Which DBA Tool to use with ASE, and when?

ASE 16 SP02 was launched in September 2015, with a new User Interface (or Tooling) component called ASE Cockpit. (ASE Cockpit uses the same versioning as its ASE, therefore, this debut release is called ASE Cockpit 16 SP02.) Prior to its release, we provided some information on what ASE Cockpit is and what it offers for ASE 16 SP02.

In the information provided in the previous series of blogs, we also compared ASE Cockpit with SCC, Sybase Central, and DBA Cockpit. However, the information provided was a brief reference to such comparisons, as we continued on to make our original point towards the purpose of that blog. In this blog, we take a deeper look at when to use which of these tools, and expand it to comparison with additional tools like Solution Manager and SAP DB Control Center (DCC). This information will provide you a guidance on which tool is most appropriate for your use case.

ASE Cockpit versus other SAP Tooling

ASE Cockpit is a tool for custom ASE use, and not necessarily for use with SAP’s Business Suite Applications (or other NetWeaver stack products). This is how we differentiate the role and use of ASE Cockpit vis-a-vis DBA Cockpit. ASE Cockpit and DBA Cockpit use different underlying technologies, and therefore, any configurations, preferences and scripts used with one are not readily available or integrated with the other. Also, the operators (or personas) who use these tools have different motivations – viz., ASE Cockpit is meant for DBAs and DBA Cockpit is meant for System Administrators (SAs) who use the ASE database in context of the Business App.

We dedicate a separate section to comparing ASE Cockpit with SCC below; but it is prudent to make the following point before we compare them on their respective abilities: ASE Cockpit is the replacement of SCC. And SCC was the replacement for Sybase Central. So, newer versions of ASE are likely to continue support for ASE Cockpit only. Prior versions of ASE that are in-market will continue to need to use SCC, as ASE Cockpit does not provide backward support to prior ASE versions. Sybase Central was supported at one time with prior ASE versions, but has been End of Life (EOL) a few years ago, with a migration path to SCC.

A summary of capabilities per various tools is shown in the table below:

Capability ASE Cockpit SCC for ASE Sybase Central for ASE DBA Cockpit DCC Solution Manager
Custom ASE
ASE hosting Business Apps

Co-installs with ASE

(and auto-registers the ASE)

Manage one ASE

Aggregates monitoring of many ASEs

(and/or other SAP DBs)

Browser-based UI
ASE 16 SP02 compatible
ASE 16 SP01 and prior support

EOL

(i.e., no support)

The above captures the comparison of these tools across several dimensions, so you are able to quickly cross-check which Tools are applicable to your use case.

Although the above already captures the broad-strokes of comparison between ASE Cockpit and SCC, let’s dwell into the more detailed items of packaging, architecture and other such aspects in the next section of this blog.

ASE Cockpit replacing SCC for ASE

With ASE Cockpit positioned to replacing the SCC tool for ASE, let’s look into the equivalence of the two tools, and any gaps between them. As noted in the responses to the previous blogs in this series, ASE Cockpit is architecturally a close cousin of SCC, and uses several [modified] components of SCC internally. The reason we re-used SCC components in ASE Cockpit was to continue the equivalent feature support and familiarity as you migrate from SCC to ASE Cockpit.

A summary of the comparison of capabilities and gaps between the debuting ASE Cockpit and its predecessor ASE Cockpit are as follows:

Capability ASE Cockpit SCC for ASE
Licensing None None
Pricing $0 $0
Packaging

Server side:

  • ASE Cockpit MAP
  • Cockit Framework (FW) 4
  • SQLA repository

Client-side:

  • Browser (Flash)

Server:

  • ASE MAP
  • SCC FW 3
  • SQLA repository

Client-side:

  • Browser (Flash)
Functionality

Manage one ASE only

  • For custom ASE use, and not for BusinessApp use

Aggregates management of many ASEs

  • And other SAP Databases
  • For custom use, and not for BusinessApp use
Size/footprint 500 MB disk; 2 GB memory 500 MB disk; 2 GB memory
Features/gaps

SCC for ASE capabilities, plus or minus the following:

+ New feature support for ASE 16 SP02

+ Installs along with ASE (and on same host)

+ Automatic registration of ASE

+ Simplified Alerting

+ New UI5-like UX

– Aggregated management of ASEs

In-market capabilities, as documented or available in the product
Platforms

All SCC for ASE platforms and these:

+ IBM AIX

+ HP Itanium

In-market platforms, namely:

  • Microsoft Windows
  • Linux
  • Oracle Sun Solaris SPARC
ASE versions supported

ASE 16 SP02 only, as of September 2015

(ASE Cockpit version to match support to same ASE version)

ASE 16 SP01 and prior
ASE Cluster Edition (CE) No support, as of September 2015 Supported
Landscape support No support, as of September 2015 Supported
Migration Not applicable ASE Cockpit + separate Landscape component/solution
Expected EOL Not applicable No plan, but if/when done, would EOL with migration path

In the above Table:

     + means Added

     – means Eliminated

The above summary provides you decision-making points for your various use cases, and helps avoiding surprises in your upgrade of ASE 16 SP02.

