What is it?
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications 12 SP1 is based on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP1, a versatile server operating system for deploying highly available, enterprise-class IT services in mixed IT environments with best-of-breed performance and reduced risk. Besides providing an operating system for SAP HANA to run on, it delivers a vast amount of features which help SAP and their customers to become more efficient while reducing cost.
And what does this has to do with SAP?
A lot! It’s a central part of SAP’s “Run Simple” strategy to help organizations run business processes faster and easier. Because of SUSE’s very close strategic engineering relationship with SAP, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server was the first operating system to support SAP HANA, and 97% of implementations are on SUSE Enterprise Linux.
In Service Pack 1 we are updating SLES for SAP Applications in 3 of these key areas:
Starting with business continuity, we’re now making HA possible for SAP HANA in the Amazon public cloud. Since SLES for SAP 12 SP1 includes SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension 12 SP1, a redesigned HAWK user interface is now available to make it easier to set up HA for SAP. This release also includes system rollback updates in SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP1.
In the area of Security, the SAP HANA firewall is now fully-supported, and there’s now full integration of the system replication process with system HA.
New profiles and better automation are now included so that it’s even faster and less labor-intensive to deploy SAP HANA, NetWeaver or other SAP applications. Customers who want to deploy applications faster with Linux containers, won’t have to get a separate SLES 12 SP1 license. While Docker is not currently supported by SAP, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications fully supports Docker and SUSE for other applications in a virtualized environment.
Rollback on service pack upgrade: The Full System Rollback feature gives you better resiliency by allowing to take snapshots of the system (similar to a System Restore Point on Windows), including the Linux kernel, and roll back if needed. Now when you upgrade to a new service pack for your SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, the full system rollback capability minimizes the risk and allows you to rollback easily.
Simplified operations: Simplification is not only a key theme for SAP products, it is also for SLES for SAP Applications. System administrators can now automate routine tasks which were executed manually before.
With SLES for SAP Applications 12 SP1 we introduced new OS templates for Kiwi. Kiwi is integral part of SLES and allows the creation of operating system images based on templates in a matter of minutes. We now deliver SLES for SAP Applications templates for Kiwi. Such SLES for SAP Applications images are already fully adjusted and prepared for SAP environments (kernel parameters, limits) and are ready for deployment in virtual environments like KVM, Xen, VMware – private clouds like SUSE OpenStack Cloud – or even the public cloud.
Talking about automation, every SAP administrator knows those Linux kernel and limit settings for different SAP Applications; SAP HANA needs setting A while SAP NetWeaver needs setting B. The package sapconf has now been enhanced to i) provide SAP application specific profiles for those parameters, allowing the administrator to change those settings e.g. between SAP NetWeaver and SAP HANA; ii) furthermore, those settings can now be changed during runtime (whereas the old sapconf required a reboot). This enhancement does not come in handy for the Cost-Optimized HA setup only (see previous slide), where one application is stopped in favor of SAP HANA failing over to the standby node, but also when a corporate policy or 3rd party kernel drivers require certain other parameters to be set. The new modular architecture of sapconf allows customers adjust the SUSE provided profiles and create their own ones if needed. Also, SUSE supplied update to those profile based on suggestions from SAP. So no need to watch SAP notes for those changes, SUSE takes care of that now.
While virtualization and private clouds are becoming more and more attractive for SAP environments, we seen our own SUSE support organization been overloaded with requests of the following nature. Customers were installing a virtual machine with SLES for SAP Applications. In order to use this virtual machine as a golden image for cloning throughout their infrastructure, a cleanup (removing all identity information) was done manually. This cleanup sometimes deleted files required for updates or supportability of the system. SUSE therefore decided to provide such a cleanup script which leaves the system in a fully supported state afterwards. Furthermore, customers can decide which steps they would like to have executed or not. As long as no new commands are added, the system will be in a supported state.
Built-in business continuity & Innovation for SAP HANA: SUSE developed the SAP HANA Firewall to secure and fence off SAP HANA databases in a very easy way. It comes with a wizard which asks you a few questions doing the magic of creating appropriate iptables rules. Running SAP HANA in a high availability environment the iptables rules may become complicated to create and maintain otherwise.
Also, SUSE Linux Enterprise for SAP Applications 12 SP1 extends the HA failover automation capabilities for SAP HANA, including the possibility to run SAP HANA with high availability on the Amazon Web Services public cloud. In addition, we now ship our newly redesigned, more intuitive user interface (HAWK) for easier set up of high availability for mission-critical SAP applications. We currently support failover automation for the following SAP HANA scenarios with SLES for SAP Applications 12 SP1:
Last but not least, a new package has been introduced, ClusterTools2. What does it do? When setting up a new SAP HANA cluster the final step is an acceptance test – means: a dry run, pulling a cable (or similar) from the production system to find out if the cluster works. It would be a pity if it fails because of a mis-typed IP address or a forgotten parameter. And here ClusterTools2 kicks in. Among other things it allows to check a cluster configuration for semantic correctness. By doing so, the chances for a successful dry run will increase dramatically saving time and resources. Now it is actually fun to pull the plug.
In conclusion, these are the key topics in SLES for SAP Applications 12 SP1:
- Reducing downtime for SAP applications and HANA databases
- Helping businesses get to market faster with SAP application support
- The peace of mind we deliver with our outstanding support jointly with SAP
About the author: Hannes Kühnemund is part of the SUSE Product Management Unit responsible for SLES for SAP Applications among other products.