SAP on IBM i: Enhanced Backup Overview in the DBA Cockpit
Over the past years, a number of enhancements has been shipped for the SAP transaction DBACockpit to enable remote database monitoring and exploit new monitoring capabilities with SAP on IBM Db2 for i. In 2018, the Backup Overview was enhanced to support remote databases, use information from the IBM i history log to identify backups or backup attempts and to allow retrieving backup information from a replicated database server. These changes do not only affect the information in transactions DBACockpit or DB12, but also the information that is used by SAP’s Early Watch Alert. You may be interested in this in particular, if your database is replicated through logical replication (3rd-party products) and the database backup is taken on the backup server. So far, the Early Watch Alert would not be able to know about this and report missing backups as an issue; with the new enhancements you can configure your system to report the backup status from the backup server for the Early Watch Alert.
To enable the new backup overview, execute the following steps on your IBM i database server:
- Install SAP Host Agent release 7.21, patch level 39 or higher.
- Install the support package levels or correction instructions that are attached to SAP Note 2613956.
- If the SAP Database Performance Collector for IBM i is not yet running on your system, activate it as described in SAP Note 1622665.
To verify that the SAP Database Performance Collector is running at the correct level, enter the IBM i command WRKACTJOB SBS(QUSRWRK) and look for a job named DB4SQLDATA. If such a job is active, use option 5 and then option 10 to display its job log. In the job log, you should see a message “Program R3SAP400/DB4STATS – version 6.2”. If you find an active job DB4SQLDATA and the version is 6.2 or higher, everything is fine. Otherwise perform the following steps:
- Enter the IBM i command ADDLIBLE LIB(R3SAP400).
- Enter the IBM i command DB4STATS OPCODE(*STOP).
- Edit the file /usr/sap/sapservices with the IBM i command EDTF or an editor of your choice and ensure that is has an entry:
- Enter the IBM i command CALL PGM(SAPINIT).
After this, you will have to wait until the first data collection has been completed. By default, the data collection that includes backup data starts every day at 8.00 pm. In your SAP system, you must set profile parameter as4/dbmon/central_collector=1 (or ON). You can change this profile parameter dynamically through SAP transaction RZ11.
Once this setup is completed, you can display the backup overview in transaction DBACockpit for both the local system and any configured remote system:
As in other screens of the modernized DBACockpit, you see some generic system information in the upper half of the screen, such as the server name and the time of the last IPL as well as release and PTF information. For the database journal, you now see the receiver size options, so that you can compare the current settings with the recommendations in SAP Note 1449715. At the bottom of the screen, you see the history of backups as collected by the SAP Database Performance Collector. The data is collected based on backup completion messages in the IBM i history log (QHST) and the attributes of the objects in the database schema of the SAP system. The backup status can show one of the following values:
Complete: All objects in the database schema were saved successfully at the specified timestamp.
Incomplete: Some objects were not saved from the database schema at this time. The number of objects saved was larger than the number of objects skipped.
Partial: Only some objects were saved from the database schema at this time. The number of objects saved was smaller than the number of objects skipped.
Unknown: The SAP Database Collector could not decide if this backup was complete or not.
For an incomplete backup, you can select the function key labeled Skipped Objects to see the objects that could not be saved. Reasons for skipped objects could be object locks, object damages or problems with the backup media during the backup operation. The backup logs at operating system level contain more information if objects could not be saved.
When backing up the database schema in IBM Db2 for i, the backup may lock the database for a short time to perform some checkpoint processing before actually saving the database schema. Customers who cannot afford this relatively short interruption in their operations may choose to setup logical database replication based on journaling and perform the regular backup on the replicated database only. In such an environment, the primary copy of the database does not contain information about recent backup operations, so you need to look at the replicated copy in order to get information about backup activity. In order to access the replicated database, you need to configure a remote database connection to the server that hosts the database replication. In transaction DBACockpit, select the menu path System Landscape -> System Configuration -> Add. Once the replication server is defined through a system entry, you can specify this entry as the source of information for the backup overview by following the menu path Jobs -> Collector Configuration and switching into Change mode:
The selected system entry is then used for the backup overview only, but it will also be used to report backup information to SAP’s Early Watch Report. As you can see, the Collector Configuration screen also allows you to configure how long you want to keep the information about backups. The default is set to 365 days, but you can change it easily to any other value if you want to save space or keep the backup information even longer.