What Makes a Great Basis Administrator?

Basis Administrators are key to overall project success. Proper system administration provides stable systems and consistent support for your project. One of the key questions that companies face is what makes a great basis administrator? The following items are critical to basis administration success:

  • Technical expertise with NetWeaver platform
  • Understanding of technical operations for datacenter activities (OS, DB, SAN, network)
  • Ability to adapt to changing technology
  • Ability to problem solve and learn on the job

A great basis administrator must understand the different NetWeaver platforms, integration points, and how to support the multiple systems in a SAP landscape. The SAP landscape is becoming complex with multiple SAP systems, hybrid models for infrastructure components (e.g. Linux and Windows OS), and multiple Database technologies based on application dependency. The increased use and deployment of technologies like mobility, analytics, cloud computing, and in-memory-computing force a basis administrator to have a breadth of technical knowledge. The rapidly changing landscape also means basis administrators must be flexible and adapt to the changing infrastructure requirements. A great basis administrator has to support current technology while learning new technology. The ability to utilize core technical knowledge and apply that knowledge to emerging technologies is key to long-term success. Adapting to the shifting technical landscape and problem solving within this environment is critical to success.

DataXstream basis administrators understand the multiple aspects of system administration. We understand the technical details and ability to adapt to emerging technology. DataXstream basis administrators have real experience, with proven results.

Virtual Machines and Snapshots

Service packs. Kernel patches. New module releases. What do all of these have in common? Restore points and backups. Before we, as BASIS administrators, do any of these we have to make sure we have a recovery point so if anything should go haywire, we have a point of recovery. Usually it involves communicating with the database administrators, operating system administrators, and backup teams to leverage  the current backup technology.

If you are already a virtualization house, or are thinking about converting to be one, then you know about some of the new solutions available to you. The most basic, and most easily leveraged is that of the “snapshot”.

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SAP Cutover Practice for Risk Reduction

SAP system upgrades, support packs, or data conversions into production can be a very stressful and time-consuming activity.  A good way to remove some of the negativity and gain confidence is for a ‘SAP Cutover Practice’ activity.  Although this does require additional hardware (at least temporarily), the benefits from this activity are well worth the cost.

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Command Line Driven Transporting Using the ‘tp’ Command

STMS is a very powerful transaction in the BASIS world.  The whole transport system in SAP is paramount to it’s functionality.  99% of the time, you will use STMS for your transport needs.  What of that last 1%?  Sometimes it becomes more efficient, or just safer, to have a little more manual control.

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Configuring SAP NetWeaver to send Email Externally – SAP Connect

SAP Connect has been around for quite sometime. I am sure there are plenty of documented procedures on setting it up. I recently had to configure it. I have not done this in a long time, so I figured I would capture the setup as well as point out some things to watch for.

SAP Connect can be configured for a number of different message relaying purposes. This blog post will only cover sending E-mail from SAP externally.

Some basic requirements and points:

  • SAP Connect configuration is client dependent. It has to be configured in each client where you want to use it.
  • SAP Connect requires an external SMTP server to send emails.
  • SAP Connect needs to be authorized to use the SMTP server to send emails.
  • You need to have applications configured in SAP that send external emails.

High level outline of process:

  • SMTP Server Details
  • Configuring SAP Connect INT Node
  • Configuring Routes For SAP Connect INT Node
  • Configuring SAP Connect Default Domain
  • Scheduling Send Process
  • Setting Up Your User ID with and External Email Address
  • Testing Your Configuration
  • Monitoring SAP Connect

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Changing the UNIX user UID for the SAP Users sidadm and orasid

SAP System Administrator Unix User Accounts <sid>adm and ora<sid>

You may find it necessary to change the the UID of the sidadm and orasid accounts on your SAP server. The process is not difficult but there are a number of steps that must be followed for it to work correctly. The following is an outline of steps that I have followed in that past on AIX running oracle. Please note you should always test this on a test server to develop a proper procedure for your specific OS and installation. You should also confirm that you have a current backup just in case.
Lets Review The High Level Steps

  • Confirm backups are in place and current. Validate the restore procedure.
  • Review the current SAP UNIX user setup and develop list of required changes.
  • Backup the current passwd file.
  • Create a backup list of files owned by the user being changed.
  • Stop SAP System and processes owned by <sid>adm.
  • Stop Oracle and processes owned by ora<sid>.
  • Restart the server.
  • Change user UID mapping.
  • Change file ownership to new UID mapping.
  • Restart the server.
  • Restart SAP and Validate server started correctly.

