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Our earlier episode was recorded by SAP Mentor Jon Reed, published as:

Podcast: SAP Solution Manager Roundtable - Hype Meets Reality
 

My attempts to get ready for the second episode are documented here:

SAP Virtual Training Class turns into Physical Vacation
 

As I was the purported host for this episode, I tossed out the following as the agenda for the podcast:

Solution Manager and Problem Resolution

I will kick off by talking about incident management, ticket processing and root cause analysis of issues such as "the system is slow"

Since everyone has different involvement in these kinds of scenarios, we can introduce ourselves and talk about computer system problems we face.

Other talking points:

  • Background data collection, benchmarking, and "routine" analysis to understand normal business processes
  • "Exception analysis" - how you know something doesn't seem right
  • Triage, or the fault tree analysis.  Who is good at it, who isn't.
  • Management pressure to fix symptoms and move on


Solution Manager tie-ins

  • Dead code elimination (David Dobrin has been asking about this)
  • Trending
  • Fault predictions


Anything else you want to touch on - lightning round!

 

With that, it was down to the beach.  Where I discovered - no speaker phone!  My plan had been to tape live via the Zoom H2 recorder, sitting next to the phone, and not use the sterile "recording" from a webcast or audio conference call.  A visit to the front desk resulted in several shrugs.  I stared.  I left my number, and late on Monday, after a few hours in the sun, I talked to the hotel food/beverage manager, who agreed to provide a speaker phone.

 

Foreground: new phone (borrowed, extra fee); background: old phone (room)

 

image

Left: speakerphone right: digital audio recording device

 

image

 

Countdown to Go Live

One potential problem with setting up contingency plans is that one should really have a great main plan, and the fallbacks should not be too time-consuming.  As I was unsure I could record as originally planned, I researched the facilities of Webex, remembering they have a proprietary format  for recording and playback.  It turns out you can save a recording to a Windows Media File, and then, after suitable other magic is applied, present the audio portion of that as an MP3 file.  However, going through 2 transformations, and then needing to add sound effects, remove unneeded expletives, and possibly shrink the file to a smaller size, meant a lot of work, a possibly damaged sound quality, and no guarantee for one take success.

 

During set up, I also found out that the meeting invite which I assumed everyone had, did not seem to be on their calendars.  So there were more than a few gmails back and forth, and of course, the "you're hosting a meeting" email came in during the scramble.  I wanted text chat to be available, as it's a great way to prep for live rejoinders, and if something bad happened to the audio (which it did for Phil with about 10 minutes to go), we could have some recourse.

 

Once I hit record the creative juices started to flow.  You'll notice a lot more ideas pop in as noted below, later in the podcast.  This tends to happen as one person is speaking and the rest of us are both listening and pinging ideas around our heads, and with each other.

 

Call participants:

 

 

 

Post production

 

With Phil's audio drop off, I knew one repair I needed to make was to give him a lightning round spot.  Jon Reed kindly offered to speak what Phil was typing, but on the whole, I thought it would be fairly simple to get Phil back on the line and splice him in later.  The front and back ends needed the theme song I worked on, with help from David Byrne and Brian Eno (as noted in my prior blog), and I also recorded a few ambient sounds to layer on top of awkward pauses.

 

raw audio (take 1):
52:57
74MB - 192 kpbs recording rate

(take 2):
02:26
3 MB  - 192 kbps recording rate

processed audio:
52:30
37MB - 96 kbps rate
 

The audio was processed with Audacity, which I used to take out a few noise spots, splice in the header/footer, repair Phil's wrap-up comment, and move a few things around.  I dropped a few comments near the end about "where's Phil?", which are highlighted in a different way in the chat text below.

 

 

Audio File

 

Text Chat (lightly edited)

from James Spath :
Hello!
from Phillip Avelar :
hey
from Jon Reed :
let's bust through the SolMan hype baby
from TdT :
hooray, I am in...
from James Spath :
Yay!
8:12:56 PM from James Spath :
Security limits is a good sidebar.
from James Spath :
"instinct"
from Phillip Avelar :
can i jump in?
8:18:29 PM from Jon Reed :
agreed Jim - security limits on ability to problem solve across processes is important
from Jon Reed :
(meaning important topic)
from Phillip Avelar :
i agree about security i think this is the midsize company difference
from Jon Reed :
Phil +1
8:27:03 PM from TdT :
For security problems, you might consider running the SolMan self service - SAP Security Optimisation.
from TdT :
DSWP->Service Plan -> Self Deilvered Services
from James Spath :
bleep - 7 second delay? ha ha
from Jon Reed :
yeah who need security guys?
from James Spath :
change control is our strong suit.
from Jon Reed :
Tony, agreed on testing in replicant systems - I've run into situations where companies didn't invest enough in duplicate testing environs
from James Spath :
Phil - jump in plz
8:34:46 PM from TdT :
We use IBM Flashcopy SE to replicate a 5tb system in 2-4 hours
from TdT :
We also have used TDMS for more focussed data replication
from TdT :
We are also looking at NetApp flexclone for duplicating non production systems
from Phillip Avelar :
wow, i want to come work with you, you get all the toys
8:39:21 PM from TdT :
Great responsibility comes with using these weapons properly :)
from TdT :
If you make it too easy, you end up having over 100 instances on your hands.
8:40:59 PM from Phillip Avelar :
we do stuff with virtual machines and spin up environments for testing, demo but not our sap system
from TdT :
Waht about BPM now to improve quality of new code?
from TdT :
SAP Offer BRFplus and BRM to simplify code
from Phillip Avelar :
sorry guys I got dropped by [LDC], will dial back in
from TdT :
all via ARIS--> SolMan--> CE
from Jon Reed :
Tony I think it has potential but is it ready for prime time? (BRM etc)
from TdT :
Depends how good your management is in pushing this into the organisation
from TdT :
It provides many benefits which are too good to overlook
from James Spath :
Thanks everyone!!!!!
from James Spath :
Phil?
from Phillip Avelar :
Si senor?
from James Spath :
audio still working for you?
from Phillip Avelar :
Nope my call got dropped and getting a network congested message
from Phillip Avelar :
Did oyu guys wrap?
from James Spath :
We'll do a separate overlay if Phil can't get back in.
from Jon Reed :
wrapping now - type in something and I'll say it for you as a closing comment
8:50:50 PM from Phillip Avelar :
it was a great discussion and sounds like we have a lot more to explore
from Phillip Avelar :
looking forward to out next disc
from Jon Reed :
Thanks Jim for making it happen
from TdT :
excellent!
from TdT :
Man, how do come down from a high like that?
from Phillip Avelar :
Thx Jim, sorry guys AT&T thinks I talk to much
from James Spath :
Phil - can you call me on [...]
from Phillip Avelar :
sure will, give me a sec, I threw my phone
from TdT :
So I got soccer and beer into the conversation - Matt Kangas influence paying dividends!
from James Spath :
beer first, soccer later!
from Phillip Avelar :
I wanted to skip the subject and not throw salt on any possible wounds
from James Spath :
ouch]
from Phillip Avelar :
Of course the US got a nice gimme from Green so we are happy
from Phillip Avelar :
Cheers guys, Jim give me a minute

 

You know this was a podcast, right?

 

Credits (media information):

The MP3 file is tagged as follows:

Title: SolBros Live Episode 2

Artist: Jim, Jon, Phil, and Tony

Genre: Techno-Industrial

Comments: Creative Commons Share Alike Licensed

(so, feel free to copy the audio file as long as the tags are kept)

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