Tag Archives: MicroStrategy

Tips & Tricks #9: How Do Changes on the Source Report (Dataset) Get Reflected in MicroStrategy Report Services 9.x Documents

In MicroStrategy Report Services Documents, document datasets and their original source reports  (such as a grid report being used as a dataset) are not completely connected to each other. Depending on the changes made on the source report, it can be reflected differently on the document. Basically, the change can be divided into two types.

Type 1 – Formatting Changes

Formatting changes, for example, changing autostyles, thresholds, subtotals.

If a user chooses the option Add to Section without Formatting, the grid/graph showing on the document will not use the report’s stored formatting. Any formatting changes on the source report will not be reflected on the document.

Tip 9-1If a user chooses the option Add to Section with Formatting, the grid will be added with the current format of the report.  However, any formatting changes made to the source report AFTER the dataset has been included in the document will NOT be reflected on the document.

For example, a user disabled the subtotal (see screenshot below) for the original report after the report has been included as a dataset in a document, the document will still show the subtotals.

Tip 9-2

To force the document to recognize the report’s formatting changes, the user needs to delete the grid/graph from document section and add it again using the With Formatting option. By doing this, the latest formatting properties of the grid/graph on the source report are retrieved.

Type 2 – Adding/Removing Objects and Modifying Report Filters

Another type of changes made on the report involving adding/removing objects and modifying report filters.

Unlike the formatting change, this type of change does carry over from the source report to the document datasets.

For example, if users add/remove/modify report filters (see screenshot below), the change will be reflected on the data when running the document.

Tip 9-3

If an object is removed from the source report (see screenshot below), the user can see the change in the document’s Dataset Objects window. After the user runs the document, the object will be removed from grid/graph on the document.

Tip 9-4

If an object is added to the report (see screenshot below), the change will show in the document’s dataset objects window. However, the object will not be automatically added to the grid/graph. The user has to manually add the object to the grid/graph or add the dataset to the section again to make it show up.

Tip 9-5

NOTE:   As of MicroStrategy 9.0, a new feature was introduced where a user can add a dataset report to a Report Services document as a shortcut by selecting the Add to Section As a shortcut option, as shown below:

Tip 9-6

If the grid/graph is added to the document using this option, then the document would be updated automatically if ANY type of change is made on the source report.

Interview Question #1: MicroStrategy Generated SQL


Today, I am going to introduce a new blog entry related to Interview Questions. I have interviewed a lot of people for various MicroStrategy positions over the years and thought I would share with you some of the questions I have asked or have been asked on interviews. I will try to add two interview questions a month.

Best regards,



Why does the SQL you created using MicroStrategy (assume it generated a single-pass SQL) produce different results than when you run it directly against a database?


There may have been steps that required the analytical engine which would only occur on the Intelligence Server and not when you directly run SQL against a database.

MicroStrategy World 2014 – Las Vegas Session Presentations and Videos Now Available

MicroStrategy World 2014 - Las Vegas LogoReaders:

The presentations from MicroStrategy World 2014 – Las Vegas are now available on the MicroStrategy web site. However, you are going to have to work a bit at getting them.

To access the PDF files of the presentations or watch the videos available, you must have established a Resource Center account with MicroStrategy and you must have downloaded Usher Identity to your smartphone.

I have included the instructions below that MicroStrategy has provided on how to access these PDF files and videos. I have added annotations (in blue) where I felt it will help you along in the process.

Best Regards,


Link to the Presentations

The link to MicroStrategy World 2014 – Las Vegas session presentations and videos is:


Sessions Available

The session presentations and videos are available by Track/Session as noted below. Click on the “+” sign next to the track to reveal all the sessions below, then click on the session title to access the presentation or video material.

My comment: Saving the PDF files to your hard disk from the sessions seemed to work best using Mozilla Firefox, then Google Chrome, and then Internet Explorer 11. I recommend you install Mozilla Firefox on your PC or laptop for situations like this where IE acts funky and won’t cooperate.

All content is secured by the Usher Mobile Identity Platform, and you must log in with the Usher Identity application to access it. If you don’t know how to log in with the Usher Identity application, then continue reading.Sessions 2014 Las Vegas

How to log in with Usher

An Usher Stamp will appear the first time you try to access the media below. To access the media, simply authenticate yourself by scanning this stamp with the Usher Identity application on your smartphone . You will only need to authenticate yourself once.

