In this series of blog posts I will start with how we approached our new monitoring capabilities and the type of monitoring we have available. In subsequent posts I will go through which solution this monitoring can then be delivered digging deeper into each of the offerings and providing some configuration methodologies as well as best practices.
If you have been thinking of moving to SAP BI 4.0, have made the move already, or are in the process then you need to read this blog series. I have been working with the BI product suite now for over 14 years. In my history with BI there has never been a better time to be a BI administrator. You may think of me as a crackpot for such a remark but I encourage you to read on for one simple reason, what if I'm right? Can you seriously risk not knowing what is available now, how you can use it, and what is soon to be coming down the pipe?
In 2010 I began working on a project in which we were making huge strides in the ability to support and maintain the BI environment. Some of this we made available in XI 3.1, but still more work needs to be done to round out the tools and offerings. SAP BI 4.0 is our first significant foray into the diagnostic area since the inception of the BI platform. I can tell you first hand that this stuff can make the difference in you looking like rock star with your BI environment or being constantly threatened with failure.
So with that said let’s begin with the types of monitoring we have developed and how each is used.
Market Leading Monitoring Standards
Within the application monitoring market there are three leading monitoring types. They are Instrumented Monitoring, Synthetic Monitoring, and Application Aware Network Monitoring. These three types of monitoring are quite different and have different strength’s determined by the application attempting to be monitored. They are critical to understanding what is actually occurring underneath the hood of your system. In the table below I show some of the high level differences for each type. This will provide you with a good entry level understanding of them and why or how they can be used with BI 4.0.
For a pretty good definition of instrumentation you can review it on Wikipedia. We began instrumenting our code soon after the acquisition of BusinessObjects by SAP. At that time XI 3.1 was already released so there was actually only so much work that could be invested in code that has already been delivered. We were able to instrument a good portion of the code in XI 3.1 but there were still a number of sizable gaps we had to close. During this time we did have the support from all the various product areas that when BI 4.0 was being developed that instrumentation would be done at the same time. There is no better opportunity for this then in the development phase of a product. In the table below you can a listing of the product areas within BI 4.0 that we were able to instrument and make available for monitoring.
Again here with the Wikipedia reference for Synthetic Monitoring. It doesn't explain what exactly what we are doing here in SAP BI 4.0 but it gives you a good idea. This is all about the use of probes to synthetically create a workflow and then track the time in which it takes to complete that workflow. As an example if I want to know how long it takes to logon to my system then creating a probe that does just that will give me that answer. This will not be the actual time it took user 'Sally Smith' to logon but will provide you with a general measure at that given time which should hold true to the norm. We have many probe types, a number that come shipped with SAP BI 4.0 and with customization you can create your own as well. For a view at some of these probes take look below.
- CMS Cache
- CMS DB Connection
- CMS Logon Logoff
- CMS Ping
- Crystal Reports Service (Processing Service)
- Crystal Reports Service (Report Application Service)
- Infoview Probe
- Interactive Analysis
- Start Stop Servers
Application Aware Network Monitoring
In moving forward there comes a need to combine the traditional network monitoring with application monitoring. As we all know the reason the network exists is to deliver applications to end users. In combining these two monitoring needs comes application aware network monitoring. Also note that we do not yet employ this type of monitoring in SAP BI 4.0 but we do continue to review.
Check out my next post in this series were I will go into the pillars of monitoring and the solutions used to achieve them.