Performance issues are users’ most common SAP complaint but the hardest to diagnose given the complexity of the system and numerous areas that could be the problem; however, there are many tools to help assist with this task.
The top 5 areas to address performance issues are:
- Add hardware by adding application servers. This will have some impact on the DB server but may improve response time. The same holds true for adding CPUs/memory to the server(s). However, you are dealing with a “black box”– you do not really exercise control over the system and the solution may not be sustainable.
- Tune the system with profile parameters or increase the buffer sizes to improve response times. You can do this even if you are not very familiar with the software. The drawback to this approach is that SAP is very scalable and can run on several different databases and Operating System and each has a different method to tuning and tools to use.
- A third option is to modify the business processes by re-scheduling load so that you can distribute load more evenly across servers and time. This effort will be more local than the other two options and may require the involvement of several different groups. This can be done with Operation Modes, Logon groups, or as simple as moving jobs to different times or different servers.
- Tuning the application by analyzing and improving customizations, configuration, functions and performance is much more sustainable but requires business knowledge as well software expertise. Also, the modifications should be tested carefully as there may be some business risk involved.
- The fifth option is to optimize the code itself which requires application and software knowledge. It is the most sustainable solution by far and strongly recommended by SAP. Programs running slow are the biggest complaint, so naturally we look at the longest running programs. My experience has shown that Z* (custom) programs are the worst offenders. This code needs to be optimized by a developer.
There are many tools available to aid with this process. EarlyWatch sessions are a free service by SAP that evaluates your entire setup and gives you recommendations. The ST* transactions show program buffers, response time, CPU and memory utilization. This will help with adjusting parameters or noticing if you have a hardware or software bottleneck. This can be done by your internal Basis team or more in-depth analysis can be provided by BayForce’s Technical team which also has Functional experts to assist with the more difficult tasks. To delve a layer deeper, you must use the database or operating system tools available to best tune the system. BayForce can cover this need as well.
Performance analysis is an ever evolving task. More tools are becoming available and the current ones are improving. Keep your eyes open during the monitoring of the system and you can take action on potential issues before they happen.
About the Author
Darin Fredenburg has over 10 years of SAP Basis experience and has participated in full lifecycle projects as well as provided production support to numerous clients throughout the US. Darin started out as an ABAP programmer and then transitioned into a Basis role giving him diverse technical experience allowing him to diagnose issues quickly and effectively. He has directed project teams in addition to being the sole Basis support for a corporation. Darin has a wide range of experience on DB2, SQL Server, and Oracle as well as many Operating Systems. He is currently BayForce’s Lead Basis Administrator providing support to our Managed Services clients.