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SAP in the cloud

SAP applications are just one small part of an expansive digital landscape that is constantly evolving and growing in complexity. With more dependencies, more data, more clouds, and more vendors, the risk for blind spots increases.
Robert Madl, Cisco
27 October 2022
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This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

Ensure the Digital Experience with Full-Stack Observability

The Digital Experience has become an integral part of our lives - this is true now more than ever. Not only does it make our lives easier, but in many ways it has become absolutely indispensable. End users today show little understanding for a poor digital experience and are quick to blame the brand of the application or digital service, regardless of who is ultimately responsible.

In general, companies can afford almost no mistakes: 57 percent of all users say they give brands only one chance - if a digital service does not work as desired, it is no longer used. However, your SAP applications are only a small part of an expansive digital landscape that is constantly evolving and growing in size and complexity. With more dependencies, more data, more clouds and more vendors, the risk for blind spots increases. Seventy-five percent of technology professionals worldwide say they now face more IT complexity than ever before and struggle with overwhelming amounts of data without being properly supported or resourced. Managing in isolated monitoring approaches for applications, infrastructure, security and networks is inefficient and ineffective and quickly exceeds the capabilities of staff. A good way to address this problem is full-stack observability.

What does Observability mean?

In modern technology environments, observability is a process of using software tools to detect problems. Both the inputs and outputs of the technology stack are observed. Inputs include application and infrastructure stacks, while outputs include business transactions, user experience and application performance.

Observability tools collect and analyze a wide range of data, including application health and performance data, business metrics such as conversion rates, user experience mapping, and infrastructure and network telemetry. This is designed to resolve issues before they impact business KPIs.

Observability is a concept originating in control theory that refers to the extent to which the internal state of a complex system can be understood by knowing only its outputs. The higher the degree of observability, the easier it is to move from diagnosing a problem to finding its cause and solving it, according to the theory.

Observability was originally used in engineering to detect problems in the automatic control of dynamic systems. In the context of modern IT business processes, observability refers to the ability to understand global system function in order to mitigate problems that impede system operation, both by making proactive changes to prevent problems from occurring and by remediating them quickly when they do occur.

Or SAP monitoring

How does full-stack observability differ from traditional SAP monitoring? Observability differs from traditional monitoring in that it allows users to track multiple processes in complex operating environments. Observability tools identify the factors behind problems occurring in a distributed system, facilitating their resolution. The most powerful of these solutions provide full-stack observability of the entire system so you can gain insight into potential problems across all your applications and infrastructure. Be it in the Abap stack of an SAP system or even in connected non-SAP systems.

Regardless of their scope, observability tools are typically connected to instruments, i.e., measurement tools used to collect telemetry data from distributed systems. These data can be correlated to provide time series visualizations that provide context to events within the system.

In addition, automatic alerts can be activated to notify system operators of outages or other system malfunctions. Machine learning tools can also be used to sift through the data to prioritize incidents that require a quick response. In this case, the notification status is escalated.

What are the reasons for using Full-Stack Observability for SAP? With distributed SAP applications and connected systems, the multitude of processes and systems involved can cause problems in unexpected ways. Therefore, monitoring selected metrics is usually not enough to detect problems before they occur.

In these systems, requests can trigger a chain reaction of messages to associated services. This makes it difficult to diagnose with monitoring tools exactly what has gone wrong when a system error occurs.

By tracking a wide range of events related to system function, observability tools can identify potential problems before they impact system performance. The context provided by observability tools enables responsible team members to see any changes in system performance over time and how those changes correlate with other changes. They often rely on easy-to-understand visual reports and dashboards to do this. These tools can also shed light on connections between system elements involved in the problem and highlight dependencies that should be explored to resolve an issue. 

