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Summary of session notes

Takeover Business Objects

  • SAP NW BI is here to stay, Business Objects will be a supplemental layer and / or separate reporting stack - depending on the requirements.

Linux & Virtualization are hot topics

  • SAP is now using Linux on x86_64 as a development platform from NW7.1 and up. There are no reasons to suspect support issues for Linux anymore.
  • SAP continues to invest largely in MaxDB as a competitive scalable alternative.
  • VMWare and XEN are now fully supported also for Adaptive Computing.

Java & Portal news

  • Sun says Java 1.4.2 will be end of service on October 2008. For SAP this is a problem and they are working on a solution.
  • SAP will develop their own JVM (based on SUN Hotspot) for all platforms staring from NW7.1.
  • Enhanced change and transit (CTS) starting from NW7 SP12 to transport both ABAP as non-ABAP (java) objects using the same method and in the same transport request.
  • overall message from SAP: Avoid dual stacks where possible!
  • No more interface galore, the Visual Administrator will be completely gone. Everything must be done from 1 single browser application. To start the interface go to SOLMAN and launch the Netweaver Administrator using a browser link.

Volvo SAPGUI updater upcoming change!

  • A New GUI design interface will be introduced, a new feature will be that you have the ability to create hierarchical entries in the SAP logon(pad). This may give us a bit of a problem with the SAPGUI updater for myPlace due to changes in the .ini structure (no news on backward compatibility).

Database Performance Warehouse

  • A new DBA cockpit (DPW) for monitoring the performance of all your databases across SAP landscapes will be introduced. This is separated from solman and all data is pulled into a data warehouse.


  • Work centers are the new hype for managing SAP from Solution Manager. This finally looks like a viable interface. Work centers may have the added value people where expecting and look like the final direction SAP is taking in this field.

All PDF documents related to the sessions below can be found here.

General Session

Evaluation: started really slow but interesting towards the end.

Routine opening keynote, giving partners a chance to talk and thanking people. The room was full and SAP provided "overflow" rooms with live video streams. At the end some info was being disclosed regarding the plans of Business Objects in the BW/BI scene, some changes are bound to happen here.

SOA208 - SAP Enterprise Architecture Framework (EAF)

Evaluation: from my perspective and position in the SAP landscape at VIT the first half was quite interesting an be able to place this in our corporate environment. The second half was less interesting and way out there high in the sky.

Most work is (or should be) covered by the GSAP Architecture & Integration Center but it is important for BASIS to cover our side and contribute the details to meet the functional government definitions. It did provide me some understanding and also ideas to improve our services, fill in the gaps and hints on where we need to provide more clarification.

Main SOA enterprise architecture levels: business architecture, application architecture, data architecture, technology architecture

Based on GAF/TOGAF (From the Open Group - as in UNIX X/Open).

Focus is on: Packaged Applications & Service Oriented Architectures. Topics that are often missing in similar frameworks are ...

  • clear technology and process definitions
  • best / common company practices
  • practical guides
  • templates, examples and case studies (similar to our GSAP project frameworks, there may even be some overlap)
  • etc...

LCM117 - SOLMAN at Chevron

Evaluation: Really interesting to see other people with similar environments and get the confirmation we are all [more-or-less] having the same issues.

The speaker has been replaced by the Chevron BASIS team lead. The speaker was technically skilled and does seem to have a good level of functional / business awareness. The Chevron technical team lead is a ASUG member and they sometimes do work together with other companies to resolve common issues and exchange experiences.

Chevron is mainly an HP shop using HP-UX and HP OpenView. The technical team manages a similarly sized SAP environment (2/3 of our size) with 30 people (we have 35-40). They are also organized in about the same way Volvo is.

Differences and similarities: They are sourcing routine work; top-to-bottom organization [or at least have full control] is the only way to go as they experienced; specialized people and per chain responsible assigned; lots of custom scripting but missing the cockpit interface; quite some legacy on all all levels, they started around 1999; ...

