Archiving Historical Object Instances in Business Objects

I like to answer the really good and broad-focused emailed questions through articles on this site. The following is one such emailed question:

In Business Objects is there any way to archive historical object instances?

We need to keep objects for several years, but don’t want to keep so many objects available on the server as we are running out of space on our server. We only want to keep a years worth available to the users. We want to keep only a few of them and rest of the instances be archived. The instances are of all kinds.. Microsoft Excel, txt, Crystal, pdf…etc

BIAR File Backup

One of the cleanest ways to backup almost anything in Business Objects XI is to use a BIAR file backup (Business Intelligence Archive Resource, pronounced by most like the word “beer”). In Business Objects XIR2 this is easily accomplished using the Import Wizard tool. Essentially you set the source to be your source environment and the target to be the new BIAR file. Then you proceed to select the objects you desire to backup and don’t forget to check the checkbox for instances if you want to retain them.

BIAR files are compressed and they are generally not usable without Import Wizard. If you desire to restore a report from the BIAR file backup then you must be prepared for some consequences. Restoring from BIAR file backups will NOT create new instances of your objects unless you specify these options in Import Wizard (use MERGE and have duplicates renamed), otherwise your newer objects could get overwritten. Often, it is a safer idea to have a sandbox environment to which you restore the files you want. Please not you can pick and chose the objects you want, but the instances are an all or nothing option only.

Import Wizard Tricks

If you are familiar with Import Wizard there are some cool things you can do with it. For example, you can set the source and destination to the same environment and you can use the MERGE option (with rename duplicates) to create identical copies of your objects. Also you could use it to move copies to another “archive” environment.

Working the File Repository System

If you have played with Business Objects XI’s FRS at all then you know that it is a huge pile of sub-folders and finding a specific document is like finding a needle in a haystack. I recommend against trying to access the file directly as this will consume much time and it will usually be difficult to keep track of which document is which.

Scheduling Non-BO Delivery

As instances are created you could schedule them for delivery to email, FTP, or UNC (file shares). This may not be preferable for various reason, but I thought I should add it.

Really, these are the only archive methods that I have used or experimented with. Please leave any comments of other methods that you have successfully used. The question above is from a real person who needs our help.

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30 thoughts on “Archiving Historical Object Instances in Business Objects

  1. Julian:
    I am a reader of your site for sometime. I love it. It really helped me at my work.
    Quick question regarding this BIAR. Creating a backup of Universes to BIAR file will still retain Universes’ CUID am I right?
    Say for example, I create a BIAR of Universe1. I have made changes to Universe1 and want to go back to old copy. I can delete the Universe1 and bring it back from BIAR, this should not in anyway affect my reports am I right?

    Thanks in advance.
    Bala

  2. Thanks for the feedback! Glad you find it useful!

    If I were you I would NEVER delete a universe that has any reports attached to it. The better option would be restore from the BIAR file and let the CMS handle the replacement completely. If you have doubts that it restores correctly you could always add a comment or something to the description of the universe version you wish to replace and then after replacement verify that the comment ha disappeared (since it is not in the BIAR file back-up).

    If you do this then, yes, the CUID should be restored exactly as it was and all reports bound to the replaced universe should continue to be bound to it (since the CUID remains identical). Test it out, of course this is the best way to ensure you handle things properly and you can have confidence in the procedure and backup.

    Thanks, Julian

  3. Hey Julain,

    I found this Website really interesting and distinct in the depth of information you provide.

    I have a couple of questions on top of this article.

    I have specific requirements to archive my reports for fixed number of years. After this, say 5 years, does any BO tool has capability to automatically purge the report from Repository. The Users should not be able to view any instance older than 5 years through InfoView.

    Also we want to retain some instances which might be required for Auditing purposes. A 10 year old report may be requested by Auditors, which should not replace any other existing report, and to be removed once it’s purpose is met. We believe a Document managment tool can only help.

    Any inputs from you on the BO front will be much helpful for us.

    Thanks in advance !!

  4. Hey Ram,

    Interesting requirements. There is a time expiration for instances. This is set in number of days in CMC at the folder section. In BO XI 3.1 it seems that number 999999999 is acceptable, but I didn’t test to see if it actually works. 😉

    I am not sure if BO XI 3.1’s Life Cycle Management tool will archive your instances (through version control). Therefore, your best bets are BIAR file backup (include the instance option) or open that desirable instance and save it to a protected folder with a unique name identifying the nature of the instance.

    Please remember that instances are not treated the same as reports so even tools like Import Wizard and LCM will not really give you individual, specific instance access.