Scanning a QR code with the Usher app

  1. If you already have the Usher Identity app on your smartphone: Authenticate yourself by scanning the Usher Stamp with the Usher Identity application on your smartphone. To do this, open Usher Identity on your device and swipe up on your badge to reveal the scanner.
  2. If you do not yet have the Usher Identity application on your iOS or Android smartphone: You can get the application easily. Click on the “Don’t have Usher?” link in the popup window to register and download the app. If you don’t have an existing Resource Center account, just choose create a new account. After you login/create your account, you’ll receive a confirmation email with a link to download the Usher Identity application and directions about how to load your MicroStrategy User badge. Follow the steps in the email and you will be ready to authenticate yourself, as described above, to access the MicroStrategy World session materials.

For support with the Usher application or in gaining access to the sessions, please reach out to support@usher.com.

Tips & Tricks #8: MicroStrategy VLDB Properties Hierarchy

Very Large DataBase

VLDB is an acronym for Very Large DataBase. VLDB properties enable MicroStrategy products to take advantage of the unique optimizations that different databases offer. There are over 100 settings that affect how the MicroStrategy Engine handles functions such as:

  • Join options (star join, full outer join, and so forth)
  • Metric calculation options (null and zero check during division operations)
  • Query optimizations (subqueries and driving tables)
  • Table types (temporary or derived tables)

These settings, along with other settings, directly modify how the SQL Engine writes SQL against the warehouse.VLDB Hierarchy

VLDB Properties

The diagram above illustrates how VLDB properties that are set for one level will take precedence over those set for another level.

DBMS Level

The default value for every VLDB property is based on the database type of the warehouse and is written into the metadata at the time that you configure the project. MicroStrategy supplies the default values for the DBMS level, which are optimized for the database type and version.

The VLDB properties values are inherited from the DBMS object when you have not changed any VLDB properties (and all the Use default inherited value check boxes are selected for every VLDB property in the VLDB Properties Editor).

Database Instance Level/Project Level

In the MicroStrategy platform, the Database Instance level and Project level settings are merged together (or considered to be one overall level), because only one database instance can be applied for each project. Also, the Project level settings contain the Analytical Engine-related VLDB properties and the MDX VLDB properties.

Yield Red SignWhen you change a VLDB property setting at the database instance or project level, you must restart the Intelligence Server for the MicroStrategy Engine to read the latest schema information from the metadata.

Report Level

Properties you set at the report level override properties at every other level. For example, if a VLDB property is set to one particular value for a report and the same VLDB property is set to a different value for a metric on that report, the report-level setting takes precedence over the metric-level setting for that VLDB property.

Template Level

Values set at the template level override those at the metric, database instance, and DBMS levels.

Attribute/Transformation Level

There are only a select number of VLDB properties available within the Attribute Editor and the Transformation Editor. If you alter these properties, they automatically override the values for the same properties at the database instance and DBMS levels.

Use default inherited value Check Box 

By default, all objects in a project, including the project itself, have the Use default inherited value check box enabled for all of the VLDB properties (see screenshot below). As mentioned earlier, when you have not changed any VLDB properties and all the Use default inherited value check boxes are selected for every VLDB property in the VLDB Properties Editor, the values are inherited from the DBMS level. If you customize the settings for a VLDB property at  particular object’s level (whether it is a metric, template, project, etc.), any objects above it (in the VLDB Hierarchy) automatically accept the custom setting as the inherited value.

Tip 8-2

Example: Sub Query Type VLDB Property

As an example, let’s review the Sub Query Type VLDB property.

Suppose you define the Sub Query Type VLDB property at the template level to use temporary tables instead of sub queries. You create a new report using the template. When you view the Sub Query Type VLDB property at the report level, you notice that the same value (use Temporary Table) is automatically inherited at the report level. The report inherits the template’s VLDB value because the Use default inherited value check box is enabled (and the check box even lists “Template level” as the level from which the report inherited the custom value). This behavior of inheriting the custom value (as long as long as the Use default inherited value check box is enabled) occurs in a recursive fashion all the way to the DBMS object.


Tips & Tricks #7: How to Enable or Disable Match Case Sensitivity for Prompts using MicroStrategy Web


Believe it or not, this is a question I get asked a lot by clients. Based on their requirements or data, many clients do not want the Match Case Sensitivity check box preference enabled to begin with when they are prompted. Fortunately for us, the solution to this is fairly simple as I show below.

If you have a MicroStrategy question you would like me to answer or blog about, please e-mail it to me (include screenshots if it will help) to michael@dataarchaeology.net. I will do my best to answer your questions.

