In previous versions of the BI Platform (Seagate Info, Crystal Enterprise, BusinessObjects Enterprise) one of biggest issues for administrators, consultants, and support engineers has been the lack of tools needed to see "under the hood". With such a complex, heterogeneous, and varied landscape the task of finding performance bottlenecks amongst many critical components can be a time consuming and often times frustrating mission. It is with great pleasure that I can now say the process of diagnosing performance issues has been greatly simplified in the SAP Business Intelligence Platform 4.0.
Since the merger of SAP and BusinessObjects, the BI Platform has been updated to be supported by the amazing SAP Solution Manager product. SAP Solution Manager is an application lifecycle management platform that provides many different capabilities from implementation blueprints and solution documentation to change management, business process monitoring, and much much more. One of the key tools that Solution Manager integrates into it's monitoring and diagnostics suite is Computer Associates Wily Introscope. From this partnership with CA, SAP is able to provide customers (with a standard or enterprise support contract) the ability to download and implement a read-only version of Wily Introscope in their landscape. This version is known as the "right to view" version and is free of charge.
While I highly recommend implementing SAP Solution Manager in your landscape, it may not make sense to implement the entire Solution Manager suite if you do not yet have other SAP products such as (BW, ECC, etc). The great news is that you can now implement Wily Introscope for BI Platform 4.0 in a standalone configuration and still take advantage of the framework that the Solution Manager Diagnostic Agent provides.
In terms of product supportability, Wily Introscope will help you:
- Diagnose tricky performance problems
- Spot bottlenecks that may lead to system downtime
- Resolve issues that result in poor end user experience
- Improve supportability (close messages and solve bugs faster)
- Ensure proper scalability of your BI landscape
- Predict future growth through trend analysis
- Measure the results of load testing prior to product launch
Ok, you might be thinking "Hey, BI 4.0 already comes with monitoring... why do I need or want Wily Introscope?". This is certainly a valid concern however it just so happens that Wily Introscope is a perfect complement to the monitoring and probe framework that ships with SAP Business Intelligence Platform 4.0.
Consider the following diagram which shows the overlap of features from both monitoring solutions.
The features shown in green are those provided by BI Platform 4.0 and those in pink are features provided by Wily Introscope. The features shown in the intersecting section are those included with both monitoring solutions. Generally, the tools included with the BI 4.0 monitoring suite are more geared for day to day administrative activities whereas the tools included with Wily Introscope are more suited for in-depth diagnostics and root cause analysis. This is of course a generalization and both tools can most certainly be used for both purposes.
In the table below I review the unique features from both solutions and discuss the criteria and delta that makes it unique.
|Feature||Description of BI 4.0 Feature||Introscope RTV Solution Delta|
Probes allow the BI administrator to programatically simulate workflows that are critical to the proper functioning of the system.
|Not available in Wily Introscope|
Alerts can be created based on the status of watches (thresholds) that are defined by the administrator. Alerts can be sent to SMTP or BI Alert Inbox destinations
|Alerts cannot be created in the "right to view" version of Wily Introscope. You must upgrade to the SED package (SAP Extended Diagnostics) or install SAP Solution Manager to get access to alerts based on Wily data.|
|Trend Universe||In BI4.0 monitoring you can create reports based on historical data. A universe is included that simplifies this process.||No universe exists for Wily SmartStor database. Direct data access is possible via Web Services SDK and JDBC driver.|
|Derived Metrics||Custom metrics can be created by the administrator||Custom metrics can only be created in Introscope by upgrading to the SED package (SAP Extended Diagnostics)|
|Topology Metrics & UI||Topology metrics in BI.40 can quickly show the administrator the overall health of Service Categories (e.g. Crystal Reports Services) or Server Groups||N/A|
|Feature||Description of Introscope Feature||BI4.0 Monitoring Solution Delta|
|Granular code level monitoring||Wily Introscope exposes performance data at the function/method call level via instrumentation introduced in XI 3.1 and BI 4.0.||BI4.0 exposes pre-defined server metrics, not actual code level function calls.|
|E2E Tracing||With Wily Introscope it is possible to monitor a user workflow across all components in the BI landscape to quickly diagnose performance bottlenecks||Metrics in BI4.0 are specific to one component.|
|Application Server monitoring||Introscope excels at monitoring java applications including application servers such as Tomcat, Websphere, Weblogic, Netweaver, etc||Not possible in BI4.0 monitoring solution.|
|Rich user interface||Introscope provides a very mature and user friendly GUI for analyzing performance problems and mining for data||Interface is not as friendly or feature rich|
|Live Error Viewer||Introscope provides a client that detects exceptions as they occur across the entire managed BI landscape||Doesn't exist in BI4.0 monitoring solution|
As can be seen from the feature delta, each monitoring solution excels in certain areas and compliments the other in other areas. Implementing the two solutions in tandem will yield the most flexible and feature rich solution without introducing additional cost factors. For an excellent look at the BOE dashboards, check out Tim Coffman's blog Diagnostics in SAP BI 4.0 - Pillars of Monitoring - Metrics.
