Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Databases supported by SAP

There is a huge variety of supported database systems (in brackets you can find SAP code of particular DB system, this code is internal mark of DB, e.g. in debugger you can see it as value of variable sy-dbsys):

Adabas/SAP DB (ada) or since version 7.5 MaxDB (sdb)
Microsoft SQL Server (mss)
Oracle (ora)
IBM DB2/390 (db2)
IBM DB2/400 (db4)
IBM DB2 UDB (db6)
Informix (inf)
Sybase ASE (syb)        //added 31.8.2011
HANA Database (hdb)  //added 28.9.2011

DB supported only by BW: Teradata (td) // added 31.12.2013

Details of DB for SAP BI system can be found here.
All information related to supported operation and database systems see on SDN.

- update 31/08/2011 - 
As SAP acquired Sybase in first half of year 2011 there is a new DB platform supported soon. Yep, it will be Sybase's Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE). Previously this DB was called Sybase SQL Server. BTW that's the DB which has same roots as Microsoft SQL Server. According SDN's DB page SAP is porting its Business Suite (SAP ERP 6.05) application to Sybase ASE. This was supposed to be done in June 2011. Other SAP’s products supporting Sybase ASE will be CRM and SRM.

- update 05/09/2011 - 
SAP is currently porting BW to Sybase ASE DB as well. There are couple of Notes pointing to that:
BW on Sybase's ASE has even its own component within SAP Marketplace:
BW-SYS-DB-SYB BW on Sybase ASE Database Platform

- update 28/09/2011 -
SAP is currently porting its BW product to HANA database. Rump up program for customers to run BW on HANA as its database start in Nov. 2011. From that point of view SAP is being supporting another database.

- update 11/03/2013 -
SAP ERP’s flagship software call ERP Central Component (ECC) is running on Sybase ASE as well.

- update 12/31/2013 -
SAP BW as of 7.3 is also capable to run on Teradata database. It is possible via technology called Bridge System. This possibility appeared beginning of year 2011. For details see Notes: 1560115 - Teradata Foundation for BW : Composite BW Note, 1557211 - Composite note for Teradata Foundation. Also see SAP Notes of component: BW-SYS-DB-TD

Monday, June 23, 2008

BI Source systems: DB Connect vs. UD Connect

To connect SAP BI system to source system in purpose of data retrieval you can use apart of other types of source systems following ones: DB Connect & UD Connect. Both of them are basically connection to any database system which is able to provide data for BI system. DB Connect relies on ABAP Stack of WAS besides UD Connect is built on JAVA Stack of WAS.

DB Connect - Enables connections to different relational database management systems and the transfer of data from tables or views from these database management systems into the BI system. Technically it opens another database connection (default database connection is dedicated to SAP kernel which opens a connection to the database on which the SAP system is running) and by this connection data are coming from database to BI system. There is a dependency on database type. There can be two cases: BI system is based on same/different database system as source system. If they are same on BI side (on its application server) there must be installed Database Shared Library (DBSL). If they are different a database-specific client for the particular source database on the BI application server needs to be installed before you can use the DB Connect functions. As SAP system is able to run on different database system a several common industry standard databases are supported. As a source object in database you can use directly database table or view (schemas as well).

UD Connect - Component of BI that, together with the SAP Web AS J2EE connectivity (JAVA Stack), allows you to access virtually all relational and multidimensional data sources. Various drivers, protocols and providers as resource adapters for BI JDBC Connector are available: BI ODBO Connector, BI SAP Query Connector, BI XMLA Connector.

UD Connect (Universal Data Connect) uses the BI Java Connectors as resource adapters for establishing connections to data sources. The data can either be loaded into BI, or accessed directly using a VirtualProvider.

UD Connect source is instance that can be addressed as a data source of BI using BI Java Connectors.

UD Connect source object is multidimensional or relational data store in the UD Connect source, for example, table or cube.

One important prerequisite is there: BI installation must be installed with J2EE Engine (JAVA Stack of WAS) and with BI Java components.

Crossing through winter daylight <-> saving time within SAP?

Some people saying that switching from Daylight saving time (DST or just simply summer time) to winter time and vice versa; is not good for humans because it most likely causing heath problem but even software has a trouble with it. SAP in not exception.

During this period; that time is “being changed” clock is shifter back and one precise hour of time may happened “twice”. Problems with your SAP installation that may occurs can be like following:

  • Start of periodically scheduled background jobs might mismatch and data being processes by then might be inconsistent.
  • BI loads may fail
  • Backuping/archiving might be unstable.
  • Wrong time synchronization of buffers, timestamps, timeouts, and time refreshes error.

