End-to-End Root Cause Analysis in SAP Solution Manager offers capabilities for cross system and technology root cause analysis. Especially in heterogeneous landscapes it is important to isolate a problem causing component as fast as possible and involve the right experts for problem resolution. With the toolset provided by Root Cause Analysis this is possible with the same tool regardless of the technology an application is based on and it allows a first in depth analysis by a generalist avoiding the ping-pong game during an analysis between different expert groups.
Customer's heterogeneous IT landscapes running mission critical applications have become increasingly complex during the last years. Finding the root cause of an incident in those environments can be challenging. This creates the need for a systematic top-down approach to isolate a component causing the problem. The approach must be supported by tools, helping customers to do this as efficiently as possible. End-to-End Root Cause Analysis provides tools that support customers and SAP in performing a root cause analysis across different support levels and different technologies. The basic idea behind Root Cause Analysis is to determine where and why a problem occurred.
A typical example (see the below figure) is a problem where an end user experiences a problem while maintaining his bank account data in the corporate portal, the cause may be on the client PC (e.g. browser), in the network or somewhere in the server environment, which itself might comprise different instances of varying technologies. In this example the client request in question first hits a SAP NetWeaver Portal (based on SAP AS Java), then reaches a SAP ERP System (based on SAP AS ABAP) via a RFC call and finally results in a SQL statement which retrieves information from the ERP database.
Figure: A typical scenario for Root Cause Analysis
The performance problem or functional defect might have occurred in any of those systems. SAP's root cause analysis tools help to identify the specific system part, which has caused the error.
When such an issue occurs that affects the customers productive solution the central goal of the customer's IT team is to provide an immediate corrective action (workaround), which restores service operations as quickly as possible and which affects end users minimally, a complete solution to the issue at hand by isolating the area of concern.
Additionally, with respect to operation, SAP's root cause analysis tools are designed to reduce the number of resources in each step of the resolution process. An IT generalist with core competence in root cause analysis, who involves a Component Expert, are mostly enough to investigate an issue and nail it down.
Therefore, Root Cause Analysis offers tools for each task in cross-component (end-to-end analysis) and component-specific analysis. Per definition, a cross-component analysis involves several systems or technology stacks, whereas component-specific analysis deals with one system or technology stack.
Overall, Root Cause Analysis works towards simplifying the problem resolution process with-in an IT environment and reducing the total cost of ownership. Benefits SAP's tools for Root Cause Analysis are:
All tools and applications are available in the Root Cause Analysis Group of the SAP Solution Manager Launchpad (see the below figure).
Figure: SAP Solution Manager Launchpad
All the End-To-End tools available in SAP Solution Manager are built on the same infrastructure and follow a common navigation approach.
First, the infrastructure: Data is collected from the managed system using multiple channels. For ABAP based systems a direct communication channel from the SAP Solution Manager system towards the managed system exist with the RFC connections. For all other system types data is collected via CA Introscope. Introscope is an essential part and available free of charge in the so-called Right To View (RTV) license. This allows customers to use the SAP delivered instrumentation and dashboards without having to buy a separate license.
In addition, the Diagnostics Agent is used to collect additional data, like files from the file system, for all system types.
Second, the navigation: All the tools share a common principle. You start with an overview which shows you the most valuable information in a condensed format. Which data finally gets displayed is defined by a timeframe selection. More detailed information is always available with a drill down. Most of the data presented in the tools is stored in the BW system which is integrated in SAP Solution Manager. The whole data extraction, aggregation and deletion process is managed by the so-called Extractor Framework (EFWK) and no manual interaction is needed. The EFWK also has an integrated resource control to ensure that neither the SAP Solution Manager nor the managed system are overloaded with the data extraction. Also, the housekeeping is managed by the EFWK, so that the data growth keeps at a passable level.
With SAP Solution Manager 7.2 many enhancements were developed to support Hybrid Solutions. This includes:
End-to-End Root Cause Analysis is available up to the latest SP Stack of SAP Solution Manager 7.2.
In SAP Solution Manager Configuration general setup steps for Mandatory Configuration contains also the setup of the Root Cause Analysis tools and can be performed as guided procedure.
If you want to know more, please consider the following resources:
Relevant SAP Notes: