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The Journey Ahead 

I am pretty excited to have the opportunity to be involved with the new SDN subscriptions program.  For a long-time developer, I believe it will provide a chance to really understand all the nuts and bolts of the different SAP solutions and what benefits they provide.  Also, I have limited knowledge of security, basis, and system administration, so I plan to use this experience to really take my overall SAP skills and knowledge to the next level.

Since I am one of the early subscription members, I hope to use this weblog series to post on my learnings and experiences in order to help others who have or who are thinking of joining the program.

 

Ordering the Subscription

Oct. 11 – Ordering from the SDN site was pretty simple and straight forward.  The only small issue I had to deal with was my existing SDN S-user ID.  Currently, you must have a P-user to subscribe.  It makes sense though because the subscription is licensed to the individual, whereas an S-user is associated with a customer ID.  So I had to create a new account with a P-user in order to sign up, but Marc Ng from the SDN team helped me out by transferring all my old points, forum & blog posts, and wiki authorizations over to my new P-user. 

After completing my order, I quickly received an email informing that it would be processed within 2-3 business days and my new subscription kit would be shipped within 14 days.   

Oct. 12 – My subscription was processed in only one day.  I received an email giving my new active subscription number and information that my subscription kit had been shipped.  Cool, I can’t wait!

 

Getting the Goods

Oct. 16 – As I was in Munich for TechEd, my wife sent me an email telling me that my SAP software had arrived.  Wow, only 4 business days and my software had already been shipped from Walldorf. Too bad I had to wait to get home before I could play with it.

Oct. 21 – I finally got home from Munich and was ready to unbox my shiny new object.  Instead of trying to explain the contents, here are the photos with descriptions.

 

The shipping container sitting on the counter just itching to be opened

Two page list of contents  – wow, that’s a lot of stuff!

The Subscription Kit  – not quite Apple, but pretty impressive packaging

Cracking it open for the first time.  I don’t look like any of these smart, business people on the front, but hopefully I will still survive in life.

The DVD’s inside just screaming to be unboxed and used. Be patient, my friends, your time will come

The whole kit unboxed in all it’s splendor and glory

The Welcome Package – it even came with a return shipping label, just in case. Nice!

My nifty new subscription ID card. It looks so good, I tried to use it to get into an exclusive night club this weekend…although quite impressed, the bouncer kicked me out. πŸ™

The Netweaver Solution Overview Package – included overview documentation in 4 langugages. Instead of 7 pages, it was 42.  C’mon guys, I don’t need these translated in Chinese, let’s stay a little green here and save some trees please.

The SAP Netweaver Master Guide – I think I am going to get to spend WAY more time with this book than I am looking forward to. 

MDM packaged up all by it’s poor, lonely self

The meat and potatoes here – this is the big bundle with all the goodies

 

The Next Step – Getting the Hardware

Oct. 22 – After unwrapping the subscription kit and seeing all my new toys, I now came to the realization that I have nothing powerful enough to run my new system on. πŸ™  Looking for the hardware requirements is not a straight forward process.  The subscription page links back to the regular Netweaver planning & installation documentation.  I am not going to lie, it’s a little intimidating looking at the lengthy manuals that I now need to go through to plan out which components I want to install and what hardware & OS I need to run it with.  But as with most things that have big rewards, there is work involved in getting there.  So in the next post in the series, I hope to go through my experience of reading through the NW Master Guide, deciding on what to install, and purchasing some new equipment.  Stay tuned… 

In the meantime, if you have any hardware & OS suggestions, please leave a comment.  All are welcome!

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49 Comments

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  1. Alvaro Tejada Galindo
    Ed!!! Your a lucky guy -:D I’m so happy about you…Even when I hate you -;) Thanks a lot for all the pictures! It seems that the SDN Subscription Program is more awesome than I tought at first…Unlucky me…That’s going to come to Perú like in 10 more years…Anyway…My wife and I are planning to migrate to Canada in the next couple of years…So the waiting is going to be that long -:)

    I really hope you can get all the hardware improvements so you can told us more about this…

    Good luck and enjoy your new toy!!! -:D

    Greetings,

    Blag.

