General SAP System Management SAP BASIS

The functions available for the basic administration of the SAP system form the group of transactions that should be performed on a regular basis in the daily operation and management of the system. These functions are the responsibility of the SAP system administrator and/or the system operator. Whenever a problem is detected while doing basic administration, it has to be reported and solved as soon as possible. Administrators can help prevent problems from occurring by following certain monitoring practices.

In the event that problems are detected, the monitoring and administration facilities can help to isolate the problem and solve it more quickly. Having an operator or administrator manual and maintaining an internal incidence log will greatly reduce the time it takes to solve a particular problem in cases where it has happened previously. In case a problem cannot be solved quickly enough, SAP system administrators should contact the SAP hotline or enter the problem in the SAP Service Marketplace support services (formerly OSS).

Checking the Installation

Every time a SAP instance is started, the system automatically checks whether there are any inconsistencies. You can manually check the system status for inconsistencies by selecting Tools | Administration | Administration | Installation Check. When you call the Installation Check, the system looks into the table that collects system events and performs the following checks:

  • That the critical database structure definitions are identical in the data dictionary and in the SAP kernel, including tables such as SYST, T100, TFDIR, TSTC, and so on
  • That the SAP kernel release number matches the number stored in the database

Displaying and Monitoring the SAP Instances and Application Servers

Using transaction code SM51 in the command field or by selecting Tools | Administration | Monitor | System Monitoring | Servers from the menu options, you can display the instances or application servers of the SAP system, In the figure only one server is defined for this system.

Server monitoring display

Server monitoring display

This should be one of the first monitoring tasks run by the administration to determine whether all application servers are up and running. The application servers shown on the screen are the ones that have registered themselves—the ones that have connected to—the message server. If for any reason the message server process dies, you won't be able to see the servers. On the application server display, you can see several fields that give specific information about the SAP instances. These are standard fields. You can also configure your own layout using the Current Layout icon or CTRL-F8. These fields are as follows:

  • Server name. It's the name of the SAP instance. The name is made up of the hostname of the server, the SAP system name (SID), and the SAP system number.
  • Host. It's the hostname in which the SAP instance is running.
  • Type. The type of work processes for which the application server is configured.
  • Status. Shows whether the instance is active or not.

From this monitoring screen you can further display which users are connected to any of the instances shown on the screen or see what processes are running by selecting the User or Processes icons on the application toolbar. By using these functions, the system takes you to exactly the same transaction as if you were going directly to the user or work process monitoring transactions. On this screen, there are additional options that you can access from the Goto menu or directly by clicking on the pushbuttons on the application toolbar. Main options are as follows:

  • System log. Displays an instance system log.
  • OS monitor. Calls the operating system Performance Monitor for summary statistics on the status of the host platform on which a SAP instance is running.
  • Remote logon. Performs a SAP remote logon to any of the servers in the system.
  • SAP directories. For displaying the main files and directories associated with the SAP instance. You can navigate the directories by double-clicking on the corresponding line.

From the SM51 transaction, an interesting and very useful option for system administrators when monitoring, tuning, and troubleshooting the system is to look up the status of the dispatcher queue. This information can be obtained by selecting the application server and then choosing Goto | Server Information | Queue Information.

Request Queue information display

Request Queue information display

There are several columns in the Request Queue display, including the work process type, the number of requests waiting in the dispatcher queue to be processed, and the maximum number of requests that had to wait. If there are frequently many requests waiting, it might indicate locking problems or too few work processes. These numbers are reset every time the application server is restarted.

Monitoring the System Work Processes

To display the status of the work processes of the application server where you are logged on to, from the SAP menu, select Tools | Administration | Monitor | System Monitoring | Process Overview (transaction code SM50). Administrators should regularly monitor the system processes to determine if the number and configuration is appropriate. The process overview offers only a snapshot of the processes, so you have to press the Refresh button to get a better view of what's going on.

Notice that you can only display the processes of your local system. To display other server processes, call the server monitoring transaction explained in the previous section and, from a selected server on the list, select the Processes function. The SAP work processes correspond to operating system processes. You could also monitor these processes from the operating system. In fact, the field PID matches exactly to the Process ID of the underlying operating system. With a UNIX command such as pseaf | grep dw, you can see the SAP processes. On Windows NT systems you can see the processes from the Task Manager as disp+work.

