Ensuring your SAP Infrastructure Runs at Lightning Speed

by January 31, 2018

SAP is at the heart of many organizations’ most mission-critical business processes. If SAP systems, databases and supporting IT infrastructure are not functioning optimally, critical business functions—such as order-to-cash or financial close—can slow down or even become completely unavailable.

SAP ERP based on R/3 architecture is a three layers architecture as the name suggests. To make sure end user experience is top notch, all the three layers needs to function optimally in tandem.

(1) Presentation Layer 

This Layer contains the software components that make up the SAP GUI (graphical user interface). This layer is the interface between the R/3 System and its users. The R/3 System uses the SAP GUI to provide an intuitive graphical user interface for entering and displaying data. SAP GUI can be both thick client or the modern web based interface.
The presentation layer sends the user’s input to the application server, and receives data for display from it. While a SAP GUI component is running, it remains linked to a user’s terminal session in the R/3 System.

(2) Application Layer

This Layer consists of one or more application servers and a message server. Each application server contains a set of services used to run the R/3 System. Theoretically, you only need one application server to run an R/3 System. In practice, the services are distributed across more than one application server. The message server is responsible for communication between the application servers. It passes requests from one application server to another within the system. Also contains information about application server groups and the current load balancing within them. Lastly, it uses this information to assign an appropriate server when a user logs onto the system.

(3) Database Layer

This Layer consists of a central database system containing all of the data in the R/3 System. The database system has two components – the database management system (DBMS), and the database itself. SAP has manufactured its own database named SAP HANA® but is compatible with all major databases such as Oracle. All R/3 data is stored in the database. For example, the database contains the control and customizing data that determine how your R/3 System runs. It also contains the program code for your applications. Applications consist of program code, screen definitions, menus, function modules, and various other components. These are stored in a special section of the database called the R/3 Repository, and are accordingly called repository objects.

 

As we drill down in the 3 layers, there are multiple components that are working together which needs to be monitored and tuned to get the optimum end user experience.

Figure 1: SAP Component view

 

Multi-tier architecture with multiple components introduce multiple failure points. To effectively troubleshoot issues within complex SAP environments, administrators need a comprehensive view of relevant performance metrics from across all the tiers within SAP implementations

IT administrators biggest challenge is monitoring of SAP deployments are complex with several heterogeneous components all of which need to be performing optimally else both business process and user experience would suffer. IT administrator wants clear visibility of the overall SAP deployment

 

To overcome the above challenge CA UIM offers the solution having following key features:

Unified Monitoring:  Visibility into SAP ABAP® as well as SAP NetWeaver® systems along with supporting systems like PI/PO, BOBJ or databases such as SAP HANA® through a single UI

Monitoring for your deployment: Allows monitoring of SAP deployment on both on-premise & SAP HANA® Enterprise Cloud

Powerful, Actionable Insights:  Delivers persona specific views of performance, availability, utilization, exceptions and usage across SAP environment

 

Figure 2: Modern SAP unified dashboard

Key goal for any SAP deployment is to provide consistent and optimized end user experience. From the infrastructure perspective, this need boils down to requirement to provide acceptable response time for every user action. End user action is measured from the time user entered his request and time taken to get response. This it true measure of end to end response time monitoring. Success factor for optimum response time is that all the underlying components both physical and architectural are working in tandem and thereby delivering definite response time.

Total response time is sum of Wait time in Queue + Roll in/out time from buffer + database  request time. Using tool like CA UIM, you can monitor the response time using the out of the box  templates with suggested thresholds to make sure experience  is top notch.

 

 

If the goal is to provide best user experience, tools like UIM can help SAP monitoring for both On-prem and over HEC deployment types. In CA UIM, monitoring is done using the light weight agents called probes. For SAP monitoring, it has sap_basis probe among 140+ other monitoring probes which gets its non-synthetic monitoring data from SAP approved connectors and exposed web services. So what CA UIM offers is the following:

  • Comprehensive coverage: Track relevant performance metrics from across all the tiers and infrastructure elements in an SAP environment
  • Out-of-the-box templates and dashboards: Gain the capabilities you need to quickly and easily monitor SAP ABAP®, SAP HANA® and SAP NetWeaver®
  • SLA and trend reports: Monitor historical data to find the root cause of issues and better plan for future needs
  • Data security and regulatory compliance:
    Use CA UIM to connect to the SAP system with a dedicated SAP authorization profile, so you can guard against unauthorized access to business data

Need of the hour is have a unified perspective for the status performance and availability of all the SAP components in the deployment. SAP deployments can be both On-premise or on the SAP HANA® enterprise cloud. CA UIM supports monitoring of both deployments type. IT monitoring tools like CA Unified Infrastructure Management #CAUIM which combined with CA Application Performance Management #CAAPM available on both On-Premise and on demand over SaaS labeled as Digital Experience Insight #DXI, helps the enterprise monitor thru its multi-tier, heterogeneous complex IT foot prints from application to infrastructure level, provides the holistic and well-knit view of IT deployment for full-stack, digital experience monitoring and analytics for five-star experiences​.