Basis administrators can tell tales of being called in to the office in the wee hours of the morning to investigate system performance complaints. Frustrated by a lack of concrete information to prove the reported issues, administrators fight to quantify the issue and resolve it. To avoid this, it’s best to be proactive -- and two of the most important processes for checking system performance are automated reporting and automated monitoring...
with the help of SAP Solution Manager.
Reporting automation: EarlyWatch Alert reporting
Many administrators feel contempt when it comes to EarlyWatch Alert (EWA) reports in SAP Solution Manager. Those who have been around the SAP world for a while may recall the difficult early days of EWA services. SAP provided a report designed to highlight indicators of system-level issues that needed attention.
The main problem was that there was very little value in the arbitrary thresholds used as indicators of concern. With most systems having some customization, there was no way to come up with thresholds to apply across the board. Of course, the flip side of this problem was that management loved the concept of EWA reports, so technicians had to plod through with EWA sessions, spending valuable time discussing what they knew to be futile.
Fast-forward to the present: EWA reports have grown much better. In many cases, historical comparisons of customer data are used instead of arbitrary thresholds. For example, if EWA reports are running weekly, a report can show trends over time. Instead of someone determining what value triggers a warning, administrators can review the values and determine when to act.
The key is that, once scheduled, the report is automated. It runs on its own, and EWA sends the report to the administrator by email. The administrator can see the trend lines heading in a particular direction and deal with the issues before they become critical.
However, say administrators feel that EWA automated reports don’t have enough relevant information and want to change it. Now they can. For example, if they don't like the metrics coming from EWA reports, they can create their own versions.
Reporting automation: Service Level Reporting
Service Level Reporting (SLR) allows administrators to determine which metrics are valuable based on how companies’ systems are used. Administrators can also decide based on system knowledge what thresholds are truly indicators of a problem that needs addressing.
SLR provides the same benefit automated reports do by showing trend analysis of system performance issues, but users can pick and choose the content. Select from EWA monitors, Computing Center Management System (CCMS) monitors or a customized ABAP report. Whatever is critical enough for weekly updates appears in the relevant inboxes when configured and activated.
Monitoring automation is straightforward to most system administrators. In countless discussions I’ve had over the years, I’ve never had anyone say that monitoring is not necessary.
But SAP applications are complex nowadays. Where in the system do you monitor?
Traditionally, organizations commonly monitor ABAP and database layers for warning signs. But what about Java? What about the network? What about end-user clients like SAP GUI?
It is surprising how many critical components are ignored, or manually monitored, when SAP provides options for these, free of cost. With tools that SAP offers, all these areas are covered. From CCMS for ABAP monitoring, Wily Introscope (bundled with SAP Solution Manager) for Java, SAP End-User Experience Monitoring for scripted transaction monitoring (which covers the network as well) and more, there really is no excuse for not monitoring any components.