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Thursday, January 30, 2014

SAP Note Listing All Kernel Releases

As far as I know there is no single SAP note that lists all Kernel releases.
However, when problems with language related functions appear, they are documented on SAP note 447519 which generally seems to include all Kernel releases.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Solaris 10 - Asynch I/O on UFS - Not Really

Whilst investigating a performance issue on an Oracle database running on Solaris 10, I had to do a little digging to discover exactly how asynchronous I/O is implemented within Oracle when the database is using the UFS filesystem.

It was not as straightforward as i thought, because I had to start from the beginning and not trust any current Oracle settings.  For example, FILESYSTEMIO_OPTIONS was set to "ASYNCH" in the spfile.
This would normally indicate that a DBA has specifically determined that ASYNCH I/O is possible and that they do not want to use DIRECTIO (or concurrent I/O).

Yet, reading the SAP notes, you would think that this is a moot point.
SAP note  830576 “Parameter recommendations for Oracle 10g” v227 clearly states that Oracle 10.2 on Solaris with UFS filesystems, supports asynchronous I/O, so therefore set the FILESYSTEMIO_OPTIONS to "SETALL".

However, if you have access to "My Oracle Support" you can check Oracle document "SOLARIS: Asynchronous I/O (AIO) on Solaris (SPARC) servers (Doc ID 48769.1)" which explains that, in Solaris with UFS, Oracle does not actually perform asynchronous I/O at the kernel (Solaris) level.  Instead, Solaris simulates AIO by performing parallel writes (calls pwrite() ) but to Oracle it still looks and feels like KAIO.
So, the details in the SAP note are not exactly accurate.  AIO is not supported in Solaris, but is simulated.  Also, the simulation is just issuing more parallel I/O requests. 

If your disk sub-system is slow, it's still going to be slow, but Oracle writes might be slightly faster if you handle/tune for more parallel requests at the storage layer.

Here's a nice article that explains it really well:

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Power Notes Searcher - Find SAP Notes Smarter

After working as a BASIS guy for many years, I've come to the conclusion that SAP don't want to provide an easy experience when analysing SAP notes.
Compared to Oracle's MYOS site, SAP have a long way to go.
For SAP notes, it takes time find them, you go round in circles and you forget what you've read and what you haven't.
It costs me a lot of time on my projects, so I thought there must be a better way.

I decided to invest some time.  I taught myself how to write a Google Chrome Extension and created the FREE Power Notes Searcher extension for Google Chrome.

It's just gone live on the Google Chrome App Store today!
Very exciting!

I hope it makes you more productive with your work.  It definitely has made me more productive and I can produce better documentation, quicker!  This is great news for my current and potential clients.

August 2014 has seen v1.1 released, with a small fix to the table ordering in the notes history.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

HowTo: Find Which Version Of Solution Manager You're Running

Scenario: You want to know which version of Solution Manager you are currently using.
The problem with Solution Manager, is that it has been through the SAP makeover factory a couple of times and been given new names.  Not only this, but like other SAP products, the version of Solution Manager may not actually be easily discernable.
SAP note 394616 - "Release strategy for SAP Solution Manager", provides the answer.
From within your Solution Manager system, select "System -> Status" from the SAP GUI menu, and check for the version of the "ST" component:


In the popup, you will see the general description:
TIP: If you hover the mouse over the text field, you can see the whole string, or you can scroll left and right when the cursor is inside the field.

Component Version

If you click the magnifying glass icon, you can see the full system component list and versions:


You are looking for the component "ST" in the list:

Solution Manager Tool Version

This can be compared to the contents of the SAP note 394616 mentioned earlier.
As the above example shows, ST version 400 patch 24 = SAP Solution Manager 7.0 EHP 1.

SAP Solution Manager 7.1 on HANA=
ST Release  ST 712
NW Release  NW 7.4

SAP Solution Manager 7.1=
ST Release  ST 710
NW Release  NW 7.0 EHP 2

SAP Solution Manager 7.0 EHP 1=
ST Release  ST 400
NW Release  NW 7.0 EHP 1

SAP Solution Manager 7.0=
ST Release  ST 400
NW Release  NW 7.0

SAP Solution Manager 3.2=
ST Release  ST 320
WebAS Release  WAS 6.20

SAP Solution Manager 3.1=
ST Release  ST 310
WebAS Release  WAS 6.20

You can check out this SAP Wiki page for links to the main support package stacks of Solution Manager:

Thursday, January 09, 2014


During a system copy, you are advised in SAP note 816861 to migrate the entries in the SAP Secure Store through transaction SECSTORE or report RSECADMIN.
When you run those transactions, you only see message SECSTORE031 for the CL_HTTP_SERVER_NET item which uses HMAC (Message Authentication Code).


If you are simply performing a system copy to an existing system (system refresh) then you do not need to migrate the system just for the CL_HTTP_SERVER_NET item.
As per SAP note 1908221, you can just delete the item CL_HTTP_SERVER_NET from SECSTORE and it will be re-created when the system next starts up.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Network Port Test Using SAP NIPING

Some companies have additional security policies that remove the Telnet application from the local desktop PCs.
This can prove difficult for SAP BASIS people trying to test if a specific network port is reachable, since Telnet is a perfect way of testing if a server port is accessible, or being blocked by a firewall.
Instead, you can use the NIPING tool (Network Interface Ping) supplied with the SAP Frontend installation on the desktop PC.

Check if you have NIPING.exe, it should exist in the default install location: "C:\Program Files\SAP\FrontEnd\SAPgui\".

You have to call NIPING from a command prompt:

C:> cd C:\Program Files\SAP\FrontEnd\SAPgui\

There are two command line options that are useful when calling NIPING.
The command line option "-R" tells NIPING to attempt a RAW TCP connection.
Option "-P" specifies that NIPING should option slightly more detail.

If you need to test if a network port is available, you need to use the RAW option.
You don't care what transport layer protocol is required (SMTP, HTTP, Telnet, SSH), you just want it to try and open a bare TCP connection to the specified port and see what happens.

To use NIPING with the RAW option:

> niping -c -H <dest host>  -S <dest port>  -R  -P

You will get some fairly detailed output.
What you are looking for is a return code (RC) of "-6" and "ERROR connection to partner '' broken".

The RC of "-6" indicates that NIPING was able to open the TCP connection (NIPCONNECT) successfully, but it was not able to receive (NILREAD)  because the server closed the connection when we didn't send any information (it was a raw connection).

If you receive an RC of "-10" and "ERROR partner not reached" this indicates that NIPING was not able to even establish a basic TCP connection (NIPCONNECT) to the server host and port.
You may not have an network route to the server, the server IP may be invalid, the port may not be listening on the server, a firewall may be blocking you and many other reasons.

If you are simply trying to connect to a known SAP system dispatcher port (for SAP GUI connections), then using NIPING without the RAW option will perform an RFC connection to the SAP system dispatcher, if possible:

> niping -c -H <dest host>  -S 32<SAP_sys_id>

When you use NIPING without the RAW option, it will return success ("Connect to server o.k.") if it can successfully connect to the SAP system dispatcher.  It will always complain about "bytes_written <> bytes_read", so ignore this error.

You should note that connecting to the SAP ABAP message server (36xx) will return a "ERROR connection to partner broken" and RC "-6" (just like a RAW connection) if it was successful.
The reason is that this is not a straight RFC connection that supports NIPING.  It's meant to hand-off to a specific dispatcher or other tasks, but not ping.