Background

It looks like SAP IdM is getting a bit more interest now, particularly based on the number of new “faces” on the forum, which is a very exciting time for the product and for those of us that have been working on it for a while. With that in mind, I thought I would share some observations on the platform options available for IdM, as there are a few things that are not as obvious at first sight.

AS Java

The Platform Availability Matrix (PAM) for IdM, available at http://service.sap.com/pam states that for IdM 7.2, the following are supported platforms and are discussed in more detail in the installation guide:

SAP EHP1 FOR SAP NETWEAVER 7.0
SAP enhancement package 1 for SAP NetWeaver 7.0

SAP EHP1 FOR SAP NETWEAVER 7.3
SAP enhancement package 1 for SAP NetWeaver 7.3

SAP EHP1 FOR SAP NW CE 7.1
SAP enhancement package 1 for SAP NetWeaver Composition Environment 7.1

SAP EHP2 FOR SAP NETWEAVER 7.0
SAP enhancement package 2 for SAP NetWeaver 7.0

SAP EHP3 FOR SAP NETWEAVER 7.0
SAP enhancement package 3 for SAP NetWeaver 7.0

SAP NETWEAVER 7.0
SAP NetWeaver 7.0

SAP NETWEAVER 7.3
SAP NetWeaver 7.3

SAP NETWEAVER CE 7.2
SAP NetWeaver Composition Environment 7.2

What is not clear is that AS Java 7.0 is only in “Maintenance Mode” support from SAP. I’ve yet to find where this is written down, but I’ve been told it very clearly by the UI teams. What this means is they will fix anything that breaks, but not put any new features on to it. This means it is effectively locked with the UI features from IdM 7.2 SP4. So for me, if you are starting from scratch, you should start on AS Java 7.3. It looks better, and supports all the new features, which are well worth having.

Database

Again, from the PAM, IdM 7.2 is currently supported on SQL Server, Oracle and DB2. As with everything SAP these days, I’m sure it is only a matter of time before HANA is included, and, as IdM is already a very database centric product using stored procedures, this is a very natural fit. This will of course transform IdM, delivering sub micro-second responses, in-memory, at the speed of thought, while making the tea…

But back in the real work, I’m going to focus on the current offering….

My experience has been predominantly on a single large IdM deployment on Oracle and so first off, I’m going to ignore DB2, as I have no experience of it, for IdM or anything else in SAP, and so don’t think it is fair to comment.

As for IdM on Oracle, it is fair to say it has not been smooth sailing. I think the development of IdM by the product team is done on SQL server, and then converted on to Oracle by some means that I’m not clear on. This process is not always smooth and we have had been shipped tools and code containing SQL server syntax that was not picked up. We’ve also got some outstanding performance problems, and some strange “features” appearing occasionally as our database table statistics are updated.

Based on these facts, again, if I was starting for scratch, I would deploy IdM on SQL server, as a database, even though there is still a fair bit of bias, mainly historical in my opinion, about the robustness of it as a database platform generally.

Runtime and Design Time

We have both windows and Linux environments for our runtime and have had no problems with either, with the windows ones being slightly easier to administrate, as you can manage the start and stop directly from a MMC design time installation on the same servers. So, again if I was starting from scratch, I would go for windows design time and runtime, putting both on each of the runtime servers required, assuming one is not sufficient.

Conclusion

So, based on the above, if I had to pick a platform to deploy IdM 7.2 on, ignoring any other factors such as existing IT department skills, organisational preference, snobbery about UNIX over windows, it would be

  • Design Time and Runtime – Windows Server
  • Database – MS SQL Server
  • UI – AS Java 7.3 – any O/S and database

I would of course be delighted to hear what others have experienced, and think about platform choices, and if I’ve many any glaring omissions, please let me know.

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7 Comments

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  1. Tero Virta

    Good stuff (as usual) Ian. I am not sure how feasible it is to expect HANA version of IdM soon. Based on what I saw in the Open SAP (https://open.sap.com/courses) courses the development on HANA is a lot different than application development using SQL Server or Oracle.

    I am not a DBA nor have ever developed anything as complex as this product is so cannot really compare the two major databases but from average developer point of view it’s been smoother sailing with SQL Server (not just limiting to SAP IdM). When it comes to bad rep of the SQL Server it’s 2014 now (something  like over 10 versions released?) and Microsoft-bashing is so last summer 🙂

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    1. Ian Daniel Post author

      Thanks for the feedback Tero, I think the politics of HANA will dictate IdM must run on HANA so SAP can claim “SAP runs on HANA” as a single database platform. I agree that right now the overlap of IdM customers and HANA customers is small, but in the SAP world, HANA is king (or queen).

