Performing mySAP.com Component Installations : Implementation Methodologies for SAP Installations, Rounding Out Your SAP System Landscape

4/14/2013 7:33:10 PM

1. Implementation Methodologies for SAP Installations

I will begin by identifying various implementation methodologies and how each relates to SAP component or technology layer installations. I will then walk through installing common underlying or integration products, such as SAP’s Web Application Server and Internet Transaction Server, and then move into detailed mySAP.com installations.

SAP’s first real implementation methodology was ASAP, or Accelerated SAP, launched in 1997. The tools and methods introduced were primarily template-based, but were a big improvement over the “one-off” approaches leveraged for implementations until that time. In terms of actual product installation support, however, ASAP was pretty weak; its accelerators focused almost exclusively on functional configuration and other tasks associated with what SAP AG termed Realization. Only in one of the work packages associated with ASAP’s Blueprinting phase was installation briefly mentioned. During this time, customers turned to SAP technology partners and tools outside of ASAP (like SAP’s SAPNET resource) to fill in the holes in the “installation gap.” SAP technology partners in particular spent much of their time creating custom technology stack checklists and recipes, leveraging SAP’s R/3 product documentation as a basic starting point.

ValueSAP and the Global ASAP Roadmap

With the advent of SAP Basis release 4.6C in 2000, Global ASAP was introduced under the ValueSAP framework, which was divided into the three core phases of an SAP product’s life cycle. The middle phase, Implementation, was front-ended by Discovery and Evaluation and backed up by ongoing Operations and Continuous Improvement. It was here in the Implementation phase that more attention was given to SAP installation processes. ValueSAP’s tagline of “reducing time to benefit” fit well with the still-new mySAP.com initiative, too, as more and more global implementations sought to leverage best practices and installation approaches to speed up implementations.

With regard to implementation support, the Implementation Assistant and Roadmap, backed up by a Q&A database and the SAP IMG, served as the primary tools for enabling faster mySAP solution installations.


The IMG is a tool for configuring your system; for each business area, IMG walks you through all the steps in the implementation process. In doing so, it communicates the SAP “standard” or factory settings, and describes system configuration activities. The hierarchical structure of the IMG makes it valuable, as it reflects the structure of each mySAP application component.

Included in these tools were SAP’s published best practices and approaches to implementation, and something called the “SAP Reference Model,” which identified processes and roles that supported the delivery of mySAP solutions. Global ASAP was still largely template-based when it came to installation methodologies, though, updated and enabled to support global SAP implementations (compared to the original ASAP methodology and its smaller scope). Still, attention to the following issues helped to speed up the pre-installation tasks necessary before actual SAP product installations could commence:

  • Implementation strategy

  • Global system topology

  • Organizational change management

  • Global business process standardization

  • Development of Global Elements, such as documentation templates, standard IMG structures and settings, master data formats and documents, and so on

Proper attention to these issues allowed systems to be rolled in more of a “cookie cutter” fashion, based on global reusable templates. By doing so, consistent implementation standards and lower related costs were realized, and the overall quality of the implementation increased.

Additional new or improved tools were also introduced during this time frame, and also helped to save time in installation and post-installation processes. For example, the much-improved Transport Management System (TMS) replaced the less-capable Change and Transport system, and SAP’s Computer Aided Test Tool finally facilitated load testing as well as functional testing. Site preparation got more attention, too, especially with regard to providing training to the teams tasked with designing and installing the mySAP system. Building a standard site-specific training curriculum was promoted, and the idea of developing repeatable local implementation processes finally took hold at the SAP Basis level. Comprehensive installation and master implementation guides were developed. All of this attention to speeding up an implementation and therefore rapidly achieving ROI set the stage for the next wave of implementation support to take hold of SAP—the SAP Solution Manager.

