Editor note: following the announcement made by SAP on February 4th, please review article SAP Business Suite 7 To Go To 2027.
With the closing of 2019 and the opening of 2020, we are now 5 years away from the end of the NetWeaver Java application server (see note 164480).
What possibilities does the current SAP Solution Manager Roadmap bring?
As many will come to appreciate, the end of the Java stack is significant, with many SAP products utilising Java, such as SAP PO (Process Orchestration) and SAP BPA (Business Process Scheduling). These products are not particularly common in most SMEs, so the impact is limited. We don’t yet know for certain, the paths of the above mentioned products.
This, I’m sure will become clearer over the next 5 years, but with the current drive to cloud we can probably make a good guess where these products will end-up. For SAP PO, there is already a cloud based SAP integration/middleware product (SAP Cloud Integration) which I see as signalling the end of on-premise SAP PO.
There is, however, one tool that is common to all SAP customers. I remember being sat in an upgrade conference in 2005, where SAP clarified that the SAP Solution Manager Roadmap for Solution Manager 3.2 was to become mandatory for customers to install, in order to receive support from SAP. Back then, the functionality of Solution Manager was fairly limited; the enabling of the download basket was the main usage.
There are still many, many customers who only use Solution Manager for the System Landscape Directory (SLD) and basic monitoring, and some that even use it for hosting smaller products such as Adobe Document Services (ADS).
SAP have a SAP Solution Manager roadmap and it’s probably “the cloud”; just look at what has been migrated over-time, out of Solution Manager to the cloud:
- Maintenance Optimizer is now Maintenance Planner.
- Download Basket authorisation is now purely controlled in the SAP Launchpad/Support Portal.
- The System Landscape Directory… let’s save that for another post!
Yes, we do have a lot of “new” capabilities (licensed separately), recently added to Solution Manager 7.2, such as the “Focused” solution toolset (Focused Run, Focused Insights & Focused Build) – these are meant to provide ready-to-run (oven ready?) capabilities for customers. But, you could argue these are enhancements to the existing capabilities of the tool. Some are not even that new, and have just been uprated to be brought into line with a new UI5 interface.
SAP Solution Manager has been running in a dual stack (previous incarnations before Solman 7.2 could be run with one SAP system that consisted of both ABAP and Java stacks under one system identifier), and since 7.2 with ABAP and Java separately installed under different SIDs. All versions of SAP Solution Manager before 7.2, have been out of mainstream maintenance since the end of December 2017.
If we check SAP note 2577037 “Does Solution Manager 7.2 need ABAP and JAVA stack?” we get confirmation that Solution Manager requires both ABAP and Java stacks in order to function. This leaves one big question, what is the future for SAP application monitoring, if there is no SAP Solution Manager? I guess the answer partly lies in the usage of Java within SAP Solution Manager.
The Java stack was only recently added (in relative Solman version terms), in the 7.x series of Solution Manager (Solman never used Java in the 6.x Netweaver stack, which equated to Solman 3.x), and the main usage for the Java stack seems (in my eyes) to be for the technical monitoring function of Solution Manager. Each of the SAP Diagnostic Agents (I’m sure I’m not the only one who dislikes these) installed at the SAP instance level, talks back directly to the SAP Netweaver AS Java of the Solution Manager system.
These Agents pass the gathered raw monitoring metric data, to the Java components of Solution Manager, for aggregation, interpretation and alerting inside Solution Manager. If we were to turn off the Java stack of Solution Manager, we immediately lose the technical monitoring capability; therefore, what we should be looking for, are any signals from SAP that the area of technical monitoring is being migrated off of the Java stack.
Introducing, the SAP Technical Monitoring Cockpit (TMC):
The TMC seems to have been around since mid 2018 for customers to implement at version 1.5.0 and has only recently been improved in version 2.0.0. It consists of two main parts – the Engine and the Content, both separately deliverable with their own life-cycles. This is similar to the way the SLD content is distributed.
More importantly, the TMC runs on a pure SAP Netweaver ABAP stack and utilises the SAP UI5 UX standard. We already know that the SAP Netweaver 7.x ABAP stack will itself be continued in the form of SAP ABAP Platform 1809 and onwards (see the ABAP Platform roadmap); it will therefore traverse the 2025 end of maintenance. (We can also point to the “ABAP in the cloud” product to show how ABAP will live-on way past Java, in the SAP world).
How does the TMC mark a definitive move away from Solution Manager technical monitoring? Well, there are two main capabilities that allow us to consider the TMC as the natural progressor:
- The duplication of the technical monitoring capabilities, plus the creation of a new engine and content delivery mechanism are far too much effort for a one off product, or simply a new front-end for monitoring duties.
- The TMC can be used to monitor your ABAP platform that is in the cloud (SCP ABAP):
Some of the capabilities of the TMC:
- Host O/S monitoring.
- DB monitoring (HANA/SQL Server/ASE/DB2/Oracle).
- ABAP Application Server monitoring (BASIS 7.40+).
- SCP ABAP (Cloud) application server monitoring.
What will happen to the SAP Diagnostics Agents?
Since the SAP Netweaver AS Java is going end of maintenance, then it has to be assumed that anything based on Java is at risk. This is simply a guess based on the Java licensing changes regarding maintenance of older Java versions, introduced by Oracle. We know how much love SAP has for Oracle right now.
Underneath the SAP Diagnostics Agents, sits a small decapitated version of Catalina, the heart of the Apache Tomcat project. This is based on Java 8 (last time I checked), which we can assume will no longer be required going forward. Note, for O/S metrics, the SAP Host Agent is still utilised, which itself uses a small set of binary executables a bit like a cut-down SAP Kernel.
What will happen to Wily Introscope?
Extremely detailed Java process execution metrics are provided for by the Wily Introscope tool, which is not owned by SAP. It used to be owned by CA, which has now been bought by Broadcom (and called CA Broadcom), and you can no longer buy Wily Introscope through SAP (https://wiki.scn.sap.com/wiki/display/TechOps/RCA_Introscope_Home). The conclusion, is that without any Netweaver AS Java stack instances to monitor, you will not need Wily Introscope installed.
Closing points to note:
- SAP Solution Manager Roadmap for Solman 7.2 shows end of mainstream maintenance is 2025.
- SAP Netweaver AS Java is end of maintenance 31-Dec-2024.
- Wily Introscope is no longer sold by SAP and having no Java stacks, means no need for Wily anyway.
- Various capabilities within Solution Manager have been moved to the cloud.
- Some new solutions (namely the “Focused” area of solutions) have been introduced into Solution Manager, these all run on the ABAP stack and use the UI5 interface (or are being migrated to use UI5).
- SAP TMC seems to be the successor product for technical monitoring of on-premise and cloud based SAP systems.
- SAP TMC runs on pure ABAP and uses UI5.
- SAP Diagnostic Agents will probably fade into insignificance.
- SAP Cloud Connector (uses Catalina also) may be integrated into the SAP Router (makes a little bit of sense).
If you’re looking to make the most out of your SAP technical investment, why not see how Aliter can work with you to roadmap your own landscape and plan for obsolescence.
SAP Note 2363024 “Technical Monitoring Cockpit” v13
SAP Note 2372351 “TMC: Enabling the Technical Monitoring Cockpit for Productive Use” v24
SAP Note 2577037 “Does Solution Manager 7.2 need ABAP and JAVA stack?” v2
SAP Note 1648480 “Maintenance for SAP Business Suite 7 Software including SAP NetWeaver” v18