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Managing Your SAP Landscape: Monitoring a Complex System Landscape with the CCMS Monitoring Infrastructure

by Melanie Reinwarth | SAPinsider

January 1, 2003

by Melanie Reinwarth, SAP AG SAPinsider - 2003 (Volume 4), January (Issue 1)
 

No matter what platforms are at work in your landscape, you inevitably have some business-critical applications where all hosts must be monitored to achieve high availability and performance. These are often some of the most complex systems in the company, encompassing multiple components and platforms. A gradual reduction in performance or a sudden breakdown of a component could appreciably affect the productivity of the entire scenario — and your sales, production, or service teams. And the administrator is responsible for checking these all-important functions to prevent problems before they can affect your business.

Take SAP Internet Sales as one example. This application has been designed to give the high performance and fast response times you need for an effective e-commerce website. Through Internet Sales, your customers can configure and buy products from your online catalogs. To prevent bottlenecks and to spread the workload, the solution typically runs on a distributed software platform. Each server, middleware, or backend system is scalable and can consist of several hosts to increase performance. Figure 1 gives you a glimpse of the complexity of a (CRM) Internet Sales scenario.

Figure 1 A CRM Internet Sales Scenario

There is simply not enough time for an administrator to log on to each of these host components to check their status, so how do you effectively monitor such a complex and business-critical system? The CCMS Monitoring Infrastructure, part of the SAP Web Application Server 6.10, offers a central overview, the central monitoring system (or CEN), for monitoring and managing the entire mySAP.com e-business platform from a single console, without logging on to each and every component. In CEN you can set up monitors to get, first, a central overview of your complex server landscape (such as system availability, transaction-specific response times, and so on), and then, if an error occurs, you can jump from your central view right into detailed analysis. Agents are used to collect the monitoring data of the different components, adapt CCMS central monitoring to the heterogeneity of modern system landscapes, and offer high scalability.1

For landscape monitoring, you should use at least three different monitors.2 First, you would use a monitor to check that your systems are available. A second monitor checks the general status of the available systems; here basic values, such as syslog data, should be reported for each system. Last but not least, there should be a monitor for checking the specific data of the systems, such as shopping baskets and purchase orders for a CRM system.

Checking Availability

Sticking with Internet Sales as an example, let’s have a closer look at availability monitoring. As you can see back in Figure 1, there are quite a few components involved in the Internet Sales process.

If you look more closely at the CRM Internet Sales component, which customers use to configure and buy products (see Figure 2), the customer first searches for a product in catalogs that have been exported from the CRM system to an external index server (IMS) to accelerate access to the product data.

Figure 2 Using CEN to Check the CRM Internet Sales System Landscape

With the Internet and Pricing Configurator (IPC), prices are calculated automatically during product configuration with respect to customer-specific conditions, surcharges, or discounts. When the product is ordered, an availability check is executed in SAP Advanced Planner and Optimizer (APO) to make sure the product can be delivered in time. mySAP Business Intelligence (BI) analyzes the data of the operative CRM processes. The Internet orders themselves are processed directly in the SAP R/3 OLTP System.

The administrator’s basic task is to make sure that all of these interacting components are available. The best way is to monitor whether the remote SAP systems and their application servers are available for work using the CEN’s Alert Monitor. Availability monitoring uses the alert and display functions of the monitoring architecture. However, to determine system availability, monitoring uses the CCMS agent CCMSPING. This agent is a standalone program that runs outside the SAP system. By using an agent, you can efficiently monitor the availability of a large number of systems from the central location (CEN), shown in Figure 2.

For the Internet Sales availability check, it is not enough to check just the SAP systems; you must also check the availability of web components — such as ITS, BC, and J2EE — and processes, such as the CCMS agent. So it’s recommended that you create three different monitoring tree substructures, as shown in Figure 3:

  • SAP Web AS
  • WEB
  • Single Processes
Figure 3 Internet Sales Availability Monitor and the Substructures for SAP Web AS, WEB, and Single Processes

In addition to the availability check using agents, you can now use the Generic Request and Message Generator (GRMG), shown in the WEB substructure, to check availability not only at the server level but for components as well. For example, while CCMSPING merely informs you whether the SAP Web AS is available, with GRMG you can also find out if the web pages can be called correctly.3

Checking General System Conditions

After you have checked the availability of the system, you might want an overview of the general data for the systems (see Figure 4). General data consists of values that are important for each system, irrespective of its function, such as backup and syslog data as well as background processing and update errors.