What to do? It depends on your system. Basically golden rule would be to shutdown SAP system for at least one hour (ideally for two hours) at during this critical period of time switch. Problem is in case if you cannot effort that system outage. In this case make sure that you never put system clock on machine where SAP is running to past.

For further information please consult following SAP notes:

7417 - Conversion between winter time and daylight saving time

438660 - End of daylight-saving time coming soon, be ready!

102088 - Reducing downtime when changing from summer to winter time

398374 - Problems when converting summer time <-> winter time – SAPTTZ tool to determine technical properties of the current time zone.

Difference between SAP notes

In SAP’s terminology there is a differentiation between types of SAP notes (following text is extract from SAP Service Marketplace (OSS) + my comments):

SAP Notes help you to avoid and correct errors in the SAP system. The SAP Note Search provides fast and easy access to those SAP Notes relevant for you. This is your first help when you facing any problem with your SAP system. Accessible via OSS quick link service.sap.com/notes

SAP HotNews are priority 1 (very high priority) SAP Notes. They tell you how to resolve or avoid problems that can cause the SAP system to shut down or lose data. If you are potentially affected by these problems, you must ensure that you read SAP HotNews. Always check this out; you never know if there are not any side effects caused by note implementation. You can personalize and can subscribe to SAP HotNews in the SAP Service Marketplace Newsletter. Accessible via OSS quick link service.sap.com/hotnews

SAP TopNotes are the most important notes of a component or a subcomponent reported on successfully closed customer support messages. The 10 most successful notes are selected on a monthly basis in a semiautomatic process. You can also personalize SAP TopNotes, and choose to be notified by the SAP Service Marketplace Newsletter about new SAP TopNotes available. It can happen that customer message created by you will follow up to SAP note and you receive TopNotes notification to implement some note that you already have because you were very first customer that faced error related to this note. Accessible via OSS quick link service.sap.com/topnotes

Preparing to upgrade your SAP solution?

If so, here’s a list of useful links; you would need to review and study in depth to make your upgrade successful.

service.sap.com/upgrade - SAP Upgrade Info Center

service.sap.com/upgradenewsletter - SAP Upgrade Experience Database

service.sap.com/goinglive-fu - SAP GoingLive Functional Upgrade Check

service.sap.com/upgradeservices - Upgrade Services

service.sap.com/upgradetools - Tools to support the upgrade execution from a technical and functional perspective

service.sap.com/upgraderoadmap - Central Guidance to Planning and Execution of an SAP Upgrade Project

service.sap.com/upgradedb - SAP Upgrade Experience Database, custumer's upgrade experiences

service.sap.com/safeguardingupgrade - Holistic Engagement for Technical Risk Mitigation in SAP Upgrade Projects

service.sap.com/ufg - SAP Upgrade Focus Group

service.sap.com/upgrade-bi - SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence

service.sap.com/upgrade-erp - SAP ERP Upgrade

service.sap.com/upgrade-crm - SAP CRM Upgrade

service.sap.com/upgrade-srm - SAP SRM Upgrade

service.sap.com/upgrade-scm - SAP SCM Upgrade

service.sap.com/upgrade-nw - SAP NetWeaver Upgrade

forums.sdn.sap.com - SDN Upgrade Discussion Forum

Friday, June 13, 2008

BW 3.x incompatibilities vs. BI 7.x

Grown up in BW 3.x world and struggling with BI 7.x project? Some features that you used to work in old BW doesn’t work in new version? Yes. BI got matured. Some features were forgotten, some were enhanced, some newly developed etc. In general version 7.x came with following major otherness against its predecessors; according note 955990 - BI in SAP NetWeaver 7.0: Incompatibilities with SAP BW 3.x:

- Changes in the Data Warehousing Workbench (TA RSA1, before known as the Admin Workbench TA RSA1OLD): InfoPackage groups, Persistant Staging Area (PSA) tree, reporting agent and so on are only supported in RSA1OLD. Forget about old RSA1OLD use new one RSA1. There can be still necessity to use told one e.g. you want to adjust some old 3.x emulated DataSource or access old PSA.

- Compounding consistency for MultiProviders: Note 920416. Use report RSCOMPCONS or RSCOMPCONS2 to find any MultiProvider that is inconsistent with regard to compounding.

