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Test Drive: Software Lifecycle Manager

h4. Planning a Landscape? With the release of NetWeaver Support Package 12, a lot of goodies were included for the admin types in the world.  One of these goodies will help save you hours and give you extra confidence in planning and managing your SAP NetWeaver landscape.  This new tool is a neat little application called the Software Lifecycle Manager ( (SLM).  I’ve just upgraded my SP level on my laptop computer to SP12, taken a test drive of the SLM, and I can’t wait to let you know that help is here… In an earlier blog (Implementing the Refrigerator), I wrote about the concepts behind implementing a NetWeaver landscape: plan ahead and map it out.  Anyone who’s had to plan and map any kind of SAP landscape, though, understands the work necessary to make sure that everything is compatible – database versions, OS versions, components, middleware, patches and so on.  Well, inside SAP we have a system that contains all of this kind of dependency information.  And, guess what, if you have a System Landscape Directory (SLD) (, so do you!  The data for software components and software products for SAP products is provided by the internal SAP Product and Production Management System (PPMS). SAP provides this master data for updating your local component information. You can add current data to your SLD by using a data import ( Now, the SLM has been created to take advantage of the component and landscape information contained in the SLD to make planning and implementing your NetWeaver landscape easier.  Forget about downloading guide after guide to find out if component A can be installed on system B, the SLM will let you know if there are any conflicts.  Let’s take a look. h5. Step 1: Select Scenarios /webdynpro/dispatcher/  To start the planning wizard, first click on the “Plan Landscape” link and then the “Create New Plan” button.  In the pop-up dialog box I gave my plan a name and selected “Realize New Scenarios” as my plan purpose.  The scenario browser then kicks-off my planning.  The scenario browser lists all the implementation scenarios defined by SAP.  This is the information about all the required software that is contained in the SLD.   I decided to select the SAP NetWeaver scenarios “Adobe”, “Creating Applications using Web Dynpro for Java” and “Enterprise Portal.” h5. Step 2: Select Software Next, the individual scenario templates are selected that drive the actual versions of software that are necessary for the scenario.  Templates can contain both necessary and optional software.  This, I found, was one of the first places where landscape planners can save time.  Immediately you can find out what versions of software are necessary for a given scenario. There is also a neat “check software” button that checks to see if you have consistent versions of software selected in your plan.  Talk about time savings and confidence in your plan!  Let me show you an example with EP.  Here, I have selected the knowledge management and collaboration scenario template: On the right hand side the recommended (and/or optional) software for this template is shown – in this case EP and TREX from SAP NetWeaver 04.  On the lower left all of the software versions for all of the templates I have selected are shown.  The green check and “OK” means that all the recommended software for the template has been selected.  If I want, I can drill down into the scenario to find out the exact software versions that makeup the scenario.  For example, if I click on show details for SAP NetWeaver 04: EP, I get: Viola! No more downloading and paging through guides to find out what software needs to be installed for a business scenario!  Here it all is, at the click of a button. h5. Step 3: Select Systems Next, the software has to be mapped to the available systems in your landscape.  The power of the SLD is put to use here again.  Select a software version and press the “map” button and a list of systems that can support that software are listed for selection.  This “custom” information is provided by the SLD and based upon the systems defined in your landscape.  You cannot map software to a system that will not support it.  Let me give you an example of what I mean.  I made a plan with the NetWeaver BW Scenario.  I could not complete this plan because some of the software components required an ABAP system.  Since the only system I had was my J2EE system on my laptop, I had nowhere in my landscape to map this software to. Secondly, you will also be prevented from mapping conflicting roles on the same server.  I tried to map an AS Java system to my laptop (server) after previously designating my laptop as an EP system.  I got the following warning: Now, these examples are very simple, but think about how powerful this can be when you are planning a landscape, especially a complex landscape.  Quickly you can determine with confidence what will be necessary – for both software and systems – to get a scenario running. Well, since I could not finish the plan I had started with – EP, Adobe and Web Dynpro Apps – due to conflicts, I went back and adjusted (this was easy, too).  I changed to the NetWeaver 2004S scenarios “AS Java”, “NW Developer Studio” and “NWDI” which ended up not being in conflict with each other, and mapped them out: More great info here.  On the right it shows some of the actions that will be necessary (install, upgrade) to realize this plan.  On the lower left it shows me exactly how many components are already installed for the selected scenario. h5. Step 4: Handle Conflicts More ease of planning in this step.  If software changes result in conflicts with already existing scenarios in your landscape – say an upgrade to a server version is in conflict with software already running on that server – they are identified and can be handled here. I had no existing scenarios, so there were no conflicts. h5. Step 5: Select Support Packages Finally, you are given the opportunity to select what Support Package Stack (SPS) you wish your plan to contain.  The selected target SPS is incorporated into the resulting execution plan. h5. The Result I save my plan and the final magic occurs.  The result shows me what needs to be installed, upgraded and where:
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