    I hope this helps. By the way, thanks for the positive feedback on the site! Julian

  5. Hi,
    Regarding BIAR file, I am using Import Wizard to take the backup of CMS on regular basis. What?????? Import Wizard for backup?????

    Yeah, I have to because apparently that’s the only way to reproduce any report or universe which is mistakenly deleted by users. Yes, I can use last days file stores since they are backed up but that would require full restore. Import Wizard gives flexibility to choose at object level.

    Q1: Is there any other mechanism to perform backup and still be able to restore specific objects?

    Q2: I have to manually run the Import Wizard daily and provide the same parameters again and again. Is there a way to schedule it providing parameters somehow? (capturing the user input could be an idea but really not sure if it would work fine, or even how it would work)

    Ideas please!

    Thanks,
    Oace

  6. To the best of my knowledge…

    Q1: No, sorry.
    Q2: Nope, but you might be able to get some macro recording application to be able to do it for you. I am not sure.

    Sorry, I really hope I am wrong, but I have asked the same questions of others and received these answers.

  7. Hi Julian,
    I have some questions.
    Environment: BOXI R2, Oracle 10G
    How to save all the instances of a scheduled report at once?

    In public folder there are few reports which are scheduled each day in pdf format.
    Now if you want to save a particular instance to your desktop you would click on history tab –> open that particular instance and save it.

    But I wanted to know if there is any way to save all the instances at once. (If you have about 30 report instances for a month.)

    The main aim of doing this is to backup all the pdf report that are generated each day.

  8. As far as I know there is no native BO tool or functionality that will do that. For the future you could have them delivered to a file share or FTP server (or even MS SharePoint site). If you just had to have something to meet this need I would suggest looking into the SDK, but I have never done such a thing. Sorry, wish I had better news, maybe someone else has a suggestion.

  9. Julian,
    First of all thank you so much for sharing the Info. which is very helpful in my work.

    I have a question regarding the BIAR file.we take backup on every week. all of sudden one user raised the concern saying i have lost all my Favourite and Personal fodlers reports are missing. than we have realized that, her name got changed after her marriage. Ex:
    Gartner Ina married a short time ago and changed her lastname from Thomas to Gartner.
    Since them she can’t login into BO.
    The error says: “Accountinformation not recognized: The Active Directory-Authentication could not log you in. Contact your

    Systemadministrator, to check, if you are assigned as a member of a valid group and try again.

    Markus Fischer advised us to create a new windows profil, which we did. But it didn’t help to solve the problem.
    Do you have any solutions?

    Thank you So much..

  10. All that comes to mind is to the user exactly as the user’s name is in AD. To be honest, I have never used AD authentication, so I would not value my input very highly on this topic. On the topic of this article, a BIAR file backup of the user’s old account is a good idea before you start messing around with things.

  11. Julian,
    First of all thank you so much for sharing the Info.

    I need to take backup of all my users groups, reports and universe from BOXIR2 to BOXIR3.1
    Please suggest me the best way to proceed????

    Is the above thing is possible with a BIAR file??????

  12. Hi Ram, if you are asking me should you take a BIAR file backup using Import Wizard prior to migrating/upgrading your system from XI R2 to XI 3.1 then I would recommend it. However, be careful that you do so in batches of 1 GB or less. BIAR files can become useless if they are too large. I can’t recall the magical size limit, but you must test each BIAR file after creation to see if it looks good.

    If you are asking if you can use a BIAR file to migrate from one version to another, I am not certain that this is supported by SAP-BO. I have tested it just a little and it seems to work, that is to say you can import a BIAR file in XI 3.1 that was created using XIR2. Right now, I don’t have more information that this. If you choose this method of migration I suggest you test, test, test.

  13. Please provide me help regarding instances of webi reports.
    I want to know when the reports are created ?
    ON refresh or scheduling?

  14. Hi vivek, good question. An instance of a report is created at the moment you create a recurring schedule of a report; this is a special instance as it cannot be opened. Regular instances are created at the refresh of a scheduled report, whether the refresh and delivery are successful or not.

  15. Hi Julian,

    Nice article.

    Am trying to use Import wizard for taking backups as BIAR file. But when I try to login after given the source & destination details I get error as,

    ‘Error logging on to server.Check logon information again, (IWZ 00001)Class not registered’.

    But the details I gave for source is a valid login details and for destination, its local disk and only gave a new BIAR file name. Am not sure wat else could be the reason. Also dint get any info on “(IWZ 00001)Class not registered”.

