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It was late and I was watching a thriller movie while suddenly the movie stopped and the TV screen turned black. Great! Before I had even checked the technical infrastructure my neighbor was calling on my cell phone. He asked if I still had internet access. After explaining to him I was encountering the same issue and talking a bit about this and that I went to bed. But since I had an idea in my head for this blog I picked up my iPad on the way to my bed and started typing this blog.

 

The internet outage made me think about how technical infrastructure, machines and the software which runs on those machines are not yet near as intelligent as they could be. When you look at how complicated humans are build it becomes clear that creating an artificial intelligence that can act, talk, walk, interact, feel, think and even rant is not that easy. While science is making progress we are still far away from anything that comes close to a human being.

 

Yesterday I was reading up on Solution Manager and I came across a webinar page where Solution Manager was being referred to as “the nervous system” for your SAP system landscape. I thought that the reference was seriously exaggerated. Some call Solution Manager “the command center” which is still slightly exaggerated but at least offers a better description.

 

The human body is controlled by our nervous system which receives incoming calls and reacts to those (I know very simple explanation). From time to time those incoming calls contain alerts which are triggered and automatically action is taken. The actions taken are not always visible and can sometimes be very subtle. We don’t auto-react to a falling in love signal by blurting it out to the person in question which is probably a good thing. Some might actually do that though. Just remember this: “a system is never perfect”.

 

Solution Manager as a nervous system for SAP system landscapes is what I want for Christmas and what I will put on my Solution Manager wish list. I believe SAP is getting close to enabling Solution Manager to act as a command center. While it might not yet feature everything a command center should have it has potential and Solution Manager 7.1 is looking pretty good.

 

The future is automated. There are even predictions system administrators will hardly be needed anymore in the far future. I do believe that our line of work will drastically change over time. Why isn’t it evident for Solution Manager to be the nervous system of your SAP system landscape? The human nervous system is extremely complex and it processes a massive amount of data every second. It’s like our own personal in-memory database that processes billions of records, analyzes those records and responds to it by sending the right signals throughout our body.

 

In order to use the term “nervous system” for Solution Manager it will need integration of HANA for sure to be able to process massive amounts of information and react to those. Yes you could already automate some reactions from Solution Manager using CCMS and auto-reaction methods but nothing that comes near to what a nervous system could achieve.

 

I’m excited to see what the next five years will bring in terms of transforming Solution Manager into a nervous system. Hopefully SAP leans into Solution Manager, catches the idea of building a nervous system and connects Solution Manager to HANA to get the processing of massive amounts of data going and really create magic.

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11 Comments

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  1. Marlo Simon
    Hello Tom,

    Must agree that sometimes I have high hopes for Solution Manager being really able to “manage” and to provide “solutions”.
    I see great potential specially on the Integration and Orchestration arena; having live business process being held in this master control going beyond administrating limbs and organs but being able to think and make better decisions.

    I really like seen this kind of blogs around, beyond technicians we are able to think from time to time.

    Best Regards,
    Marlo Simon.

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    1. Tom Cenens Post author
      Hello Marlo Simon

      Thanks for your comment. It is nicely titled as well.

      I’m convinced that Solution Manager has potential and I’ve already seen some promising pointers in Solution Manager 7.1.

      The technology to remold Solution Manager into a “simplified” nervous system is there. It’s a matter of putting the pieces together and at the same time a challenge not to whip the pieces together which SAP sometimes does.

      HANA is here now so we are waiting for the next innovation again.

      Kind regards

      Tom

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  2. Olivier CHRETIEN
    In my opinion there is a BIG problem with Solution Manager : It is based on the exact same technology (Netweaver) that it is supposed to manage and supervise.

    Last real life exemple, to be able to apply an ECC6 SP stack, I have to user Solman MOPZ.
    To be able to use MOPZ, I had to apply Solman Support Packages and even some note manually.
    I had to read lots of unclear notes to understand that and I had to spend time to update SOLMAN.

    So instead of patching ECC6 directly, I had to patch 2 systems.

    Where is the meta SOLMAN to manage SOLMAN ?

    I don’t want to spend so much time and money to maintain a non productive meta system.

    I want to have the choice to decide if I want to use a utility software.

    Olivier

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    1. Tom Cenens Post author
      Hello Olivier

      I can understand you’re frustrating and you are certainly not the only one that has those kind of concerns.

      It’s definitely an important pointer for SAP to handle.