Best Regards,


Match Case Sensitivity Preference

When you run certain prompt types in MicroStrategy Web, the interface offers a search option followed by a Match Case Sensitivity check box.

This functionality allows users to search for specific elements within the prompt’s available answers. To allow even more flexibility, the check box allows the user to restrict the search results only to those that match the case entered. In the screenshot below, you can see the check box is enabled (checked) and case sensitivity will be matched.


However, you can control whether this option is enabled or disabled by default for all prompts by setting the following preference in MicroStrategy Web.

This option is under Preferences, Project Defaults, Prompts.

Don’t forget to press the Apply button for the changes to take place.


Now, in the screenshot below, you can see the check box is disabled (unchecked) and case sensitivity will not be matched.



Tips & Tricks #6: How the Incremental Refresh Option Works in MicroStrategy 9.4.x

Starting with MicroStrategy 9.2.1, Intelligent Cubes have a new feature to update information without republishing it. It is referred to as Incremental Refresh. There are different ways each Incremental Refresh type option works.

Defining an Incremental Refresh Report

Prior to MicroStrategy 9.2.1, if the data in an Intelligent Cube needed to be updated, users had to re-publish the Intelligent Cube,  either manually or using a schedule. This process will cause all the data for the Intelligent Cube to be loaded from the data warehouse into Intelligence Server’s memory, so that the existing data for the Intelligent Cube is overwritten.

MicroStrategy 9.2.1 introduced a new feature known as Incremental Refresh Options, which allow Intelligent Cubes to be updated based on one or more attributes by setting up incremental refresh settings to update the Intelligent Cube with only new data. This can reduce the time and system resources necessary to update the Intelligent Cube periodically.

For example, if a user has an Intelligent Cube that contains weekly sales data, the user may want this Intelligent Cube to be updated at the end of every week with the sales data for that week. By setting up incremental refresh settings, he can make it so that only data for one week is added to the Intelligent Cube, without affecting the existing data and without having to reload all existing data.

Users can select two types of objects for the incremental fetch: a report or a filter.

  • Filter: The data returned by a filter is compared to the data that is already in the cube. By default, the filter defined for the Intelligent Cube is used as the filter for the incremental refresh.
  • Report: The results of a report are used to populate the Intelligent Cube. By default, the report template used is the same as the Intelligent Cube’s template.

In order to set up an incremental refresh report, the user should first right-click on the Intelligent Cube and select Define Incremental Refresh Report:

This will bring up the Incremental Refresh Options editor:

Here, the user can define one of the following Refresh type options:

  • Update:  If new data is available, it is fetched and added to the Intelligent Cube, and if the data returned is already in the Intelligent Cube, it is updated where applicable.
  • Insert:  If new data is available, it is fetched and added to the Intelligent Cube. Data that was already in the Intelligent Cube is not altered.
  • Delete: The data that meets the filter or report’s definition is deleted from the cube. For example, if the Intelligent Cube contains data for 2008, 2009 and 2010, and the filter or report returns data for 2009, all the data for 2009 is deleted from the cube.
  • Update only: If the data available is already in the Intelligent Cube, it is updated where applicable. No new data is added to the Intelligent Cube.

The type of object used for the incremental fetch can be selected in the Advanced tab:

Users simply have to run the incremental fetch report, and this will automatically refresh the data in the Intelligent Cube.

Incremental Refresh Options Examples

In this example, the following database table is used. This is a transaction table for item, status, quantity sold (qty_sold) and transaction number.

Cube definition:

Report Objects:

- Item

- Status

- Transaction Number

- Quantity

Filter: Transaction Number greater than or equal to 100

Initial data:

Data is updated as below on the database side:

Line 2 - qty_sold number is updated

Line 3 - status is altered from confirmed to canceled

Line 4 - newly added

Line 5 - newly added


Insert new rows from report data and overwrite overlapping rows between old cube data and report data.

Line 2 – qty_sold number is updated.

Line 3 – Status canceled row is newly inserted, and line 4, the original data is not modified. For any change for any other attribute, a new line is added and the previous line also persists.

Line 5 – Newly added transaction is inserted.

And the new data with transaction_number 1 is not added because it does not meet the filter criteria to have transaction_number >= 100.


Only insert new, non-overlapping rows from report data.

Line 2 - qty_sold number is NOT updated.

Line 3 - Status canceled row is newly inserted.

Line 5 – Newly added transaction is inserted.

And the new data with transaction_number 1 is not added.


Remove overlapping rows from old cube data.

