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Author's profile photo Vivien Wang

[Part II] Curating Content with Red Hat Satellite

This is Part 2 of a blog series on Deploying SAP S/4HANA Systems Using The Red Hat Portfolio. Read Part I: Overview here. Special thanks to Josh Swanson for providing the content for this post in collaboration with Ted Jones.

The Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Solutions subscription is an SAP specific offering, tailored to the needs of SAP workloads such as SAP S/4HANA and SAP HANA. For this environment, we’ll be leveraging Update Services for SAP Solutions (E4S), which gives us four years of support on a minor version of RHEL. Since SAP HANA is only certified on minor releases of RHEL, we’ll have the freedom to upgrade when the business is ready while continuing to receive security updates. However, SAP certifies the application server components against major versions of RHEL, allowing us to consume a different content set for our application servers alongside the NetWeaver specific packages we’ll need.

To start setting up Satellite, we’ll first enable the Red Hat repositories we’ll need. Here’s a screenshot of the repositories I’ve enabled:

enabled-repos

Let’s breakdown the enabled repositories:

To provision RHEL8.4 systems, we start with the kickstart repos:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 for x86_64 – BaseOS Kickstart 8.4
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 for x86_64 – AppStream Kickstart 8.4

These repositories will allow Satellite to kickstart to bare metal installations or to supported compute resources.

Next, we enable the general repositories for RHEL8, along with a few additional repositories containing useful tools, such as Ansible Engine and Tracer:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 for x86_64 – BaseOS RPMs 8
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 for x86_64 – AppStream RPMs 8 
  • Red Hat Satellite Tools 6.9 for RHEL 8 x86_64 RPMs
  • Red Hat Ansible Engine 2 for RHEL 8 x86_64 RPMs

Now, let’s add in the Netweaver repository we’ll need for our S4 application servers:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 for x86_64 – SAP NetWeaver RPMs 8

Finally, we can enable the E4S repositories for our HANA systems:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 for x86_64 – BaseOS – Update Services for SAP Solutions RPMs 8.4
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 for x86_64 – AppStream – Update Services for SAP Solutions RPMs 8.4
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 for x86_64 – High Availability – Update Services for SAP Solutions RPMs 8.4
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 for x86_64 – SAP NetWeaver – Update Services for SAP Solutions RPMs 8.4
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 for x86_64 – SAP Solutions – Update Services for SAP Solutions RPMs 8.4 
  • Red Hat Satellite Tools 6.9 for RHEL 8 x86_64 – Update Services SAP Solutions RPMs 8.4

Notice that a few of these repositories appear similar to other repositories we’ve already enabled, however they’re labeled “Update Services for SAP Solutions”, meaning we’ll get four years of support for our minor release of RHEL8, in this case, RHEL8.4. In addition, we’ve enabled the high availability E4S repository so we can use pacemaker with HANA system replication.

After syncing our repositories, we can start to build out our content views. We’ll be leveraging both regular content views and composite content views to give ourselves flexibility when it comes to curating and promoting content through our environments. Let’s consider the following content views:

content-views

Here we have our repositories broken out into twelve different regular content views, with all of those combined into a single composite content view. What this allows us to do is update content independently of other content. For example, we could publish a new version of our regular content views that contain our RHEL8 content, in this case cv-server-rhel8, cv-appstream-rhel8, while leaving our E4S content at the same state. What this would result in is our application servers receiving new content, while our HANA servers remain at the same patch level. This is highly useful when sections of our environment are updated more frequently, while other areas are updated more slowly to increase time for testing. Another interesting point is composite content views can contain multiple different minor versions of RHEL, allowing us to control what release version and content is seen by a server through activation keys.

After promoting our composite content view through our lifecycle environments, we can now build activation keys for our SAP systems. We’ll build two sets: one for our application servers, and one for our HANA servers, which will appropriately direct our systems to the right content. For our application servers, we’ll use the following settings:

non-prod

A few settings to note here: our composite content view is selected as the content view for the activation key, and we’ve set the release version to 8, which means our application servers will automatically be on the latest minor version of RHEL8, and will automatically update to newer minor versions as we sync and promote content in the future. For repository sets, we’ll enable the following:

repo-sets

This will give us access to the RHEL8 base repositories, satellite tools for our version of satellite, and the NetWeaver RPMs we’ll need for our SAP installation.

Let’s contrast with our activation keys for our HANA systems:

active-keys

Similar to our activation keys for our application servers, we’ve selected our composite content view as our content view for the activation key, however we’ve pinned these systems to RHEL8.4. In addition, we’ll enable our E4S repositories and disable the normal RHEL8 repositories to ensure we’re only consuming RHEL8.4 E4S content:

e4s

Stay tuned for Part 3: Setting up Provisioning via Red Hat Satellite.

 

Vivien Wang is currently a Senior Technical Writer for the Red Hat SAP Tech Alliance team.

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