- Identifying InfoObjects in MultiProviders: Note 1105187. If "Selection not allowed (technical CHASEL = 4)" is set for a characteristic of an involved provider, this is "not visible" in this involved provider (at least in its role as an InfoProvider) and therefore it is not available for the identification of the characteristics of the MultiProvider.
An assignment was possible in BW 3.x (even though it was not planned).

- Query runtime statistics: The old statistics tables (RSDDSTAT) were replaced by new tables and are no longer filled; see the relevant release note, like 934848 - Collective note: (FAQ) BI Administration Cockpit.

- Change run: The split parallel processes of the change run are always background business transaction category (BTC) processes in SAP NetWeaver 7.0. It is possible to restart change run or run several change runs. Note 915515.

- MOLAP: Microsoft Analysis Services (MS AS) is no longer supported - you can use BI accelerator as an alternative. Note 456931.

- Authorizations: A new concept for analysis authorizations is in BI 7.x, based only on authorizations as elementary objects. Old 3.x authorization concept (reporting authorizations) is replaced. Move from SAP authorization concept (like R/3 or ECC have) of authorization objects. New concept includes any authorization-relevant characteristics and treat single values, intervals and hierarchy authorizations the same. Navigation attributes can now also be flagged as authorization relevant in the attribute maintenance for characteristics and can be transferred into authorizations as characteristics. See Notes 923176 and 820183.

- Authorization check for MultiProvider: Note 927872.

- Analysis authorizations: You can no longer use customer exit variables to assign hierarchy authorizations in the new authorization concept. See Note 820183, section 3f.

- VirtualProvider with function module: If hierarchies are supported, master data IDs must also be supported. See the release notes.

- Compound objects in MultiProviders - corrected behavior with initial values: Note 1009987.

- The input help for DataStore objects can now use the setting 'Only values in InfoProvider', this can lead to performance problems: Note 984229.

- Constant with compound characteristics. Note 1035916.

- DB Connect: Note that there is a new Product Availability Matrix (PAM) for SAP NetWeaver 7.0 and certain platforms (for example Informix) are no longer supported. This also applies to the availability of the DB clients that are required for DB Connect. For more information, see the SAP Netweaver documentation. In certain cases, UD Connect may offer greater platform independence.

- You cannot selectively delete real-time InfoCubes in the planning mode due to a new caching architechture in SAP NetWeaver7.0. Note 1016181.

- Calculating before the aggregation with Content InfoProviders: Note 921325.

- Changes in the variable screen of the BEx Analyzer: see Notes 945653 and 924316.

- When you drilldown to 1CUDIM, the system displays original currency: see Note 962850.

- Most recent variables 0RS_RQTRA, 0RS_RQMRC and 0RS_RQALL converted to ACTUALDATA: Note 1007722.

- Changes to the behavior of formula variables with a replacement path before the aggregation. Note 1005772.

- The changed behavior of variables: The affects on the targeted filling of the OLAP cache: Note 1105139.

- The new BEx Analyzer only allows resulting sets up to 750,000 data cells due to changed memory processing (for additional functions and improved performance). Note 1040454.

- Table view in the query designer: Note 1002271.

SAP NetWeaver Administration (NWA)

Since leading technology platform of SAP is adaptable in terms of SOA in different architectures and is running on two "world": JAVA and ABAP a tools used for administrating whole NW differs. Currently there are following SAP NetWeaver Administration Tools:

1. Adaptive Computing Controller (ACC)

Within an Adaptive Computing Environment the ACC manages all tasks dealing with administrational and operational responsibilities required by a complex business oriented landscape. ACC provides a single point of control (SPOC) to operate, observe and manage an adaptive business solution provided by SAP NW running on a Computing Infrastructure. In terms of virtualization ACC does do following (as examples):

  • Runs SAP application services on a pool of servers (switchover) without a change of the configuration.
  • Prepares file systems on central storage system and mount to the server.

From technical point of view ACC software works with SAP Solution Manager, SAP Web Application Server, SAP Gateway to fulfill such a tasks. ACC is available on OSS service.sap.com/adaptive -> Adaptive Computing Controller.

2. SAP Management Console (SAP MC)

For every SAP Basis guy this is very well known tool. It is used for bootstrapping activities like starting or stopping a system/instance (both/dual Stack: ABAP&JAVA), display of processes and threads, basic log analysis. In case you are running MS Windows based installation of SAP it is a snap-in to Microsoft Management Console (MMC). New versions of this tool are JAAV based and accessible and operated form web browser it has a brand new User Interface (UI). Learn more.

