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ASE Cockpit


Introducing ASE Cockpit

ASE Cockpit is planned to be a new User Interface (or Tooling) component for ASE, and is planned to be released in 2015.

The User Interface (or Tooling) of ASE Cockpit will manage ASE. It is targeted as an essential companion tool for a Database Administrator (DBA) of ASE. In comparative terms, ASE Cockpit release in 2015 will be to ASE as:

  1. HANA Cockpit released in Q4 2014 is to HANA
  2. IQ Cockpit released in Q2 2014 is to IQ
  3. ESP Cockpit released in Q2 2014 is to ESP

The “Cockpit” approach is being adopted and launched by several SAP Database products as a concerted approach to simplified and unified tooling. There are several underlying characteristics of these Cockpits, some of which we will address below. (All possible angles of this vast topic have not been covered in this blog. But a few more blogs are planned in future, that may eventually do justice to this topic.)

No, ASE Cockpit is different from DBA Cockpit. They share the same suffix “Cockpit”, but their scope (or roles) are different.


DBA Cockpit (and Solution Manager) are distributed with SAP Business Suite (or SAP NetWeaver stack) products, and not distributed with ASE standalone database.


Furthermore, DBA Cockpit is meant to be used by a System Administrator (SA) to manage the underlying databases in the context of the SAP Business Applications that are using that database, and not necessarily the detailed database management that is typically required of a DBA. ASE Cockpit, on the other hand, is intended and targeted for the tasks and roles of the DBAs of SAP ASE.

To summarize, both ASE Cockpit and DBA Cockpit have their role to play, have some functionality overlaps, and are planned to continue. They each will still focus, position and align on their unique scope for their intended role or persona.

One ASE Cockpit for One ASE Server (1:1)

The term “Cockpit” signifies a “console” that can directly operate the device or server that it was installed with. This implies, there is a 1:1 association of an ASE Cockpit with its ASE Server. This is just like the 1:1 association of an Airplane “Cockpit” with its aircraft. So, the ASE Cockpit to ASE Server relationship across several instances of ASE Servers will be as follows:

  1. ASE Cockpit #1 will manage ASE Server instance #1
  2. ASE Cockpit #2 will manage ASE Server instance #2
  3. ASE Cockpit #3 will manage ASE Server instance #3
  4. so on …

This is similar to how Cockpits for HANA and IQ operate with their deployed Servers as well. See the diagram below that shows ASE Cockpits 1:1 association alongside other SAP Databases that also have their Cockpits.

Figure: Illustration of Cockpits of ASE, HANA and IQ

Capture.JPG

The release vehicle for a Cockpit component will be their Server product. And the same is true of ASE Cockpit that will be released with ASE releases.


ASE Cockpit up-and-ready with minimal setup

Cockpits across SAP Database products are providing an experience of readiness; i.e., Cockpit gets installed by default with its Server product, and is up-and-running to manage the Server it was deployed with. The same is true of ASE Cockpit. As soon as the ASE Server is installed (or deployed), its ASE Cockpit is expected to be able to manage it with minimum additional steps.

Compare this expectation of simplicity in ASE Cockpit with that of SAP Control Center (SCC) 3 for ASE. SCC 3 requires a separate installation after ASE was installed, a separate start of the SCC 3 service, separate registration of ASE Servers, separate registration of Agents, assigning the ASE Servers to appropriate perspectives, etc. Many of these steps have either been eliminated or simplified in ASE Cockpit.

ASE Cockpit to have server-side logic and browser-based UI

For further clarity on platform and version compatibility of Cockpit instance; note that a Cockpit component is co-located with its deployed Server instance. This means a Cockpit supports the same machine, version and platform of Server with which it was installed or deployed. This is going to be true of ASE Cockpit as well; in that the ASE Cockpit is going to be co-located on the same machine+version+platform as its ASE Server instance. For comparison, SCC 3 for ASE was supported on fewer platforms than ASE, whereas the ASE Cockpit component is planned to support every platform its ASE release vehicle (or version) supports.


Cockpits’ user interface (UI) are taking a browser-based UI approach across SAP Databases; and working towards eventually replacing any Eclipse or other thick-client desktop-application UI. ASE Cockpit user interface will also, similarly, be browser-based UI. There are some good justifications to having a browser-based UI for ASE Cockpit:


  1. Firstly, the intent of making ASE Cockpit user interface to be browser-based was to allow remote access to its ASE Server, simultaneously from various users using a variety of user devices that support a browser. Even as the actual ASE Cockpit logic resides co-located on the ASE Server machine, browser-based UI access would enable the user to use his choice of device (with a browser) to manage the ASE. For instance, this would prove useful in scenarios where the ASE Server is located in a Data Center or Cloud, while the user manages it via a user device with a browser.