The SAP runtime directory (/usr/sap/<SID>/SYS/exe/run) contains some monitor programs that allow you to see some of the work processes and the dispatcher from the operating system. The work process overview presents detailed information in different columns. Notice that in order to see all the available columns you might have to scroll horizontally using the scrolling buttons on the bottom part of the screen. The columns in the Work Process Overview screen show the following information. Although this is a standard layout, you can design your own layout selecting these desired fields:

  • No. Refers to the internal ID number of a process. It is useful for identifying messages in the system log belonging to a work process.
  • Ty. It's the type of work process. Chapter explains in detail each of the SAP work process types. On this screen, you can find the following types:
    • DIA. Dialog work processes, in charge of executing interactive dialog steps.
    • UPD. Update work process for executing U1 update components . In charge of critical updates on the database.
    • UP2. Update work process for executing U2 update components. In charge of performing secondary updates on the database.
    • ENQ. Enqueue work process in charge of setting and releasing lock objects.
    • BGD. Background work processes, in charge of executing background jobs.
    • SPO. Spool work process in charge of the SAP spooling system (formatting and printing).
  • PID. Process identification number of the work process that matches the PID of the operating system process.
  • Status. Shows the current state of the work process. Observe that the Process Overview screen always offers a snapshot of the processes. So, upon pressing the Refresh icon, it can change. Possible process status are as follows:
    • Running. The process is executing a system request.
    • Waiting. The process is idle and waiting for any system request.
    • Hold. The process is held by a single user. Although a Hold state can be normal, having too many processes in a Hold state affects the system performance.
    • Killed or Complete. The process has been aborted with the restart option set to No.
    • Stopped. Due to system or application error, the process has stopped and could not restart automatically.

    When the process overview displays many processes with status Waiting, it means that the system load is low. When this happens, the SAP dispatcher will try to allocate the same work process for a user, and thus avoid rolling in and out the user contexts.

  • Reason. This column displays a mnemonic code displaying the reason for a work process with a Hold status. Some of the reasons can be activities performed by the lock mechanism, the update process, debugging, CPIC tasks, or RFC requests. If the reason columns display Priv, a dialog work process will be used by that particular user executing the transaction already started without possibility of switching the user context to another Dialog work process. A dialog work process will be in this status when the "heap" memory allocation is reached (see the section on memory management in the next chapter), which could happen in case that such transaction or program is very resource consuming. Note: This status only applies to dialog work processes.
  • Start. This column has either the values Yes or No and indicates whether the work process will be automatically restarted in the event of an abnormal termination.

    Normally, this field is set to Yes but you can switch the restart status by selecting the function Restart After Error from the Process menu.

  • Err. Contains the number of times a work process has terminated abnormally.

    Generally, this counter increases when, for example, a system administrator kills a work process from transaction SM50.

  • Sem. This column can contain the number of the semaphore on which a work process is waiting. Normally, this field is empty. However if you notice that a semaphore number appears often, it might indicate some performance problems in the system and might need some parameter adjustments. For information on semaphores used in a SAP system, check SAP Note 33873.
  • CPU. Contains in number of seconds the CPU time consumed by a work process.
  • Time. Indicates the elapsed execution time used by the work process for the dialog step that it is currently processing. This column usually contains a small figure. When it displays a large figure, it might indicate that the process is being held in a debugging session.
  • Program. This column contains the ABAP program that is currently executing.
  • Client. Indicates the SAP system client where the session is being executed.
  • User. Contains the user ID whose request is being processed.
  • Action. Under this field the system shows the actions being performed by the running program. These actions are the same as those recorded by the system Performance Monitor, which is activated by default with the profile parameter stat/level. This column might display actions such as Sequential Read, Insert, or Direct Read.
  • Table. This column displays the name of the tables being accessed, if any. There is more detailed information available from the Process Overview screen, which you can display by selecting the work processes and then clicking on the Details icon on the application toolbar. With this option, in addition to all the information from the Process Overview screen, the system displays statistical information about the work process such as the memory, development environment, and database usage. From the Process Overview display, you can perform additional options by selecting them from the menu item Process.

You can terminate a work process with or without generating a core dump file in the operating systems, which can be used for debugging. Before canceling a work process, you should select the menu function Restart After Error, either with options Yes or No, to indicate whether the process which is to be canceled should restart or not, after being manually terminated. By selecting a work process and then selecting the Process | Trace | Active Components option from the menu, you can activate a trace and choose what is to be traced in the work process, which is stored in the so-called low-level developer traces files (dev files).The available tracing options for the work processes, where you can decide the level of tracing information to get.

