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Have You Checked Your Threshold Settings Lately?

by Christoph Nake | SAPinsider

July 1, 2002

by Christoph Nake, SAP AG SAPinsider - 2002 (Volume 3), July (Issue 3)
 

SAP’s CCMS Monitoring Infrastructure — the data source for alerts in the CCMS Alert Monitor (RZ20), the SAP Solution Manager, and other third-party tools for monitoring SAP systems — includes three helpful features:

  • Customizable display of complete system landscape monitoring data in a single screen.

  • Automatic alert management, so that when a problem occurs, an alert is raised and an auto-reaction can be triggered.

  • Analysis features to help you check and correct the problem at its source.1

Of course, when it comes to those alert management features, it sounds so simple: “When a problem occurs, an alert is raised.” But have you ever considered the conditions that set off alerts in your system? In most cases, you’re probably working with the default threshold settings that SAP provides for monitoring elements, for example:

  • Aborted batch job: 1

  • Dialog response time: 2000 msec or more

In many cases, these settings will be just fine. But to get the maximum benefits from these alerts, these settings must be checked, otherwise your default thresholds might be too high or low to accurately reflect the operation and priorities in your system landscape.

This article focuses on how to make sure that CCMS’s automatic alert management features are working optimally for your system. I’ll start with some common questions about checking and adjusting alert thresholds for SAP systems with the CCMS Monitoring Infrastructure.

Do I Have to Check Every Threshold Setting?

In the CCMS Alert Monitor, several hundred monitoring elements with threshold settings are displayed — Figure 1 shows just a small fraction of them, as you might find them in a typical monitor. Of course, you don’t want to check each and every one of the monitoring elements out there. Instead, you should only check the settings of the most important monitoring tree elements (MTEs) for your daily monitoring — the ones included in your own customized monitors.2 So as a first step, you can ignore all MTEs outside of your monitors.


Figure 1 Attributes in the CCMS Alert Monitor (Transaction RZ20)

Which Systems Need to Be Checked?

CCMS Alert Monitor threshold settings may be adjusted for the dedicated central monitoring system (CEN) that accesses local data3 and in each SAP system.

CEN also controls SAP components that do not have their own CCMS Alert Monitoring Infrastructure, such as:

  • SAP 3.x systems connected via CCMS agent program SAPCM3X.

  • Non-SAP basis systems, like ITS (Internet Transaction Server), connected via CCMS agent program SAPCCMSR.

For R/3, until Release 4.5, system administrators could only adjust thresholds individually in each SAP system.

However, for CEN Release 4.5 and up, an administrator has two options for adjusting settings in those systems:

  • Adapt threshold settings manually in each SAP system.

  • Configure threshold settings in CEN, store the settings in a container, and transport the container into the other SAP systems using SAP’s standard transport mechanism TMS.

Threshold Settings

Threshold settings differ depending on the type of monitoring attribute. Some ideas for customizing might include:

Type of MTE Example Possible Customizing
Single message attributes aborted batch jobs Define an alert to be triggered only for the first aborted batch jobs.
Redefine the alert class: instead of raising a red alert (SAP default), nothing but a yellow alert is triggered.
Performance Attributes dialog response time Customize thresholds for a change from green to yellow, from yellow to red, and back again
Logfile attributes system log messages You can decide individually, per each message level, whether an alert is raised or not.

The CCMS Alert Monitoring Architecture offers two classes of alerts: yellow alerts for warnings, and red alerts for severe problems.

When Should I Check Thresholds?

Thresholds should be checked:

  • After a new component is added to central monitoring.

  • If you find that an MTE produces too many alerts. This may mean that the alert thresholds are too strict.

How Do I Configure New Threshold Settings?

As I mentioned above, for SAP systems, Releases 4.5 and up, you can configure new threshold settings in CEN, store the settings in a container, and transport the container into the other SAP systems.

The container for threshold settings is called a property variant. SAP delivers the CCMS with the property variant SAP-DEFAULT, which (as its name suggests) contains all SAP default settings. SAP-DEFAULT cannot be changed, which means you can return to the full, initial settings at any time.

Creating your own property variants offers three advantages:

  • You only have to configure threshold settings once. Once you have created your property variant, the settings can be transported into various other SAP systems.

