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DevOps with SAP Cloud Platform: Monitor & Operate

In this blog post, I will provide further insights on the offerings for the Monitor & Operate phase of SAP’s DevOps portfolio. It is an article in a series of blog posts, where I want to give more details on the portfolio of DevOps cloud services around SAP Cloud Platform. For an overview of the overall offering and all categories, start with this blog post.

In the Monitor & Operate phase, you make sure that your app running on SAP Cloud Platform is provided with the right performance and availability.

Native Monitoring

To assure that, you first need insights into the status of your app (including all used service and potential data flows), for which SAP Cloud Platform offers native monitoring capabilities that allow access to health status information and metrics from the platform. For example, you can use the SAP Cloud Platform cockpit in the Neo environment to monitor Java and HTML5 applications or use the SAP Cloud Platform Application Logging service in the Cloud Foundry environment that allows to access and analyze log files stored in the ELK stack, such as via predefined dashboards pictured below:

If you need deep, full-stack monitoring of your cloud apps, consider third-party application performance monitoring solutions, such as from our partners Dynatrace and CA Technologies.

Alerting

Instead of manually tracking the monitoring information for your applications on an ongoing basis, we recommend to set up SAP Cloud Platform Alert Notification, which allows to subscribe to events coming from SAP Cloud Platform (such as from used services and SAP HANA) and can also handle custom alerts from your own applications, notifications from hyperscalers and from Dynatrace.

These notifications can then be sent via a channel of choice – such as via email or to the slack channel/Microsoft Teams space of your DevOps team responsible for a certain app or for persistency. The service is available for Neo and for Cloud Foundry environments and therefore allows to adopt an alerting approach, independent of actually used SAP Cloud Platform environments – which is also beneficial, in case you should consider to move from Neo to Cloud Foundry one day.

Integration into SAP Solution Manager

In addition, the Alert Notification service allows an out-of-the-box integration into SAP Solution Manager (described in this blog post). So, if you should use SAP Solution Manager for your app management, also alerts from SAP Cloud Platform can come up for example in the Exception Management dashboard of SAP Solution Manager – which is especially attractive for hybrid applications, where you can get end-to-end transparency of the relevant on-premise and cloud parts and react on them accordingly with a holistic view (by assigning exceptions to the right team or bring up incidents).

This brings us to the general option to provide hybrid supportability of apps spanning both on-premise and cloud. Here, SAP Solution Manager and Focused Run for SAP Solution Manager have several offerings, such as Integration Monitoring (allowing to ensure data flows in hybrid environments with SAP Cloud Platform Integration), User Monitoring, Trace Analysis, and the already mentioned Exception Management.

Automation

For reducing overall operations efforts, we are also working on an SAP Cloud Platform Automation Pilot service. This service shall allow to automate regular DevOps tasks in the lifecycle of your apps running on SAP Cloud Platform and to link them to key DevOps processes. For this, the service plans to provide a catalog of pre-defined commands that could be triggered out of the context of other DevOps services. One example would be that you configure an alert in SAP Cloud Platform Alert Notification and directly have in mind what would be the first task of the ops team to react on this kind of alert. With the Automation Pilot service, you shall be enabled to directly configure a command that gets automatically executed when this alert gets triggered – think of automated execution of root cause analysis or an automated restart of your app or your database.

As part of the service, we plan to provide commands along many relevant categories, such as for alert remediation, root cause analysis, database automation (such as restart, high-availability handling or automated update), or lifecycle management (such as before or after a certain transport handled by the Transport Management service). With this high integration with other DevOps services and tasks, we see a major benefit for your DevOps teams, as they would be enabled to reduce efforts out of their relevant operations context.

Since beginning of February 2020, you can try out a first beta version of the service – for more information, see SAP Help Portal and this blog post from my colleague Kiril.

Result

As a result of this phase, you have established efficient processes to ensure the availability and performance of your apps. A high level of alerting and automation should free up resources of your DevOps teams to focus more on innovation.

To optimize your DevOps tasks, procedures and efforts for handling the complete lifecycle of your apps on an ongoing basis, continue with the Automate & Optimize phase.

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