  2. Secondly, a single “software patch/upgrade” to the server-side instance of ASE Cockpit component would update the ASE Cockpit UI of all users and on all their variety of devices, at once and consistently. To appreciate this, realize that such an “one-shot upgrade” of UI on all your devices saves you the effort of otherwise requiring to upgrade the same desktop-application on all your devices one-by-one.


What happens to SCC 3 for ASE going forward?

SAP’s direction is to invest in Cockpit approach going forward for its Database products. For the ASE releases that provide ASE Cockpit, SCC 3 for ASE may not be packaged in that ASE release.


SCC 3 for ASE will still be supported for previous ASE releases that are in support. In a transition phase of introducing and launching ASE Cockpit, where ASE Cockpit adoption and migration from SCC 3 take place, SAP will monitor and review the needs of existing SCC 3 for ASE customers.

Thoughts?

Please call or write to us with your inputs and feedback on this plan/direction. A lot of these changes have come from the feedback we have received in the past, e.g., to simplify installation, setup and configuration for SCC 3 before you can get started to manage ASE with it.


We want to emphasize that the launch of the ASE Cockpit will just be the first step in our intended continuous process of innovations for ASE Tooling. And your inputs and requests would shape the requirements for our future tooling releases. Please contact us if you are interested in a Design Partner type engagement on ASE Tooling.

We understand and appreciate that each such transition or migration is not effortless, despite our best attempts and planning to make it simpler. Yet we believe we are heading down this path because we believe this will be the better, simpler, aligned, and unified plan across our SAP Database stack further down the path.


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15 Comments

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  1. Avinash Kothare

    All excited about the new ASE Console  aka ASE Cockpit

    Earlier Sybase had two versions of Sybase Central

    and with SCC added more to the confusion.

    A clean, simple and robust approach is always better.

    Is this going to be a “web browser” type of console  ? 

    Or will it need X windows approach ?

    Because many of the ASE instances are on OSs like AIX and Solaris.

    What is the first target ASE version on which this feature will be available for a test ride ?

    Avinash

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    1. Kaleem Aziz Post author

      Avinash, Thanks.

      Good points about Sybase Central versus SCC. I agree, Cockpit is definitely trying to be more suited (i.e., simpler) to the user persona than SCC.

      • To cover the pros-and-cons analysis we did (e.g., to arrive at Cockpits direction for ASE, HANA and IQ), I shall put some condensed “Sybase Central versus SCC vs ASE Cockpit” content up on this blog as a separate post.

      I have added the answer to whether Cockpit will be “web-browser based or X-windows/Eclipse based” in the above blog itself. See the second paragraph in the section “ASE Cockpit to have server-side logic and browser-based UI”.

      • To extend the explanation there, ASE Cockpit user interface is planned to be a closer cousin to SCC than to Sybase Central.
      • One another reason for this familiarity factor between SCC and ASE Cockpit is that we wanted to simplify the transition of SCC customers to ASE Cockpit. (Just like Sybase Central transition was to SCC; SCC’s transition is now being planned to be ASE Cockpit.)

      ASE Cockpit is planned to debut in the next ASE (SMP) release this year (2015). The Beta program for this next release is going on right now (May to August). Customers who are signed up for this Beta program get early access (or Beta) releases.

      • There is also a separate track for customers to request participation in the requirements of ASE Cockpit features for future ASE releases.
      • As ASE Cockpit is a component in the ASE product’s packaging, information on future ASE Cockpit features and release-timelines is expected to be included in ASE product roadmap itself.
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  2. Jeroen Rijnbergen

    Interesting development, though I’m more used to cmdline I definitely see some benefits for these tools

    Will it be possible to install ASE Cockpit as a separate component on older ASE versions, e.g. ASE 15.0 ?

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    1. Avinash Kothare

      I agree that  most of SAP/Sybase DBAs — myself included — are command line oriented for most of the work. But I do use Sybase central and other products like DBArtisan, Aqua Data studio where it suits me.  I would love to use a single tool if possible for administering ASE, RepServer and IQ !

      I think this seems a move in right direction.

      It remains to be seen if DBA & Developers find it REALLY useful and handy to replace current/legacy tools !

      Avinash

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      1. Kaleem Aziz Post author

        Jeroen, Avinash, very good points. Of course, SAP will be the performer, and you all will be the audience or judge!

        Jeroen, ASE Cockpit will likely not be a good command-line replacement for “power users” of ASE, esp., who are fluent in command-line use and insightful interpretation of the result. Some aspects of ASE Cockpit, for example, that provide preview (or insight or advisement) of possible compression, or alert you to critical situations that prompt you into action, to name a few, we are hoping may provide more productive power to such DBAs who are otherwise adept at using ASE.

