Hidden tool: Analyzing workload caused by background jobs
Do you know this problem – last night you had an overload situation of your SAP backend system which was supposedly caused by too many background jobs running in parallel, now tell me which jobs caused the problem? Everybody dealing with this or similar workload questions knows that an analysis solely based on transaction SM37 is very cumbersome. As SM37 provides job data only in a list form it is hard to tell which jobs ran in parallel and utilized which server.
So what can you do? One alternative is that you dump the job information into an Excel spreadsheet and begin a tedious analysis for many days. The other alternative you use an existing graphical analysis tool that exists basically in every SAP system for years – the BACKGROUND_JOB_ANALYSIS. This tool was introduced at the end of 2005 with the plug-in ST-A/PI 01G*.
You can either call the tool via transaction ST13 > BACKGROUND_JOB_ANALYSIS or via transaction SA38/SE38/SE80 and execute ABAP report /SSA/BTC.
The entry screen is similar to transaction SM37 but as this is an analysis tool you can only select the status Active, Finished and/or Canceled and not Released or Scheduled.
The output screen contains then three elements:
- The first shows the selection criteria again and provides the information about how many job executions had a runtime of more than 5 minutes and how many with less than 5 minutes.
- The second section is a job list similar to transaction SM37 but shows per default only the long-running jobs (>5 minutes) and shows the Variant, Executing Server, Work Process etc., and the Duration is shown in a hh:mm:ss format instead of seconds.
- The third section is the main feature. All the long-running jobs are represented graphically in a kind of GANTT diagram. The length of a bar represents the job runtime. The jobs are arranged in a way that you can read which application server and which work process has been utilized at which point in time. Additionally you see the average CPU idleness of the respective host server per clock hour (similar to transaction ST06). The colour scheme is the same as in SM37 – green jobs finished successfully, red jobs cancelled and blue jobs are still active. The beauty of the tool is that jobs that started outside the selected time-window but still run during that time are shown as well as jobs running longer than the selected time-window are also shown. In contrast transaction SM37 displays only those jobs where the start and end time are completely within the selected time frame. From within this graphic you can do a forward navigation seeing details of the respective job and navigating either into transaction SM37 or STAD.
The tool was designed to identify system bottlenecks which are caused by background jobs. This tool should help to identify if there are possibilities to re-schedule jobs at different times or perhaps shift workload from one server to another.
SAP is very committed to the topic of background jobs. If you followed previous SDN blogs about Job Management you will have learned that offers a comprehensive Job Management suite together with the two software tools SAP Solution Manager and SAP Central Processing Scheduling by Redwood (see especially SDN blog SAP is first vendor to provide a comprehensive Job Management Suite).
OUTLOOK: With the next SAP Solution Manager support package (ST400 SP23) it will be possible to further analyze (with SAP BW means) the background job workload of an entire SAP system. You will then be able to answer questions like
- What is the workload caused by cancelled jobs in comparison to finished jobs?
- What is the workload caused by jobs created from different users?
- What is the workload per executing server?
More information about this new functionality will be provided soon here in SDN. You can already see some example screenshots under (SMP login required) https://service.sap.com /jsm > Media Library > Job Management Suite.ppt
Please be aware that the tool BACKGROUND_JOB_ANALYSIS is locally available in every SAP backend system with a recent ST-A/PI plug-in. So no SAP Solution Manager is required for that. Nevertheless it is possible to call the respective BACKGROUND_JOB_ANALYSIS tool centrally from within the Job Management Work Center in the SAP Solution Manager. More details on this tool can be found in a dedicated PowerPoint presentation under (SMP login required) https://service.sap.com /jsm > Media Library > Workload Distribution Analysis for Background Jobs.ppt
Update on 14.08.2013: Yesterday Tom Cenens published a new blog how he took the BACKGROUND_JOB_ANALYSIS data and used SAP Lumira (formerly SAP Visual Intelligence) in order to visualize the data differently. If you are interested, please check http://scn.sap.com/community/lumira/blog/2013/08/13/analyzing-sap-background-job-data-using-sap-lumira.
List of selected related SDN blogs:
- Job Scheduling Management with SAP Solution Manager
- Central Job Scheduling with SAP Solution Manager
- Process Scheduling Adapter for SAP Solution Manager for everybody
- Monitoring Job Chains with SAP CPS by Redwood and SAP Solution Manager
- Managing Standard Jobs centrally from SAP Solution Manager
- Fast Close in Remote Systems – SAP ERP Financials Closing Cockpit Integration with SAP Central Process Scheduling
- Not authorized to view the specified document 8731 (Webinar)
- SAP is first vendor to provide a comprehensive Job Management Suite
- Job Interception: Controlling end-user scheduled jobs
- Re-directing transactions SM36, SM37, SA38: Controlling end-user scheduled jobs – Part 1
- An easy way to identify end-user scheduled jobs which bypass your central scheduling tool
- A new column in transaction SM37 – Job Documentation