In addition to little or no cost, the time factor to deploy Introscope in your BI landscape is also much less than you would expect. With a two system sandbox environment I was able to fully install and deploy Introscope in about three hours of working time. The key here is to know where to find the right documentation and follow it verbatim.
Here are the resources you will need to get started:
Planning your Wily Introscope Enterprise Manager Installation
First, you will want to locate a server that you can use as your dedicated Wily Introscope Enterprise Manager system. It is recommended that this system have at least 2-4GB of available ram and plenty of hard disk space. The longer you wish to store historical data the more hard disk space you will need. By default, Wily will store data in the SmartStor database for a default of 30 days. Check out this knowledge base for instructions to extend the storage of data for 1 year. Additionally, for optimal performance and responsiveness, Computer Associates recommends that you have a dedicated hard disk partition for your SmartStor database. For estimating disk space, a sizing calculator is also included in the /docs directory of your Wily Introscope Enterprise Manager installation. For more information on this topic, refer to the Introscope Configuration and Administration Guide.
Downloading and Installing Wily Introscope
The SAP note Note 797147 - Wily Introscope Installation for SAP Customers will guide you through the download and installation of Wily Introscope Enterprise Manager. Both versions 8 SP2 and 9 may be used for monitoring BI Platform 4.0 however as of this writing the latest bug fixes are only available for version 8. If you are unable to find Wily Introscope on the software download centre, try going to support packages and patches and then use the search term "Introscope". Download the version listed as Introscope Enterprise Manager 8 SP24.
Note that you will also need to download the eula.txt (replace 'reject' with 'accept' to accept the license agreement) and OSGI zip package for your version of Wily Introscope. These files must be placed in the same directory as your Wily Introscope installer otherwise the install will fail.
Deploying the Management Modules (BOE Dashboards)
To prepare Wily Introscope to consume metrics from BI Platform 4.0 you must download and deploy the management modules that were designed for this product version. Complete instructions are covered in the note Note 1540591 - Wily Introscope Setup for SAP BOE 4.0
Configure your BI Platform 4.0 landscape
The last step to implement Wily Introscope monitoring is to configure each node in your BI Platform 4.0 landscape. For each node (including your Web Application Tier) you will need to install and configure the Solution Manager Diagnostic Agent in standalone mode. The SMD Agent provides operating system level metrics via the SAP Host Agent and SAPOSCOL application which are included with the SMD Agent installation. Furthermore, by installing the SMD Agent, you will also be able to configure Host Metrics inside your BI Platform 4.0 monitoring application. Follow the instructions in the document Standalone_SMD_Agent_setup.pdf to install and configure the SMD Agent.
Next, configure your Tomcat application servers for monitoring per SAP note 1438005 Wily Introscope Agent for Apache Tomcat Server and then add the BOE 4 instrumentation per the document ISAgentBOE40WebApp.pdf which is attached at the end of note 1540591. If you are using SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, you may also implement additional monitoring and dashboards per the instructions in the document MM_for_BOE40_BOExplorer40_DS40.pdf.
Lastly, you need to finish configuring the Introscope placeholders for your SIA nodes in the Central Management Console. Refer to section 18.104.22.168 in the BI 4.x Administrator's Guide for instructions on configuring the Introscope placeholder values.
After successfully accomplishing these tasks your Wily Introscope setup for BI Platform 4.0 is complete!
I hope you found this blog helpful. Keep an eye on the Remote Supportability SCN space for more information on remote supportability and diagnostics for SAP Business Intelligence products.