Monday, September 22, 2014

LCMs - Oldies Just Don't Get It!

Here in Australia we have a breakfast bar that goes by the name LCMs. For those of you that don't know them, they're much like the Rice Krispie Squares found in other parts of the world. The marketing folks behind LCMs appealed to the kids market with the tagline: "LCMs - Oldies Just Don't Get It".

Recently I've been dealing with another LCM - the Life Cycle Management component within SAP's Business Objects suite. Strictly speaking, it's now known as Promotion Management, but I'm old school enough to still think of it as LCM.

Now, I'm all for the style of deployment that Promotion Management enables, but recently I've struck an odd error with its use that perplexes me. There's one think about LCM that this oldie doesn't get!

Recently I've had to turn my hand to something that it's been a while since I've done. I've had to play 3rd level support / SysAdmin to a production Business Objects reporting environment and its supporting development and testing tiers. Some new developers had joined a project using these environments to bring in some new WebI reports along with a few tweaks to the Universe. All went well until one of the new folks tried to promote a report between the development and testing tiers. The nature of the data in play means that the two tiers aren't allowed to have a communications path between them so the promotion needed to make use of a BIAR file. When attempting to create the promotion job after importing the BIAR file to the test server the developer was getting an odd, and not particularly graceful error. It read:


Attempting the same task with a user with admin rights was successful and, interestingly, so was undertaking the task when signed in as one of the original developers.

Effectively this seemed to rule out something more basic wrong with Promotion Management on that box. So, to me this looked like a permissions issue at heart. My first instinct was to look to see if the new developers had been granted to access to use Promotion Management. Aha! None of the new folks had access to the Promotion Jobs folder on the test server. Surely that's the problem.

Easily fixed. A quick application of user security and back to the developers to test. No luck - the same error we'd seen earlier persisted. Now I'm no masochist and I'm far to busy to re-invent the wheel, so off I went to ask Google and SCN. Sure enough both came back with a number of hits that described the same error, but none that matched our case or symptoms closely enough for my liking. So, like it or not, there was a bit more digging to be done. Through a process of comparison and elimination I noticed that there was one group membership that the new developers were lacking. Digging some more showed that this membership gave access (Full Control)  to the folder on the test server that the WebI report to be promoted would live in. And sure, enough after adding one of the new developers to this group the Promotion Management error disappeared and he was able to successfully promote via BIAR file.

Problem solved!

However, one puzzling aspect the remains for me is why this particular error was thrown on the creation of the promotion job and not on the execution of the promotion itself. Even more confusing was the fact that when we temporarily allowed a communications path between the the development and test servers the developer was able to successfully directly promote his changes from server to server (i.e. taking out the need for the BIAR file) even before we'd add the group membership.

With luck, if I ever have to solve the same problem again, this blog post will prompt me to remember the solution without the need for the investigations that went along this time. Even better, it may help someone else being confronted and confused by the same error!

Even better again, if you can shed some light on this odd set of behaviour, I'd love to hear from you. If I'm missing the obvious here, please point it out to me. This oldie doesn't mind it if he's able to get this LCM! And I'm sure the marketing folks as Kellogs won't care either!

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