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Crystall_ReportServer_Setup.

Do you have any ideas on how long it takes and to install, configure and test a new
crystal reports server 2011 on a windows server 2008 virtual machine (VMware)?

We also need to configure the server to support URL or web reproting and moving 100+ reports to it.

Any ideas on tasks involved and time it takes would be appreciated.
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sam15
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sam15
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
For us Creating a Windows Server 2008 virtual server, would take a few minutes to deploy a new vanilla Windows 2008 Server from template with patches applied.

If you are installing from scratch

1. One Day to install the Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2, and apply Microsoft Patches, and Configure for Domain.

2. One Day to install and test Crystal Reports.

3. 2-3 Days to configure for Web Reporting and Test.

4. 5 days to move your 100+ Web Reports and Test with End Users.

I would allocated 2 man weeks, +1 weeks continguency.

Project Time:- 2 Man Weeks (1 weeks continguency)
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sam15Author Commented:
what do you mean fy 1 week contingency? is this for resolving issues and problems.

Also, i need to connect the server to the database machine but i assume that is pretty easy an just providing a server name or ip address and port (part of configuration).
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, we often build in contingency, for issues and problems, that can arise, which may delay the project.

e.g. Windows 2008 build has issues, and takes longer to build than 1 day, 100+ database take longer to test, because users are not available.

You may not have any issues, so the project will be shorter....

Most connections are performed by ODBC DSN connections and are easy to configure on the server.
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sam15Author Commented:
I thought the normal connection is native oracle drivers (i.e install oracle client on crystal server). ODBC has some limied support and does not give the best performance such as oracle Native NET drivers.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
It depends on how you want to configure access, ODBC DSN is just one method.
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Kurt ReinhardtSr. Business Intelligence Consultant/ArchitectCommented:
Truth be told, for a brand new system, you can be up and running and experimenting within a couple of days. Adding in contingency time is a really good idea, though. That being said, I would modify hanccocka's plan to reflect the actual software you're going to be using.

If you are installing from scratch (which you should be doing):

1. One Day to install the Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2, and apply Microsoft Patches, and Configure for Domain.

2. One Day to install and test Crystal Reports Server (actually installing only takes about an hour or two, depending how robust your VM and host are).  Make sure you install Crystal Reports first, then Crystal Reports Server.  Both must be at the same service pack level at install time (meaning don't install Crystal Reports 2011 SP2 and Crystal Reports Server SP1).  Once you have them installed with the base builds, alternate between Crystal Reports and Crystal Reports Server patching up to the SP level you need.

3. 2-3 Days to configure for Web Reporting and Test. This is unnecessary. Web Reporting is built into the product, even for URL Reporting. Instead, you need to worry more about user access to the environment.  What kind of licensing are you going to purchase?  Named or Concurrent users?  Are you going to enable Single Sign-On?  If so, that will require modification to your actual PDC and BDC, which requires coordination with your Network Admin.  Also, you will need a java web server.  Crystal Reports 2011 comes with Tomcat out of the box, but if you have an existing java web server environment you want to use, such as Websphere, that will take additional time.

4. 5 days to move your 100+ Web Reports and Test with End Users. - are your reports in an existing Crystal Reports Server environment?  If so, you can simply import them from the old to the  new.  Of course, that depends on you setting up the new environment first, such as installing the correct version of database drivers, making sure TNS Names and/or ODBC System DSNs are the same, the same printer drivers are installed that were on the old box, etc...  Even for a completely new system, you'll need to set these up.

I would allocated 2 man weeks, +1 weeks continguency.

Project Time:- 2 Man Weeks (1 weeks continguency)

Regarding the data connection, it depends on what you're using.  Generally speaking, Oracle Native Drivers are best for connecting to Oracle.  Many users have more than one database, so require multiple database drivers and connectors.  Since I'm a consultant, I have Oracle drivers, IBM iSeries drivers, SQL Server ODBC DSNs, etc...
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sam15Author Commented:
I do not have the software yet but I assume all the steps are covered in their documentation.

<<<make sure you install Crystal Reports first, then Crystal Reports Server.  >>

I am not sure what you mean by this. The crystal reports 2011 is the designer tool that is installed on desktop machine. Is taht what you mean by installing it on server.

We are buying concurrent licenses and users run the reports using a URL.

We are also buying the windows server (not Linux). I thought that comes with IIS bundeld out of the box and we will use windows IIS web server for making web calls to reports.

Do you normally install everything using a power user windows account or under root account. Root account is normally for sys admin and i will be report server admin (not sys admin)?
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Kurt ReinhardtSr. Business Intelligence Consultant/ArchitectCommented:
I do not have the software yet but I assume all the steps are covered in their documentation.

Their documentation for install isn't necessarily great.  I've installed every version of Crystal Reports Server/BusinessObjects Enterprise and it generally works well out of the box, but it's easy to make mistakes.  It's also incredibly important that your server be set up and configured with all features, services ahead of time. Having a clean, configured Windows box is the best first step.

<<<make sure you install Crystal Reports first, then Crystal Reports Server.  >>

I am not sure what you mean by this. The crystal reports 2011 is the designer tool that is installed on desktop machine. Is taht what you mean by installing it on server.

I generally recommend installing Crystal Reports on the reporting server.  You won't be developing reports on the actual server, but it's invaluable for troubleshooting.  If you have both installed on the same machine, it's important to install Crystal Reports first, due to possible overlap between .dlls.  It's also very important that the service pack level for all products (even on your development machines) be identical.