3. Visual Administrator (VA) (in JAVA Stack of NW)

VA is a graphical user interface (GUI) that enables administration of all cluster elements and all modules running on them. It provides remote monitoring and management of managers, services, libraries, and interfaces working on each element in a single GUI. Tool is used for changing system parameters at runtime (online configuration). Learn more.

4. SAP Landscape Administration and Java System Administration

As the central tool for landscape wide administration SAP has dedicated Solution Manager (SOLMAN or SM) via its components Work Centers. From landscape wide administration point of view there are two flavours:

The central flavour of the NWA is integrated into the SM’s Work Centers: “Administration” and “Monitoring” (available in SP15 of SM 4.0).

The local flavour of the NWA will continue to be used for system administration i.e. the administration and monitoring of individual SAP systems in the landscape. The functionalities of the Visual Administrator are being gradually moved to the local flavor of NWA in SAP NW 7.0. The migration has been completed in the NWA of SAP NW 7.1 and Visual Administrator will no longer be available in SAP NW 7.1. Learn more.

5. Config Tool

Config Tool enables offline configuration of Java Engine cluster elements concerning service's and manager's properties, adding new server processes, changing Java parameters, exporting the system configuration to an XML file, and so on. Learn more.

6. Central DB Management (TA DBACOCKPIT)

Managing large system landscapes with different database platforms is increasingly becoming the DBA's day-to-day business. SAP now offers the new DBA Cockpit that allows you to monitor all your databases using only one tool. Learn more.

Friday, June 6, 2008

BI_CONT, PI_BASIS, ST-PI, PI-A, R3-PLUG-IN see some differences?

In general in terms of SAP a "plug-in" is an additional program which enhances the functionality of an existing program. Additional functions which may not be needed or are mutually exclusive are often implemented as plug-ins.

The plug-in is a component in the source system (such as SAP R/3, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Business Warehouse (BW)) that is responsible for tightly integrating these systems. Plug-ins have software that contains functions, programs, extractors, and DataSources that help extract and transfer data from the SAP source system into BW. You install plug-ins on your SAP source system from which you pull data into BW. The R/3 plug-in supplies SAP components with transaction data and master data in real time. It also allows you to use SAP components such as Advanced Planning and Optimization (APO) or CRM together with certain industry-specific components.

Any software product, including plug-ins, must change to improve and provide new features and functionality. SAP constantly enhances its products to keep them current with users’ demands and allow them to communicate with its latest products. Plug-ins are available in different versions (e.g., Plug-In [PI] 2002.1, PI.2003.1 etc.). Plug-ins affects two systems, the SAP source system and the target system.

On other hand an "add-on" or "add-on software component" is in most cases mySAP/NW component that is technically dependent on and can only be installed on top of another mySAP/NW component. It means an optional part of an SAP system. It is possible to install an add-on software component in addition to the main software components. You can also delete it.

As of those two SAP definitions it seems those terms are synonyms and sometimes there cannot be observed difference between them. E.g. "R/3 Add-Ons PI" are referred in some SAP notes as "SAP R/3 Plug-In" and "PI-A" as "SAP R/3 Plug-In without modification".

From SAP BI point of view we recognize following:

Following plug-ins:

1. "SAP R/3 Plug-In"

The SAP R/3 Plug-In is an interface which enables the exchange of data between one or several SAP R/3 systems and other SAP components.

It supplies the SAP components with transaction data and master data in real time. It also makes it possible to use SAP components like SAP APO or SAP CRM together with certain industry-specific components. All industry-specific components based on SAP R/3 4.6B or higher SAP R/3 releases require an SAP R/3 Plug-In. The SAP R/3 Plug-In is an add-on to SAP R/3.

From 1999 until 2004, SAP delivered several SAP R/3 Plug-In releases. From 2005 onwards, new and extended interfaces for integrating SAP R/3, SAP R/3 Enterprise, and SAP ERP Central Component (SAP ECC) will no longer be delivered with their own add-on (SAP R/3 Plug-In).

