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1. Introduction

The Business Process Monitoring (BPMon) functionality in SAP Solution Manager helps to proactively monitor the successful execution of a company’s core business processes and helps to ensure the smooth and reliable flow of these processes. SAP has introduced Business Process Monitoring using (Monitoring and Alerting Infrastructure) MAI infrastructure. This concept has been a revolution in monitoring and takes the monitoring concept to a new level. This concept paper will help you to understand the basics of BPMon using MAI. It explains the key terminology and prerequisites to have BPMon in MAI infrastructure. Since this is a new concept, there are certain limitations in MAI which are discussed in the last chapter.


2.  Motivation for Business Process Monitoring using MAI

Earlier the Technical Monitoring and the classical Business Process Monitoring infrastructure were different. Following are the limitations:

  • Increased maintenance effort as the BPMon and Technical Monitoring infrastructures were different.
  • Data providers for BPMON could not be re-used in other monitoring applications (e.g. technical monitoring) due to infrastructure differences

This has been a major limitation since we have two different infrastructure to monitor the system – Technical Monitoring will give the information of the Availability, Performance, Exception and Configuration parameters of the monitored system where as Business Process monitoring gave the alerts for the KPIs set for business perspective. This limitation did not give a holistic view of the System in terms of both Techinical and Business KPIs.

This led to having Business Process Monitoring on MAI infrastructure, which helps us to get a comprehensive perspective of the mointored system. The MAI infrastructure give alert information of both Technical Monitoring as well as Business Process Monitoring on a single screen. This gives the advantage of correlating the alerts and give better understanding of the problem and faster resolution of the same.

3.    Understanding the MAI Infrastructure in terms of BPMon

There are new terminology that is being used in BPMon via MAI. Here are the simple meaning of these terms for better understanding and relation with classical BPMon:

Terminology

Example

Managed Object: Same as Monitoring Object but having different Monitoring ID. Monitoring Object and Managed object is linked via Context ID.

Sales Documents

Metric: In classical BPMon, every data collection run resulted in an Alert. In MAI this is referred to as Metric. Measured value of metric provided by data provider. Similar to Key Figure. There can be PUSH/PULL Metric but currently there is only PULL Metric.

# of incomplete Sales Docs

Event: Raised by the event calculation engine based on the rating of one or more metrics and based on other events, e.g. you could raise an event if two metrics are rated red at the same time. Currently, in BPMon the flexibility in MAI provided via events is not used.

Not used in BPMon

Alert: Raised by the Alert Consumer Connector based on one or more events and based on whether an open alert already exists.

Red alert for configured keyfigure

Alert Group: In MAI, alerts for a managed object that logically form one unit are collected into alert groups. Alert groups are created per managed object. Alerts for different key figures configured in one monitoring object are grouped together (i.e. there are no separate alert groups per key figure).

Grouping of continuously red alert

Metric, Events and Alerts:

Metric is an entity that can be measured on the managed system. The measured valued of the metric is provided by the data provider. There are two types of metrics PUSH and PULL, but most of BPMon metrics are PULL metrics except for Job Monitoring. In simple terms, metric is key figure (Eg: Open Sales Document Items) and data provider will be the data collector for this key figure.

Data provider connector receives metric values from data provider. BPMon metrics are send to both BW store for analytics and event calculation engine for monitoring purpose. Metrics can be assigned to multiple events.

Based on the event provided by the event calculation engine, an alert is created in the alert consumer collector. Alert consumer decides whether to create a new alert or update an existing alert. New/Updated alerts are forwarded for other activities like notification and incident creation as per the configuration of managed object.

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General Infrastructure for BPMon via MAI

Solution Manager Extractor Framework EFWK triggers the data collection. EFWK  triggers DPC-Data Provider Connector with PULL metrics according to defined period (every 5 min). DPC PULL start the extractor for data collection in the managed system via TMW RFC destination. Central BPMon data provider calls the individual data provider in case the data collection is in dialog or picks up the result from the result table if the data collection is in background. The measured value and the rating is sent to SAP Solution Manager. Alert Calculation engine then creates/updates the alert and performs post processing like email notification and automatic incident creation.