We are buying concurrent licenses and users run the reports using a URL

What's the underlying business reason for having users run reports via URL?  The product comes with a user portal (BI Launchpad) out of the box.  Users can login, schedule reports, view historic instances, etc.. URL reporting is supported of course, but it's rare that it be the only type of reporting for most environments.

Concurrent licenses are better for URL reporting, but you will still need to decide whether you want SSO or not.  If you don't want SSO, then users will be forced to login to the application every time they want to run a report from a URL (unless you embed a user ID and password into the URL, which is not good from a security standpoint).  

We are also buying the windows server (not Linux). I thought that comes with IIS bundeld out of the box and we will use windows IIS web server for making web calls to reports

Windows does come with IIS, but IIS is not a supported web server with Crystal Reports Server 2011 unless you are using the Sharepoint Integration Kit.  The entire BI 4.0 platform only supports java web servers, such as Tomcat.  Unfortunately, configuring SSO for Tomcat is much more complicated than it is for IIS. It requires Kerberos, which will need to be properly configured on your domain servers.

Do you normally install everything using a power user windows account or under root account. Root account is normally for sys admin and i will be report server admin (not sys admin)?

You must install the software under a domain account that belongs to the local administrator's group on the server.  Also, when you install the software, it's important that you right-click the executable and select "Run as administrator", even if you're logged in as an administrator.  Furthermore, the software installs its services running under the local system account.  That's perfectly fine if you never intend to go outside the box.  If you want SSO or need to schedule files to shared network locations then  you need to run the Server Intelligence Agent (SIA) service under a service account that belongs to the local administrator's group and has the necessary privileges on any other server or share it needs to access.
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sam15Author Commented:
I am not the guys setting up the windows 2008 server virtual machine. But i hope the CR documentation checks the enviironment settings before the install and gives us any warnings.

so you normally ask the sys admin to create an administrator account for you to install the reports server on the machine?

We are migrating an existing environment that uses BOE and url reporting this new one so i cant change the URL reporting thing. Users currently log into a web application but they call a URL for the report. There is no userid/password getting passed but the URL calls a script which i believe logs into the report server and creates a session because i see some session id.

It is pertty bad it does not support using IIS web server. This is what we use now in the current environment with Business object enteprise 11.

BTW, I have to install this server also on a development box so would you also add 3 weeks or that become straightforward after a successful install on the first one. Actuall I think we can copy the virtual machine from one box to another too so it might be easier.
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Kurt ReinhardtSr. Business Intelligence Consultant/ArchitectCommented:
I am not the guys setting up the windows 2008 server virtual machine. But i hope the CR documentation checks the enviironment settings before the install and gives us any warnings.

The install will check for some things, but you really don't want to have to roll back an install once it reaches a failure point.  That can cause problems.  You'll need to make sure your VM has the appropriate hardware configuration (a MINIMUM of 8GB RAM, which means your host needs to have sufficient RAM), has a clean Windows build, has the appropriate features installed (application server, for example), is fully patched up, has AV and firewall protection, etc...

so you normally ask the sys admin to create an administrator account for you to install the reports server on the machine?

Yes, you normally ask a sysadmin to create a service account with a non-expiring password that you use to run Crystal Reports Server.

We are migrating an existing environment that uses BOE and url reporting this new one so i cant change the URL reporting thing. Users currently log into a web application but they call a URL for the report. There is no userid/password getting passed but the URL calls a script which i believe logs into the report server and creates a session because i see some session id.

If you're migrating an existing environment then you can import in your reports from the old environment.  That being said, the URLs will probably need to be changed, since the overall URL reporting path has been simplified from prior versions.  That means you'll need to go in and change the URLs for every report.

It is pertty bad it does not support using IIS web server. This is what we use now in the current environment with Business object enteprise 11.

I agree.  I'm hoping they reintroduce IIS support with the 4.1 version of the platform.  When Crystal Reports Server 2008/Enterprise XI 3.0 came out, it didn't support IIS either.  It wasn't supported until the V1/3.1 version came out.  In general, I recommend holding off the .0 version of the product, in general.  XI R2 was a major improvement over XI, too.

BTW, I have to install this server also on a development box so would you also add 3 weeks or that become straightforward after a successful install on the first one. Actuall I think we can copy the virtual machine from one box to another too so it might be easier.

It's easy enough to clone a VM, but if you want a dedicated dev box then you're going to have to install the system twice, because each will need its own dedicated "machine" with its own DNS name.
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sam15Author Commented:
Thank you for the great information.

I forgot that you can always clone a VM (file copy) and copy it to another machine for development and I should have another reports server running very quickly. The VM is really a file on the physical machine. so there is no need to reinstall unless there are some registry or memory changes on the physical machine which may cause issues. It is similar to installing a somw windows application on one pc. You cannot simply copy files to another PC because of registry changes. You have to reinstall software on 2nd machine so it works properly.

Yes all the report URL calls will have to change too with new server.

I also request at  a 10GB RAM for this Virtual machine since crystal requires a lot of memory.

Is the Tomcat web server also installed and configured with the software?

I looked on amazon to see if there is any books on installation proces but there is not any book on the server product so I am only going to have to follow the product documentation and steps for installation.
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sam15Author Commented:
Excellent Solution!
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