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1. How Microsoft & SAP Support Azure Customers and Other Interesting Videos

The Microsoft Azure Youtube channel features some new videos showing the engineering and customer support partnership between SAP and Microsoft.

https://www.youtube.com/user/windowsazure/videos    

Microsoft and SAP: How we support our customers 

Microsoft and SAP: How our engineering teams work together 

Microsoft and SAP: Why run SAP on Azure

Introduction to SAP on Azure 

MSIT Lessons learned when migrating SAP to the cloud

Carlsberg Group successfully migrates SAP to Microsoft Azure

Video from Accenture about SAP on Azure

Another interesting Youtube channel

https://www.youtube.com/user/MSCloudOS/videos

2. NetApp Service for Azure

The Azure NetApp Filer service is now Generally Available in many Azure Regions.

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/azure-netapp-files-is-now-generally-available/

The NetApp service provides NFS and SMB file shares. These can be used instead of creating a Pacemaker NFS cluster, thereby simplifying the setup and configuration.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/azure-netapp-files/azure-netapp-files-introduction

Linux customers can drastically reduce the number of VMs required and simplify the setup and configuration of the SAP ASCS by deploying the ASCS on NetApp. This solution is documented and available here.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machines/workloads/sap/high-availability-guide-suse-n...

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machines/workloads/sap/high-availability-guide-rhel-n...

Customers that have deployed the Linux ASCS with the /sapmnt running on a separate NFS Pacemaker cluster can consider migrating the /sapmnt, DIR_TRANS and Interface file systems off the NFS Pacemaker cluster and onto NetApp NFS export.

3. Commvault

Commvault is a leading Enterprise Backup Solution available on Azure Marketplace. Commvault supports Windows & Linux VMs and DBMS agents for Hana, Oracle and SQL Server

https://azuremarketplace.microsoft.com/en-us/marketplace/apps/commvault.commvault

https://www.commvault.com/partners/microsoft/azure

The Commvault Backup Matrix covers SAP anyDB (SQL, Oracle etc) and SAP HANA. The available agents are documented here https://documentation.commvault.com/commvault/v11/article?p=99557.htm

https://www.commvault.com/blogs/2018/september/need-a-boost-of-confidence-in-migrating-your-sap-hana...

A whitepaper on Backup/Restore for SAP Hana on Azure with Commvault is available here: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/resources/protecting-sap-hana-in-azure/

The Whitepaper includes testing the various backup options such as:

Without data-reduction

With data reduction – compression

With data reduction – de-duplication

With data reduction – compression + de-duplication

Documentation for SAP on Oracle on Azure Backup with Commvault is available here including the ability to backup Oracle DataGuard standby node http://documentation.commvault.com/commvault/v11_sp15/article?p=92258.htm

4. M-series v2 Released – Largest VMs in the World Certified for Hana

At SAP Sapphire Microsoft announced many new collaborations.

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/introducing-new-product-innovations-for-sap-hana-expanded-ai-...

SAP has certified Azure Virtual Machines called M-series v2 (Mv2) with 208 CPUs and 3TB and 6TB of RAM.

https://www.sap.com/dmc/exp/2014-09-02-hana-hardware/enEN/iaas.html#categories=Microsoft%20Azure

12TB VMs with 416 CPUs will be released soon.

These are the largest Virtual Machines available and can fully leverage all Azure services such as Premium Storage and in the future UltraSSD storage https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/ultra-ssd-new-azure-managed-disks-offering-for-your-most-l...