SAP Solution Manager for Implementation

According to SAP AG, by the end of June 2003, ValueSAP/ASAP training will no longer be available. With the ability to order ValueSAP CD-based content already a thing of the past, and SAP Solution Manager (SSM) training related to implementation ramping up throughout the first half of 2003, the writing on the wall is clear—SSM will be the key service and support enabler going forward (along with SAP Service Marketplace). SAP Solution Manager is touted as both the implementation and operations platform for mySAP solutions. The former is the topic of discussion here. In terms of implementation, it is the technical implementation aspects that we are actually most interested in; functional and operations-enabling aspects are extremely valuable but do us little good when it comes to the actual installation of mySAP.com components. Key benefits of using SAP Solution Manager for Implementation include

  • SSM acts as a central point of access and support for key implementation activities, and finally (!) includes an “Enhanced Solution Management Roadmap” targeting the Technical Implementation Team (SAP TSO, and its various technical consultants).

  • SSM provides a process-driven approach to blueprinting, technical configuration, and testing. Combined with standard implementation scenarios, this streamlines everything from sizing through installation.

  • SSM includes built-in project monitoring and reporting capabilities, and a central repository for storing project documentation and issues.

  • SSM also identifies services and processes aligned to ensure both an uneventful Go-Live and excellent ongoing operations.

One way that SSM for Implementation delivers is through Ramp-Up Knowledge Transfer (RKT). With RKT, initial competence in delivering a mySAP solution is provided through Web-based and CD-based content. For instance, Solution Manager Learning Maps can be downloaded from http://service.sap.com/rkt-solman. And a formal SAP-sponsored training class, SMI310, is available as well, covering SSM’s implementation tools in detail. Another class, TSML10, even addresses Solution Manager infrastructure and installation. Other resources offered by the SAP Solution Manager for Implementation are directly accessible from SSM:

  • The Enhanced Solution Management Roadmap and other Roadmaps describe how to organize and run your mySAP implementation project.

  • A Business Process Repository outlines and describes your specific mySAP.com solution (this is part of the built-in monitoring and reporting capabilities).

  • Integrated Business Content is available, offering scenario-based access to generic technical descriptions and collaborative Business Maps.

  • Access and integrated use of customizing tools, along with best practices for implementing mySAP.com components, is available.

Both version 2.2 and 3.1 of SSM sit atop Web AS 6.20. Support for RKT and Implementation was introduced in SSM version 2.2 (the previous version 2.1 only supported Operations), but with release 3.1 of SSM, Implementation and Operations are finally wrapped up in one Web AS-enabled product. Given this, I look at SAP Solution Manager now as just another core product that must be maintained throughout a customer’s mySAP system landscape—a “development/testing” environment is recommended (for testing updates/enhancements and upgrades), along with a “production” system to be used by the SAP TSO to actually support implementation and operations processes. In terms of hardware needed to support this basic two-system landscape, though, requirements are minimal. SAP recommends a dual-processor server with 1GB of RAM and 50GB of disk space at minimum, and in my limited experience, this seems more than adequate.

2. Rounding Out Your SAP System Landscape

We concluded our SAP Data Center activities by installing the Technical Sandbox and Development systems. Actual database and mySAP component installation details were not covered, though . Instead, the assumption was that we would finish installing the rest of the SAP system landscape as dictated by milestones outlined in the SIPP, our master project plan, spread throughout the remainder of the project.

In my experience, a number of training systems or instances are often installed fairly quickly after Development is installed. These include the developer’s training system, and perhaps an SAP Knowledge Warehouse or similar instance. Next, a month or two later the Test/QA system is often installed, followed by another system or instance earmarked for end-user training. Finally, a Staging system and/or the final production system(s) are installed after another few months. If a staging system is put in place, it usually precedes production by a couple of months; stress testing often takes place on the staging system in this case (rather than production), the results of which tend to change the production configuration. That is, after the stress testing is concluded, the production system’s design is fine-tuned accordingly, and the system is finally ordered from the hardware partner.