        To answer your question: ASE Cockpit’s 1:1 relationship to its Server means it will work for the same ASE release version+platform+machine. So, the ASE Cockpit is neither certified nor expected to work with other ASE versions at this time. A reason for this is the change in implementation/architecture of ASE Cockpit that is not expected to be backward compatible to prior ASE versions.

        As additional versions of ASE are released in future, and their ASE Cockpits released alongwith it, we expect to see a trend where new innovations in ASE Cockpit are not compromised for backward compatibility/certification to prior ASE releases.

        Avinash, sometime in future, I will try to come up with some blog content of Cockpit support across ASE, RepServer and IQ; and include alongside Cockpit support in HANA.

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  3. Hector Lechon

    Some questions about the product:

    Will ASE Cokpit be able to manage Replication Servers?  currently SCC does not offer the same level of RS management than Sybase Central.

    Will ASE Cockpit be able to monitor/alert/collect historical data like SCC does?  We currently make heavy use of the alerting functionality of SCC and its replacement should offer the same functionality

    If each instance of ASE Cockpit will be installed with its own ASE, will there be a single point of monitoring/management for all ASE’s at our organizations?  If I want to make a change across a number of servers, will this be possible in ASE Cockpit?

    What back-end will ASE Cockpit tables have?  In SCC, it was ASA, which was difficult to connect to.

    I don’t mind a product that may be a bit involved to install and configure – I had my share of headaches with SCC – but once that work is done, we’d like it to be stable, reliable and with all the functionality (and hopefully more!) of the previous SC and SCC.

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    1. Kaleem Aziz Post author

      Hector, all great questions. Some of these are so great that they are leading us already into the content of the next blog.

      The answer to the first question is a bit “Yes and no”.

      • “Yes” in that there is going to be some support in ASE Cockpit for Replication via what is going to be called “the Always-on Option” (viz., HADR). This Always-on Option of upcoming ASE internally uses SAP Replication Server components. Some more on this will follow in the next blog.
      • “No” in that these ASE Cockpit capabilities are not available for SAP Replication Server purchased separately; but are limited only to the Always-on use case of ASE.

      More complete or deeper support of SAP Replication Server is still in planning.

      The answer to the second question is “Yes”. I shall elaborate on what has changed and improved in the next blog.

      The answer to the third questions is that we are still working on some planning and related details.

      The answer to the fourth question/paragraph is ASA. ASE Cockpits will use ASA, just like their close cousin SCC 3 did.

      ASE Cockpit is a first attempt at all the good things you said (stable, reliable and end-to-end functionality). Even if we fall short of your expectations, we hope to pick up on it next time around.

      A quick “Thanks” that we do appreciate sticking with us through this journey. And, hopefully, continue voicing your needs per your use cases. This is great timing for such feedback.

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  4. Kaleem Aziz Post author

    We received the following question off-line, and its answer is below:

    Question: As there is one to one association between ASE and cockpit; does this mean if I had 10 ASE running on one physical server, I would need to install  10 cockpit on different ports?

    Answer: There is indeed 1:1 association between ASE and ASE Cockpit, but when there are multiple ASE servers running on a single machine, all the servers connect to a single port for an “overarching cockpit” entry point. The URL for this cockpit will show a drill down of the individual cockpits, which then displays the data for a single ASE server.

    Further optimizations may be possible at configuration time. Please contact us with your use case to find out if further optimizations are possible in your ASE Cockpit(s) configuration. (ASE Cockpit is available as a part of the ASE 16 SP02 Beta that runs through August 2015.)

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  5. Gaurav Sinha

    Hi Kaleem,

    Suppose we upgrade ASE 16.0 SP02 to the next patch level, say to EBF 25703 PL03 or so, anything we need to take care of from ASE Cockpit side as well?

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    1. Peter Dorfman

      Gaurav,

      Depending on which version of the ASE product you are starting from and which version you are installing, the upgrade may include updates to the ASE Cockpit component.  We recommend that you always shutdown all programs that may be affected by the software update before beginning installation so I would recommend shutting down the Cockpit server before installing the product update.  After the installation is complete, you should restart the Cockpit server.  Unless additional instructions are included in the installation manual for the release, you will not need to make any further changes to the ASE Cockpit configuration after completing the installation.

      – Peter

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  6. Sunil Ammineni

    Hi ,

    I started using ASE Cockpit with ASE Version 16 PL04, I wanted to configure my replication server (v15.7.1) with Cockpit but I don’t see an option. However with my ASE Cockpit I see some alert configurations with respect to replication server(like repagent status,queue size,latency etc..).  Can someone guide how I can configure replication monitoring?

     

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  7. Deepak Dhingra

    Hi Tech Gurus,

    As ASE cockpit is now rolled out and widely used in market, could any one please suggest if ASE cockpit can be configured for ASE version 15.0.3 or 15.7 ?

    Regards,

    D

     

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