      As for microsoft bashing, it’s never been my thing, but it still a common misconception that SQL server is for small databases, and if you are doing anything big, Oracle or DB2 on UNIX is the way to go.

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  2. Matt Pollicove

    Ian, this is a great overview of the installation options for IDM.  Here’s what I know (mostly from TechEd)

    1. DB2 support is accomplished by enabling an “Oracle emulation mode” in DB2.  I’d be interested in trying this out, but I think it might take more DBA knowledge than I currently possess.

    2. I agree with you regarding Oracle.  I do believe that SQL Server is the base development platform.  Whenever possible I advise clients to use SQL Server for that very reason.  I will tell you that Oracle support has gotten better thanks to people like Per Krabsetsve (Chris). He’s done quite a bit of research into optimizing Oracle Execution and performance.

    The other reason that I’ve always preferred MS SQL is that it’s the easiest to implement and manage from the IDM point of view.  There are excellent management tools created and supported by Microsoft. I’ve never cared much for Oracle’s tools (although the Developer tools is improving) and I despise having to rely on TOAD or freeware apps for management. (Really, who is going to hand out over $1000 to a DB admin tool????)

    3.I’m looking forward to the Eclipse console that should be arriving this year (Do you hear me Development Team??? 🙂 ) It will make it possible to run a complete *NIX based implmentation, which I know would be appreciated by many in the Admin/BASIS community.)

    4. I prefer to implement on NW 7.3 at a minimum for support of the HTML5 / advanced UIs.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s the only way to go.

    5. Finally, regarding HANA… We’ve seen the first steps of integration in being able to provision users, and the roadmap information I’ve heard indicates that IDM on HANA is on the roadmap, however given the rate at which change comes to IDM landscapes, I think this will be a place for new implementations only.

    My humble 2 cents 🙂

    Matt

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    1. Ian Daniel Post author

      Hi Matt,

      Thanks for the comments. I had heard the same about DB2, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it if you get to play.

      For Oracle, the Oracle SQL Developer is a great tool – it’s here in case anyone doesn’t use it. http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/developer-tools/sql-developer/downloads/index.html . I also agree that IdM on Oracle is getting better thanks to the work of the product team.

      Eclipse was less of a big deal to me, until I saw it at TechEd, and now I think it brings a lot to the party, and look forward to seeing it, hopefully later this year…

      I’m hoping to start playing with the UI5 stuff shortly off the back of AS Java 7.3, so I’ll certainly put something up here as and when I get it working.

      And as for HANA – let’s see 🙂

      Thanks again for the feedback,

      Ian

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      1. Per Krabsetsve

        Nice writeup and good comments!

        I’m also interested in experiences around maintenance of the systems based on the different databases. Is there something the DBA teams find missing from our documentation for instance? I would think that telling DBAs & database hosting teams that monitoring diskspace & execution statistics over time would be unecessary but I’ve been proven wrong a few times already and the experience and level of service varies wildly. Any experiences on this topic you can share in light of platform choice?

        Getting the DB2 server into “Oracle mode” is not difficult and when running it seems very memory efficient. So perhaps it could also be a good match for development/testing/working on individual laptops or when travelling.

        Oracle SQL Developer is pretty neat, both for debugging procedures and profiling them for performance (as a developer), but it is can be sluggish compared to SQL Server Developer Studio, and seems very picky about the JDK version you choose to run it on. Disabling all extensions that you dont use will help (tools/preferences/extensions). It also has the habbit of installing with “autocommit=false” causing quite a few interesting problems for the unaware. Toad & Squirrel does the trick as well but getting stuck with SQLPlus during a support call will ruin my day 🙂


        Chris

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  3. andy minshull

    Interesting reading Ian, looking forward to IdM on HANA and seeing the difference in performance it will offer. Having seen the sneak preview of the Eclipse based Management console I also think it will bring a better development ethos to the IdM world.

    Agree with you on the Oracle SQL Developer, it is a good tool.

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    1. Ian Daniel Post author

      Hi Andy,

      Thanks for the feedback, and the prospect of IdM at the speed of HANA is indeed exciting, though the two rapidly developing technology interacting might be messy for whoever is brave enough to go first – any takers?

      Cheers,

      Ian

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