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    1. Suresh Datti
      >>Anyway…My wife and I are planning to migrate to Canada in the next couple of years…So the waiting is going to be that long -:)

      or get hired by SAP.. whichever is earlier..

      ~Suresh

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  2. Nigel James
    Great post. Looking forward to this Ed. It is no mean feat to install all this stuff. Nothing compared to the windown longhorn beta I got in my mailbox when I got home from Teched. I also have nothing to run such a beast on. I had a chat to Shay in Munich and he suggested something with 4GB ram would be a good start and that there are up to 3 licences so you could have it on up to 3 machines depending on how you want to deploy it.

    I assume you get muliple os versions if you are asking the question. Ubuntu might be an option.
    cheers,
    Nigel

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  3. Christopher Solomon
    Nice , Ed! Christmas comes early I suppose. haha Soooo many new toys!

    ….and thanks for the very detailed photos of the whole package….from close inspection, you have provided me (and others?) with your DHL tracking info, Bill of Material #, order info,subscription ID, SCN/SDN id, Service Marketplace ID….and all the fun little info that will be useful to social engineer your account and get my own package sent to me under your account info! KIDDING!!! (but yes, be careful/mindful of that…ie. blur those pieces on the pics). Sorry…that’s the paranoid “white hat” in me. =)

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    1. Ed Herrmann Post author
      Alright Chris, since you are looking out for me, I updated the photos after taking a little smudge to it using the gimp. πŸ™‚

      Cheers,
      ewH

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  4. H. Senden
    Hi,

    it looks great, but if i see all the DVDs you will need a big big system to run it on.
    For this subscriptions thing i had hoped on a web based solution, or a saas. So it would be easier for SAP to distribute new releases, functionalities etc.  And you can run it from everywhere on the world, when you have internet access.

    regards,
    Hans

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    1. Ed Herrmann Post author
      I believe most of my learnings will come from the install and maintenance of Netweaver, so a web based solution wouldn’t give me that same experience.

      However, this is probably a great idea for an additional option for the subscription program.  It would be nice to have both options of a standalone and hosted solution.  This would be an easier, quicker, and cheaper option for people just wanting to test out the applications and solutions without all the hassle of hardware, installation, etc.

      You may want to post this suggestion over on the SDN subscriptions forum that Uwe points to in the comments here.

      -ewH

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          1. H. Senden
            Error: you do not have permission to view the requested forum or category πŸ˜‰

            So that was probably the reason i couldn’t find it.

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  5. Darren Hague
    Nice one, Ed – I hope you enjoy the journey as much as the destination.

    In terms of hardware, I would strongly recommend installing the software into VM instances if you can – that way you can easily bring up and take down the instances, move them around, and (more importantly) take snapshots of the systems at that crucial state after the multi-hour install but before you start attempting configuration.  VMs will also give you good control over processor and memory allocation.

    Might be worth looking at a mini datacentre: a multi-core, many Gb compute server coupled (via Gigabit ethernet) to a highly-RAIDed multi-Tb storage server. With a decent Gb ethernet switch you can even have multiple network cards in each server and bind VMs & disk arrays to each card to maximise throughput. Might even be worth running a database instance on the storage server…

    At the other extreme, I have a pretty usable system based on 3 laptops – one for client use (browser, GUI, developer studio), one for Java instance & DB, and one for ABAP instance & DB. Each laptop is 2Gb RAM, about 80Gb disk and normal mobile processor. The client-side processor is the one that needs to be quickest (per core), as the Dev Studio Java and browser-based JavaScript use a lot of performance; once the servers are “warmed up”, they run pretty quickly with one user.

    Cheers,
    Darren

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    1. Ed Herrmann Post author
      Hi Darren, good to hear from you again after meeting in Munich.

      Thanks for your suggestions above.  Using VMware is a great suggestion, and I think probably a must.  On the mini data center scenario, have you put something like this together before or do you suggest buying something pre-built from someone like HP, IBM, or Dell?

