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How SAP IT Operations Analytics Can Boost Performance across the IT Landscape

November 29, 2017

In order to run an efficient and agile IT environment, professionals across industries are striving to gain holistic, transparent insights across their IT landscape, identify the root causes behind incidents, and be able to analyze and prevent incidents instead of just reacting to them. But the complexity and segregation within most IT environments prevent organizations from achieving these critical goals.

SAP IT Operations Analytics, a powerful, analytics-based solution, is designed to solve this problem by providing a single, unified view into both SAP applications and data center operations. It also augments your other monitoring tools with user-friendly analytics and predictive capabilities. Read the chat transcript to learn more about what SAP IT Operations Analytics can do and whether it’s right for your business. By attending, you’ll get answers to questions such as:

Matthew Shea: Hello, and welcome to today’s chat on SAP IT Operations Analytics with Lenovo’s Rich Travis, SAP’s Angela Harvey, and SUSE’s Jose Betancourt.

The team will answer questions on what SAP IT Operations Analytics can do and whether it’s right for your business.

Jose Betancourt: Hello, everyone. I am the Alliances Director and Technology Strategist for SUSE.

Angela Harvey: I work in SAP’s Product Management organization and am responsible for SAP IT Operations Analytics. I’ve been with SAP for over 10 years.

Comment From Harsh: What is SAP’s thought process around defining SAP IT Operations Analytics?

Angela Harvey: We look at SAP IT Operations Analytics as the overarching analytics to complement existing monitoring tools (such as Lenovo XClarity). You would layer SAP IT Operations Analytics on top of an existing monitoring tool to get a holistic view of your hardware and software landscape (for faster root cause analysis and resource optimization), to do predictive analytics across IT (most monitoring tools are reactive only), and to enhance IT events with business data (for example, understanding the individuals impacted by an IT outage).

Comment From Al: What services are available to implement SAP IT Operations Analytics?

Angela Harvey: Lenovo Services is able to deploy SAP IT Operations Analytics. And existing SAP HANA customers running on Lenovo may qualify for a complementary version of SAP IT Operations Analytics. You can contact Lenovo Services for more information.

Comment From Brittany: How is SAP IT Operations Analytics distributed?

Richard Travis: Lenovo SAP HANA servers include a limited-use license of SAP IT Operations Analytics  as a starting point for the unique customer experience around SAP IT Operations Analytics.

It typically will require an additional server to run effectively.

Comment From Darla: What information can be included in SAP IT Operations Analytics dashboards?

Angela Harvey: Information from syslogs, host agent data, and master data (non-IT data — for example, understanding what users are impacted by an outage). Since SAP IT Operations Analytics is built on the SAP HANA database, SAP IT Operations Analytics can do analytics on any data that can be written to SAP HANA.

Comment From Jackson: What is the business benefit of SAP IT Operations Analytics?

Angela Harvey: Faster time to resolution by identifying issues sooner. Better prioritization of issues by understanding the business impact of outages. The ability to predict issues before they happen (and take preventive measures). Essentially proving IT value and control.

Comment From Benito: What are the infrastructure requirements?

Angela Harvey: SAP  IT Operations Analytics requires SAP HANA, which has some specific hardware requirements to ensure you can benefit from the real-time nature of SAP IT Operations Analytics. More details can be found in the documentation:

Comment From Linda: What integration has been done with Lenovo systems?

Richard Travis: Lenovo has provided integration with the xClarity Manager. This flows all data from xClarity into SAP IT Operations Analytics for further analysis.

Matthew Shea: Rich, could you provide some additional details on what xClarity Manager is?

Richard Travis: Great question and sorry for not being clear. xClarity is the Lenovo system/element management tool. It collects information about Lenovo servers and generates alerts based on customer- defined thresholds. It has the capability of upward integration into SAP IT Operations Analytics and other enterprise management tools.

Comment From Renee: What are the out-of-the-box integrations with SAP Predictive Analytics?

Angela Harvey: SAP IT Operations Analytics  includes predictive functionality to anticipate deviations from expected behavior. For more detailed predictive use cases, SAP IT Operations Analytics integrates with the SAP Predictive Analytics toolset. SAP HANA runtime also includes a Predictive library. For some more information, read my blog: Predictive Maintenance in IT.

Comment From Mikaela: Are your customers integrating this solution with their use of SAP Solution Manager?

Angela Harvey: Great question. SAP IT Operations Analytics  is designed to look across the data center. SAP Solution Manager is more focused on applications (and primarily SAP applications). SAP IT Operations Analytics can publish alerts to SAP Solution Manager. For example, if we detect a server error that could impact application performance, that is the type of alert that would be relevant for the SAP Basis administrator, so we can share it with SAP Solution Manager.

Comment From Harsh: What kind of strategy and tools do you think SAP will be providing or has to plan to build out the architecture for SAP IT Operations Analytics?

Angela Harvey: SAP IT Operations Analytics is a standalone application for real-time data center monitoring. All the tooling you need is included in the application.

Comment From Harsh: What kind of boost do we expect to see through SAP IT Operations Analytics to large enterprise organizations, especially those in the medical industry?