  • You can use property variants to change thresholds for a particular MTE by having it switched from one variant into another. This changes all threshold settings stored in the active property variant for the MTE.

  • You can link property variants to particular operation modes (i.e., time of processing). For instance, your SAP system can automatically switch to another variant (with different threshold settings) as it switches from day to night processing. This might adjust settings such as dialog response time thresholds, which is a less important value during overnight processing.

What About Those MTEs That Appear Again and Again in My Monitors?

For Release 4.5 and up, you can set thresholds for each monitoring attribute individually. However, there are monitoring attributes that appear several times in the Alert Monitor; for instance, each SAP application server has the monitoring attribute CPU_Utilization, which will appear as often as there are SAP application servers. For these, SAP has created containers called attribute groups, and set threshold values for the attribute group to save you the trouble of customizing each MTE.

How Do I Adjust Thresholds in CEN?

Here is an introduction to some of the screens and steps you’ll encounter when you adjust threshold settings in CEN. Threshold customizing of single message attributes is typically not necessary. For performance attributes and logfile attributes, adjustments are more common.

Let’s start with a performance attribute like dialog response time. First, from transaction RZ21 (the “Monitoring: Properties and Methods” screen), create one or more property variants (see Figure 2). Activate one of your variants. All threshold customizing will be stored in the active variant.


Figure 2 Maintenance of Property Variants in Transaction RZ21 ("Monitoring: Properties and Methods" Screen)

Second, start one of your monitors in transaction RZ20 (see Figure 3). Expand the tree-based structure, and check all monitoring attributes of the local system by selecting a monitoring attribute and choosing “Properties.” If necessary, change the thresholds by clicking “Display” --> “Change.”


Figure 3 Threshold Settings for a Performance Attribute

In the example in Figure 3, under the “Performance Attribute” tab, all monitoring attributes of attribute group R3DialogResponseTime are changed.

The threshold customizing of logfile attributes is a little bit different from the other attribute types. Internally, these alerts have both an alert class (yellow, red) and, within each alert class, a severity rating between 0 and 255. Severity ratings offer a fine-tuning of the alert class.

For example, if there is a break in the connection between SAP and the frontend, this will trigger a red alert, but will be rated as less severe (red, 9). If ABAP aborts, though, a red alert will be issued, rated at a severity level of 50. If a user locks up because the wrong password was entered, this will issue a very high level of severity (red, 255), since it could indicate that someone is trying to hack into the system.

The important point is that it is very rare to see the system issue a severity ranking higher than 50. So if you customize a log attribute so that an alert is only triggered for red alert messages with severity higher than 50, you will likely see no alerts for this log attribute. But you can change the default SAP severity ranking — kicking important messages over the (red, 50) level, as in Figure 4 — so alerts will be triggered for these messages. An alert is then raised if the log attribute setting is higher than 51.


Figure 4 Threshold Settings for Log Attributes

In addition, from the “Filter” tab in RZ20, you can redefine the SAP alert ranking. In Figure 4, the log message RS0 (“Update service deactivated”) is redefined at 100. This alert leads to a log monitor that is highly sensitive to log messages, which are crucial to your systems.

And note that threshold changes are stored in the active property variant. After threshold customizing is finished for one property variant, activate and proceed with the next one.

For More Information

  • SAP note 492442 deals with some general problems for threshold settings in Release 4.0B.

  • The SAP training course Advanced SAP System Monitoring (ADM106) is currently under development. This two-day course will deal with all related techniques of the CCMS monitoring architecture, especially the appropriate customizing. For more information, contact your local SAP country representative and watch for more information at www.sap.com/education.

1Look for coverage of auto-reactions and system analysis in a future article in SAP Insider.

2Customizing monitors is covered in my column in the April-June 2002 issue of SAP Insider. For the full article, see the Article Archives.

3For more background on the CEN, see my column in the January-March 2002 issue of SAP Insider, available at the Article Archives.



Dr. Christoph J. Nake joined SAP AG in 1996. Since then, he has had a great deal of experience in basis administration and system management. Christoph now works in mySAP Technology product management with a focus on the CCMS Alert Monitoring Infrastructure. You can reach him at ccms@sap.com.

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