How to Drive Better SAP Performance with Virtualization Layer Visibility

by bluemedora_editor on May 12, 2017

By: Christian Fernando


When using SAP native tools such as SAP Solution Manager, it lacks visibility into the underlying virtualization layers, which can result in a blind spot in understanding the complete performance story. The virtualization layer includes the virtual machine, ESXi server, CPU, memory and storage. The ability to quickly see contention of infrastructure resources and find root causes in the application and data tier helps to keep users happy and access/uptime SLAs at a high level.

In this post, I’ll provide insight into how you can garner visibility into the layers below virtualization to help determine usage patterns in the business, as well as how you can dynamically respond to those changes without affecting SLAs. This blog post is the second in my series highlighting how to drive better performance for your SAP workloads. In case you missed it, check out the first: How to Pinpoint Storage Problems in Your SAP Environment.


Topology of a Virtualized SAP Environment

The following is an example topology of a virtualized environment in vROps:

Topology of a virtualized SAP environment

  1. EPP is the SAP System
  2. SAP APP1 is the SAP Host
  3. D00 is the ABAP Instance
  4. SAP APP1 is the VMware VM


VMware’s vRealize Operations (vROps) can also show additional relationships that include all my SAP HANA and/or other database instances.



Real-World Scenario: CPU and Physical Contention


With Blue Medora’s SAP Management Pack for vRealize Operations, you can trace from the SAP application to the SAP host. Through the power of relationships, you can trace from the virtual machine running the application to the VMware ESXi server. In this case, there is a higher than normal spike in CPU and physical memory used.

CPU and physical contention in SAP


With visibility to the application and data tiers, you can answer key questions as to why this may be happening:

  1. Is the spike sudden and noticing it for the first time?
  2. Is the spike now a known and periodic one? In this case what is the frequency and cycle time?
  3. What do we know about any new business usage patterns?
  4. Have there been any new usage policies and/or modules that have been launched?
  5. Have the number of users on the platform increased?


Seeing both the IT and SAP admin views into the application and IT infrastructure helps us get to the source of higher levels of usage and the causes of those spikes. With this knowledge, you can quickly and efficiently respond to the business needs that are triggering the higher demand.

The deep alerting feature provides alerts when the disks, which host the SAP application and database instances, are running out of space. This prevents service interruption of the business critical SAP application environment, which allows us to take action before lights go out on application access.

Let’s take a look at a system with high load during a particular time, as shown below:

High load on a SAP system


As you can see, we can garner key metrics from across the virtualization stack:

  1. Datastore I/O | Reads – This is from the VMware layer and shows a high level of Read Operations during the scheduled transaction run time.
  2. Performance | Block Reads – This is from the VNX SAN MP at the LUN level from Blue Medora’s EMC VNX Management Pack.
  3. CPU | Ready (%) – This is a spike in the CPU’s utilization of the SAP HANA database server.


How to Extend Visibility into Storage for SAP


Understanding whether storage and capacity issues are causing performance problems simplifies the troubleshooting process — giving you immediate insight into what part of the IT stack may be causing issues. The Blue Medora SAP Management Pack gives you extended visibility so you can clearly drill down to the root cause of issues, reducing mean-time-to-innocence and eliminating alert storms.

The management pack includes more than 3,000 key performance metrics, including active session counts and system utilization. Combined with a series of out-of-the-box dashboards and reports, gain real-time access to understand issues as they arise instead of when they derail your performance.

To learn more about the SAP Management Pack from Blue Medora or to download a free trial, please visit the True Visibility Suite for VMware vRealize Operations page on Blue Medora’s website.


This post first appeared on the VMware Cloud Management blog. Read the full post here

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