Advanced Troubleshooting of Virtualized SAP Environments with vRealize Operations

by bluemedora_editor on December 23, 2015

Virtualizing enterprise-grade applications like SAP is becoming commonplace in many organizations for a variety of reasons, ranging from budget savings to cloud enablement. Whatever the reason for using virtualized SAP environments, adding virtualization creates a certain level of complexity to the stack that was not present before. A new approach is required for monitoring and troubleshooting to offset this complexity and maintain or even improve troubleshooting.

Reduce monitoring complexity

VMware vRealize Operations is a platform specifically built for advanced VMware monitoring, troubleshooting, project planning, and optimization. Install the Blue Medora Management Pack for SAP and you now have those same benefits for your SAP environment, along with a tight coupling of SAP resources to their VMware dependencies.

Without this tight SAP-to-VMware integration, the complexity of your SAP-VMware stack directly translates into monitoring complexity. Using multiple monitoring tools for each layer requires multiple consoles, manual data alignment, and often the involvement of many people just to begin troubleshooting. With vRealize Operations and the Blue Medora Management Pack, one person has access to a single console with visibility and performance data of the entire stack. Even better, the stack dependencies are automatically linked, making traversal and root-cause identification much easier.

Below you can see an example of the relationship mapping from the VMware Host and VM at the bottom up into the SAP stack in the top half. Not shown in the image (but present in the dashboard) are the remaining layers of the SAP stack: SAP Central Services Instance to SAP Database to SAP Host and System.

Advanced Troubleshooting Capabilities for Virtualized SAP Environments

Let’s say you’re a vAdmin. Or an SAP Admin. Or an IT helpdesk professional. No matter the case, you have access to vRealize Operations using the Blue Medora Management Pack for SAP. A ticket comes across your desk reporting some degradation in the SAP environment. You’re the first responder and need to determine which of your colleagues is needed to resolve the issue. Instead of calling a meeting or walking around to your colleagues’ desks to diagnose the issue, you start digging in.

A great place to start is the dashboard from the above screenshot, called SAP Relationships. First, the dashboard is responsive to your selection in the relationship tree on the left. The ticket notes the issue was related to the SAP Host sol71-win64-d, so you select it on the left and the health tree, metric picker, sparkline, and graph widgets all update to show data about the selected SAP Host.

Each section provides valuable information when troubleshooting virtualized SAP environments. The SAP Health Tree shows the resources related to our selected SAP Host, both VMware and SAP components. Below that, KPI sparklines are displayed for important performance metrics of the SAP Host. Finally, if there are other metrics that you wish to dig into, the metric selector in the upper-right will populate metric graphs in the bottom-right corner when double-clicked.

Everything looks good on the SAP Host, but you notice there are some orange icons on the dashboard related to the SAP Host. The orange icons, both in the left panel and the Health Tree widget, show that an ABAP and Dual Stack Instance have lowered health scores. There are many ways to dig into these alerts and see what is going on, but you want to see all the alerts related to the SAP Host. To do this, ensure that a red box is around the SAP Host in the health tree widget, then click the red and green sparkline icon in the upper-right of the widget.

You now look to the Resource Summary page for our SAP Host, sol71-win64-d. Here you start to see a breakdown of the alerts related to sol71-win64-d. To see all the alerts in more detail, you use the “Alerts” tab.

After clicking the “Alerts” tab, you need to enable the “child” alerts so they are visible. Remembering that the resource kinds were “SAP ABAP Instance” and “SAP Dual Stack Instance,” you select those from the dropdown.

After selecting these, the alerts will appear in the table for review.

You click on the first “Fault: Red” ABAP alert to dig into what happened. You now get an alert summary page detailing the specifics of the alert, shown below. You see that SAP raised an alert which was transferred into vRealize by the Blue Medora Management Pack for SAP. The specific error originated from an SAP threshold on the Availability metric for this ABAP Instance, which fell below 80% on 10/19 at 4:03PM.

Knowing that availability dropped below 80% tells you there is something going on, but is it the VMware Virtual Machine or Host that is going down, or something with this specific application instance? With vRealize, that’s easy to answer! Clicking on the “Relationships” tab at the top will let you identify the related VMware VM to check its uptime. Because the relationship to the VMware VM is from the SAP Host you need to double-click the SAP host in the map and let it refresh. Then you click the VM as well as the red and green sparkline icon above it.

You’re now looking at the VMware Virtual Machine. First, you navigate to “Troubleshooting,” then “All Metrics.” Next, double-click a few metrics that gauge the availability of the Virtual Machine: Powered ON and Availability. We need to adjust our time frame to see 10/19 at 4:03pm, the time the alert occurred. You do this using the calendar icon to define the date and time range for the graphs. Finally, the graphs appear with the proper timeframe to verify that the VM was powered on and available when the ABAP Instance reported downtime.

With the VMware availability verified, you safely deduce that something is going on with this particular ABAP Instance at the application level. After just a few minutes by using vRealize Operations and the Management Pack for SAP, you confidently pass the ticket onto the SAP Admin to have them resolve the application level issue in your virtualized SAP environments. If you would like more information or a free trial of the Management Pack for SAP, please visit the product page.

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