 

Below is an excerpt from the announcement on the official Azure Blog:

Here are five reasons SAP customers increasingly choose Azure for their digital transformation, and some customers who are benefitting:

  • Business agility: With Azure’s on-demand SAP certified infrastructure, customers can speed up dev/test processes, shorten SAP release cycles and scale instantaneously on demand to meet peak business usage. Daimler AG sped up procurement processes to deliver months faster than would have been possible in its on-premises environment. It powers 400,000 suppliers worldwide by moving to SAP S/4HANA on Azure’s M-series virtual machines.
  • Efficient insights: Dairy Farmers of America migrated its fragmented IT application landscape spread across 18 data centers, including mission critical SAP systems over to Azure. It leverages Azure Data Services and PowerBI to enable remote users easily access SAP data in a simplified and secure manner.
  • Real-time operations with IoT: Coats, a world leader in industrial threads, migrated away from SAP on Oracle to SAP HANA on Azure several years ago, enabling Coats to optimize operations with newer IoT-driven processes. With IoT monitoring, Coats now predicts inventory, manufacturing and sales trends more accurately than ever before.
  • Transforming with AI: Carlsberg, a world leader in beer brewing, migrated 80% of its enterprise applications to Microsoft Azure, including mission critical SAP apps. By leveraging Azure AI and sensors from research universities in Denmark, Carlsberg’s Beer Fingerprinting Project enabled them to map a flavor fingerprint for each sample and reduce the time it takes to research taste combinations and processes by up to a third, helping the company get more distinct beers to market faster.
  • Mission-critical infrastructure: CONA Services, the services arm for Coca-Cola bottlers, chose Azure to run its 24 TB mission critical SAP BW on HANA system on Azure’s purpose-built SAP HANA Infrastructure, powering 160,000 orders a day, which represents an annual $21B of net sales value.

Over the past few years, we have seen customers across all industries and geographies running their mission critical SAP workloads on Azure. Whether it’s customers in Retail such as Co-op and Coca-Cola, Accenture and Malaysia Airlines in services or Astellas Pharma and Zeullig Pharma in Pharmaceuticals, Rio Tinto and Devon Energy in Oil & Gas, SAP on Azure helps businesses around the world with their digital transformation.

5. Generation 2 Virtual Machines on Azure  

Generation 2 VMs introduces UEFI BIOS, support for >256 CPUs and SCSI disks. Gen2 Virtual Machines are required for M-series v2 (Mv2). When deploying Gen2 VMs a different VM image should be selected.

Customers deploying new Azure VMs for SAP workloads can consider using Gen2 Gallery Images for Mv1, Mv2, Dv3 and Ev3.

Note that some Azure features such as Azure Disk Encryption and Azure Site Recovery do not work with Gen2 VMs currently.

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/generation-2-virtual-machines-in-azure-public-preview/

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machines/windows/generation-2

6. VDSO Support for SAP Hana on Suse on Azure – Important Note    

A new precision timer is now available in Suse 12.4 and higher.  Errors in Hana trace files can be ignored

Customers that see __vdso_gettimeofday in the ST04 -> threads -> Call Stack may wish to consider upgrading to Suse 12.4 or higher with the latest Suse Kernel patch.

2791572 - Performance Degradation Because of Missing VDSO Support For HyperV in Azure

https://launchpad.support.sap.com/#/notes/2791572

2205917 - SAP HANA DB: Recommended OS settings for SLES 12 / SLES for SAP Applications 12

https://launchpad.support.sap.com/#/notes/2205917

This important SAP Note should be applied 2814271 - SAP HANA Backup fails on Azure with Checksum Error 

7. Windows SAP Application Servers & Linux Hana DB Server – TCP Timestamps  

Windows SAP application servers are frequently used for S/4HANA or other Hana DB SAP applications.

Customers running on Suse 12.3 or lower may need to enable timestamps with this command on the Windows Application servers: netsh int tcp set global timestamps=enabled

Suse 12.4 and higher has resolved this problem and no action is needed.

2789262 - Connection problems between Windows hosts and HANA database on Linux hosts

https://launchpad.support.sap.com/#/notes/2789262

2382421 - Optimizing the Network Configuration on HANA- and OS-Level

https://launchpad.support.sap.com/#/notes/2382421

8. New Azure Site Recovery Whitepaper Released    

Azure Site Recovery incorporated in many SAP solutions to provide low cost and testable Disaster Recovery.

