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I just finished using the RapidInstaller for two 2004s Web Application Server (WAS) (Java-based) installations and I wanted to share my experiences with the SDN Community.  This blog will not regurgitate the material already available on SDN and on the SAP Marketplace but will describe my personal motivations and experience using the tool.

Although the RapidInstaller can be used for rapid installations as well as “rapid” back-end configurations, I will focus on my experience with the installation aspects.

My installations were both Windows 2003 and Oracle–based in an environment without an existing System Landscape Directory / Solution Manager.  The following components were installed:

  • JDK 1.4.2_13
  • SAP DownloadManager. This was necessary to download the RapidInstaller software from the SAP Marketplace. Although it ispossible to download the files (and there are many) directly from the browser, I find it more convenient to use the DownloadManager.
  • SAP JAVA Cryptographic Toolkit
  • Oracle 10.2 including the Oracle Patch
  • 2004s SP8 WAS using the RapidInstaller

Reasons for using the Rapid Installer

We have installed a variety of SAP Enterprise Portals for customers and have on occasion experienced difficulties in the installation process.  These problems are often based in the complexity of the installation itself.  If you are planning a WAS installation, it is recommended that you read the documentation that is available on the SAP Marketplace.   This documentation is excellent in that it describes every possible scenario that could take place during an installation.  However, this complexity is overwhelming and often not necessary.

If the complexity of the desired installation should be reduced (for example, if the individuals who are performing the installation have limited experience in such operations-related activities) or the operational environment is not complex (the WAS is stand-alone), then the RapidInstaller is an excellent choice for such activities.

Of course, if you have a more complicated environment (for example, a distributed environment where the database is on another server), then the RapidInstaller might not be the appropriate choice.  The RapidInstaller assumes, for example, that it should configure a local System Landscape Directory instead of using an existing one.  I think it is possible to use the RapidInstaller in a more complex environment by changing the values presented in the “Check Parameters” steps but this was not necessary in my installations. 

Overall Impressions

I was impressed by the simplicity and the ease of use of the tool.  I performed both installations within 1.5 days (including the download of the software from SAP Marketplace).  Once the software was downloaded, the installation itself was performed in a matter of hours. It is important to note that the speed of installation is dependent on the hardware and software characteristics of the server where the installation takes place.

For example, the Oracle installation requires just two pieces of information – the SID and installation drive – everything else takes place in the background. The RapidInstaller-based installation is just as simple.

Gotchas

Some of these gotchas are relevant for all types of SAP installations and installations in general but I thought it would be useful to include them for the sake of completeness.

  • Technical Documentation:  There is not really a good technical instruction for the 2004s RapidInstaller. There are some general descriptions available in the presentations but nothing really detailed (https://websmp210.sap-ag.de/%7Esapidb/011000358700002105162006E).  I used the technical documentation for the 2004 installation (https://websmp210.sap-ag.de/%7Esapidb/011000358700006940532005E) for details .
  • Document your installation: Inasmuch as the passwords and other details necessary for the installation are necessary on multiple locations, it is useful to note them. In particular, the following information should be documented: 1) Oracle SID, 2) Oracle Installation drive, 3) SAPSID, 4) Master Password, 5) Passwords from SAP System Administrator and SAP System Service User (if different from Master Password)
  • SAP System Service User:  It is often easier to create this user manually using Windows 2003 Server Administration tools (Computer Management/Local Users and Groups/Users) before the installation begins. Itmight be wise to make sure that the password selected doesn’t expire.  This decision, of course, is also dependent on your particular security environment.  If SAPInst can’t create this user, then the installation will stop with the error: “Unable to create account [SERVER]\SAPService[SAPSID]”.
  • Swap Size: The installation requires a minimum of 10240 MB swap size.  I would recommend checking (and changing if necessary) this figure (My Computer/Properties/Advanced/Performance Options/ Virtual Memory) before starting the installation to save time.
  • Oracle-related problems: If during the last steps of the installation, you experience problems connecting to the database, make sure that the database instance is really started.  The Windows Service for the instance may be started but the instance may not be started.  If necessary, start it manually with Oracle tools.
  • Be patient during Phase 4 – Execute Service:  There are certain steps (for example “Prepare to install minimal configuration”) that take a very long to complete. Depending on the server configuration, certain steps could take an hour or more.   Use “Task Manager” to make sure the installation process is still alive.
  • Passwords: Make sure that the passwords you select are acceptable for the various involved systems.  An awareness of limitations of the used environment saves time and avoids having to repeat the installation to correct mistakes.  For example, many Windows Servers require a minimum length, a combination of capital and lower case letters as well as numbers, etc.  The SAP installation also has its particular restrictions regarding passwords.

Summary

If the installation requirements allow the use of the RapidInstaller, I recommend trying it out.  It might not be appropriate on a production system where performance must be tweaked with various configurations in different internal files but it is an excellent choice for development environments and other non-critical systems.  It hides the complexity of the installation in such way that required deviations are permitted but not necessary to quickly achieve the goal of a functional system.

Useful Links

SAP Rapid Installer: https://websmp210.sap-ag.de/nw-ri (Requires SAP Marketplace user)

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5 Comments

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  1. Boris Zarske
    Thanks for this detailled blog about your experiences with SAP NetWeaver Rapid Installer! I just wanted to add the information that there is a technical documentation available also for Rapid Installer of SAP NetWeaver 2004s – it is located directly on the second installation DVD (SAP NetWeaver Rapid Installer DVD Java Load) in the “DOCUMENTATION” folder.

    If you have any feedback concerning this guide, it would be great if you could directly contact me by email, I would then forward this feedback to the colleague in charge.

    Thanks for your help and best regards,
    Boris

    (0) 
    1. Richard Hirsch Post author
      Hi Boris,

      I would be glad to take a look at the existing technical documentation.

      Unfortunately, I downloaded everything directly from the ServiceMarketplace and therefore, don’t have the DVD.  If you send me the documentation per email or send me a link to them, I will send you my feedback.

      Dick 

      (0) 
  2. Venkata Nooney
    Hi Richard,
               Good Blog,I just want to know t he difference between the ordinary installation and rapid installer…..
    Regards,
    Venkat
    (0) 
    1. Richard Hirsch Post author
      Hi,

      The RapidInstaller just simplifies the installation itself. I think the the actual software deployed is the same as the normal installation.

      Plus, you have the advantage of easy configuration for the ESS/MSS back-ends.

      Dick

      (0) 

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