Delete Incremental Refresh report is not executed against the warehouse, and executed for Intelligent Cube with the following query. All the data meeting the criteria is deleted.


Delete from CUBE  IncrementalRefreshTestwhere [Transaction Number]@[transaction_date] >=  100


Only overwrite overlapping rows from report data.

Line 2 - qty_sold number is updated.


In summary, when defining an Incremental Refresh report, take the following behavior into consideration.

  • Update/Update only option does not compare all the attribute elements.
  • Delete option is performed on the Intelligent Cube, and data is not compared with the warehouse.

MicroStrategy Tops Ventana Research’s 2014 Mobile BI Value Index Research

MicroStrategy Highlighted for the Value its Mobile Solution Provides to Enterprises, with Top Score in Five Out of Seven Categories

Ventana Research Mobil BI 2014TYSONS CORNER, Va., Feb. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – MicroStrategy® Incorporated (Nasdaq: MSTR), a leading worldwide provider of enterprise software platforms, today announced that its Mobile App Platform ranks number one in Ventana Research’s 2014 Value Index for Mobile Business Intelligence (BI) research. Ranked first out of 16 mobile BI vendors, MicroStrategy was cited for the value its solution provides to its customers, with the highest rating in usability, manageability, reliability, capability and validation.

Ventana Research’s Value Index Captures Both IT and Business-Centric Perspectives

According to the Ventana Research report, “The top three companies’ products all provide strong user experiences and functionality, but MicroStrategy stood out across the board, finishing first in five categories and most notably in the areas of the business user experience, mobile application development, and presentation of information.”

“It is clear that today’s mobile workforce requires the ability to access information and analyze data simply, straightforwardly and using an intuitive interface,” said Mark Smith, CEO and Chief Research Officer, Ventana Research. “MicroStrategy’s continued investment and excellent customer examples demonstrate its commitment to mobile BI across smartphones and tablets and helping customers design and deploy applications that provide significant business value but also in a safe and secure manner.”

MicroStrategy President Paul Zolfaghari said: “We are thrilled to earn this number one ranking in Ventana Research’s Value Index for Mobile BI.  Since 2009, MicroStrategy has led the way with its innovative mobile platform, which continues to be highly esteemed by independent analysts and thousands of enterprises worldwide.  Our customers get value quickly from their MicroStrategy Mobile™ solutions, and this recognition underscores how integral the MicroStrategy Mobile App Platform™ is to the future of their businesses.”

Ventana Research’s 2014 Value Index for Mobile BI evaluated vendors and their products in seven categories of requirements. Five categories are product-related, including assessing usability, manageability, reliability, capability, and adaptability. Two categories quantify the customer assurance issues of vendor validation and total cost of ownership and return on investment (TCO/ROI). Ventana Research noted that the largest percentage of organizations using mobile BI place important emphasis on easy access and use of the technology.

“Our mobile solution delivers business-changing mobile apps that make employees more productive and achieve results in less time and at a fraction of the cost,” said Hugh Owen, VP of Mobile Products, MicroStrategy Incorporated.  “In 2011-2012, we saw hundreds of organizations deploying to hundreds of users.  Since early 2013, MicroStrategy’s enterprise mobile apps are now helping thousands of organizations, and these organizations are deploying to thousands and tens of thousands of employees, highlighting the importance of reliability, where we had the highest category rating overall in the Value Index. We’re extremely excited to play such a critical role in the mobilization of the enterprise.”

Ventana Research Mobil BI 2014 Chart

MicroStrategy Mobile Delivers Significant Business Value to Thousands of Organizations

Thousands of organizations have received significant business value from deploying MicroStrategy Mobile apps to support new business processes and mobilize existing operational and information systems. For example, luxury brand retailer GUCCI has been able to conduct business in ways simply not possible before. At the recent MicroStrategy World 2014 conference held in Las Vegas, GUCCI’s CIO Simone Pacciarini delivered a live demonstration of their innovative use of MicroStrategy to deliver a better retail experience for their employees and customers. A video of the GUCCI demonstration is available here: http://youtu.be/z4SzR44BqRw.