Speeding Up Your OS Installation Process

Installing each successive SAP system within the system landscape takes time. Because of the repetitive nature of the installation process, a cookie-cutter approach to installation makes sense, as do tools and utilities that help speed up the process. Scripted OS installations using Microsoft’s Setup Manager Wizard (setupmgr.exe, found on the W2K Server CD under the Support folder) are popular for Windows-based servers, as are disk imaging products such as Symantec’s Norton Ghost and PowerQuest’s DriveImage. To connect your server to an Installation Server containing your OS installation folder or image files, though, you’ll need a bootable floppy or CD with the requisite network, memory, disk management, and other drivers. These are easily created, but can be time-consuming in and of themselves, which is contrary to the mission at hand. So to speed up this process, I recommend Bart’s Boot Disk Web site, accessible at http://www.nu2.nu.

Preparing for an SAP/Database Installation

After the hardware and operating system are installed, the real fun begins, for now we can finally begin preparing for an actual mySAP installation. Novices take note: an SAP installation includes (and is very much tied to) a database load. Thus, when I speak of installing a mySAP component, I am also including the database layer. SAP’s products are database-specific; you order or download the installation kit for R/3 Enterprise, for example, only after specifying a particular database platform. As R/3 Enterprise is available for IBM DB2, Informix, Oracle, SAPDB, SQL Server, and a few other database platforms, you must specify R/3 Enterprise for SQL Server, for instance, to receive the correct SAP and database-specific installation media.

Further, with very few exceptions, you must actually use the database CD or media that shipped with your SAP product. Doing otherwise (for example, using a vanilla off-the-shelf copy of SQL Server 2000) will not work—SAP updates the database CD that they provide to you, writing hooks into it to facilitate the installation process. By the same token, even your SAP installation CDs are also tweaked specifically for SQL Server. Thus, trying to install an Oracle database with SAP R/3 installation media tweaked for SQL Server will never work, either.

When you have the correct installation media, exactly how do you go about performing an SAP installation, though? The answer lies in SAP’s installation tool, SAPinst.

System Landscape Implementation Manager—SAPinst

The SAP System Landscape Implementation Manager, or SAPinst, is SAP’s installation tool of choice for new products and mySAP components. Do not be tempted to simply execute the tool, though, until you address all of the installation planning and preparation required for a successful outcome. You might be loading SAP in a Windows environment, but the process is a bit more complicated than double-clicking a Setup icon and walking through a couple of “Next” screens!

SAPinst appears similar to some of SAP’s older installation tools in that it’s GUI-based and has much of the same familiar look and feel. However, it offers quite a few advantages over previous installation utilities and approaches, such as R3Setup (used to install SAP Basis 4.0B through 4.6D systems) and R3INST (4.0A and prior releases through 3x). For example:

  • SAPinst does not abort due to errors; instead, the installation stops and you are given the opportunity to fix any issues. Afterwards, the system installation is simply restarted where it ended (the point of failure).

  • You can also step “backward” at any time during the installation to correct or change your entries, without having to restart the installation.

  • The installation is logged in a single log file (sapinst.log), rather than multiple log files as has been SAP AG’s custom. In this way, it’s easier to track and analyze installations after-the-fact.

  • Because the graphical user interface (GUI) portion of the installation tool is Java-based, SAPinst has a very consistent look and feel across multiple components and even operating systems.

Because the GUI is Java-based, a Java Runtime Environment (JRE) must be installed before the actual component installation can be started. This is accomplished by installing a Java Development Kit (Java 2 SDK, Standard Edition). A JDK is unfortunately not generally included with your installation CDs or media. I have successfully used the JDK that ships with SuSe Linux Enterprise Server 7 (Blackdown JDK 1.1.8) for Intel-based installs, and heard good things about 1.1.6 for Sun Solaris environments.

If you have a JDK upon which your SAPTSO or general IT organization has standardized, I suggest trying it—it will probably work just fine. To be sure, check with http://service.sap.com/platforms and drill down into Availability for SAP Components in Detail > SAP Web AS/Basis/Kernel > Planned OS/DB/JDK Releases. Note that the specific location of and access to this Web site have changed a number of times, and will probably continue to change with every release of Web AS; worst case, execute a search for JDK from the /platforms site.

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