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:
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
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:
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:
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
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:
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.
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.
Generally, this counter increases when, for example, a system administrator kills a work process from transaction SM50.
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
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:
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):
Besides monitoring the users' activity, from the User Overview screen you can perform the following functions among others:
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
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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