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picture 1.0 – Motorized bicycle – http://www.slickvixen.com/motorized_bicycle.htm

It’s no secret that I haven’t been the biggest fan of the changes related to SAP system maintenance that SAP has made moving from Solution Manager 7.0 EHP1 to Solution Manager 7.1. The Landscape Management DataBase (LMDB) was introduced with Solution Manager 7.1.  The first impression from system administrators all over the world was that it seemed to complicate things.  

2013: The world is still there 

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picture 1.1 – Poll LMDB – ref http://scn.sap.com/polls/1409

So what has changed in the meantime? SAP is aware of the fact that LMDB seems to be more complex and that system administrators are struggling to properly configure everything they need to perform maintenance of their managed SAP systems.  The above picture shows that a whopping 74% of the voters voted that LMDB is worse then what was in place before.

Not only my poll confirmed this but also impressions / thoughts from attendees at SAP TechED 2012 confirmed the above.

What has happened since then?

As a SAP Mentor I believe in the fact that the new SAP is out there and that teams care about their products and that there is willingness to change things around. I’ve had customers laugh in my face at the idea that SAP, a dinosaur company (huge), would listen to a commoner like me or any other community member for that matter.  I beg to differ here and I’ve seen the impact of a single blog post or involvement or commitment of community members. We can make a difference so when a customer laughs in your face, laugh along and know that you can make a difference.

I have been reading up on LMDB and I connected to Wolf Hengevoss who has helped me out by providing information / hints based on my thoughts. Attempts to get even closer to what SAP is doing failed so far as the legal department shows no progress in creating the necessary NDA documents for me to sign. As such, I don’t know what SAP has in its labs at this moment in time. I can only hope it will meet the requirements of #sapadmin.

Wolf Hengevoss and others at SAP have been putting a lot of effort into creating the necessary documentation so #sapadmin would understand the different aspects of LMDB. While the documentation is mostly of good quality, it’s still a lot of content to go through and not so easy to understand. My suggestion is to create video content which shows how to perform maintenance on actual customer landscapes.

<update>

Check out the blog post that Wolf Hengevoss wrote as a reply to this blog post here:

http://scn.sap.com/community/it-management/alm/solution-manager/blog/2013/03/05/evolution-of-landscape-data-management-what-s-better-with-lmdb

</update>

What do we really need?

It’s easy to comment on what is wrong and what should be better. It’s harder to come up with viable solutions. What #sapadmin need in my opinion, is the ability to define a complex landscape and create relationship models much like relations between database tables. Those relations then define which systems are connected and that affects the maintenance optimizer run. The landscape patterns provide such functionality but to a too limited extent.  End-user experience wise I wish the way we have to perform these actions would also be reviewed. Get a bunch of #sapadmin and developers together and help them out to use design thinking to come to a new solution.

In my dream, I drag lines between systems to create relationships between those systems.

Interesting content on LMDB

Content generated by SAP

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picture 1.1 – LMDB wiki page – ref http://wiki.sdn.sap.com/wiki/display/SMSETUP/Maintenance+of+Product+in+the+System+Landscape

The wiki page is an important source to aid system administrators in their quest to perform proper SAP system maintenance. “If no product versions and product instances are reported, this page shows you how to model different products in the LMDB of SAP Solution Manager.

On the page, you can also find links to the Maintenance Planning Guides for SAP Solution Manager 7.1 (several SP versions exist) which contain valuable information on different aspects of LMDB.

Community generated content

Not only SAP is producing good content on LMDB. A 2012 blog post by Nicholas Chang is a good read in this regard as well: http://scn.sap.com/community/it-management/alm/solution-manager/blog/2011/12/17/sapadmin-how-to-assign-product-system-in-solman-71-how-lmdb-sld-smsy-and-landscape-verification-work-in-solman71

The blog content is good and the comments provide a lot of additional questions and answers and details that might help you.

SAP Insider content

SAP Insider article with good SAP system landscape maintenance example: http://sapinsider.wispubs.com/article.cfm?id=5446

The article is an excellent read to get an understanding of different types of changes (application driven vs technology driven) and what that means for doing SAP system maintenance. Along with that, the landscape pattern is also explained which is another valuable piece of the puzzle.

We zijn er bijna maar nog niet helemaal

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picture 1.2 – Are we there yet- ref wronghands1.wordpress.com

To mix things up:  a title of a paragraph in Dutch. This way, if you don’t know Dutch, you can most certainly say you learned something from this blog post. Translated into English it means: “We are almost there but we are not there yet”. It is part of a song that scouts would sing when going for a long walk. They could start singing this at the mere beginning of that walk. Translated into LMDB I would say, the concept, the idea is not bad but there still is a lot of work left to fully automate the system landscape maintenance of complex SAP system landscapes.

