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Dotting the i’s and Crossing the t’s Before Starting Dynamic Tiering with the SAP HANA Academy.

In teaching you reach that point where you think you are repeating yourself too much and fear that you have lost your audience.  At this point the student making the least progress, has finally taken in what you have said, for the first time. There is no danger of that in this video on Dynamic Tiering by Rosalind Higgens of the SAP HANA Academy

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This video is about what you need to consider before starting SAP HANA Dynamic Tiering. It is thorough, engaging and yet succinct.  The video consists of a series of chalkboards that are extremely well timed and include just the right amount of text.  The introductory chalkboard shows straight away what is being covered.

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Hardware

First up is hardware.  Rosalind’s excellent use of graphics reinforce the important point that SAP HANA and Dynamic Tiering cannot be installed on the same machine. 

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Software

The graphic on software is also simple and to the point.  It is clear to even the casual viewer that both servers must have the same operating system. 

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Rosalind then refers viewers to the SAP HANA and Dynamic Tiering installation guides for details on the operating systems supported by each system.  At this point links could have been useful to the relevant documentation but these can change, so like teaching a person to fish, Rosalind has shown viewers what the documentation looks like so that they can find it for themselves.  This approach is good practice as it future proofs the video. 

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The next graphic reinforces the requirement to download separate installation packages which is extremely important.  In the heat of a busy production environment this is an easy thing to miss and one that if missed can waste a lot of time.  I remember going on one site for a huge American company near the Welsh border. It was a half hour walk from the car to the server I was patching.  The server was offline and the policy dictated that it had be patched and tested before going online.  I had downloaded all the necessary components bar one which necessitated a walk back to the car and a drive to an internet enabled computer that contractors were allowed to access under supervision.  By the time my USB stick was scanned (company policy) and I had downloaded the relevant driver I had lost two hours.  This point can’t be laboured enough!

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In a similar vein I also found the graphics that reminded the viewer to extract each package to a predefined folder structure in a shared location accessible by both the SAP HANA and Dynamic Tiering hosts timely and appropriate.

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Current System

Again excellent an practise Rosalind employs is referring back to her original objectives to demonstrate progress.

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Rosalind then reminds the viewer that their SP08 SAP HANA system must be upgraded to SPS 09 before installing SAP HANA Dynamic Tiering.  Again little points like this are often forgotten.  I remember back in the day, I was called out to an NT Server with the latest Service Pack (6a) that crashed after installing IIS.  Buried away in the guidance was the fact that only Service Pack 4 was supported.

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The section on the current system ends with a reminder:  If you have a multi host SAP HANA system with only one database you only need one installation of SAP HANA Dynamic Tiering.

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Installation Overview

Having warmed up the audience by making sure that all they have met the prerequisites for installation Rosalind starts to explain the Installation process. She does this with dialogue boxes while explaining succinctly what is happening at each step.

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She starts by pointing out that SAP HANA and Dynamic Tiering use a common installer.

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When you start the installer it detects the packages you downloaded.

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You can install SAP HANA and Dynamic Tiering at the same time as a new system or you can add Dynamic Tiering to an existing SAP HANA system.  Once SAP HANA and Dynamic Tiering are installed you add the Dynamic Tiering host to the SAP HANA system and create the extended store.

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Summary

Rosalind’s last chalkboards summarize what has been covered and suggesting next steps are how all instructional videos should end unless they are part of an interconnected, highly technical series aimed at a high level audience that must be released immediately.  They reinforce key messages in straight forward language and avoid jargon as much as possible.  As I have mentioned previously, this approach follows SAP’s current thinking on keeping things simple for the user.  As Tom Flanagan recently pointed out to me, this is most fervently expressed in current positioning of SAP FIORI.


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Conclusion

I really enjoyed this video and can see its methodology and utility being long lasting for getting ready and introductory videos.  It would be interesting to see this methodology being applied to higher level for more technical videos that require a “why” as well as “how” component. My gut feeling is that the “how” section of this type of video would be more didactic where the student follows instructions or used the video as a prompt for the tasks to be undertaken.  However, when explaining “why” during those moments of reflection Rosalind’s approach (if I may use that moniker) would really help reinforce learning and engage the vast majority of us visual learners.  This is important because a lack of student progress can be for a variety of reasons unconnected with the rigours of the topic being covered.  Primary amongst these is engagement.  People are engaged by the teacher-student relationship and how the teacher makes the learning relevant.  However, it is also very important to ensure that resources to support learning reinforce key concepts by revisiting them at the right moment and include opportunities for reflection. 

Back in the day it was also extremely important for a teacher to motivate a student to practise.  Learning by repetition is not fashionable these days but is very important.  It instils discipline and a can do attitude.  The Khan Academy changed that to an extent. Your teacher can be paused and made to repeat what they have said at a time of an individual’s choosing.  However, practise also involves testing yourself by having a goal or project.  Learning is a journey and it is important to come across problems that you solve on the way. However, to go on a journey you need to be prepared.  This exemplar video by Rosalind is engaging, relevant and reinforces key learning in a timely manner.  It is vital viewing before you roll your sleeves up to do Dynamic Tiering. Following this video ensures that you have set yourself up for success before starting your learning journey with Dynamic Tiering and the SAP HANA Academy.

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