The last few rows in the above Table provide new information on ASE CE, Landscape support, Migration, and EOL; and in its summarized format may raise further questions about how to use ASE Cockpit and how to migrate from SCC. Therefore, let us spend a few words on that.

Current state of ASE Tooling

Understandably, for the next several months, we are going through the stages of increasing our supported capabilities with ASE Cockpit and its eco-system, and that too with the exclusion of such support in SCC. As we do so, we are going to have a temporary phase where some of the capabilities are in ASE Cockpit and some others still continued in SCC until a time they are supported in ASE Cockpit. Current snapshot of the support for ASE is as follows:

ASE Tooling Current Status
ASE Cockpit

ASE SMP: New ASE Cockpit debuts with ASE 16 SP02 (Q315)

ASE CE: Plan is TBD

SCC 3 ASE CE: SCC 3 will be used with ASE CE 16 SP01 (future release)
DCC 4 Landscape for ASE SMP: In future

Hopefully that clarifies the split of capabilities of ASE Cockpit and SCC. We are proud that the split of capabilities is quite clean for the debut release of ASE Cockpit, in that almost all of the SCC functionality was included in the first release of ASE Cockpit 16 SP02.

Wish list for further simplification

We have looked at the various tools per use case in this blog as well as the previous blogs in this series. If you haven’t already, you may have considered requesting that there be just one tool that does it all. I.e., one tool that:

  • supports all ASE versions,
  • supports all editions of ASE (viz., SMP, CE, etc.),
  • supports managing one ASE as well as an ASE Landscape in a Data Center (or Cloud),
  • supports both custom ASE as well as ASE hosting Business Suite (or other NetWeaver products), and
  • also supports other SAP databases or supporting products (like Replication Server).


In the previous blogs in this series and commentary originating from it, we alluded to have attempted such consolidation of ASE tooling, and simplification of the tooling options across our various SAP tooling assets; such that you’d have to pick one tool for every ASE use case. However, due to:

  • various historical reasons,
  • difference in persona who will use the tools, and
  • technology incompatibilities between the tooling solutions, this has not yet been possible.
    • For example, DBA Cockpit and Solution Manager are not distributed to ASE customers who do not have Business Suite or other NetWeaver product.
    • Also, distributing DBA Cockpit and Solution Manager to ASE customers is non-trivial, considering the size (or footprint) of a typical Solution Manager deployment far exceeds the installation space and time needed for ASE itself. DBAs in a custom ASE deployment seek a light-weight tool, and will not be able to accept such a large deployment as a Solution Manager for their daily management needs for a custom ASE.
    • Furthermore, the coding language and architectural choices made for DBA Cockpit and ASE Cockpit (developed during different stages of SAP timeline) are not necessarily compatible, or are not easily integrable (either using a some bridging communication or cross-invocation). As an example, DBA Cockpit may use ABAP artifacts in its code due to its proximity to Business Suite and other NetWeaver products, but ASE Cockpit does not utilize ABAP code in its implementation.
    • Last but not the least, the number and detail of database functions relevant to DBA Cockpit used by System Administrators of Business Suite (or NetWeaver stack) are different than the number and detail of the database functions a typical DBA needs for managing their custom ASE database.


Having said that, our R&D and innovation teams are still considering various options to consolidate the tooling in future. Until we get there, our current solution is to create clear boundaries in the stories between the tools, such that they apply to your use case depending upon the ASE version/edition you are using, the number of ASEs you want to monitor, and whether you are using it in a custom ASE environment or for Business Suite (or NetWeaver) Landscape. We understand and appreciate that, until such time, this separation of tooling creates a limitation if you want to use one tool across ASE versions/editions, number/scale of ASEs, and across custom and Business Apps.

Conclusion and next opportunities

There were three blogs in this series, namely:

  1. ASE Cockpit (in lieu of SCC 3 for ASE)
  2. What’s new in ASE Cockpit?
  3. Which DBA Tool to use with ASE, and when? (this blog you are reading)

The purpose of these blogs was to provide transparency, clarity and better decision-making material for you. At the same time, the purpose also was to provide you the information on new innovations coming to you from our R&D, state our intention towards continuous incremental improvement, open these up for dialogue, and get your requirements for next set of releases.

Please contact us in comments below, or contact the author via e-mail, or reach out to us at SAP TechEd 2015 in Las Vegas-Nevada and in Barcelona-Spain. Besides being able to take your questions Live at SAP TechEd, we present you the opportunity to try out the ASE Cockpit in a Hands-on Session. Please find this ASE Cockpit Hands-on Session by its Session ID DMM162, or look up Kaleem Aziz and Jeff Tallman as its Speakers. The session itself is called: Using SAP ASE Cockpit for Database Administration and Monitoring.

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Coming next … Hands-on Session “Using SAP ASE Cockpit for Database Administration and Monitoring” at SAP TechEd Las Vegas-Nevada and Barcelona-Spain

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