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What’s the difference between “observer mode” and “non-observer mode” when using the unattended installation option with Software Provisioning Manager 1.0?

Introduction:

As you might know, the installation of SAP systems can-not only be done with the user interface of the Software Provisioning Manager, but also in unattended mode.

This means that, after inserting the required parameters into a parameter-file and providing the file to SAPinst executable, the installation will run in the background and no further user interaction is required.

This is well described in the SAP Note “2230669 – System Provisioning Using a Parameter Input File”

Since the new Web-based SL Common GUI was introduced in 2017 there are 2 ways to run the unattended mode: “observer mode” and “non-observer mode“. 

What’s the difference?

Observer mode:

Start the installation as described in SAP Note 2230669 using the following parameters:

SAPINST_INPUT_PARAMETERS_URL=<path_to_your_parameterfile>
SAPINST_EXECUTE_PRODUCT_ID=<product-id for the installation>
SAPINST_SKIP_DIALOGS=true
SAPINST_SLP_MODE=true 

The Software Provisioning Manager will start the installation in the background AND start a Web Dispatcher and provide an URL to access the SL Common GUI. The user who has started the installation can now connect to the URL and observe the progress of the installation, for example to look at the logfiles in the Web browser. However, all parameters will be taken from the parameter input file and can not be changed in the Web browser.

If an error occurs and a WebGUI is connected to the running installation tool, the SAPinst and WebGUI processes will stop but not abort. The two processes will have to be ended manually.

If an error occurs and WebGUI is not connected to the running installation tool, SAPinst will abort the execution and the tool will stop with an error immediately.

Non-observer mode:

As described in SAP Note 2230669, you can start the unattended installation and provide the following parameters in addition to the parameters mentioned above:

SAPINST_START_GUI=false

SAPINST_START_GUISERVER=false

This will start the installation but this time NO Web Dispatcher will be started and no URL to access the SL Common GUI will be provided either. So the user can not follow the processing of the installation in a Web browser and the installation will run completely in the background.

If the installation runs into an error, SAPinst will abort and you have to check for the reason in the logfiles.

What are typical customer use cases for each option?

If you are running an installation in unattended mode but you are sitting in front of the screen, you might want to check the progress from time to time. In this case the “observer mode” makes sense.

The “non-observer mode” makes sense in case you run a “scripted” or by other means automated scenario, for example overnight. In that case it is crucial that the process is started without a Web Dispatcher and therefor without a WebGUI. Otherwise, the automation will be stuck if the Software Provisioning Manager encounters an error.

Of course, in both cases, the logfiles are written and you can check them after the installation has completed.

 

Best Regards

Stefan Jakobi

Product Management CLM
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5 Comments

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  1. Former Member

    Hello,

    is there any possibility to explain the start_dir.cd file?

    i’m trying  to make an unattended installation and want to use one parameter file with different kernel releases.

    Is this possible?

    Would be nice, if anybody could give me some help.

    (0) 
  2. Stefan Jakobi Post author

    Hello Matthias,

    There is another, better option to point to the media DVDs for unattended installation. Instead of inserting entries into start_dir.cd file, it is better to put additional entries in inifile.params with prefix SAPINST.CD.PACKAGE.xxx
    e.g. SAPINST.CD.PACKAGE.xxx=/your/location/for/the/package/xxx

    Another example:
    If you have three kernel DVDs, then add three additional parameters in your inifile.params file:
    SAPINST.CD.PACKAGE.UKERNEL1=/myloc/ukernel749
    SAPINST.CD.PACKAGE.KERNEL2=/myloc/kernel749
    SAPINST.CD.PACKAGE.KERNEL3=/myloc/kernel722

    This is valid not only for the kernel DVDs, but for all DVDs that will be used in the installation.
    For example:
    SAPINST.CD.PACKAGE.DATALOAD4=/myloc/dload1
    SAPINST.CD.PACKAGE.DATALOAD5=/myloc/dload2