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SAP ABAP Performance Tuning – High CPU Utilization, Low DB Activity

So I have been working on a list of blog topics.  I actually have an outline that is 3 pages long, but I am not going to blog on any of the topics on the outline because my experience this week at the client site I think was useful and relevant.  We are at crunch time.  A lot of things have stacked up and as usual we are working to a very aggressive deadline.  In recent years I have typically held many leadership roles on SAP projects.  Usually heading up the technical team, working as the project architect or serving as the overall project manager for the SAP project.  In my current roll I heading up the Basis Team in a very hands on role.  I have been doing my best not to interfere with the development team.  The development team is headed up by a good friend of mine and a very talented senior SAP consultant. This week we have had a number of SAP performance defects logged.  Upon a quick initial analysis it was clear that the SAP performance issues were not  Basis related.  The development team is currently buried in the perfect storm of conversions finally coming together and the test team finally kicking the tires on the rest of the delivered development interface objects. This gave me the opportunity to pitch in get my hands dirty and look at some code and performance issues. We knocked off a significant SAP ABAP performance issue with a 100 fold improvement when all was said and done. Looking back on the problem it was obvious to me, but I missed a couple of clues that should have pointed me to the problem even sooner.  This is what this blog post is about.

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Issues with GuiXT and the SAP GUI

GuiXT is a scripting environment that allows for the creation of huge macros in the SAP GUI environment.  The HP testing product LoadRunner uses GuiXT to generate user load for system stability testing purposes.  This document is designed to show you how to install the GuiXT plug-in if it isn’t already, and how to fix some errors that are less than descriptive.

GuiXT is a SAPGUI plug-in that is selected during the launch pad install.  If you don’t select it during the initial install, you can run the installer again and select only GuiXT.

SAP Netweaver Front-End Installer

If everything is working correctly when you open a GUI session, you will see “Activate GuiXT” under the “Customize Local Layout” menu.

WARNING:
Neither the author of this article nor DataXstream can be held responsible if the reader breaks the registry while making this correction.  Whenever working inside the registry, it is good practice to take a full back-up before continuing.  Also break up any keys before directly editing them.

To open the registry editor click ‘Start’->’Run’ and enter regedit.

Windows Runline

The registry editor window appears:

Registry Editor

To take a full back-up of the registry, click ‘File’->’Export’ while ‘My Computer’ is highlighted:

Registry Editor File Menu

Save the file somewhere you won’t forget and with a name you will easily recognize:

Export Registry File View

With the full backup, we can now feel safe as we make our changes.  Drill down through the tree starting with
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SAP\SAGUI Front\SAP Frontend \Server\Adminstration.
Look for a key titled DisappearItems.  If it exists, export by following the previous steps with just that key highlighted, then delete the key.

Registry Editor

The option ‘Activate GuiXT’ should now be available in the Customize layout menu.

Another issue that I’ve seen with GuiXT in regards to LoadRunner is LR not being able to find the GuiXT Dynamic Link Library (.dll) when excuting a test script.  The fix is easy; Copy ‘guixt.dll’ from the directory path C:\Program Files\SAP\FrontEnd\SAPgui\ to C:\WINDOWS\system32\.

These fixes assume that you have administrative access to your computer.  If you do not, please contact your IT/Help Desk department to either gain admin rights or have a tech follow these steps for you.

Moving SAP transports in batch using SCC1

The other day I ran into an issue with a test client missing transports in one of my clients QA systems. Upon reviewing the logs I determined that the entire basis team was not on the same page when importing client dependent transports. I now had missing transports and a sequencing issue. Another consultant on the team suggested I use the bulk transport program to clean up the client. Since I was not aware of this program which has been around for quite sometime. I decided that others might find it useful.

This program lets you pick a point in time in one client and synch its configuration changes from that point to another client. The program is RSCC_SCC1_BATCH. You can find more details on the specifics of this program in SAP OSS: Note 645846 – CC-ADMIN: Collective Customizing copy with SCC1.

Program Features:

  • Bulk Import Customizing Changes From One Client To Another
  • Selections Of SAP Transports By: Transport Number, Owner, Point In Time
  • Program Has A Test Mode
  • Program Has Ability To Merge Transport Into One New Large Transport
  • Program Can Be Schedules To Run As A Periodic Job

The program selection screen is pretty straight forward:
RSCC_SCC1_BATCH Selection Screen

I was most interested in the changes since date.  I had performed a client copy on May 19th and was already missing transports by the 20th.  There was too much testing setup to redo the client copy so we had to get the configuration corrected.

Results:

  • In my testing the program typically runs 600 + seconds.
  • SAP suggests you use the Merge Requests:  This takes all the request that is selects and merges them into one big request.  (Even in test mode it creates the request it just does not import it.)
  • The merged request contains a list of the merged transports in the comments section.
  • I was pulling changes from client 400 (Golden Client in QA) to 431 test client.  The transports originated in our development system client 100 so I had to turn off the (Check Request Source Client) Flag
  • Configuration was correctly synchronized.

The program creates a spool report:

RSCC_SCC1_BATCH Spool Report

The report contains summary details of the execution.  You can see the number of the newly created merge transport at the bottom.

The merge transport contains the list of merged transport in the comment section:

Merge Transport From RSCC_SCC1_BATCH

Transport is not release unless you set the release flag.