Of the thousands of innovative business apps in production, MicroStrategy customers across the globe have also performed ROI analyses to measure the impact of mobile technology on their enterprise.  Customers are noting the many benefits of deploying MicroStrategy Mobile.  For example:

  • AutoTrader.com credits its MicroStrategy Mobile app as being a “game changer” that has transformed how their sales reps work; reps spend less time on meeting preparation and more time developing additional opportunities. AutoTrader.com’s Senior Director of Enterprise Data and Shared Services said, “One of the things we use to measure the value of the MicroStrategy platform is the usage from our dealer customers and our salesforce, and the usage of the platform has grown 40 times.”
  • A global leader in insurance brokering and risk management said it generated an incremental $10M in revenue in the first 90 days of its MicroStrategy Mobile app rollout.
  • A leading Fortune 1000 software company cites a 30 percent increase in deal size associated with the use of its MicroStrategy app for sales reps.
  • A large European healthcare system said it achieved 25 percent time savings using the MicroStrategy app.  The internal reporting team saves one week every month fulfilling report requests. Furthermore, cost savings on paper for one year offset the cost of the MicroStrategy app; thus, the solution not only makes the organization more “green,” it pays for itself.
  • Having rolled out a MicroStrategy app to 10,000 store managers, a large global discount supermarket chain said it achieved time savings of 17 percent—enabling managers to spend more time with their employees, the merchandise business, and customers to provide better service.
  • One of the largest international airports said it saved 4,000 person hours a year with the use of its MicroStrategy app for operations analysis. The app has increased the level of accountability, transparency and efficiency within the airport’s various business units and has reduced paper consumption by 50 percent.

To access a free copy of the report, visit: http://www.microstrategy.com/ventana-mobile-bi-value-index-2014.

Tips & Tricks #5: Designing MicroStrategy Documents for Exporting to Excel


The following best practices will help ensure that your document is displayed correctly when it is exported to Microsoft Excel. When you export to Excel, the resulting spreadsheet looks like a PDF of the document. For example, objects have the same position and size in Excel that they do in a PDF.

For steps to export a document to Excel, see the section Exporting a document in MicroStrategy Web later in this blog entry.

When designing a document that might be exported to Excel, do the following to ensure that the document is displayed correctly in Microsoft Excel:

  • Know how different object types are exported and displayed in Excel, as shown in the following table:


  • Choose Excel-compatible colors for all objects, including panels, shapes, and Grid/Graphs. Use the set of 40 colors that appear in the Color dialog box in the Document Editor. Excel supports these 40 colors in addition to many more. Other colors are matched by Microsoft Excel as closely as possible. Avoid using gradient colors, since they are not exported to Excel.

Tip 5-2

1 Excel Fill Colors


2 Excel Font Colors

  • Use graph styles that are supported by Microsoft Excel. For example, if you include a Gauge graph in the document, it is not displayed in Excel. If you include a Combination graph, the exported version in Excel may not be displayed exactly like the original graph in MicroStrategy Web.
  • Avoid overlapping objects. When exported, the document may not be displayed correctly. For example, an object in the background of the document may be displayed in the foreground of the Excel spreadsheet.
  • Provide extra space around objects because they may increase in size when the document is exported to Excel.
  • Use text field borders to create lines and rectangles. Standard MicroStrategy line and rectangle controls may not be displayed correctly in Excel. You can also use a panel stack to create a colored background; for instructions to create panel stacks, see the Dashboard Creation Guide.


3 Excel Border (Line) Colors and Weights

Avoid inserting line breaks within text fields. Line breaks (inserted by typing CTRL+ENTER) are not rendered in Excel.

  • Do not enable word-wrapping in a column header on a Grid/Graph in MicroStrategy. If you do so, the headers are not displayed correctly in Excel or PDF. Enable word-wrapping in Excel after you export the document.


4 Turning off Word Wrap in MicroStrategy


5 Turning off Word Wrap in Excel

  • Use an absolute file path to define the location of an image used in a document. Do not use a relative file path. Images in documents specified with paths relative to MicroStrategy Web and Intelligence Server are not displayed when exported to Excel.

Exporting a document in MicroStrategy Web

Exporting a document allows you view and interact with the document results outside of MicroStrategy Web. For example, you can view results in a PDF file within Adobe Reader, manipulate exported data in an Excel spreadsheet, or create an interactive Flash dashboard for off-line use.

You can export a document to the following formats:

  • PDF file: Export the document to a PDF file in a reader, such as Adobe Reader. You can view the PDF on any device with a PDF reader, such as another computer, a Linux machine, a Nook, or a Kindle.
  • Excel spreadsheet (.xls): Export the document to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet for further manipulation and use. See the Document Creation Guide for tips to create a document that will display correctly when it is exported to Excel.
  • HTML file: Export the document to an html file in a separate window.
  • Flash file: Export the document to a fully interactive, stand-alone Flash file. All the Flash files in a project are exported in one of the following formats:
  • MHT format, which can be opened in Internet Explorer, and in Firefox with a third-party plug-in

The document designer determines the Flash file format.