Chevron has a relative large architecture team and have nicely written down a major portion on paper. Now they pushed a large part down into SOLMAN and have kind of to review a few things. The functional side was pretty much defined but when they got down to the technical level it was all kind of fuzzy. SAP and the internal functional requirements kept pushing to use SOLMAN. Eventually BASIS started bending the SOLMAN way and really go-for-it.

Why? First of all the mess Netweaver brought to the company. Not that Netweaver sucks but it brings a whole new range of technologies (PI/XI, J2EE, SLD, xApps, portals, ...) and monitoring issues with it which they where not prepared for (simple ABAP stacks where the standard).

How? By bringing in a 3th party who started to connect systems to SOLMAN and define solutions. After this first step Chevron started to use SOLMAN. More features and functionality where used over time. Chevron is now looking at root cause analysis and business process monitoring.

J2EE & Portals are defined in Solution manager but fully managed using a product called Wily combined with Mercury. Mercury alone is not enough and Wily is much better to integrate into SOLMAN.

LCM241 - SAP and Linux

Evaluation: weak biased presentation (by Novel, accompanied by the Freudenberg SAP hosting partner). However some confirming hints where useful enough to keep in mind when we start evaluating Linux as a alternative platform.

  • Keep using the same technologies or use the Linux distribution provided replacement software for more cost leverage.
  • Almost always HA solutions or virtualization technologies costs extra on traditional UNIX platforms; on Linux Enterprise platforms there are no additional costs to start using these features.
  • Freudenburg is 1 of 10 Global hosting partners providing standardized hosting offers.
  • 50% of SAP (worldwide) runs on HP hardware.
  • if you use VMware and are standardized on this solution then you should continue to use it unless you want to move away and go for Xen which is more then capable these days to compete.
  • Blades are too high on heat and limited on the hardware level; they are useful in certain situations but not for production environments.

LCM230 - Monitoring using SOLMAN

Evaluation: Exactly what we are doing but Paul had some interesting related session where SAP was mentioning thay where going to change the whole CEN & CCMS part :(

UP118 - SAP GUI family

Evaluation: light talk by technical speaker (sounds like a contradiction) with minor hints to watch out for.

  • SAP GUI 6.40 will be end of life (2008) before 6.20 (2010).
  • New GUI design interface will be introduced. Quote: "the most important feature is that you can scale the font and the rest of the interface will scale with the font" - LOL. Another feature is that you will be able to have hierarchical entries in the SAP logon(pad) - which may give us a bit of a problem with the SAPGUI updater for myPlace.
  • When problems are arising to install the Java GUI (AIX) it is best to go through the SDN forums for support. Most developers are monitoring the forums, also tips for future features are welcome and taken into account.

LCM245 - keep Applications Running Data Available

Evaluation: Presentation by Symantec - it gave me a chance to create and update this blog ;-)

Basically they where selling their entire suite but nailed some existing issues (which they claimed to have solved but other SAP partners provide similar solutions) along the way.

LCM106 - end-to-end system administration & operations

Evaluation: slow starting session; not the best speaker; for exploring the all the details you needs hands on.

It all comes down to the fact that you use transaction "SOLMAN_WORKCENTER" on Solution Manager instead of using sm21, st03, db02, ... on the different SAP systems themselves.

LCM243 - Nike database admin techniques

Evaluation: They call themselves experts (really, even on thier business cards).

Nike talks about using livereorg, brtools, tablespace monitoring, arching, ... They also mentioned using flashback (e.g. quick minute rollback of 30minutes after a bad transport) but when asked about consistency with other integrated/connected CRM or BW systems they said: "hmmm.. we never had a problem up until now but in theory you can orchestrate a flashback to the same point in time for all related systems" - LOL. They are handling stuff more or less in the same way we do. For their tablespace monitoring they also use lots of scripting but leave the presentation and graphics cockpit over to the open source Nagios.

LCM100 - Netweaver Technical Update

Evaluation: monotone German accent but he seem to know what he is talking about.

