Application Operations – SAP Cloud ALM or SAP Solution Manager?
Application Operations is another aspect while deciding which ALM solution to use for SAP S/4HANA Cloud: SAP Cloud ALM or SAP Solution Manager. In this blog post, I will elaborate on the main differences in using the solutions as operations platform. This is another part of my blog series regarding Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) for SAP S/4HANA Cloud.
Why do you need a central operation platform?
SAP S/4HANA Cloud is based on SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP). And BTP provides some operational functions and services. You might ask: “Why do we need a separate platform for operating SAP S/4HANA Cloud?” There are multiple reasons. Let me mention just two of them:
- If you have not only SAP S/4HANA Cloud but other applications and cloud services in your IT solution, you do not want to have separate operation platforms for each individual application or cloud service.
- The focus of BTP as operation platform is technical. But while operating SAP S/4HANA Cloud, you are interested in receiving alerts for application-related disruptions as well.
SAP provides three ALM solutions that can be used as central operations platform: SAP Cloud ALM, SAP Solution Manager, and SAP Focused Run. In this blog post, I will look at the first two of them.
The functional scope of SAP Solution Manager and SAP Cloud ALM for operations is similar, but not identical. A 12-page whitepaper Operations of cloud-centric and hybrid SAP solution landscapes explains the differing positioning. This level of detail would be too much for a blog post. So, let me mention just the key aspects relevant for the decision whether you take SAP Cloud ALM or SAP Solution Manager as operation platform.
Integration & Exception Monitoring manages complex solution landscapes with interconnected systems and cloud services. This is relevant for you if your public or private SAP S/4HANA Cloud is integrated with other applications or cloud services. Just check if the components relevant for you are supported. For this, look in the list of supported solutions in the expert portal for SAP Cloud ALM and for SAP Solution Manager. Just be aware: If you are using SAP Process Integration / SAP Process Orchestration, these are not supported by SAP Cloud ALM Integration & Exception Monitoring yet.
User & Performance Monitoring allows to monitor end-user requests across components and technologies. This type of monitoring is based on real user request execution (Real User Monitoring) or on synthetic probes (Synthetic User Monitoring). SAP Cloud ALM supports Real User Monitoring. Synthetic User Monitoring is planned. SAP Solution Manager provides only Synthetic User Monitoring.
Job & Automation Monitoring is another example of Application Monitoring. Jobs start at a specific point in time and run in a given period. You need to monitor that job execution does not fail from a technical or application perspective. Besides ABAP jobs (supported by both ALM solutions), you can check in the expert portals for SAP Cloud ALM and for SAP Solution Manager if the types of jobs you require are supported.
I will study the differences between SAP Cloud ALM and SAP Solution Manager in Business Process Monitoring in a separate blog post since this area might be relevant not only for technical users but for business users as well.
System Monitoring vs. Health Monitoring
There is one larger difference between SAP Cloud ALM and SAP Solution Manager: System Monitoring. This is due to the different focus of the ALM platforms. SAP Cloud ALM is targeting cloud-centric small, medium, and larger customers of SAP who are requesting a cloud-based platform for standardized operations. SAP Solution Manager is targeting on-premise centric customers.
Who cares is the key differentiator between cloud and on-premise. In the cloud, the cloud provider (SAP for SAP S/4HANA Cloud) is monitoring and administrating the systems, databases, and infrastructure. On premise, these activities are owned by the customers. Either they do them on their own or outsource them to a hosting partner or hyperscaler.
When we look at the focus of the ALM solution, it is understandable that System Monitoring in SAP Solution Manager supports various hosts, databases, technical instances, and technical systems (see list of supported products). System Monitoring for cloud solutions is not provided by SAP Solution Manager.
SAP Cloud ALM provides a light-weight system monitoring functionality: Health Monitoring. The reason for this: Most cloud-centric customers still have some on-premise solutions within their IT landscape. So, they need at least some system-monitoring support to control the entire landscape. With Health Monitoring in SAP Cloud ALM, you can check the health of your monitored cloud service and technical systems. Technical metrics are collected on a regular basis and can be used to calculate the overall health of the monitored object. Browse the list of Health Monitoring content to check if SAP Cloud ALM provides what you require.
There are differences between how SAP Cloud ALM and SAP Solution Manager handle events, alerts, and analytics. But they should be less relevant for your decision whether to use SAP Cloud ALM or SAP Solution Manager as your ALM platform. If you want to learn more about these differences, please check the operation expert portals for SAP Cloud ALM and SAP Solution Manager for details.
To briefly summarize this blog post: If you are discussing whether SAP Cloud ALM or SAP Solution Manager is better for you from the operations perspective, the answer to the following five questions will guide you:
- Which systems or cloud services do you want to operate with the ALM solution?
- Which monitoring functions do you really need?
- Which of the ALM solutions supports these functions?
- If you operate a hybrid solution with on-premise applications besides SAP S/4HANA Cloud: Is the health monitoring content in SAP Cloud ALM sufficient for you?
- Even if there are reasons to use SAP Solution Manager from the implementation point of view: Would it be OK for you to have separate ALM solutions, SAP Solution Manager for implementation and SAP Cloud ALM for operations?
If you have started building up your decision table on which ALM solution is your favorite, just take these questions as additional input.
Add a comment below to share your opinion regarding this block post or to ask a related question.
Stay tuned. This blog post is part of a blog series discussing which ALM Solution is best for your SAP S/4HANA Cloud. As mentioned above, the next post of this series will be on Business Process Monitoring. <Start of series> <Previous blog> <Next blog>