You are prompted for the following when you export a document, unless the document designer has specified the default exporting options for the document:

  • If your document is grouped, you can choose to export the entire document or only the selected group element. Page-by allows you to view the document by a selected group element.
  • If your document contains multiple layouts, you can choose to export the entire document or only the layout currently being viewed by the user.
  • You can export a document from within the document, or directly from a folder. The following procedures describe both tasks. You can also export a single Grid/Graph to a PDF file or an Excel spreadsheet.

To export an open document

  1. In MicroStrategy Web, click the name of the document to execute it.
  2. From the Home menu, select Export, then select the file format in which to export the document. The options are:
    • Excel
    • HTML
    • PDF
    • Flash

       If an export format is not available on the toolbar, that export format has not been made available for this document.

3. Depending on the file type, you may be prompted to open or save the exported file. You can choose to either:

  • Open the file, by clicking Open. A copy of the document opens in a browser.
  • Save the file, by clicking Save. Name and save the file. Do not change the file type.

To export a document directly from a folder

  1. In MicroStrategy Web, right-click the document and select Run as.
  2. If the document contains prompts, answer them and click Export.
  3. If DHTML is disabled, click the Export icon or PDF icon in the Actions column.

*        If an export format is not available on the toolbar, that export format has not been made available for this document.

4. If DHTML is enabled, select the format to export to:

    • To export to a PDF, select Export to PDF.
    • To export to Microsoft Excel, select Export to Excel.
    • To export to HTML, select Export to HTML.
    • To export to Flash, select Export to Flash.

5. Depending on the file type, you may be prompted to open or save the exported file. You can choose to either:

    • Open the file, by clicking Open. A copy of the document opens in a browser.
    • Save the file, by clicking Save. Name and save the file. Do not change the file type.

Exporting a Grid/Graph from a document

You can export a single Grid/Graph displayed in a document to either a PDF file or an Excel spreadsheet. This provides additional flexibility to share and print your data, so that you do not have to export the entire document.

The document must be displayed in Express or Flash Mode. In Express Mode, the title bar of the Grid/Graph must be displayed. The following procedures describe both tasks.

*         A widget is exported as a Grid/Graph.

To export a Grid/Graph from Express Mode

  1. In MicroStrategy Web, open the document in Express Mode.
  2. Click the icon on the title bar of the Grid/Graph and point to either Export to PDF or Export to Excel.
  3. If you choose PDF, the PDF file opens in another browser window.
  4. If you choose Excel, you are prompted to open or save the exported file. You can choose to either:
  5. Open the file, by clicking Open. A copy of the document opens in another browser window.
  6. Save the file, by clicking Save. Name and save the file. Do not change the file type.
  7. In MicroStrategy Web, open the document in Flash Mode.
  8. Hover your cursor over the Grid/Graph. Icons for exporting to Excel and to PDF are displayed.
  9. Do one of the following:

To export a Grid/Graph from Flash Mode

  • To export the Grid/Graph to Excel, click the Export to Excel icon. You are prompted to open or save the exported file. You can choose to either:
  • Open the file, by clicking Open. A copy of the document opens in another browser window.
  • Save the file, by clicking Save. Name and save the file. Do not change the file type.
  • To export the Grid/Graph to PDF, click the Export to PDF icon. The PDF file opens in another browser window.

Commentary: Some Thoughts on my MicroStrategy v9.4.1 Upgrade Installation on my Laptop – PART 3


I am back to continue and finish this three-part commentary about installing MicroStrategy v9.4.1 on my laptop.

Just also wanted to let you know that v9.4.1 Hotfix 2 was released on 02/12/2014 and is now available. I recommend you get your v9.4.1 GA version all up and running properly before you consider installing the Hotfix.

Best regards,


Reviewing Upgrade Prerequisites

Before you begin upgrading your MicroStrategy system, it is always a good practice to review the MicroStrategy Readme document so that you are aware of any changes from previous releases. You should also review the system prerequisites outlined in the Planning Your Installation chapter of the MicroStrategy Installation and Configuration Guide.

If you do not review the MicroStrategy hardware and software requirements before upgrading, you may experience problems with the upgrade.

Database and Driver Requirements

Refer to Certified and Supported Configurations in the MicroStrategy Readme for updated information about specific database and driver combinations certified by MicroStrategy.