  • Unicode => convert *now*
  • for older systems there where some restriction or problems when using different platforms for java application servers, this will no longer be a problem in NW7.1.
  • Oracle is not supported on VMware or XEN, use other databases like MaxDB for these virtualization platforms.
  • Sun says Java 1.4.2 will be end of service on October 2008. For SAP this is a problem and they are working on a solution. In the future SAP will have a better grip.
  • NEW: SAP JVM (as extension of SUN Hotspot JVM) staring from NW7.1.
  • Enhanced change and transit (CTS) starting from NW7 SP12 to transport both ABAP as non-ABAP (java) objects using the same method and even in the same transport.
  • strong recommendation from everyone during the congress: use single stacks where possible (see slides for details)!
  • NEW: DBA cockpit (DPW) for monitoring all your databases. This is sepparated from solman and all data is pulled into a data warehouse.
  • SAP continues to invest largely in MaxDB.
  • SAP is now using Linux on x86_64 as adevelopment platform. No reason to suspect support issues for Linux from NW7.1 and up!
  • No application servers are supported in Z/OS, only DB and CI.

LCM124 - VMware ESX

Evaluation: confirmation and tips about SAP on Linux using MaxDB for low-end machines and application servers.

Use Linux + MaxDB + Vmotion + over commit CPU (do not use memory over commit). Vmotion cannot be used to do hardware upgrades on the original machines?! What happens to the database when it is running and triggering VMware DR?

SOA200 - Netweaver road map

Evaluation: business process leverage approach consume effective analysis trend adaptive flexibility composition and more of that wordplay junk ...

  • New features with extra attention this year: virtualization & mobile technologies
  • The central Redwood job scheduler is integrated as part of the stack for a while now, a new version is available (see LCM204)
  • SAP NW BI is here to stay, business objects will be a supplemental and / or sepparate layer (depending on the requirements)
  • it will be possible to enhance webdynpro using flex, flash, silverlight, etc...
  • Accelerated innovation of NW7.1&7.2 features as a enhancement into NW7.0

LCM121 - EMC enhances your landscape

Evaluation: my thoughts during the session "keep your hands off my content, all you get are my bits".

The fist presented solution is about livecache and / or maxdb hot standby accelerated re-sync after fail over. For some of the other solutions I did not really understand the added value unless the covered SAP technologies would be basically flawed. EMC presented niche solutions created for specific customers which they are now trying to sell (is EMC the right partner level to fill-in these gaps?).

LCM231 - IBM virtualization (prepare for SOA)

Evaluation: standard IBM POWER6 + AIX6 partition live migration feature presentation.

IM222 - archiving

Evaluation: kind of disappointing but then again maybe i was expecting a magic pill :)

  • archive routing needs 2 separate variants.
  • ILM
  • what are we doing after archiving? Some people believe tablespace reorganizations are not needed, if you do not reorg you will not see the reduction but you will notice a reduced or zero growth in the periods to come. optional: cleanup archive info structure references in sara after deletion.

UP108 - portal acceleration

Evaluation: seems to be a internal SAP solution to solve a technology issue and are now trying to open-up / sell.

  • portal acceleration with global response time improvements from 20-30sec or 120sec to 5sec (depending on the portal requests).
  • in ramp up, only pilot and beta for now. Unrestricted shipment in 2008 Q4.
  • server + client fronted that do compression
  • you also need additional some portal admin plugins for config & management. What needs to be configured? simple, 1 time setup for every client - yes, for every client! You also need to setup certificates for each client. Close network collaboration is needed. For some management tools they do not know yet where the right place is to roll-out.
  • the server front-end options are restricted running Linux or Windows.
  • This acceleration also has a offloading effect on the SAP portal because of faster round-trip.
  • How this is done (in short): multiplex communication over 16 channels + gzip compression between server and client front-end + client side caching.
  • There are other alternatives like documentum who do provide similar solutions but these have another focus.

PS: this can also be used with other web-based technologies, not only portals.

