The Real Truth About Universe Row and Time Restrictions

  • by Alan Mayer, President, Solid Ground Technologies, Inc.
  • December 27, 2013
Many users of SAP applications are confident in their understanding of how row or time restrictions can be applied in a BusinessObjects universe. However, this common understanding strays from the reality of how these controls actually work. Knowing how these limits function can make a huge difference in how they are used and set in the first place. Properly restricted universes prevent any one user from monopolizing a corporate database and force users to condition their queries to return reasonably sized datasets.
Learning Objectives

After reading this article, you will know how to:

  • Apply time and row restrictions to your universe-generated queries
  • Identify those queries that are most at risk for restriction mismanagement
  • Recognize the downsides to partial results alerting
Key Concept
SELECT statements are read-only statements used to retrieve information from relational databases. The technique of automatically adding universe-based restrictions to SELECT statements based on membership to a group is a BusinessObjects-specific feature. Restricting SELECT statements based on runtime or rows retrieved is extremely important to prevent ad hoc query tools from generating queries that seize all resources or attempt to retrieve the entire database with a single statement. Understanding these limits can also help businesses sidestep potentially dangerous situations in which users are making decisions based on incomplete data based on lack of alerts or notifications from BusinessObjects.

Knowing how BusinessObjects processes universe-based read-only (SELECT) statements is enlightening and unnerving at the same time. It’s enlightening because the knowledge can help anyone choose better values for these restrictions. It’s unnerving for those who realize that their reports may not have all the data that their audience expects. I examine cases derived from the sample data and universes distributed with BusinessObjects. A novice can re-create the scenarios presented.

I focus on the Universe Designer to explain the concepts. The Designer is available in BI 4.x and earlier versions of BusinessObjects. The rules presented, however, also apply to universes created using the Information Design Tool (IDT). 

Alan Mayer

Alan Mayer is president at Solid Ground Technologies, Inc. He has built customer-focused, BusinessObjects-based solutions for the last 20 years. His original company, Integra Solutions, was one of the first BusinessObjects partners that joined the program in 1995. His company provided the first authorized set of training manuals that were later purchased by the software vendor for nationwide distribution. Solutions from his firm have been adopted by a wide variety of industries, from healthcare to banking, manufacturing, and retail.

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