System Sizing Guidelines

There are several factors to consider when you initially set up your MicroStrategy system. These factors include the number of users that will access the system, report complexity, and whether or not you should employ caches. You should periodically re-evaluate your system and update it based on actual system performance and use.

In particular, before updating your metadata (see the Update the Metadata section below), MicroStrategy recommends that you have an amount of free disk space equal to at least twice the on-disk size of the metadata database.

A complete discussion of system sizing guidelines is beyond the scope of this blog entry. Refer to the Planning Your Installation chapter of the MicroStrategy Installation and Configuration Guide for the latest details about sizing your system.

Due to performance improvements and enhancements, MicroStrategy version 9 may require more memory than version 8 for comparable functionality. In particular, if your MicroStrategy 8.x system is running on Windows and is approaching the 3 GB Windows memory limit, you may need to upgrade your Intelligence Server machines. For more information on MicroStrategy memory recommendations, see the system requirements in the MicroStrategy Readme and the Tuning chapter in the System Administration Guide.

Privileges and Access

Before upgrading, ensure you have the following:

  • If you are installing on a Windows system, you must have a login account with administrative privileges for the domain or target machine.
  • MicroStrategy Intelligence Server installation files. You can access the installation files from a disk or from a network location.
  • Write permissions in the installation directory; otherwise the installation/upgrade process fails.
  • If you have purchased a CPU-based MicroStrategy license and are installing on UNIX or Linux, you need root access permissions for installation.
  • A license key from MicroStrategy for the version of the MicroStrategy software that you are installing.

Checking for Supported Data Types

MicroStrategy Analytics Enterprise supports a wide variety of data types for each supported warehouse database. However, some pre-Analytics Enterprise projects may contain data types not supported in MicroStrategy Analytics Enterprise. If a project containing columns with unsupported data types is upgraded, the data types for those columns are assigned as “reserved,” and proper data types are not assigned in temporary tables. This affects report execution.

Before proceeding with the upgrade, you must ensure that all data types assigned in the pre-Analytics Enterprise project are supported in MicroStrategy Analytics Enterprise.

See the MicroStrategy Project Design Guide for a listing of the supported data types for each database type and additional information about changing to supported data types.

Backing up the Metadata

Although the MicroStrategy installation process itself does not affect your project’s metadata, MicroStrategy recommends that you back up your metadata before any significant installation or upgrade. In most major MicroStrategy upgrades, a metadata update is required for all the pre-existing projects in your metadata. Once you update your metadata project, you cannot revert that metadata to a previous version. Therefore, MicroStrategy strongly recommends that you perform a full database backup of your original metadata prior to the upgrade.

MicroStrategy strongly recommends that you also tape backup, image, or ghost the production server before upgrading.

If you want to keep an old MicroStrategy Tutorial metadata repository and warehouse from a previous MicroStrategy version, rename the Microsoft Access files or move them to another location; otherwise, they are overwritten during the installation process. The Access files are installed by default in the MicroStrategy\Tutorial Reporting folder.

Updating the Project Metadata

MicroStrategy requires that you use the Configuration Wizard to update a metadata project created in a pre-Analytics Enterprise version of MicroStrategy to the latest version.

Be aware of the following:

  • If you are upgrading a MicroStrategy 8.x metadata that is stored in a DB2 UDB for z/OS database, refer to MicroStrategy Tech Note TN32695.
  • For assistance with updating MicroStrategy metadata projects from versions prior to MicroStrategy version 8.1.0, contact MicroStrategy Technical Support.

MicroStrategy requires that you update projects through an Intelligence Server connection (3-tier). Upgrading your project using a direct ODBC connection (2-tier) is not supported.

If you do not upgrade the metadata to the latest version, certain features will not work as expected. For example, if MicroStrategy Web Analytics Enterprise connects to a pre-Analytics Enterprise metadata through an Analytics Enterprise server, Change Journaling, Distribution Services, and some Report Services enhancements may not be available.

Downgrading Metadata Projects

Downgrading a MicroStrategy metadata or project to any previous product version is not supported. Once you update the project metadata to the latest version, you cannot downgrade to earlier product versions. Therefore, backing up the metadata is an essential step in the upgrade process as it allows you to revert to a backup version of the metadata, if necessary, to obtain pre-update versions of the projects it contains.

Configuring an Upgrade Test Environment

Your MicroStrategy environment includes multiple variables, such as security requirements, performance requirements, and VLDB settings, that are unique. MicroStrategy cannot anticipate all the ways these variables may interact with the upgrade process. Thus, MicroStrategy recommends you create a test environment and upgrade that environment first, then thoroughly test the upgraded installation. Once the tests are complete, then upgrade your production environment. This ensures that the upgrade of your production environment proceeds smoothly and any unexpected difficulties do not require additional downtime.

