How to maintain versatility throughout your SAP lifecycle
There are many use cases for deploying a tool to monitor your SAP system. Releasing your application between test environments, introducing additional users to your production system, or developing new functionality—all of these introduce an element of risk to your application and environment. Whether you are upgrading to SAP HANA, moving data centres, or expanding your use of ECC modules or mobile interfaces (Fiori), you can help mitigate the risk with the insights SAP PowerConnect for Splunk provides.
Before you begin upgrades to your SAP landscape, you need to verify several prerequisites such as hardware and OS requirements, source release of the SAP system, and background process volumes. There are increased memory, session, and process requirements when performing the upgrade, which need to be managed. The SAP PowerConnect solution provides you with all key information about how your system is responding during the transition, with up-to-date process, database, and system usage information.
Triaging and correlating events or incidents is also easier than ever with PowerConnect through its ability to time series historic information. It means you can look back to a specific point in time and see what the health of the system or specific server was, the configuration settings, etc. This is a particularly useful feature for regression testing.
Supporting application and infrastructure migration
Migration poses risks. It’s critical to mitigate those risks through diligent preparation, whether it’s ensuring your current code works on the new platform or that the underlying infrastructure will be fit for purpose.
For example, when planning a migration from an ABAP-based system to an on-premise SAP HANA landscape, there are several migration strategies you can take, depending on how quickly you want to move and what data you want to bring across. With a greenfield deployment, you start from a clean setup and bring across only what you need. The other end of the spectrum is a one-step upgrade with a database migration option (DMO), where you migrate in-place.
Each option will have its own advantages and drawbacks; however, both benefit from the enhanced visibility that PowerConnect provides throughout the deployment and migration process. As code is deployed and patched, PowerConnect will highlight infrastructure resource utilisation issues, greedy processes, and errors from the NetWeaver layer. PowerConnect can also analyse custom ABAP code and investigate events through ABAP code dumps by ID or user.
Increasing user volumes
Deployments can be rolled out in stages, be it through end users or application functionality. This is an effective way to ease users onto the system and lessen the load on both end-user training and support desk tickets due to confusion. As user volume increases, you may find that people don’t behave like you thought they would—meaning your performance test results may not match up with real-world usage. In this case, PowerConnect provides the correlation between the end-user behaviour and the underlying SAP infrastructure performance. This gives you the confidence that if the system starts to experience increased load, you will know about it before it becomes an issue in production. You can also use PowerConnect to learn the new trends in user activity, and feed that information back into the testing cycle to make sure you’re testing as close to real-world scenarios as possible.
It may not be all bad news. PowerConnect can highlight unexpected user behaviour in a positive light, where you might find new users are introduced to the system, they don’t find a feature as popular as you thought they would. Hence you would then be able to turn off the feature to reduce licence usage or opt to promote the feature internally. PowerConnect will not only give you visibility into system resource usage, but also what users are doing on the system to cause that load.
Feedback across the development lifecycle
PowerConnect provides a constant feedback solution with correlation and insights throughout the application delivery lifecycle. Typically migrations, deployments, and upgrades follow a general lifecycle of planning, deploying, then business as usual, before making way for the next patch or version.
During planning and development, you want insights into user activity and the associated infrastructure performance to understand the growth of users over time.
- With the data retention abilities of Splunk, PowerConnect can identify trends from the last hour right back to the last year and beyond. These usage trends can help define performance testing benchmarks by providing concurrent user volumes, peak periods, and what transactions the users are spending time on.
- In the absence of response time SLAs, page load time goals can be defined based on current values from the SAP Web Page Response Times dashboard.
- With the ability to compare parameters, PowerConnect can help you make sure your test and pre-prod environments have the same configuration as production. When the test team doesn’t have access to run RZ10 to view the parameters, a discrepancy can be easy to miss and cause unnecessary delays.
Once in production, PowerConnect also gives you client-centric and client-side insights.
- You can view the different versions of SAP GUI that users have installed or see a world map showing the global distribution of users.
- Splunk can even alert from a SecOps perspective, and notify you if someone logs in from a country outside your user base. You can view a list of audited logins and browse the status of user passwords.
- The power of Splunk gives you the ability to alert or regularly report on trends in the collected data. You can be informed if multiple logins fail, or when the CPU vs Work processes is too high. Automated scripts can be triggered when searches return results so that, for example, a ServiceNow ticket can be raised along with an email alert.
Even after a feature has completed its lifecycle and is ready to be retired, PowerConnect remains rich with historical data describing usage, issues, and configuration settings in Splunk, even if that raw data disappears or has been aggregated from SAP.
Backed by the power of Splunk, and with the wealth of information being collected, the insights provided by PowerConnect will help you effectively manage your SAP system throughout your SAP lifecycle.