Let’s be crystal clear here:

For now, #sapadmin have to live with partial automation and we will need to continue to perform multiple maintenance optimizer runs for complex SAP system landscapes. Sometimes we will even have to perform manual actions, checks and perhaps even tests to ensure the end-result will be a consistent SAP system landscape.

LMBD is not a motorcycle just yet. It is a bike that has a battery. It helps you bike but if hope to sit back and relax you can forget about it, the bike won’t move at all without your effort to make it move. 

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11 Comments

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  1. Juan Reyes

    Hi Tom,

    Good blog, I’m actually doing an Upgrade to Solman 7.1 as we speak, I have to say that I agree with others, LMDB + all the new Diagnostic agents has added an additional level of complexity to the picture, does the benefits justify the extra effort (specially in not so complex landscapes)?? I dont know, only time will tell. So far it looks like a bike with square wheels to me!!. 😀

    Regards, Juan

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    1. Tom Cenens Post author

      Hi Juan

      Thanks 🙂 . For non complex landscapes, the effort is do-able in terms of LMDB once you got the hang of it (still lots of factors where things can go wrong). I agree significant effort is needed to maintain everything properly. For the Diagnostics Agents I’ll have to write another blog I think 😀 .

      In some cases, it is indeed a bike with square wheels ~try a landscape that has MDM in it and MDM related components deployed on systems that are connected to MDM. The result in the maintenance optimizer is a shortdump and so far no solution has been provided by SAP.

      Best regards

      Tom

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    1. Tom Cenens Post author

      Hi Nicholas

      Thanks for the comment 🙂 and thanks for all the #sapadmin help you’ve been providing on SCN as well (same goes for Juan by the way!).

      I think SAP is well aware of the fact that the system landscape maintenance is a problem but I’m not so sure customers know, they expect basis to run through the maintenance optimizer easily (due to propaganda / marketing efforts of SAP) because of a so called “fully automated” maintenance process which is clearly not the case.

      Best regards

      Tom

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    1. Tom Cenens Post author

      It sure is a cool bike right 🙂 . Maybe I should have choosen another picture there though 😉 . LMDB isn’t really perceived as cool 🙁 .

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      1. Jansi Rani Murugesan

        Hi Tom,

        Thanks to bring up the improvement on LMDB topic again, more on separate blog. yes, LMDB is not mightIer than the bike in the picture yet. 🙁

        I remember that mid of 2012 on wards, it has been highlighted one or other way. It is been directly updated to Bjoern goerke in TechEd. I felt that as you mentioned might be SAP would be working on this! (Might be its my belief). We can wait for some more time for next sp release on Feb, will see any new changes on LMDB part.

        Apart from that #sapdamin doc created by Nicolas is the finest one, has all the contents and details.Creating video also good idea, ( But I affraid videos are kind of spoon feeding, usually extreme case I use it, else without knowing what.. all get familar with How ). its my view only.

        I could say if we some what automate the product version assignment part, (Like Technical system, Product version and product should be automatically assigned, the tool should have such intelligence , from the instance number it should get all the data automatically, In future it could be auto updated like SLD landscape fetch job), most of the complications would be avoided,

        Once again thanks for the write up, will see how this growing!! Hope the Best!

        Regards,

        Jansi

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        1. Tom Cenens Post author

          Hi Jansi

          Thanks for your comment.

          Completely agree with your statement that it should be much more automated. It’s SAP for SAP and it should know exactly what is or isn’t in use based on how a system is configured / used.

          Nicolas blog post is very good, I wouldn’t say it cover everything but it’s a good start point. Understanding the difference between HUB & SIDECAR and the impact of one vs the other and understanding the different types of maintenance application driven vs technology driven etc are also important.

          I wrote about Solution Manager as a nervous system in 2011:

          http://scn.sap.com/community/it-management/alm/solution-manager/blog/2011/08/11/solution-manager-as-a-nervous-system

          It’s taking SAP too long to get this right and wrong impressions are given to customers through presentations & articles with titles like “Bring innovation to complex landscapes, quickly and easily“.

          In the end #sapadmin suffer as customers start being sceptic towards those who have to perform the actions. The marketing sais “it’s quick & easy” which causes customers to raise uestions – #sapadmin, why does this take so long?

          Best regards

          Tom

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  2. Wolf Hengevoss

    Hello Tom and all who commented,

    First of all thanks for your feedback – being mentioned in your blog, and responsibel in product management for the LMDB I’d like to also comment on it. It did this in a blog (would be too long for this text box and there wouldn’t be any pictures 😉

    http://scn.sap.com/community/it-management/alm/solution-manager/blog/2013/03/05/evolution-of-landscape-data-management-what-s-better-with-lmdb

    I really appreciate the feedback because it helps us decide on the next steps to be taken. As I’ve tried to show, we invest in aimplification and automation in the LMDB. And though it isn’t “my” team, I closely work together with development for example by presenting them with customer feedback.

    Best Regards,

    Wolf Hengevoss

    SAP AG

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