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Update June 20, 2016

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS CERTIFICATION IS RETIRED AS OF June 30, 2016.

Introduction

Interested in getting certified as official SAP HANA supporter? In this blog, I will explain how you can prepare for the SAP Certified Support Associate – SAP HANA certification exam.

This blog is part of a series.

About the Certification

The Support Associate certification was introduced with SPS 06 (June 2013). Tim Breitwieser blogged about it at the time on SCN:SAP HANA Certification Program extended with “SAP Certified Support Consultant”. In this blog he explained that the exam is “a pre-requisite for VARs to become authorized to deliver support for SAP HANA”. For those that have access to SAP PartnerEdge, you can find all information in the Overview Presentation: VAR-Delivered Support for SAP HANA.

Topic Areas

There are 80 questions divided over ten topic areas. Cut score is 60%, which means that you need to answer at least 47 questions correct. Below the different topics and their relative weight. See the C_HANASUP_1 page on the SAP Training and Certification Shop for the specifics.

When I took the exam, I got 13 questions each on the >12% topics (Performance and Backup & Recovery), 8 questions on each of the 8%-12% topics, and only 4 questions on the two  < 8% topics. Your mileage may vary but when you prepare for the exam, it is best to focus on two big topics first as they account for roughly a third of all questions.

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Resources

As with the certification E_HANATECxx, the main resource is the SAP Education training HA200 – SAP HANA – Installation & Operations. This 5-day training covers all the topics mentioned above.

The other main source of information for the exam can downloaded free of charge from the the publicly available SAP Help Portal (help.sap.com):

Performance:

On the PartnerEdge portal, the curriculum is a bit more extensive. It includes both HA100E and HA200R and also the two support processes e-learnings (12 minutes and 30 minutes), plus some additional guides from the Help Portal.

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From my experience, most of questions came from topics covered in the Administration Guide (or the HA200 training). The guide is a hefty 600+ pages, so this is where I would focus on.

Additionally, I can strongly recommend reading the SAP HANA Performance Analysis Guide. This guide is not listed in the resources as it was introduced with SPS 07, whereas the exam is on SPS 06, but it provides good insights on how to tackle performance issues (13 questions).

Note that the SAP Help Portal on http://help.sap.com/hana_platform only shows the latest documentation, SPS 08 at the time of writing. For SPS 06 and SPS 07, you need to go to the SAP Service Marketplace on http://service.sap.com/hana.

Practise, practise, practise

Just training or reading the documentation, however, will not be enough. You will need hands-on experience, in particular with SAP HANA studio. A large number of questions will test your familiarity with the different views, tabs and subtabs of SAP HANA studio. You are expected to know the names and navigate in the dark through the Administration Console. So close your eyes and tell me how to configure a certain parameter to its default setting.

Got it? Click the Configuration tab, then double-click the parameter, then …

DeltaMergeConfiguration2_thumb_750x9999.png

SAP HANA Academy

To help you prepare for the exam, I have created a playlist for the exam:

The following playlists may provide additional background:

Sample questions

On the certification page, a link to a PDF with sample questions is included. Below I marked the answers in bold and included a reference to the source with some tips and to do’s.

==

1. You are supporting an SAP Netweaver BW Powered by HANA system that is in productive operation. Inadvertently, a table was deleted. The last data backup was three days ago. You need to recover the system to the point before the table deletion. What do you have to do accomplish this?

a. Restore the SAP HANA database from backup and apply the logs to recover to a point in time.

b. Reinstall the SAP HANA database and recover the database from the last known backup.

c. Recover the database from the last known backup and reload the deleted table.

d. Drop the table in the SAP HANA database and import the table from another system.

Source: Point in time recovery (PITR) is documented in the Backup and Recovery section of the SAP HANA Administration Guide ( SPS 07: 4.2.13 – Recovering the SAP HANA Database).

In theory, you would only need to install the SAP HANA server – answer b – if the disk that contained the software no longer works. However, in real life, the data volume would typically be stored on a RAID volume protected against the failure of a single disk drive.