I will post a blog in the near future about testing your upgraded environment.

If you do not want to create a test environment, MicroStrategy recommends that you create and save an Integrity Manager integrity test baseline of your reports and documents. You can then execute an integrity test against this baseline when the upgrade is complete, to ensure that the upgrade has not altered any of your report results. For detailed information about using Integrity Manager to execute integrity tests, see the Integrity Manager chapter of the MicroStrategy System Administration Guide.

Best Practices for Configuring an Upgrade Test Environment

MicroStrategy recommends that you follow these best practices for configuring your upgrade test environment:

  • Do not modify any existing configuration objects. If you need additional configuration objects for testing, you can either create additional objects, or duplicate an existing object and modify it. This applies to database instances, connections and logins, security filters, users and user groups, and security roles.
  • If your production environment is clustered, then your test environment should also be clustered.
  • If your test and production data warehouses have different database table prefixes, make sure you are using the correct prefixes in the test environment’s Warehouse Catalog.
  • Create an integrity test comparing reports from the upgraded test environment with the same reports in the production environment, so that you can easily see where any differences are.
  • If possible, plan to execute data integrity and performance load tests against the production warehouse. This ensures that the test scenarios are as representative of the production environment as possible.
  • If you are creating reports and documents specifically for an upgrade integrity test, create those reports and documents before you duplicate the production metadata.
  • If you are using connection mapping for users to access the data warehouse, check to be sure that all users can log in to the test data warehouse, since user passwords may differ between the test warehouse and the production warehouse.

One way to manage this is to create a new generic database login, and then use the following sample Command Manager script to change users’ connection mappings to use this new login:


username” DBINSTANCE “production_warehouse_instance” DBLOGIN “test_login” ON PROJECT “project“;

For steps to use Command Manager, see the Command Manager Help, or the Command Manager chapter of the MicroStrategy System Administration Guide.

  • If you are using Narrowcast Server, make sure that the database copy of the Narrowcast repositories is not used when setting up the Narrowcast Server test environment. Instead, make a copy of the repositories with the Copy Repository utility included with Narrowcast Administrator and use this copy. This ensures that the test environment does not accidentally refer to a production server. For detailed instructions on creating a copy of the Narrowcast repositories, see the Narrowcast Server Upgrade Guide.

High-level Steps to Configure an Upgrade Test Environment

To ensure that your tests accurately reflect the upgrade experience, the upgrade test environment should reflect the production environment as closely as possible.

To Configure a Test Environment

  1. Set up the hardware for the environment. MicroStrategy recommends that this hardware duplicate the configuration of the production environment as closely as possible.
  2. Install your current version of MicroStrategy in the test environment.
  3. Using the Project Duplication Wizard, duplicate the production metadata into the test environment. For instructions on using the Project Duplication Wizard, see the Managing Your Projects chapter of the MicroStrategy System Administration Guide, or see the Project Duplication Wizard Help.
  4. Make sure that your test environment Intelligence Server is connected to your test environment metadata, and not your production metadata.
  5. If you do not intend to execute your tests against a production warehouse, duplicate the production warehouse, and ensure that the test environment points to the duplicate warehouse and not the production warehouse.
  6. Upgrade the test environment.
  7. Test the upgrade. Again, a future blog topic.

Upgrade Deployment Tests

Deploying the upgrade involves installing, activating, configuring, and running the upgrade processes for Intelligence Server, MicroStrategy Web Server, and MicroStrategy Mobile Server, as well as for the metadata, Narrowcast Server, and Enterprise Manager data repositories. These changes, as well as any other procedures that alter the production environment, should be tested when setting up the test environment.

Deployment tests should be performed by MicroStrategy administrators who normally have the responsibility of tuning and monitoring the MicroStrategy installation.


Reference Materials

Some detailed information about installing and configuring MicroStrategy products is beyond the scope of this blog entry and can be found in the MicroStrategy Installation and Configuration Guide. The MicroStrategy Installation and Configuration Guide provides detailed procedures on installing and configuring your MicroStrategy system. It also includes important information about installing, deploying, and configuring MicroStrategy Universal products.

In addition, the MicroStrategy Readme contains information about the new products, new features, and bug fixes available in MicroStrategy Analytics Enterprise.

For detailed instructions for upgrading Narrowcast Server, refer to the Narrowcast Server Upgrade Guide.


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