      The maintenance optimizer is useful in some cases like EHP installations and very complex system landscapes but it’s way too much hassle to approve a single file. Luckily there are some tricks to get around using MOPZ. I can share some if you want, you’re welcome to contact me on it.

      Kind regards

      Tom

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      1. Stephen Johannes
        The problem is that solution manager in order to get setup a full-time resource to configure.  This makes it hard to explain to the business that I need to hire an expensive consultant to setup a box that has no direct business benefits other allowing the business software that was significant investment to still function.

        Solution manager should have been delivered as a cloud based service so SAP customers could have been focused more on supporting the business requirements than first trying to become solution manager experts. I have not seen one piece of functionality in Solution Manager that could not have been a cloud based service.

        It’s a nice tool but getting solution manager up and running is like spending dollars on “maintenance” instead of innovation. I would agree once you have it configured there is plenty of benefit, but there is no easy way to convert over the information for long running implementations without spending either signficant time or money.

        Take care,

        Stephen

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        1. Tom Cenens Post author
          Hello Stephen

          I can agree with you on the fact that it requires some serious effort to get the added value out of Solution Manager. Implementing scenarios like diagnostics requires a proper project to do so and along with it has a price tag attached to it.

          A diagnostics agent for example should be incorporated into each SAP system in my opinion instead of requiring a separate installation making it standard available and usable without additional effort and maintenance attached.

          Kind regards

          Tom

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  3. Hussain Sehorewala
    You will probabily need SAP Solution Manager + HANA on a IBM Watson.

    Then you might get only 80 % of lest efficient Administrator.

    You need to think why I said “80 % of lest efficient Administrator”

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    1. Tom Cenens Post author
      Hello Hussain Sehorewala 

      That would be a nice combination.

      It’s a matter of time before we will see self maintaining systems. Until that time comes I want to do something about this so I’m looking at some ideas I have to make a change, create a ripple in the sea of SAP.

      There are plenty of administration tasks that really aren’t efficiently build into Solution Manager.

      Kind regards

      Tom

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  4. Alberto Castillo
    Nice bloq,

    I remember some years ago when Solman was not enforced and basis team only did administration for every system they had in the landscape, now those days are gone, with Solman being enforced then besides all daily problems you had before, now you have to deal with Solman and all its patches, problems, wrong EWA’s, Solution tools in managed systems, SMD agents, Wily, RFC’s, users, procedures, jobs, etc, etc, etc. that changes almost every month.

    In some complex landscapes like the one I´m working since some years ago, this leads to more people in the staff to manage projects, SAP services to configure functions, Hardware because sometimes you need a DEV and PROD Solman being the Productive system in Cluster, training, etc.

    It is true that SAP Clients gets some benefits from using Solman, Diagnostics is a great tool but how long and effort takes to have it working correctly?, Is this worth the effort in a small installation? Incident Management is not easy to configure tool if you want to use it properly with the ITIL best practices and so, then the question is, is it worth the effort? and if you are using a purposedly made service desk software this question is more in context.

    I think Solman is not a bad Idea but as already mentioned, Netweaver has its own problems so using a Netweaver based system to monitor similars don´t look very clever to me either.

    I dream with a Solman that I don´t have to patch with a note or install a complete Stack every time I need to install a stack in some other system, or that EWA could be more flexible because some installations are different and so far we cannot change the KPI’s for some sections that are OK for “normal” landscapes but not for the one you are working on because mobile system or even solman is a monster with seven heads. I dream with an incident management that can be connected to third party software more easily.

    I know Solman 7.1 will solve and improve lots of problems and new functionalities that looks very interesting, but as long as I don´t see it user friendly (another weak point in Solman 7.01) and with more flexibility including less complexity to be configured I will still think that Solman has an extremely long way to be what SAP offers with it. After we install it then I may have a different view (I really hope), time will tell.

    Who knows, probably Solman will end up like SAP Mobile solution that now will be Sybase solutions.

    Regards,

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    1. Tom Cenens Post author
      Hello Alberto

      I understand what you are saying on diagnostics, I have been there and it still remains an effort to keep everything going.

      SolMan 7.1 won’t bring a revolution but at least it will bring improvements which are already very important.

      It’s important that we as a community keep SAP awake that we expect more from Solution Manager in the future and that there should be improvements made to enable system administrators to guide our customers and do less operational work because of made improvements.

      Kind regards

      Tom

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