4.    Prerequisites to set-up Business Process and Interface Monitoring via MAI

  1. Technical Prerequisites: In order to explore the Business Process Monitoring via MAI minimum SAP Solution Manager should be on SP10. It is preferable to have SAP Solution Manager on SP12 in order to understand enhanced features of BPMon via MAI. Additionally STA/PI 01Q or higher should be implemented on SAP Solution Manager and Managed system. For managed system basis release 7.0 or higher is required along with ST-PI 2008_1_700 SP8 or higher
  2. Required RFC destination (TMW, READ, LOGIN/TRUSTED) should be available in SAP Solution Manager for the Managed system.
  3. User to configure Business Process Monitoring. For required roles and authorizations please refer Security Guide for SAP Solution Manager 7.1 
  4. Define Business Process Structure in Solution: After the technical setup is completed, next step is to have Business Process structure defined in the Solution. The Solution should have leading role as ‘Production’. This is a prerequisite to start Business Process Monitoring. Maintain the Graphical Flow between business process for different Systems.

       Please refer SAP Note 1949245 for prerequisites.

Additional information related to Business Process Monitoring can be found in SAP Service  Marketplace http://service.sap.com/bpm.

5. Set up Business Process Monitoring via MAI

Following are the steps to configure BPMon via MAI:

  1. Once the Business Processes are defined in the Productive Solution, we can start with the BPMon configuration
  2. Flag the MAI in Business process monitoring setup. Please note that the BPMon via MAI Flag can be set only when the Productive Solution does not have any monitoring object configured earlier. In case there is existing BPMon on classical infrastructure then it can be migrated to a new Solution with MAI infrastructure. Please refer chapter 8 on Migration of Solution
  3. Load monitor definitions: In SolMan_setup transaction code, re-load the monitoring definitions in case the ST-A/PI is upgraded in the managed system.
  4. Setup Monitoring Object: Create a new Monitoring Object and select the Key Figures. Provide the Threshold for alerts, monitoring frequency and click on Save.
  5. Generate and Activate Monitoring Object
  6. To see the new Business Process monitoring via MAI, go to solman_workcenter –> Business process Monitoring new Workcenter.

6. Enhanced Features of BPMon via MAI

Business Process Monitoring with MAI has revolutionized the alert inbox view. It has a lot many new features which are described in this chapter. As shown in the screen shot, the alert inbox is divided into 3 areas namely, Alert type list, Business context and Alert Group list.

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Alert segregation based on the Business Process Operations area: With the new Business Process Operations workcenter, the alert inbox is divided into different areas like Throughput & Backlog, Job, Interface, Exceptions, Performance etc. There are two alert indicators: Current alert, showing the current alert as per the last data collection, and worst showing the worst alert (red) till now. There is a link provided to change configuration of a particular managed object (monitoring object). This saves a lot of time to open the managed object from the standard route.

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Postpone the data collection: There is a new feature to postpone the data collection by defined hours or date for a particular managed object. This can be useful if you want to stop the data collection as the system is facing issues or is already overloaded. Select the monitoring object and click on Postponement. You can postpone for definite hours or till a particular date and time.

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Enhanced Alert Inbox: Once you select the alert, we can drill down to detail information about the alert. There is a new provision to view the alert in terms of business context which shows the details like Solution name, Business Scenario, Business process and Process step on which the monitoring object is configured. Click on Business process monitoring will take you to the graphical view showing the alert on the particular business process step.

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Next is the alert group list which shows the alerts on different data collection time depending on the frequency of data collection. Here the other options like confirming the alert create Incident and notification is same as that were present in the classical BPMon.

Assign Guided procedure to the monitoring object: This new feature gives the provision to assign a guided procedure to the managed object; this guided procedure can help to perform the initial analysis step in order to understand the issue and can help the L1 support team for faster error resolution and reduce the workload of L2 and L3 support team.

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Alert Details: This screen shows the complete information about the alert. It shows the metric information along with metric rating for each of the key figures configured for a monitoring object. The alert details show the metric graph of the alert in different time frame. This graph can be used to understand the overall trend of the alert over a period of time. One can also see the tabular view of these metric values

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This graph is also available from Interactive Reporting tab.