      I love your 3 laptop solution. That’s a hacker at work there. πŸ™‚

      -ewH

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      1. Darren Hague
        Hi Ed,

        Data center-wise, I think buying from HP/IBM/Dell would cost enterprise amounts of money for levels of reliability (and noise) that you don’t really need. I’ve not done this before (except for my “Darren Labs” collection of laptops – handy for working on the train!) – it’s just a thought experiment that I was hoping to convince someone like you to carry out. πŸ˜‰

        You can spec a Dell PowerEdge 840 tower server (i.e. desktop case rotated 90 degrees) with 4Gb RAM and 4x250Gb drives for about $1300. 8Gb would be better, but those 2Gb SIMMs are expensive…

        Of course, there’s always a MicroWulf cluster (http://www.calvin.edu/news/releases/2007-08/microwulf.htm) for $2500…

        Seriously, the best approach is to use the best bang-for-buck commodity PCs you can get, with as much memory as possible.

        Cheers,
        Darren

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        1. Ed Herrmann Post author
          Great Darren, thanks for the info.  I am going to do some more research this weekend and hopefully make a purchase next week some time.

          Cheers,
          ewH

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  6. Uwe Fetzer
    Hi Ed,
    have a look at my forum posts in the Subscription forum (/community [original link is broken]).
    I think, you don’t want to fall in the same traps πŸ˜‰
    My two systems (full install and ABAP only) are running inside a VMware environment (Open-Suse 64bit Host with 8GB ram, each system with 3,6GB).

    Uwe

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    1. Ed Herrmann Post author
      Hi Uwe, thanks for the link to the forum.  I see you have a head start, which will help me out tremendously.  I see from the posts that you were having issues with Linux and you had better luck with Windows Server 2003.  I would much rather use Linux, since I don’t feel like shelling out $1,000 dollars to the Bill Gates World Dominance Association.

      Are you using this in a VMware environment?

      -ewH

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      1. Uwe Fetzer
        Hi Ed,
        Host 64bit Linux (you need 64bit to use the whole 8GB), Client Win2003SB.
        If someone has installed the (Abap) system successfully on Linux (32bit client, Ubunto or somthing else), please let me know, I don’t want to use the Win2003 Server neither !!!
        rgs, Uwe
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  7. Mark Yolton
    I really enjoyed this blog. Thanks, Ed. The commentary and pictures gave me a crystal-clear view into how the entire experience works (or what we might improve).  Although I’m sorry that the membership card didn’t get you into the fancy / exclusive nightclub, I’m sure you charmed your way in anyhow.  I look forward to your future blogs on the rest of the experience from installation to learning about the parts of NW where you’re not (yet) an expert. 

    Regards, Mark Y.

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    1. Ed Herrmann Post author
      Yes! It’s great to hear from the best dressed community team member. I didn’t get into the club, but if you give me the name of your tailor, I might have better luck next time. πŸ™‚

      Glad you enjoyed the post, and good to see the big guys taking notes and suggestions of the program.

      Cheers,
      ewH

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    1. Ezequiel Martin
      The best way I think it would be to give subscriptions as SaaS. That way we could save:
      -trees
      -the world from all the plastic
      -the money we’d have to spend in machinery and hours to get the bundle up and running.

      It is a great start though!!

      Ed, good luck with the installation process!

      Best Regards,

      Ezequiel

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  8. Shay Barry
    Cool blog Ed !
    I really enjoyed reading it – thanks for the extensive user experience description πŸ™‚ and for your feedback.

    I am looking forward to read about your experience with Hardware, OS and DB installation…