LCM205 - Adaptive computing use cases

Evaluation: Good overview of what to expect and hints how to prepare for AC

  • integrated VMware management capabilities
  • support from 4.6C up to most recent releases
  • traditional installed landscapes can also be controlled with adaptive computing but you cannot relocate, just stop/start.
  • on the managed machine you have a host and instance agent running. With NW7.0 the host agent is integrated in saposcol.
  • partner using the AC API can for example be Tivoli.
  • You can mix physical and virtual servers (e.g. VMware and IBM Power5 partitioning)
  • AC is controlled using a webdynpro interface
  • VMware live migration options are integrated in the SAP interface, it might be possible that livemigration is blocked from the standard VMware interface if a system is under control of AC.
  • 30% cost reduction in total is expected on multiple management levels.
  • can be used for DIA (application), CI & DB instances
  • also very good for training systems, they do not have to be always on. Stop development, SQ, sandboxes and training systems when not being used.
  • start peak time (end of month) additional DIA instances.
  • in the past they used stopsap / startsap. today this is handled through webservices by the instance agent.
  • When scaling from smaller to larger systems you would like to change parameters. SAP profiles cannot be changed, but in NW7.1 ABAP stacks you can have dynamic DIA processes. Additional capacity can also be used by starting additional DIA instances.
  • What abouth Oracle listener when you run multiple database servers? You will have to handle this yourself! We are looking into using 1 or 2 large database hotels for licensing so this could be a answer and in the mean time we have can use adaptive computing to control our SAP instances!
  • For SAP you need to use a virtual hostname. What about a separate IP for reversed lookup request, SAP can be difficult about this? When using virtual hostnames you do need a dedicated IP for your virtual host so that reversed lookups are in order.
  • The future graceful shutdown option will wait for users to logon and background batches to finish.
  • AC works for all stacks combination's
  • you cannot have clustering when using AC
  • AC it is not included in SOLMAN. AC is a NW7.1 java stack feature, at the time of writing solman is on NW7.0.

LCM164 - MaxDB

Evaluation: good short overview and short hands-on restoring the database using integrated tools

References: SND uses MaxDB for its portals. Maximum known customer sizes for production usage is 5TiB (theoretically this can be 16TiB).

  • for MaxDB you pay 5% of the SAP license, for some solutions (e.g. content, livecace) MaxDB is bundled and no license is needed.
  • MaxDB has no tablespaces, only striped data volumes (data files) and no reorganization are needed.
  • Using MaxDB: 1) install software 2) create new database instance using this software
  • Database manager (windows based) goes up to version 7.6, database studio (Eclipse based for Win & Linux) starts from version 7.5.
  • MaxDB uses page level backups, it is not recommended to use file based backups. However you can do file based backups and there even exists a note which describes how to stop the DB writer so you can freeze the database to take file / fs based snapshots. SAP is working on a cleaner integrated solution to take snapshots so this note is just a work around for the lack of a *explicit* backup mode.
  • importing and exporting data is possible and there are even a few special features available to do this.

LCM260 - NW 7.1 java

Evaluation: overall weak but with good opening news.

No more interface galore, everything can now be done from 1 browser application. To start the interface go to SOLMAN and launch the Netweaver Administrator using a browser link. The Visual Administrator is gone completely.

LCM204 - Central Process Scheduling (CPS)

Evaluation: Interesting to see where this is going and have some better overall insight.

  • CPS by Redwood for SAP NW is automatically shipped with NW7.0 EHP2.0.
  • Cronacle 7.0 is ABAP and only for Oracle based systems, SAP CPS for SAP NW 7.0 is a java stack based product supporting most OS and DBMS systems.
  • With the full version (chargeable) you can also schedule OS-based jobs.
  • CPS interface http://X.X.X.X:50000/scheduler
  • A nice (in theory) approval process for new jobs can be put in place using SOLMAN while blocking the creation of new jobs directly on the system.
  • Enforced CPS will become a high availability component. Launched jobs will continue to run and complete but no new submissions or status checking is possible if the CPS system is down!

LCM202 - Enhancement Packages (EHP)

Evaluation: I did not know anything about this until this teched so yes it was a good session.

  • The enhancement framework you install is a quite large delta of the installed version and the target feature version, also note that EHP versions are cumulative.
  • The new EHP installer is not available on the marketplace. Mail (SAP NetWeaver Product Management) to get it.

UP202 - Portal Infrastructure

Evaluation: I was not really paying attention (I have been writing up this summary during the presentation and was tired) however the presenter closely followed the slides. Strangely there where lots of people and no questions :)

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