Figure 4 Monitor for Checking General System Data (DB Backup)

You might ask, “Why not combine this general monitoring data with the availability data into a single monitor?” There is a very practical reason: speed. It is possible to create a monitor containing all of the data, however, the less data in one monitor, the faster you can open it. Just imagine if you had a single monitor containing all the data from both Figure 3 and Figure 4. Just to have a quick look at the availability values, you would have to wait until all the other data is loaded, too. So as a general rule, it’s a good idea to make sure that your monitors do not consist of too many subtrees.

Checking System- or Component-Specific Data

“Specific” data consists of values that are only relevant for a particular system or component. In the subtrees of Figure 5, specific data is shown for CRM (B2B), LiveCache (APO), BI, and Communication. Let’s look at the different subtrees.

Figure 5 Monitor Containing System- or Component-Specific Data

The red entry in the first subtree, CRM, indicates that an alert has occurred concerning the shopping basket. The problem underlying this alert should be solved as quickly as possible so that users won’t experience delays in ordering. As outlined in a previous article,4 you do not need to check this monitor repeatedly to find out if an alert has been triggered. If you have assigned an auto-reaction method to this Monitoring Tree Element (MTE), the system checks the monitoring architecture for you, looking for alerts at regular intervals. If it detects alerts, the assigned auto-reaction method will be started, and will send an alert message directly to your pager or email.

As of SAP Web Application Server 6.10, you can define central auto-reaction methods, which are not started in the system where the alert occurs, but in CEN. Thus, from a central point, you can react automatically to events that occur in the monitored components. And if you have also assigned an analysis method to the MTE, you only have to select the alert, choose the wrench icon in the toolbar, and you are linked to the right solution to check the corresponding system.

Other specific data is shown for APO’s liveCache. As you can see in Figure 5, a yellow alert (warning) has been triggered for the memory.

As shown in the third subtree, the CCMS Monitoring Infrastructure now also offers monitoring of BI process chains, such as the upload of the purchase order. Process chains are a sequence of background jobs, whose relationships and status can be queried through the maintenance view. To see this view, simply select the MTE DESCRIPTION, click on the wrench icon, and you jump directly to the Process Chain Maintenance view, where you can check on background processes (Figure 6).

Figure 6 BI Process Chain Maintenance

As for the Communication subtree, in a complex system landscape, consistent, up-to-date data must be guaranteed in the local databases of the various systems. This is achieved through replication mechanisms. Replication between the systems works using the remote function calls (RFCs) tRFC or qRFC.5 Both RFC calls can be monitored by CCMS. Because a communication problem could lead to data inconsistency, this needs to be investigated immediately by double-clicking the alert and opening the corresponding analysis tool.

Conclusion

With the CCMS Monitoring Infrastructure you can gain a big-picture look at components, whether they’re in a single system or span multiple platforms or components.

With the CEN system, CCMS provides a centralized overview of the broad spectrum of systems and components to be monitored. You can choose what part of the landscape is to be checked by a particular monitor. If you have assigned the corresponding methods to your MTEs, the monitors do the work for you by checking the environment and informing you by pager, email, or fax when an alert has occurred. With the corresponding analysis method assignment, you just have to double-click the alert to get to the right analysis tool. And because the CCMS Monitoring Infrastructure is an integral part of the SAP Web Application Server, the tools for increased responsiveness and efficiency of business processes are already there, right in your system.

For More Information

To learn more about CCMS and monitoring, SAP customers can log on to http://service.sap.com/monitoring or write to CCMS@sap.com.


1For an introduction to CCMS agents, see “Bring Enhanced Central Monitoring to Your SAP System with Free, New CCMS Agent Technology” in SAP Insider, January-March 2002 at www.SAPinsider.com.

2For an introduction to monitors and monitoring substructure creation, see “How to Set Up Your Own Customized Monitors for mySAP.com Solutions” in the April-June 2002 SAP Insider at www.SAPinsider.com.

3When a web site is opened, an echo is returned. The GRMG availability check is then executed directly from CEN. GRMG consists of two parts: the GRMG Framework, which is embedded in the CCMS Monitoring Infrastructure, and the GRMG Application. The Framework sends a test request to a test scenario (GRMG Application). It receives the response and interprets the response as a CCMS monitoring tree.

4See “Methods for Handling and Analyzing Monitor Alerts” in the October-December 2002 issue of SAP Insider at www.SAPinsider.com.

5Transactional RFC or queued RFC.


Melanie Reinwarth joined SAP in June 2001. She works as technical writer for the CCMS group with a focus on the CCMS Alert Monitoring Infrastructure as well as batch and spool processes.

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