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  9. No doubt, this is a very helpful blog explaining the netweaver subscription. I enjoyed reading it so much, because I was thinking of the subscription. However after reading all those comments, I think I will never be able to successfully install the monster by my own. I am purely an application developer, not a basis guy, I have little experience with VMware, Linux or hardware configuration. The whole subscription seems a monster to me, and I just don’t have so much time to read all those documents and learn how to admin the SAP systems by myself even if I can install them at my home.
    I know to run SAP commercial system, you got to have basis people to admin those systems. But if SAP builds a package for application developer, the package got to be simple to install and admin, and we should not be required to spend tens of thousands of dollars to buy the expensive powerful computer to run the dev. system.
    Seems like all of you guys posting messages here are both hardware experts and application experts. But how many of the application developers are like you guys? It’s very hard to be hardware experts, at the same time you’re spending all you time on SAP applications.
    I got little bit frustrated, because I wanted to have the subsription, but after reading, I think I won’t get it run anyway by myself.
    Anyway, it’s very nice to read all the comments and the very nice blog
    Jayson
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  10. No doubt, this is a very helpful blog explaining the netweaver subscription. I enjoyed reading it so much, because I was thinking of the subscription. However after reading all those comments, I think I will never be able to successfully install the monster by my own. I am purely an application developer, not a basis guy, I have little experience with VMware, Linux or hardware configuration. The whole subscription seems a monster to me, and I just don’t have so much time to read all those documents and learn how to admin the SAP systems by myself even if I can install them at my home.
    I know to run SAP commercial system, you got to have basis people to admin those systems. But if SAP builds a package for application developer, the package got to be simple to install and admin, and we should not be required to spend tens of thousands of dollars to buy the expensive powerful computer to run the dev. system.
    Seems like all of you guys posting messages here are both hardware experts and application experts. But how many of the application developers are like you guys? It’s very hard to be hardware experts, at the same time you’re spending all you time on SAP applications.
    I got little bit frustrated, because I wanted to have the subsription, but after reading, I think I won’t get it run anyway by myself.
    Anyway, it’s very nice to read all the comments and the very nice blog
    Jayson
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    1. Ed Herrmann Post author
      Hi Jayson,

      I understand the intimidation and frustrations that you are facing.  That is exactly why I wanted to start this blog series.  As a developer with little hardware experience myself, I want to share my journeys and pain points, so that others like us can have a much easier time with it.  I will be interested to see if your opinion changes or not after following the posts to come.

      Cheers,
      ewH

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    2. Uwe Fetzer
      Hi Jayson,
      you are right, but think about this: you are not alone!
      For subscribers there is a new forum, where we (the new “subscriber community”) will help you to install and manage the system(s).
      But yes, you have to spend much time (and some money), but it pays off, believe me.
      Uwe
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  11. Leonardo De Araujo
    Hi Ed,
    How are you? Good to see you got this package and posted this blog.
    I have been actively asking for a subscription program like this for a while (I remember my first SAPTechEd). I got excited when the program came out. But I have to be honest, I got disappointed with this first version…. Here is why:
    1 – The price is right, but only considering the premium access zone. Since we were at the SAPTechEd, we have that already. The subscription has no “discounted” price for SAPTechEd participants. This means we pay for the Premium Access Zone TWICE;
    2 – We DON’T GET much more than what we already get from the SDN community itself. The vast majority of us are ABAP developers, we can get an ABAP stack from the SDN that will be very similar to what is in the package. I know it is cool to have it all (instead of pieces like SDN sneak peak versions) but it doesn’t cut for me.
    3 – Maybe the most important reason. WHERE IS THE ERP!!!!!! Again, the vast majority of us work with ABAP and leveraging SAP solutions (complementing it, enhancing it, interfacing with). Having another BASIS system only is not enough. We should have access to the ERP modules. That is what I’ve been asking about. Lots of us would like to have an opportunity to store our developments in our own system to demo and prototyping. You can’t do that in this system, unless your solution is 100% apart from the ERP itself (what almost never happens);

    See, I am still excited about the program but it is not for me yet; I will wait for the next version of it and possibly get more for my money! hehe