SAP R/3 Plug-In 2004.1
SAP R/3 Plug-In 2003.1
SAP R/3 Plug-In 2002.2
SAP R/3 Plug-In 2002.1
SAP R/3 Plug-In 2001.2
SAP R/3 Plug-In 2001.1
SAP R/3 Plug-In 2000.2
SAP R/3 Plug-In 2000.1
SAP R/3 Plug-In 99


2. "PI-A" is a subset of PI and contains interfaces for SAP BW and SAP BBP 1.0B. For SAP R/3 3.1I, a PI-A version also supports SAP BBP and SAP EBP, as well as SAP CRM Internet Sales. SAP SEM generally requires the SAP R/3 Plug-In for SAP BW.

3. "SAP Basis Plug-In"

The SAP Basis Plug-In is a software component which was introduced to deliver BW Service API technology, CRM Middleware, Supply Chain Event Manager and also Financial Basis functionality to SAP components in order to create a connection to these systems.

The SAP Basis Plug-In is an add-on which can be installed on a SAP Web Application Server or any other product which is based on SAP_BASIS 620 and SAP_ABA 620 or higher. The release and maintenance strategy of the SAP Basis Plug-In follows the strategy of the SAP R/3 Plug-In.

SAP Basis Plug-In 2006.1
SAP Basis Plug-In 2005.1
SAP Basis Plug-In 2004.1
SAP Basis Plug-In 2003.1
SAP Basis Plug-In 2002.2
SAP Basis Plug-In 2002.1

Following add-ons:

1. "BI_CONT" add-on (Business Intelligence Content or Business Content - BCT). BI Content is delivered as an add-on to SAP BI. BI Content is a preconfigured set of role and task-related information models that are based on consistent metadata in SAP Business Intelligence. Naming is SAP NetWeaver 7.0 BI Content Add-on 3.

12 21 Nov 2008
11 29 Aug 2008
09 06 Mar 2008 SAPKIBIIP9
10 12 Jun 2008 SAPKIBIIP10

Thursday, June 5, 2008

SAP standard components

SAP system landscape may contain according IT Scenarios and IT Practices various different scenarios as described in Master Guides.

  • SAP application components (SAP APO, SAP ERP, SAP R/3, SAP R/3 Enterprise,
  • SAP components for industry solutions (IS) (SAP Banking, SAP Discrete Industries,
SAP High Tech, etc. – around 20 different IS)
KW, SAP MDM, SAP Exchange Infrastructure, and SAP Mobile Engine.
Since release 2004s of SAP NW there are used within installation and design of architecture so called (SW installable blocks) building blocks so called „usage types“* and “standalone engine” and “clients” e.g:
    • Application Server ABAP (AS ABAP) - [usage type]
    • Application Server Java (AS Java) - [usage type]
    • Development Infrastructure (DI) - [usage type]
    • Enterprise Portal (EP) - [usage type]
    • Process Integration (PI) - [usage type]
    • Gateway - [standalone engine]
    • Search and Classification (TREX) - [standalone engine]
    • SAP Content Server 6.30 - [standalone engine]
    • SAP GUI 6.40 - [client]
    • Mobile Infrastructure Client - [client]
    • SAP technological components (SAP Solution Manager, SAP Marketplace Connector)
    • SAP XApps (SAP xApps for Mobile Business, SAP XEM, SAP XPD, SAP XRPM)
    • SAP Solutions for Electronic Marketplaces (SAP MarketSet)
    • add-ons specific solutions for different countries(SAP HR-CEE, CCIS, C-CEE, HR-CIS)
  • Support components for different solutions (ABC Connector, BackWeb Infocenter, SAP
PLM Recipe Management, SAP Records Management, SAP Workforce Management)
  • SAP front-end components (SAP GUI, SAP ITS, SAP IGS)
  • Plug-ins (SAP Plug-Ins, SAP Solution Tools Plug-Ins)
  • Other components (SAP Kernel)

*usage type - An installed and correspondingly configured part of an SAP NW system that provides key capabilities for a system landscape.
- It specifies the intended purpose of a system.
- It is the result of the configuration of the underlying installed software units and the configuration of the underlying functional units.
Examples include business intelligence, process integration, and enterprise portal.

-      2020-Feb-10 Update:
Update regarding a term usage type became is obsolete:

As of Software Provisioning Manager 1.0 SP07 (SL Toolset 1.0 SP12), the term “product instance” replaces the terms “usage type” and “technical usage” for SAP systems based on SAP NetWeaver 7.3 including enhancement package 1 and higher. More information in SAP Note 1970349. There are many occurrences of the now obsolete term usage type whoever as there is no a change terminology all mentioned terms are intended to be as synonyms. However the term “product instance” shall be used from now on.