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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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