SAP Cloud Migrations

Full-Stack Observability as a Tool for SAP Cloud Migrations? Dependency analysis is particularly helpful as a planning tool for cloud migrations, as it allows you to understand the dependencies of the various SAP systems on each other in advance. Especially with systems that have grown over many years with individual code, overlooked dependencies between systems cause problems during a cloud migration. The dashboard functionality can in turn be used to visualize the very processes that are supported by SAP. This is an ideal way to measure and visualize the actual business impact of changes in the system. For example, you can visualize an "order to cash" process, measure a performance baseline before and after a cloud migration - and can assess what impact the cloud migration, or even an S/4 migration, had on the performance of the business process.

Observability Tools

What are the limitations of some observability tools? As useful as observability tools can be: If they don't cover all applications within your technology stack, it can hinder proactive identification and resolution of issues. If these tools are unable to provide real-time data from all elements of your system so that immediate action can be taken when problem areas are identified, the resulting blind spots can cause unexpected system events.

This in turn can lead to problems that are not detected by your observability measures. And this creates the very problems in terms of customer expectations and operational efficiency that observability is supposed to avoid. To enable comprehensive system optimization, observability tools should be able to work with all frameworks and languages present in your environment, especially the Abap and Java stacks.

What are the benefits of Full-Stack Observability? Thanks to Full-Stack Observability, you know where a problem has occurred, why it occurred, and which actions to prioritize according to the impact on your business.

This key advantage enables you to optimize performance, cost and security in hybrid and multi-cloud environments for SAP and native cloud applications. The ability to gain insight into the internal health of an SAP application, along with accurate data on system errors, makes Full-Stack Observability a key enabler for better results.


Advantages of Full-Stack Observability

Warnings

Developers become aware of problems more quickly and receive more detailed data about the changes made in a system, so problems can be fixed more quickly.

System transparency

Obtaining accurate, real-time data on which applications are experiencing system performance degradation helps development teams narrow down exactly where problems have occurred or system performance has degraded.

Development speed

The rapid problem diagnosis and resolution enabled by Full-Stack Observability helps accelerate software development. This results in cost savings and frees up development teams to focus on optimizing product functionality. By providing an enhanced global view of the entire system architecture, including third-party applications and services, developers gain better insight into actual system performance. Product design can then be optimized on this basis.

Workflows

Visibility into the full history of a request from start to finish makes it easier for development teams to troubleshoot and resolve issues in distributed computing environments. This results in time-saving, improved workflows and eliminates the need to contact third-party vendors for application performance or server responsibility information.

Cooperation

Stakeholder collaboration also benefits from the overall view of a system enabled by the use of full-stack observability. Team members and partners can then better understand how the various elements and components interact and how the system performs operationally over time. This makes it easier for system operators, developers, analyst teams, SAP consultants and project managers to collaborate to solve problems, analyze system performance and improve system design. All interested parties and experts can view these tools' detailed records of system errors. This helps avoid disagreements about the causes of problems within a system.

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Robert Madl, Cisco

Robert Madl is Global Strategic Partner Executive at Cisco


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Working on the SAP basis is crucial for successful S/4 conversion. 

This gives the Competence Center strategic importance for existing SAP customers. Regardless of the S/4 Hana operating model, topics such as Automation, Monitoring, Security, Application Lifecycle Management and Data Management the basis for S/4 operations.

For the second time, E3 magazine is organizing a summit for the SAP community in Salzburg to provide comprehensive information on all aspects of S/4 Hana groundwork. All information about the event can be found here:

SAP Competence Center Summit 2024

Venue

Event Room, FourSide Hotel Salzburg,
At the exhibition center 2,
A-5020 Salzburg

Event date

June 5 and 6, 2024

Regular ticket:

€ 590 excl. VAT

Venue

Event Room, Hotel Hilton Heidelberg,
Kurfürstenanlage 1,
69115 Heidelberg

Event date

28 and 29 February 2024

Tickets

Regular ticket
EUR 590 excl. VAT
The organizer is the E3 magazine of the publishing house B4Bmedia.net AG. The presentations will be accompanied by an exhibition of selected SAP partners. The ticket price includes the attendance of all lectures of the Steampunk and BTP Summit 2024, the visit of the exhibition area, the participation in the evening event as well as the catering during the official program. The lecture program and the list of exhibitors and sponsors (SAP partners) will be published on this website in due time.