Tracing options from the work process display

Tracing options from the work process display

To display a trace, choose the work process and, from the menu, select Process | Trace | Display File. More information about the system tracing facilities is provided in the next chapter. By selecting the work process and selecting Program/Mode | End Session from the menu, you can also delete a user session and release the work process. However, you should avoid performing this function from this overview, since the work processes can be attending several users, and you could unintentionally affect other users' work. Rather, you should delete a user session from the User Overview screen, as explained in the next section.

Finally, by selecting any work process that is currently executing a program, you can decide to put that program into debugging mode. To do this, select the line of the work process and from the menu select Program/Mode | Program | Debugging. The system displays the ABAP debugging facility and locks the work process for exclusive use. Refer to the online SAP documentation for more information on this facility.

Monitoring and Managing User Sessions

To display the users that are active in your current system, you can directly use the transaction code SM04 in the command field or, from the menu options, select Tools | Administration | Monitor | System Monitoring | User Overview. Notice that with this transaction you can only see which users are active in the same server where you are logged on. There are several ways to see which users logged on to other application servers:

  • Select the User function from the SAP servers overview display.
  • From the main menu, select Tools | Administration | Monitor | Performance | Exceptions/Users | Active Users | Users, Global. Alternatively, use transaction code AL08.

The User Overview screen includes the following fields (the display can different depending on the layout you selected. You can configure this report using CTRL+F8 and select the desired fields):

  • Cl. displays the SAP system client the user is logged on to.
  • User contains the name of the user ID. Sometimes this field might appear blank when users are in the process of connecting, and also when the system itself is performing special functions with users SAPSYS or SAPCPIC.
  • Terminal displays the name or address of the desktop from which the user is connected to the application server.
  • Transaction displays the current transaction code in which the user is working.
  • Sessions shows the number of external sessions opened by the user. An external session is manually created by the user with the System | Create Session option.
  • Trace can be ON or OFF, indicating whether the user has an active trace.

Besides monitoring the users' activity, from the User Overview screen you can perform the following functions among others:

  • Delete external user sessions. To do this, select the user from the User Overview screen and click on the Sessions button. The system displays a dialog box with the user sessions. In this dialog box, select the session to delete and click on the End Session button.
  • Delete all user sessions at once. From the User Overview screen menu, select the user, and then from the User menu, select Logoff. The system will display a dialog to choose whether to delete only the poold sessions or system wide.
  • Display the memory being used by the logged-on users or the terminal from where the user is connected by selecting Goto | Memory.
  • Display brief information about the user by selecting it from the overview list and clicking on the User Info icon. The system will show the information as entered in the Address screen of the user master record.

Posting System Messages

The system manager often has the need to post messages to all users connected to the system for administrative functions, such as for informing them of the time the system will be shut down for maintenance, backups, and so on. For that purpose, the SAP system includes a utility for administrators to post brief messages to users by selecting Administration | System Messages from the main administration menu. Alternatively, they can enter transaction code SM02 in the command field. If there are no messages created, the system will display the screen indicating that the system message list is empty.

To create a system message, click on the Create icon on the application toolbar. The system displays a dialog box like the one.

Creating a System Message dialog box

Creating a System Message dialog box

Enter the message in the input text lines provided for that purpose. Users can create as many messages as they wish, with a maximum length of three lines. You can decide to display the messages to all logged-on users in the whole SAP system or only to the users logged on to a particular application server. By using the expiration fields provided, you can decide when a message will automatically be deleted from the system. The system displays the message as a pop-up box in the user sessions. It will display it only once to each user, either when they log on or, for users who are already logged on, as soon as they interact with the application server. Before continuing to work, users must clear the messages by pressing ENTER or by clicking on the Continue icon.

When there are messages already created, users can change the message either to modify the text, change the expiration date, or the server. Individual messages or all posted messages can be deleted from the system by selecting them and pressing DELETE. This transaction, by default, is not protected with any authorization objects, so any user in the system is allowed to post a message. This function is not intended for sending messages or notices to particular users. To do that, use the Short Message function available from the System menu. This is actually a fast path to SAP office functions and it's available to all authorized users.


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