    Could you please help me to resolve this issue?

    Regards
    Subash

  16. I have heard of Import Wizard errors with BO XI 3.0. Try to patch if you can. Also, a quick search turned up this random fix that you could try:
    1. Open regedit (all the normal warnings about modifiy registry and backups)
    2. Go to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Business Objects\Suite 12.0\Enterprise\Import Wizard\objectManagerIWJni
    3. The strings should read:
    "MinMemMB"="64"
    "MaxMemMB"="512"
    4. Modify the MaxMemMB to a value less than 512. I have had success with 256.

    Please reply back with any progress. Also, I recommend using the fully qualified domain name of the CMS server for the source (example: server.domain.com).

  17. Hi Julian,

    This article is very helpful for me and even the questions the users asked are alos help to get the knowledge of the bair files.

    I am really new to the bair files. i am just curious to know the way to take the back up of universe. I used to the import wizard just to migrate the reports to dev to UAT.

    1) So can you tell me how to take the back up of the universe using the bair file?

    2) Is the backup saved in the local machine or the server?

    Really very good article.

  18. Hi Sandeep, thanks for your feedback. To answer your questions:
    1) You can backup a universe merely by selecting the universes and connections object options first and then by selecting the specific universes you want to back up later.
    2) The backup is saved where ever you specify from Import Wizard (a client application), but you will be limited to local disk and UNC file shares accessible from the client.
    Please experiment a little with Import Wizard and you will get the idea better.

  19. Hi Julian,
    nice articles and neat suggetions to the point required. enjoyed going through the comms at it really took me through a good load of data.

    Okay… comming to the point. Need a little help here. am tring to migrate about 2000 reports from bo-xir2 to BI. any idea if any simple tool or converter available with sap/oracle for this.
    will i be able to use the BIAR as a common medium between both reporting softwares to migrate the reports and universes. if my understanding is correct, the basic functonality and working of thesetwo tools are same and should have some common way for integrations…. any idea?… am still searching for an optimal soluton … 🙁

  20. Hi Ramki, based on my experience Business Objects’ Import Wizard is the best tool for migrating reports and universes. Even in migrations of 100,000+ report Import Wizard has done a better job than the CCM option of copying the data source. My experience and testing is mostly with using direct connections to the source CMS and target CMS (not BIAR files), but I think BIAR files would also work. I have not tested this on BI 4.0 migrations yet, so please do share your results.

  21. Hi Julian,

    I’m looking to start an archive process at work, but I have been told that I will be unable to select the reports that I want to archive (for example all reports 5years and older). We are currently using BOR2. is this true? and when extracting from a BIAR file is there a way in which we can select specific reports to be retrieved?

  22. Hi Teresa, when you use Import Wizard to create a BIAR file backup you can certain choose which reports to include; however, you are only permitted to see the reports in their folder structure. And you can only see public reports. Personal/user documents can only be selected completely or not at all. As far as restoring from a BIAR file backup, you can choose which public reports you want. Personal/user reports are an all or nothing proposition (per user).

  23. Hi

    new to this forum hope i will get best

    Iam new in taking a backup.

    we are having a requirement to take a backup of universe on daily basis that to in another network( like in network system (quality)if i take backup will associated reports will also come)can you please suggest is it possible ?

    what i have to consider proactively before doing

    during proces of import wizard i found(check boxes before users,group,personal categories,folders,events,profiles….etc) which is mandatory i have to take while taking a backup

    please suggest

  24. Hi Fasi, if you only need to make a back-up of the universe then you could limit your selections in Business Objects’ Import Wizard to just Universes. This would lose any of the objects rights on the universe, but I imagine that you know what these rights are and you merely what to archive a copy of the universe in case you need to restore.

    How about you test it once? Make a backup of a test universe to a BIAR file and then make an obvious change to a universe. Then restore. Then PLEASE report back your results here. Thanks.

  25. Hi Julian,

    I’ve been given the job of splitting our BOXIR3 instance into two seperately managed instances, run on seperate servers. Both will be production environments owned and managed by each department.

    Will the BIAR approach facilitate this configuration (I presume this is much like the creation of test environment), and will I need to redefine server group memberships?

  26. Hi, I havelost the schedules and the history of previous instances of some of the BO Report. How do I get them back

  27. Can I create a biar backup of scheduled instances of WEBI reports in BusinessObjects 4.1. I need it to maintain the distribution list so that if the reports instances are deleted i have an option to get those instances back from BIAR along with distribution list.

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