Backup is a 2-step process. First we restore the data backup, then we apply the logs to recover the database to the time of failure or to a desired point in time. Answer c is wrong as once we have recovered the database, we are done. There is no need to reload any data.

Answer d is an option but typically not the right one as importing a table from another system may have disastrous consequences.

To do: Read the SAP HANA Administration Guide on backup and recovery and try it out yourself (delete a data file, delete a log file, etc.). Backup and recovery is an important topic in the exam so you need to be familiar with it.

==

2. Your client tells you that the SAP HANA database backup is not working. In the SAP HANA studio, where could you start to investigate the issue? There are 3 correct answers to this question.

a. _SYS_BI schema

b. SYS schema

c. Administration editor – System Information

d. Administration editor – Performance overview

e. Administration editor – Alerts

Source: As above, Backup and Recovery section of the SAP HANA Administration Guide.

A tricky question, as to be honest I have no idea why you would want to start to investigate this issue with the SYS schema. However, when there are 3 correct answers, that means there are 2 wrong ones:  😉

  • _SYS_BI is a schema internal to the database, this is an even more unlikely candidate for investigation.
  • Administrator editor – Performance does not provide backup information. In fact, there is no Performance overview view or tab to start with.

Alerts is always a good place to start investigations and the System Information overview tab shows the latest alerts

ViewingPerformance_1_thumb_800x9999.jpg

To do: Same as with question 1, read the guide and DIY.

==

3. In an expensive statement trace configuration, you want to identify queries that run longer than two minutes. Which value do you enter?

a. 12 000

b. 120

c. 120 000 000

d. 120 000

This kind of question is typical for the exam. Unless you have configured expensive trace a few times, it is not very likely you would know this.

As you can see in the SAP HANA Academy video below, trace thresholds are set in microseconds, that is one millionth of a second.

To do: Activate the expensive trace on your test database and investigate the output. This is documented in the SAP HANA Administration Guide here.

==

4. You have selected SAP HANA as product in SAP Solution Manager and checked the prerequisites. What are the next steps to configure SAP HANA as a managed system in SAP Solution Manager? Please choose the correct answer.

a.  1. Assign diagnosis agents.

    2. Create logical components.

    3. Enter system parameters

    4. Enter landscape parameters.

    5. Check configuration.

b.  1. Check configuration.

    2. Create logical components.

    3. Assign diagnosis agents.

    4. Enter system parameters.

    5. Enter landscape parameters.

c.  1. Assign diagnosis agents.

    2. Enter system parameters.

    3. Enter landscape parameters.

    4. Create logical components.

    5. Check configuration.

d.  1. Assign diagnosis agents.

    2. Check configuration.

    3. Create logical components.

    4. Enter system parameters.

    5. Enter landscape parameters.

Source: This is documented in the presentation by Active Global Support -HANA Supportability and Monitoring Setup (SAP Service Marketplace account required).

See also SAP Note 1747682 – SolMan 7.1: Managed System Setup for HANA

19.PNG

To do: Maybe I was lucky, but there was only a single question about Solution Manager when I passed the exam.

If you want to know exactly how this is setup, see

==

5. What are the purposes of executing a delta merge operation in an SAP HANA database? There are 3 correct answers to this question.

a. To move updated records from delta storage to column store

b. To move new records from SAP ECC tables to delta storage

c. To move merge data from row tables to column store

d. To move inserted records from delta storage to column store

e. To move deleted records from delta storage to column store

Source: This is documented in section 2.6 Managing Tables – The Delta Merge Operation of the SAP HANA Administration Guide.

You cannot merge data from row tables to column store – these are different engines – and delta merge has nothing to do with SAP ERP.

To Do: If you want to get a good understand about delta merge and the inner working of SAP HANA, I can strongly recommend the OpenHPI course In-Memory Data Management  (2014) – Implications on Enterprise Systems. Bonus: Mr. Hasso Plattner is teaching with guest performance of Mr. Bernd Leukert.