    Hope this helps and best regards

    Stefan Jakobi
    
    Product Management CLM
    (1) 
  3. Former Member

    In regard to media locations note 2230669,

    SAPINST.CD.PACKAGE.<media_name>=<location>

    Is there a list of  specific <media_name>  names ? eg like or  .KERNEL1  UKERNEL1  .ORACLI or can it be any name we like eg

    SAPINST.CD.PACKAGE.BOB = /media/51050819_java/DATA_UNITS/JAVA_J2EE_OSINDEP

    SAPINST.CD.PACKAGE.JANE=/media/51050819_java/DATA_UNITS/JAVA_EXPORT

    The reason is I am getting the error below and have no idea how to identify the correct media  to the unattented installation.

    The step getCDs with step key |NW_Doublestack_OneHost|ind|ind|ind|ind|0|0|NW_Onehost_System|ind|ind|ind|ind|onehost|0|NW_GetSidNoProfiles|ind|ind|ind|ind|getSid|0|NW_getCDs|ind|ind|ind|ind|cds|0|getCDs was executed with status ERROR (Last error reported by the step: Caught ESAPinstException in module call: Validator of step '|NW_Doublestack_OneHost|ind|ind|ind|ind|0|0|NW_Onehost_System|ind|ind|ind|ind|onehost|0|NW_GetSidNoProfiles|ind|ind|ind|ind|getSid|0|NW_getCDs|ind|ind|ind|ind|cds|0|getCDs' reported an error:
    <html> <head> </head> <body> Specify a location for the requested package Java Component NW740 SR2 (folder JAVA_J2EE_OSINDEP).<br>SOLUTION: Specify the location which contains the correct LABEL.ASC file (look for <i>SAP:J2EE-CD:SR2740:J2EE-CD:j2ee-cd:*</i>). </body></html>
    Start SAPinst in interactive mode to solve this problem).

     

    (0) 
    1. Stefan Jakobi Post author

      Hello Aditya

      There is no list of specific names.
      Important is the prefix: SAPINST.CD.PACKAGE.xxxx

      If this is ensured, you can use any name as xxxx. Your examples are valid.

      From the error message, I am not sure what the problem is. Seems like the LABEL.ASC file in /media/51050819_java/DATA_UNITS/JAVA_J2EE_OSINDEP/LABEL.ASC does not match to the required CD: SAP:J2EE-CD:SR2740:J2EE-CD:j2ee-cd:*

      Maybe the content of /media/51050819_java/DATA_UNITS/JAVA_J2EE_OSINDEP/LABEL.ASC is wrong.

      To figure this out, please open a message at the SAP Support.

      Best Regards

      Stefan Jakobi
      Product Management CLM

       

      (0) 
      1. Former Member

        Thanks Stefan

         

        Will investigate further and raise a case though I can say it is certainly the correct folder/bucket as when I run in attended mode the media is found correctly.

        Suggest the note be updated to say that it can be any arbitrary name eg.

        SAPINST.CD.PACKAGE.MYMEDIA1=<location1>

        SAPINST.CD.PACKAGE.MYMEDIA2=<location2>

        Keep up the good work with unattended deployment I think it is super valuable tool to have in this age of automated public cloud deployments.

         

        As a recommendations

         

        1. A –validate_only option which would read and evaluate the INPUT Parameters file but not take action. Currently if I use skip dialogs= false the installer will walk through the deployment again which isn’t quite what I want (its not bad but not quite what I want)
        2. Option in the regular attended installer dialog custom options to directly save/download the input parameters (final review screen) without having to stop the installer and find them and save the ini file separately. This would also be be great as it allows a easy audit trail and predictability to repeat deployments to avoid late night typos or check box clicks.
        3. The ini file has the media images locations already listed as per installer rather than have to edit and add them in separately, ie only if I need to move a media location would I need to manually update the ini file with the media locations if something has changed.
        (0) 

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