A new Whitepaper for SAP has been released with updated information. Azure Site Recovery information for SAP customers is always available at https://aka.ms/asr_sap

Documentation for the SAP workload is also here:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/site-recovery/site-recovery-sap

The Azure Site Recovery Support Matrix site is here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/site-recovery/azure-to-azure-support-matrix

9. Hana tmpfs Configuration Script for Azure M-series    

SAP has introduced a new technology to greatly improve the start up times for SAP Hana. SAP Hana performance can be very poor immediately after restart while memory resident tables are being loaded into memory.

SAP Note 2700084 - FAQ: SAP HANA Persistent Memory has more details https://launchpad.support.sap.com/#/notes/2700084

Thanks to Elke Bregler from Microsoft Internal IT for this script.

Also review SAP Note 2470289 FAQ: SAP HANA Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA)

https://blogs.sap.com/2019/04/05/whats-new-in-sap-hana-2.0-sps-04-2/

10. How to Test High Availability Solutions on Azure – Hard Shutdown Simulation    

Customers have asked for methods for High Availability testing on Azure. Pressing “Shutdown” in the Azure Portal or doing an OS level shutdown is not a valid test as the HA solution will shutdown gracefully. On Linux OS the command “ifdown eth0” can be used. On Windows a similar netsh command exists, however this command is persisted over reboots, thereby permanently disabling the network card. Instead of disabling the network interface realistic HA testing can be done with NotMyFault.exe

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/notmyfault

Useful link for Hana HA Testing https://blogs.sap.com/2015/08/28/sap-hana-hands-on-tests-part-41-hana-replication-takeover/ and Note 1913302 - HANA: Suspend DB connections for short maintenance tasks https://launchpad.support.sap.com/#/notes/1913302

2308459 - Troubleshooting '10108' + '9300' errors in relation to SAP HANA https://launchpad.support.sap.com/#/notes/2308459

https://access.redhat.com/solutions/79523

11. Important Note & Profile Parameter for All SAP on Azure Customers - enque/encni/set_so_keepalive= true    

A new OSS Note has been released that should be reviewed by all customers with Highly Available ASCS. SAP Note 2743751 - Troubleshooting SAP ASCS/SCS Instance High Availability in Azure with Azure Internal Load Balancer https://launchpad.support.sap.com/#/notes/2743751

In the trace file for the Enqueue Workprocess an error similar to this will appear in the dev_enqio_x trace file in the /ASCS00/work directory:

[Thr 15368] Sun Jun 23 07:36:25 2019

[Thr 15368] ***LOG Q0I=> NiIRead: P=172.29.xx.yyy:57006; L=172.29.aa.bbb:3210: recv (10054: WSAECONNRESET: Connection reset by peer) [D:/depot/bas/749_REL/src/base/ni/nixxi.cpp 5420]

[Thr 15368] *** ERROR => NiIRead: SiRecv failed for hdl 1881/sock 1752

   (SI_ECONN_BROKEN/10054; I4; ST; P=172.29.xx.yyy:57006; L=172.29.aa.bbb:3210) [nixxi.cpp   5420]

Customers are reminded that it is a required step to set the profile parameter enque/encni/set_so_keepalive = true for *both* ASCS instance profiles.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machines/workloads/sap/sap-high-availability-installa...

Review all parameters and Checklist items here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machines/workloads/sap/sap-deployment-checklist

12. Sybase 16.3 Patch Level 7 Fixes RMA Hang Bug    

Sybase customers are recommended to use Sybase 16.3 Patch 7 to resolve a bug in the RMA that prevents automatic failover. Customers running on earlier releases can upgrade following Note 2331424 https://wiki.scn.sap.com/wiki/display/SYBASE/Targeted+ASE+16.0+Release+Schedule+and+CR+list+Informat...