    HARDWARE: Man, I can feel your pain… I’ve been through all that. The standard hardware requirement guidelines from SAP fits large corporations, not individual installations like ours. For us, it is better to kinda (blend) the requirement from the sneak preview documentation (SDN).
    Examples from my experience:
    1 – I’ve installed SAP ERP 2004 on a Virtual machine (VMware Server – free!). It was running on a Windows Media center(Host) and Win XP PRO 32 bit (VM OS) with 500 Gb of disk (forget SCSI – I know it is great performance but also prohibitive cost for us individuals), 4 Gb of RAM (I know, XP 32 bit limitations…) and a AMD Athlon X2… ABAP only
    Bottomline: Decent performance. Believe me! Problem with AMD dual core CPUs. Clock synch. IN virtual machine the clocks got out of synch and the machine would run at around twice the speed. This affected my system date… It is very know problem and documented on the web. You should be fine with newer CPUs or Intel ones….
    2 – I built the following machine: 500 GB disk (OS on a different disk). I know Raid 1 is bad for performance (but loosing it once after a long installation made me change my approach); 3 GB of RAM and a dual core processor AMD. Running on Win XP 32 bits.
    Installed: ERP 2005 ABAP + JAVA + PORTAL! It all runs at the same time and with decent response time!!!!

    BOTTOMLINE: Just get disk space (lots of it), RAM, (min recommended 3 GB) and dual processor. Clean up your WINXP installation so it runs as a server (remove all the fat UI crap).

    IMPORTANT: PLEASE FOLLOW THE INSTALLATION MASTER GUIDE!!!!

    Good luck man! After a succesfull installation, seeing the system running is very rewarding !

    Leonardo De Araujo

    p.s. I am about to get in touch with you to discuss next steps for the SAPLink (continue our discussion from Vegas)…

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    1. Ed Herrmann Post author
      Hi Leonardo, good to hear from you.  Thanks for the great comments and hardware recommendations.  You bring up some great points about the ERP availability. 

      In addition, I am also not sure how much I will like the 3 license limit either.  Just reading through the guide trying to map out my “IT Scenario” that I want to implement, 3 licenses probably won’t be enough.  I think everyone would at least want to use the ABAP stack, the Java stack, and the Portal.  That doesn’t give much room to play around with other stuff. 

      Since this is a new program, I believe these blogs and comments will be good for the SDN guys to read through and get suggestions, complaints, and recommendations.

      I will probably purchase my hardware this weekend and post a new blog next week to talk about my next steps.  Thanks again for the comments!

      Cheers,
      ewH

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  12. Leonardo De Araujo
    Another thing… One of the advantages of this program is that is supposed to give you access to Support packs. Since these are normally downloaded by the solution manager, and that it is not part of your package, how to you get them?

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      1. Uwe Fetzer
        Hi Leo,
        much better: you do have direct access to these SP’s  via the Service Marketplace (no hostet or own SolMan needed). Works great…
        Uwe
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        1. Leonardo De Araujo
          Really? I thought that since last April, running 2004s systems we would be only able to import SP using the Solution manager.
          I guess you mention this as a solution for this particular package (Subscription software units).

          Leo

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  13. David Shoemaker
    Ed,
    Just ordered the subscription. Also had to get a ‘P’ number instead of my 10 year old ‘S’ id. I have been contemplating how big the hardware is going to have to be. I’m going to be interested in the BI and EP components. I will be watching your blog closely. Good luck.
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  14. Guenther Schober
    Good blog Ed!

    I was actually ready to order the subscription until I read about the 3 license limitation.

    What exactly does this mean?

    E.g. if I license ABAP+JAVA+EP, I won’t be able to use PI, BI or MDM? Really???
    I tried to find the exact terms for the licensing but all I found in the FAQ was:
    “The license key is for a specific machine. However, your subscription entitles you to have up to three separate license keys that may be used on different computers.” What does that translate to in plain ol’ English?
    E.g. I was planning to beef up my Mac Pro from 8 to 16GB RAM and run one (big) or multiple smaller instances of VMWare Fusion for the subscription components. One VM, one license? 2 VMs, 2 licenses etc.?

    Thanks,
    Guenther

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  15. Benny Schaich-Lebek
    I’ll forward your blog internal, as there are a lot of colleagues who never have seen the package itself (I have one on my desk and usually get ah’s and oh’s when visitors find out about it).

    Regards,
    Benny

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    1. Anton Wenzelhuemer
      very strange that this seems to be accessible by subscription program participants only. a lot of people might be interested to learn if it’s worth it …

      my 2 cents, anton

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