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There’s SAP Monitoring and Then There’s SAP Monitoring

The following Blog Post has been written by Chris Booth our Solution Architect.

As specialists in Network and Application Performance Monitoring (NPM/APM), we often speak to customers who have business-critical but hard to monitor applications.  These applications can be a source of considerable frustration across a business.  End-users find their everyday work held up by poor performance, whilst the IT teams supporting the application crave more information to understand where issues lie.  Every IT professional would love to have no issues to find and fix, but the modern IT environment with layers of virtualisation, middleware, databases, and more mean tracing issues is not easy.  Application vendors may supply management tools as standard, but these can lack functionality and thus provide little insight into problems.

Ranked #1 for ERP revenue by Gartner (“Market Share Analysis: ERP Software, Worldwide, 2018”), SAP will often be found In the business-critical application space.  By definition, ERP will be underpinning a business and any issues with it can quickly be felt in lost productivity and, ultimately, revenue.  With SAP being accessible through both a thick client and a web browser, the infrastructure supporting SAP access has become more complex.  However, to an end-user, who is quite rightly ignorant of the complexity of a modern SAP deployment, the problem will often be a simple “SAP is slow”.

Virtualisation can also make troubleshooting more difficult.  A Java middleware VM may be running slowly but is the source of the issue directly from the VM? Or could another VM on the same virtualisation host be consuming excessive resources and thus impacting other guests?

Thus to effectively monitor and troubleshoot issues, a tool needs to look beyond just the core components of SAP.  Incorporating metrics from layers such as virtualisation and storage allows the “big picture” to be considered.  Caution is needed though - whilst knowing more is generally considered to be a benefit, it can also lead to instances of the “alert cannon” which overwhelm IT teams with multiple alerts arriving at the same time.  It can then take the team longer to fix an issue as they hunt for the root cause which may be buried in the alerts.

Alongside supporting a wide range of technologies, the ability to correlate events becomes a key requirement for the monitoring system.  This means the tool can asses multiple alerts, highlighting the root alert, helping the IT team find the root-cause quicker.

The eG Innovations Enterprise Suite offers end-to-end monitoring and performance analytics, collecting metrics from over 180 applications (including SAP modules such as ABAP, ITS, and Web Dispatcher), operating systems and virtualisation platforms. With automatic baselining and event correlation it provides a very powerful tool to help IT teams manage and support complex and critical applications such as SAP.

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