13. New Virtual Desktop Solution from Microsoft – Useful Solution for SAP B1 Customers    

Remote Desktop, SAP BusinessOne (B1) customers or Disaster Recovery customers should evaluate a new Remote Desktop solution based on Windows10 multi-user service. This new Azure service is still being tested with SAPGUI, SAP web based components and the SAP Business One thick client.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-desktop/overview  

14. Two New Hands On Labs - Free SAP on Azure Training: SAP on Hana 2.0 on Suse 12.4 & SAP on SQL 2017 on Windows 2019      

Learn how to deploy Azure VMs, setup and configure Suse Pacemaker for Hana and ASCS on Linux.  SAP NetWeaver on SQL 2017 and Windows 2019 is also provided

https://github.com/microsoft/MCW-SAP-HANA-on-Azure/tree/master/Hands-on%20lab

https://github.com/Microsoft/MCW-SAP-NetWeaver-on-Azure 

15. Improve Management & Monitoring with SQL Server SQL Server IaaS Agent Extension     

SQL Server now has a SQL Server IaaS Agent Extension that allows for improvement Management, Administration and Monitoring of SQL Server running a VM.  

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machines/windows/sql/virtual-machines-windows-sql-ser... 

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/SQL-Server/Benefit-from-Resource-Provider-registration-when-s...  

16. New Red Hat Fence Agent Delivers Greatly Improved Failover Detection & Failover Times      

Background: The new version of the Azure fence agent is using newly introduced  Azure API,  that allows to forcefully skip the grace shutdown period,  when executing a “power off” command for the VM , i.e. “pull-the-plug” (https://azure.microsoft.com/updates/vm-skipshutdown-now-available/ ).  When a cluster node needs to be fenced, the Azure fencing agent is no longer experiencing delays in fencing the VM, therefore the Pacemaker cluster failover is not delayed.

Minimum versions of the Azure fence agent: Red Hat made the Azure Fence Agent changes for RHEL 7.4, 7.5 and 7.6 .

For existing installations, customers need to patch the Azure fence agent, in order to benefit from the improved failover times on Red Hat Pacemaker clusters.

Azure fence agent must be patched to :

  • RHEL 7.6: fence-agents-4.2.1-11.el7_6.8 or later
  • RHEL 7.5: fence-agents-4.0.11-86.el7_5.8 or later
  • RHEL 7.4: fence-agents-4.0.11-66.el7_4.12 or later

The update was just published: https://docs.microsoft.com/azure/virtual-machines/workloads/sap/high-availability-guide-rhel-pacemak... .

Here is the link to the Red Hat documentation, acknowledging  the improvement: https://access.redhat.com/solutions/3408711  

Thanks to Ralitza Deltcheva for contributing this topic

Additional Links, News, Hot Topics & Notes

A very useful article on SAP on Azure Security has been released on LinkedIn by Chin Lai The.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/sap-security-operations-azure-chin-lai-the/

Operating System Security Hardening Guide for SAP HANA for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12

 

A useful utility for displaying the config and resources in a subscription

https://resources.azure.com

 

SAP ABAP SQL Monitor Tool is very useful for performance analysis https://www.sap.com/documents/2013/10/92b57ae6-527c-0010-82c7-eda71af511fa.html

 

2814271 - SAP HANA Backup fails on Azure with Checksum Error - If "CRC32" error is seen in Backups apply this Note 

 

SAP BW on SQL Server customers are highly recommended to apply 2681245 - Correction Collection for SAP BW on SQL Server

 

SAP BW Business Explorer is Depreciated since many years. BW customers should review 2609031 - Sunset of BW Business Explorer (BEx)

 

This note has been released after several customers found this problem running SAPInst 2798257 - SWPM stops shortly after execution

 

SAP on Azure Documentation

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machines/workloads/sap/get-started

SAP IaaS Hardware Certification

https://www.sap.com/dmc/exp/2014-09-02-hana-hardware/enEN/iaas.html

SAP OSS Note 1928533 - SAP Applications on Azure: Supported Products and Azure VM types

https://launchpad.support.sap.com/#/notes/1928533

SAP on Azure Pre-Flight Checklist

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machines/workloads/sap/sap-deployment-checklist