==

6. An ABAP program in SAP ECC is being optimized for the SAP HANA database. You have been asked to identify expensive SQL statements of this program that run for longer than one second. What do you have to do to identify these expensive SQL statements? There are 2 correct answers to this question.

a. Filter expensive SQL statements by DB user

b. Enable expensive SQL statements tracing

c. Set the trace level

d. Set the threshold duration

Source: This is documented in section 2.5.8 – Monitoring System Performance and 2.10.3 – Configuring Traces of the SAP HANA Administration Guide.

The mention of ABAP and SAP ECC is not relevant here.

You set the trace level for the SQL Trace, not for the expensive statement trace.

/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/trace_560664.pngTraceConfiguration2.png

To Do: As mentioned under resources, read the SAP HANA Performance Analysis Guide on this topic.

==

7. In the SAP HANA studio, which of the following enables you to identify the memory consumption of loaded tables?

a. System Information tab of the Administration editor

b. SYS.M_TABLES

c. Load subtab of the Performance tab of the Administration editor

d. SYS.M_CS_TABLES

Source: For what purpose you can query the M_CS_TABLES view is documented in section 2.6.4 Data Compression in the Column Store of the SAP HANA Administration Guide, albeit on the topic of data compression.

SELECT SCHEMA_NAME, TABLE_NAME, ROUND(SUM(ESTIMATED_MAX_MEMORY_SIZE_IN_TOTAL)/1024/1024/1024) AS “SIZE IN GB”

  FROM M_CS_TABLES

WHERE SCHEMA_NAME = <SCHEMA_NAME>

GROUP BY SCHEMA_NAME, TABLE_NAME

ORDER BY TABLE_NAME

Personally, I would argue that answer a is equally correct because, as you can see on the print screen below, the System Information tab of the Administration Editor includes a report that Shows memory consumption of schemas (loaded tables).

/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/systeminformation_561805.png

The Load sub tab allows you to display a performance graph on different counters but does not help you to identify the memory consumption of loaded tables

/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/load_560665.png

To do: Familiarise yourself with section 2.6 on Managing Tables of the SAP HANA Administration Guide and study the views of the System Information tab.

==

8. Which of the following columns are displayed in the Merge Statistics system report? There are 3 correct answers to this question.

a. TYPE

b. PART_ID

c. STATEMENT_STRING

d. MOTIVATION

e. CONNECTION_ID

Source: Documented in the M_DELTA_MERGE_STATISTICS – SAP HANA SQL and System Views Reference – SAP Library. Below a print screen of the report definition.

The STATEMENT_STRING and CONNECTION_ID columns are part of the view M_EXPENSIVE_STATEMENTS.

This question evaluates experience. Anyone familiar with monitoring merges and analysing expensive statement would know this. You are not expected to learn all the view definitions by heart. You are expected to be familiar with the most common support activities.

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 13.36.48.png

To do: Same as for question 7, above.

==

9. How can you improve performance of SAP HANA information models?

a. Use filters at table level instead of analytic views.

b. Use the JOIN operator instead of the UNION operator in calculation views.

c. Use CE_FUNCTIONS instead of SQL statements in calculation views.

d. Use calculated columns in calculation views instead of calculated measures in attribute views.

Source: Topic discussed in the two e-learnings SAP HANA Support Processes: SAP HANA – Execution of Models and SAP HANA Support Processes: SAP HANA Studio – Modeling Components.

To do: This is certainly an advanced topic where practice makes perfect. If you get a chance, attend SAP TechEd (d-code); session DMM270 – Advanced Data Modeling in SAP HANA addresses this topic.

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 14.56.54.png

==

10. In a scaled-out, high-availability environment for an SAP HANA database, how can you monitor the status of the hosts in the cluster?

There are 3 correct answers to this question.

a. 1. In the SAP HANA studio, right-click to add a new system.

    2. Create an entry for each of the hosts in this environment.

    3. Log into each of the hosts.

b. 1. In the SAP HANA studio, create an entry for a standby host.

    2. Verify that all SAP HANA database processes are running.

c. 1. Log into the Linux operating system of the SAP HANA appliance.

    2. Run command ifconfig.

d. 1. In the SAP HANA studio, navigate to the Landscape tab.

    2. Select the Services subtab.

    3. Check the Detail column.

e. 1. Log into the Linux operating system of the SAP HANA appliance.

    2. Launch the SAP HDB Admin console.

    3. Navigate to the Management Console tab.

    4. Verify that all SAP HANA database processes are running.

Source: This is a bit of a curious question as the HDB Admin tool is a tool used internally by SAP Support and is not publicly documented. You should not find any reference about this tool on the exam, and if you do, you should report it.

Below a print screen of answer d. Note that the detail column displays which service is master. To monitor the status (running, initializing, stopped) you would check the Active column. Whether this answer is correct is debatable.

With the ifconfig command in UNIX/Linux you can configure the network adapter. This answer is incorrect.

A standby host can be part of a high-available architecture but this is not a requirement. Hence, also not a good answer.

Adding each host of a distributed system, as a SAP HANA “cluster” is normally referred to in the documentation, might be correct but would be unusual.

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 14.04.11.png

SAP HANA Studio

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 14.02.12.png

HDB admin

To do: Read the sections on High Availability and Scaling SAP HANA in the SAP HANA Administration Guide.

More Questions?

Unfortunately, but very reasonably, those that have passed the exam are not allowed to share the questions with anyone else, so I can’t share any particular question with you here. However, a close study of the mentioned resources should provide you with enough knowledge to successfully pass the exam.

Additional Resources

Did you succeed?

Feel free to post a comment about how the exam went. If there is any information missing, please let me know.

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14 Comments

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  1. Vinay Kumar Dalapathirao

    Hi Denys,

    I got a clear information about certification on SAP HANA with your blog.

    I don’t know before it and never thought. I got some stuff to prepare and brush up.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Regards,

    Vinay

    (0) 
  2. Sergii Zaitsev

    Hi Denys,

    I have the question about 6).


    >An ABAP program in SAP ECC is being optimized for the SAP HANA database. You have been >asked to identify expensive SQL statements of this program that run for longer than one second. >What do you have to do to identify these expensive SQL statements? There are 2 correct >answers to this question.


    In Expensive Statement Trace the threshold duration is one second for default.

    We do not  need to set it in this case.  May be, we need to set   “the trace level” (Pasport level??) especially in case of ABAP?

    According to Expensive Statements Trace Options – SAP HANA Troubleshooting and Performance Analysis Guide – SAP Library we can use PMI with ECC and this option.

    (0) 
    1. Denys van Kempen Post author

      Hi Sergeii,

      This type of questions can be a bit confusing. In my view, as I wrote, the mention of ABAP and SAP ECC is not relevant here. So the question becomes: how do we activate tracing for expensive SQL statements?


      To which the answer is 1.) enable it and 2.) set the threshold duration to match the >1s requirement.


      Passport trace level is an additional trace option.


      I do agree that the mention of ECC and ABAP would favour to think about PMI-type solutions. And thanks for asking.  😉


      D

      (0) 
  3. Anh Tran Viet Tuan

    As i read somewhere in other blog, it said that the C_SUPPORT is going to be retired and can use C_HANATEC151 for equivalent ? Could you confirm this information.

    However i got the C_HANATEC151 and going to take the E_HANAINS151.

    Thanks.

    (0) 
      1. Anh Tran Viet Tuan

        Hi Denys,

        Actually i got that information on the blog you just post: “SAP HANA Education – Course & Certification Program 2015, you can find that

        C_HANASUP_1SAP Certified Support Associate – SAP HANA (Associate Level, 3 hours, 80 items) –will be retired.

        Candidates can take the C_HANATEC151 instead.

        Not really relevant, but can you distinguish between specialist level vs professional level.

        Is that Associate < Specialist < Professional, or what ?

        Thanks.

        Best Regards.

        (0) 
        1. Denys van Kempen Post author

          Thanks

          Haythem manages the program, so if he says it will be retired, it will be retired.

          There is a hierarchy for Associate < Professional

          Specialist are Add-Ons

          (0) 

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