Business Process Monitoring Graphical View:

This image shows the combined alert view of Business Process Monitoring and Technical Monitoring. This helps to understand the monitored system from technical as well as business perspective. This is the single screen view of the monitored system from both Technical as well as the Business perspective.

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7. Advantages of BPMon via MAI

  • Segregation of alerts in different business process operations area helps to filter the alert and focus on one particular area at a time.
  • Alerts can be linked to the guided procedure which helps for faster resolution of issue.
  • BPMon via MAI has enhanced capability with metric graphs that show the alerts over a time frame.
  • The business process monitoring via MAI shows both the technical monitoring alerts and business process monitoring alerts on a single screen, giving the business and technical view together.


8.    Limitation of BPMon via MAI in SAP Solution Manager SP10 and SP12


There are certain limitations in BPMon via MAI as follows:


For SAP Solution Manager 7.1 SP10: As BPMon via MAI is introduced with SAP Solution Manager 7.1 SP10, the MAI concept can be configured to understand the concept as a PoC. It is not recommended to use in the full fledge manner.

  • Migration of the Solutions is not supported. The managed objects should be configured in the new MAI solution. So the classical BPMon and BPMon via MAI both can be configured independently.
  • Template functions are not integrated into MAI. Templates such as Monitoring activities, analysis tools, alert parameter sets, notification templates cannot be maintained for BPMon via MAI.
  • Mass change function is not available. The mass configuration change of the monitoring objects via the `Monitoring Object List´ is not supported
  • The monitoring use cases supported are the Application monitoring and Job monitoring only. Other types of Monitoring objects are not supported.
  • BPMON notification BADIs cannot be reused
  • BPMON alert reporting is not integrated


For SAP Solution Manager 7.1 SP12: A lot of limitation of BPMon via MAI is overcome with SP12 but still there are certain limitations which are as follows

  • BW based alerting : Creation of alert group per ‘group by’ criteria is not supported
  • Interface channel monitoring object (ICMon)  cannot be transferred during Solution Transfer
  • Service Level Reporting via ST- SER does not support unified use cases for Job Monitoring and ICMon
  • Notification variant cannot be assigned.


9.    Migration of Solution from Classical BPMon to BPMon via MAI

This chapter will help you to understand the procedure to migrate from classical BPMon to BPMon with MAI infrastructure. Since the Monitoring Objects are already active in the existing classical BPMon, there is a systematic approach to migrate to the new MAI infrastructure.

Following are the prerequisites that are required before we start the migration procedure

  • Required SAP Solution Manager 7.1 SP12
  • All monitored systems are on basis release 7.0 or higher
  • Add-ons ST-PI 2008_1_700 SP10 or higher  ST-A/PI 01R_700 or higher are installed on the managed systems
  • Migration takes place per Solution


Migration Steps: These simple steps will guide you for migration the existing Solution to new MAI infrastructure

  • Copy the solution: go to Solution Manager Administration workcenter. Select the productive solution in which the classical Business Process Monitoring is currently configured and click on copy. This will copy the entire business process structure into the new solution.
  • Migrate new solution using report R_AGS_BPM_MIGRATE_TO_MAI
  • Activate monitoring in the new, MAI-based solution: Once the monitoring objects are activated, you will start getting the alerts in the new Business Process Monitoring workcenter.
  • Deactivate monitoring in the original, classic solution. This is an important step as we don’t want alerts in both classical and new MAI. This will unnecessarily overload the managed system.
  • Deactivate and delete the original solution: This is useful to avoid confusion as now the monitoring team has to go to the new Business process monitoring workcenter in order to see the alerts.

10. Conclusion

This document helps you to understand the basics of Business process Monitoring with MAI infrastructure.

About the Author:

     She is part of TCS RunSAP CoE team having expertise in SAP Solution Manager functionality from ALM & RSlaF like Solution Documentation, SoDocA, Test Management, BPCA, BPMon,              BPAnalytic, JSM etc.

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2 Comments

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  1. Mani C

    Hi Kavita,

    Holistic and timely one. You have explained the concept and gave steps to configure.

    Really excellent.

    Regards,

    Mani

    (0) 

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