappointed me 🙂


  24. Thank Jai! I apologize, I forgot to make one point clear. FP 3.5 will always include all of the fixes in FP 3.2. The same is not always true when comparing FixPacks based on different service packs, such as comparing FP 3.6 to FP 4.1. However, for the same service pack base, yes they are always incremental.

    Now the trouble is that some “fixes” end up introducing new bugs. It is the nature of the beast. So FP 3.5 could actually have more bugs than FP 3.2, or at least more bugs that you may notice (as some bugs will be fixed in one area and some bugs may be introduced in a new area).

  25. Hi Julian,

    I have a new BO XIR3.1 SP1 environment in place and nothing has been imported to it yet. I have to import everything from my existing BO XI R2 environment to this new XI 3.1 envoironment. Most of the reports in XI R2 are Crystal Reports.(I just have to import security and the reports…there isn’t any other kind of reports or Universes in place)

    Now, before I start importing everything from XI R2, I want to upgrade XI R3.1 to latest SP, that is SP4.

    Can I upgrade directly from XIR3.1 SP1 to SP4 or do I have to do incremental upgrade from SP2 to SP3 and finally to SP4??

    Also, what is the best way to import all the existing Crystal Reports in BO XIR2 to XIR3.1 environment.
    Should I copy the entire file reposiotry and CMS repository to XIR3.1 or else should I use Import wizard to do the all the import.

    I am using Edge versions of both XIR2 and XIR3.1.

    Please suggest.


  26. Hi Julian

    In the last paragraph you say “A huge oversight is to forget to patch your Windows client tools”. Do you mean that each individual client tool needs patching? Or is it possible to patch client tools in one go. I only use a subset of the client tools i.e.WebI,Designer and QaaWs. I notice that my version of UniverseDesigner is and QaaWs is 12.2.2000.290. Should I try to keep them all the same?



  27. Many thanks for the article, very helpful especially clarifying what SAP means by stopping all servers except for the CMC and Input/Output FRS servers. We have Edge XI R3.1 installed with no patching. I have tried to apply SP4, but the installer aborts saying the product is not on level to allow SP4 to be applied. Any thoughts?

  28. Hi Phil Tench, I merely meant to point out that admins can get caught up patching the server and forget to patch any client tools installed on their PCs or the PCs of their system’s users. I would never partially patch my client tools, not sure you can.

    However, I have noticed that some patches only apply only to certain components, so it is not unusual to apply a patch and later observe that some individual components display different patch levels.

  29. Hi Julian,

    Hope you are doing well!!

    I am trying to migrate everything from current
    BO EDGE XIR2 Prod to BO EDGE XIR3.1 SP3 Dev, Test and Prod environments.

    Types of licenses being used:
    5 named and 10 concurrent licenses for each:
    BO EDGE XIR2 Prod and
    BO EDGE XIR3.1 SP3 Prod(There are no licenses available for Dev and Test environemnts as per the agreement with SAP). I tried migrating from BOXIR2 Prod into BOXIR3.1 Dev, but nothing expect few folders got imported. Someone told me that check your licensing with SAP and SAP told me that I dont have named and concurrent licenses for Dev and Test environment.Stuck with the following issues:

    1. How many licenses do I need to import everything from BOXIR2 Prod to BOXIR3.1 Dev, Test and Prod?
    2. What type of license do I need?? Named or concurrent(for import)? What is the main difference between them?
    3. Is BO EDGE XIR3.1 SP3 a 32-bit or 64-bit software??
    4. Can I use 64-bit ODBC drivers to connect BO XIR3.1 CMS and Audit databases??
    5. What are the consideration to install BO XIR3.1 SP3 on a 64-bit windows server??
    6. How many processor cores and RAM do we need for BO EDGE XIR3.1 SP3??
    7. If it is a 32-bit software, then does it makes nay sense to have more than 4GB of RAM and more than 4 processor cores on the server??


  30. Hi,

    Is there a necessity to keep both CMS and FRS running for installation of SP4 alone? I have got a few documents that suggest FRS should also be stopped while the installation.


  31. Hi Julian,

    My customer is now on BO XI 3.1 with SP3. Now customer wants to update the patch level to SP4. So can you please provide me pros and cons after the upgrade to the new level.


  32. Hi Reddy, the “pros” are easy, you get more patched components. The “cons” are plenty though. You may get new issues and you most definitely should completed some regression testing to capture these. In most circumstances I would recommend against patching unless the patch is known to contain a particular fix in which you are interested.

  33. Hi,

    I want to know why to use BO sp 3.5 and what are the advantages and disadvantages of sp3.5 and is there any alternative for this pack.

    thanks in Advance

  34. Hi Raj, you will need to read the release notes. Look at the fixed issues and study the “known issues” very closely. No one will know better than you if those lists of fixed and known issues will work well for your system. If your system is doing fine on SP3 then I say don’t patch it unless you know that the patch has a fix you need. The only way you will know this is by studying the release notes.

  35. What patches should i install if the machine is running 3.1 sp0.0 to get to 3.1 sp4.0

  36. Hi Christian, each Business Objects service pack is comprehensive of all fixes before it, so you need only install SP4. If want to target a Fix Pack, for example, FP 4.2. Then you would only need to install SP4 and then FP 4.2. None of the previous service packs or fix packs would be required.

  37. Hello Fasi, please leave another comment relevant to your XI R2 system if you like, your previous comment seems incomplete.

  38. Thanks for your info. It appears you can not patch from BOXI3.1SP0.0 to to BOXI3.1SP4.0 directly..

    After doing so some services would not start.

    I had to Patch like this 3.1sp0.0 to 3.1sp3.0 to 3.1sp4 then I patched to 3.1sp5.0 on my test box and all was good.

    It took 2-3 hours lol…

  39. Hi Julian,

    thanks for the interesting article!

    we have XI3.1 with SP5 installed on a test machine. now we encountered an error that – according to SAP note 1635248 has been fixed in FP 4.2. However, FP 4.2 is not included in SP5 as it was issued later than the SP. Any idea how to get the error fixed now?


  40. Hi Gab, I feel your pain. Has FP 5.1 been released yet? If so, you may need to look through the fixed issues for it and see if your issue is included. This is really your only option, beyond uninstalling SP5, which can get messy.

  41. Hi Gab,
    I have similiar problem, but with note: 1612180.
    Unfortunatelly I upgraded to SP5 on production system.

    This notes consists information that such issue is solved in
    FixPack 5.1.

    Have you got some information when FP 5.1 will be released?

  42. Hi,
    SAP announced FP5.1 for this week but so far I can’t find it on their website…
    As for me it’s only on a development machine I still have some time and use a different one for now…

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