Root Cause Analysis Overview
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:
- Ensured continuous business availability – Root Cause Analysis helps to accelerate the problem resolution process.
- Reduced costs for support experts - The targeted top-down approach of RCA supports a one step dispatching of issues from an IT Generalist to a Component Expert.
- Reduced license costs - Supporting RCA Tools offered by SAP are part of the standard maintenance contract and come at no additional fee.
- One safe access channel to all systems – Root Cause Analysis provides one safe and central access channel to the customer's landscape. If required, an investigation is continued on the system in concern using a predefined support user, who is only assigned read-only rights.
- Collected data is displayed in unified views, thereby abstracting data from the underlying technology stack. This approach supports the structured top down analysis approach, as generalists and experts start investigating at one common point.
- Empowers the customer to solve problems himself - Nobody knows the customer's landscape as well as the customer himself. E2E Root Cause Analysis provides expert tools which enable a customer to quickly solve problems, thereby reducing overall resolution time.
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