Richard Travis: SAP IT Operations Analytics will identify problems in near real time across the datacenter and enterprise. This leads to faster problem resolution. The capability of predictive analytics will allow a more proactive approach to potential problems.

Comment From Warren: Does SAP IT Operations Analytics only monitor Lenovo and SAP systems?

Richard Travis: SAP IT Operations Analytics can monitor anything that creates a syslog. Lenovo xClarity extended the syslog functionality with more direct integration. SAP IT Operations Analytics can monitor servers, switches, storage controllers, routers — fundamentally, anything that creates a syslog or that has extended its management interface to directly support SAP IT Operations Analytics.

Comment From Rob: Are there any white papers, presentations, or other collateral that shows a sample implementation with details around the operating system (OS), SAP IT Operations Analytics, and SAP HANA?

Jose Betancourt: Yes. There is a presentation and a white paper for a demonstration installation prepared for SAPPHIRE NOW 2017 leveraging Lenovo HW and SUSE Enterprise Linux for SAP HANA as well as SUSE Enterprise Storage. Please visit: and select "Lenovo and SUSE Predict the Future with IT Operations Analytics."

Comment From Aaron: Can SAP IT Operations Analytics  automatically open service tickets? If so, what do we need to know about configuration?

Richard Travis: I believe that this can be scripted as part of the SAP IT Operations Analytics  implementation. Angela may have additional comments.

Angela Harvey: Absolutely, SAP IT Operations Analytics can raise service tickets. It can pass information to the ticket such as details of the error from the logs and master data (i.e., which business users are impacted. SAP IT Operations Analytics  can also collect data from ticketing systems so that you can include information in the dashboards such as the number of open tickets and average processing time.

Comment From Scott: Do you need to be running SAP Predictive Analytics for SAP IT Operations Analytics to predict an issue?

Angela Harvey: Yes, there is a functionality called outlier detection that needs to be enabled. If the actual behavior varies too much from expected behavior, an alert can be generated. An example is a scenario in which CPU load is normally 50 percent in the middle of the day, and it drops to 10 percent.

Comment From Mel: What key performance indicators (KPIs) should the business identify to best measure return on investment (ROI) after go-live?

Richard Travis: I can think of three:

  • Time to respond to a problem
  • Time to fix/repair a problem
  • The number of problems avoided through predictive analytics

Comment From Tony: Who are the typical SAP IT Operations Analytics users?

Richard Travis: IT and data center support teams along with executive management with an interest in solution availability and data center efficiency.

Comment From Nancy: How does SAP IT Operations Analytics use SAP HANA dynamic tiering?

Angela Harvey: Customers typically keep about seven days of data in main memory (SAP HANA) before offloading it. You can also set different retention times for the raw logs versus just the attributes you need to do analytics.

Comment From Craig: How can SAP IT Operations Analytics support hybrid data centers?

Angela Harvey: Great question. We can consume data from cloud applications and cloud landscapes to give you a single view of your on-premise versus cloud environments. We have customers actually using SAP IT Operations Analytics to predict their cloud costs and bring resources in house during times of high load. We also have customers using SAP IT Operations Analytics to track Amazon Web Services and Azure use and do charge-backs to the appropriate groups.

Comment From Eric: What sources can we connect to get data into SAP IT Operations Analytics?

Angela Harvey: Syslog or any protocol supported by log stash (e.g., SNMP trap), data from SAP Host Agent, and any data that can be directly written to SAP HANA. We have a master data plugin to assist with these direct writes.

Comment From Ayla: What's the difference between SAP IT Operations Analytics  and SAP Solution Manager?

Angela Harvey: SAP IT Operations Analytics  is focused more on the infrastructure, whereas SAP Solution Manager is focused on SAP applications. However, they can overlap. SAP Solution Manager provides highly formatted reports out of the box, but not as much flexibility to define what the end customer wants to do analytics on. Because SAP IT Operations Analytics  can connect to anything, more work is required to build your dashboards and other types of analytic platforms, but there is a ton of flexibility. We do have a lot for pre-built content for Lenovo, though.

Comment From Molly: What is the key business justification required to invest in SAP IT Operations Analytics?

Richard Travis: The starting point for business justification is analysis of problems and bottlenecks in and around system and application management in the data center. Once this analysis identifies problem areas such as response time or root cause, the justification can be easy. Identifying business and data center problems is critical to justifying SAP IT Operations Analytics.

Angela Harvey: Regarding business justifications, I absolutely agree with Rich. Plus there is a hard cost to unplanned downtime. Ponemon estimates it to be approximately $9,000 per minute. SAP IT Operations Analytics can prevent these outages before they happen and reduce the time to resolve issues that do happen.

Comment From Brianne: Can we use SAP IT Operations Analytics to predict infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) costs?

Angela Harvey: Yes. Additionally, it can be used to track who is using what and charge back appropriately.

Richard Travis: I believe that SAP IT Operations Analytics can provide insight into service-level agreements that may be an issue in IaaS situations. I am sure it can help well beyond that in other areas.

Matthew Shea: How soon is it to time-to-value when implementing SAP IT Operations Analytics?

Angela Harvey: Most customers see value within about five to seven business days. It takes even less time for Lenovo customers where a lot of common scenarios are pre-built into the dashboards, so the customer has a great starting point.

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