SAP on Azure General Update – February 2021

Published 03-01-2021 09:30 PM 2,303 Views

1. Hotnews : Updates to SAP on Azure Documentation

SAP introduced a new feature called HANA data volume partitioning with HANA 2.0 Support Pack Stack 3.

This feature places multiple Hana datafiles onto multiple disks, thereby avoiding the requirement to aggregate disks using LVM.  Some Linux Administrators prefer simpler disk structures. 

Example: Rather than aggregating 4 x P30 in LVM and placing one large datafile, multiple datafiles can be placed onto 4 separate disks. 

Microsoft has updated the SAP Hana on Azure documentation to reflect the usage of this new feature.  Customers should test scenarios such as Backup/Restore and DB integrity check.

SAP HANA Azure virtual machine storage configurations - Azure Virtual Machines | Microsoft Docs

SAP HANA Azure virtual machine ANF configuration - Azure Virtual Machines | Microsoft Docs

SAP HANA – Partitioning Data Volumes | SAP Blogs

 

Other recent documentation updates for Azure NetApp Files include:

Azure Virtual Machines Oracle DBMS deployment for SAP workload 

HA for SAP HANA scale-up with ANF on RHEL 

SAP HANA scale-out HSR with Pacemaker on Azure VMs on RHEL 

SAP HANA scale-out with standby node on Azure VMs with ANF on SLES 

SAP HANA scale-out with standby node on Azure VMs with ANF on RHEL  

NFS v4.1 volumes on Azure NetApp Files for SAP HANA

 

Azure Storage Configuration page is frequently updated.  It is recommended to review recent changes in:

SAP HANA Azure virtual machine storage configurations.  Recently the disk performance table has been updated to include Azure Premium Disk Burst functionality

More information on Disk Performance Tiers can be found here: Performance tiers for Azure managed disks - Azure Virtual Machines | Microsoft Docs

 

Recent price reductions and performance improvements are announced here More IOPS at no additional cost for Azure Files premium tier | Azure updates | Microsoft Azure

 

The main SAP on Azure site https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/solutions/sap/

SAP on Azure Resources https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/solutions/sap/resources/

SAP on Azure Updates on the main Azure site https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/?query=sap

SAP on Azure Documentation “Getting Started”  https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machines/workloads/sap/get-started

 

2. New Azure Monitoring Agent

A new Azure Monitoring Agent is currently in preview and will become Generally Available in due course. 

Azure Monitor agent overview - Azure Monitor | Microsoft Docs

 

The new Azure Monitoring Agent (AMA) has advantages over the current monitoring framework

AMA fully supports Multi-homed Linux VMs and control over version upgrades

AMA is still in Public Preview, but when released AMA will become the default agent installed when a new VM is created.  The previous Log Analytics solution will still be available for manual installation.

AMA can also monitor non-Azure servers using ARC Azure Arc – Azure Management | Microsoft Azure

 

To join the AMA Preview https://aka.ms/AMAgent

 

Supported Operating Systems include popular Windows, Suse and Redhat releases used by SAP customers Overview of the Azure monitoring agents - Azure Monitor | Microsoft Docs

3. Tuning for SIOS LifeKeeper on Oracle Linux

A significant number of SAP on Azure customers run on Oracle database.  Microsoft is continuing to improve and optimize the Azure platform for SAP on Oracle customers.  In recent time we have published guidance for deploying Oracle 19.8 on Oracle Linux 8.2 with Automatic Storage Management (ASM).  In the future we will publish blogs on Oracle DataGuard and SnapShot Backup of ASM systems.

 

Oracle customers are often using SIOS LifeKeeper cluster software for the ASCS cluster.  Testing has shown the following configuration is optimal for DB, ASCS and SAP Application servers

 

  1. Increase SIOS cluster timeout to 45 sec (5 sec heartbeats x 9 failures)
  2. Set /proc/sys/net/ipv4/tcp_retries2 = 9 (originally set to 15) on cluster VMs
  3. Set ASCS/SCS for ENSA1 profile parameter to: enque/encni/set_so_keepalive = true restart SAP ASCS/SCS to enable settings
  4. Set net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_time = 300  (originally set to 7200) on ALL VMs

 

Thanks for Goran for contributing this item

SIOS Lifekeeper: Linux High Availabillity Cluster Software | SIOS

4. Recommended Blogs for SAP on Azure Customers & Consultants  

Many new useful blogs have been created by Microsoft for SAP customers

 

Part 1: Application Gateway WAF v2 setup for Internet facing SAP Fiori Apps

 The blog provides details to configure Application Gateway WAF v2 which acts a first line of defense for Internet facing SAP Fiori Apps in Azure.

 

NOTE: There is a difference in the end-to-end SSL setup process with respect to the version of application gateway used (v1 or v2). As this blog highlights configuration using application gateway SKU v2, you will find a difference in setup process if you configure application gateway v1.

 

Part 2: Single Sign On Configuration using SAML and Azure Active Directory for Public and Internal URLs

 We already have an official tutorial that describes Azure Active Directory Single Sign On (SSO) integration with SAP Fiori, but this blog extend the use on achieving SAML based SSO for two different URLs (Public and Internal).

 

Thanks to Bartosz Jarkowski for contributing this blog on SQL Server TDE with Azure Key Vault

https://blogs.sap.com/2021/01/19/your-sap-on-azure-part-25-sql-server-transparent-data-encryption-wi...

 

Thanks to Philipp Leitenbauer for releasing this useful tool – version 2.0 of the Hana on Azure Quality Check tool

SAP-on-Azure-Scripts-and-Utilities/QualityCheck at main · Azure/SAP-on-Azure-Scripts-and-Utilities ·...

 

Thanks to Vamshi Polasa for releasing this whitepaper on migrating Oracle workloads to Azure

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/running-sap-applications-on-the/migrating-sap-on-oracle-workl...

 

Thanks to Anjan for providing a procedure to replication Linux Pacemaker ASCS clusters with ASR

SAP ASCS HA Cluster (in Linux OS) failover to DR region using Azure Site Recovery - Microsoft Tech C...

 

Another major customer is moving from SAP ECC on Azure to S4 running on Hana Enterprise Cloud running on Azure.

Zespri selects SAP cloud solutions in multi-year deal - SAP Australia & New Zealand News Center

 

Thanks to Ralf Klahr for this video about CONA (Coca Cola North America)

https://tv.netapp.com/detail/video/6230415190001

 

Thanks to Goran Condric and others for these blogs on automating system shutdown & startup

Optimize your Azure Costs by Automating SAP System Start – Stop - Microsoft Tech Community

Hey, SAP Systems! My PowerApp says Snooze! But only if you’re ready yet | SAP Blogs

5. SQL Server 2019 CU8 Distributed Network Name   

A new feature has been added in SQL Server 2019 CU8 that eliminates the requirement to have a Internal Load Balancer for the SQL Server AlwaysOn Listener.  This new feature simplifies the setup, configuration and operations of SQL Server AlwaysOn.  Customers may also notice that failover times are faster with a DNN.

A Distributed Network Name (DNN) Listener can be retrofitted to an existing configuration that has a conventional ILB.  Documentation on the setup and configuration of a DNN can be found here https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/azure-sql/virtual-machines/windows/availability-group-distrib...

 

It is recommended to set MultiSubnetFailover=True and review https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/azure-sql/virtual-machines/windows/availability-group-dnn-int...

 

Note: this feature is exclusively available only as of SQL Server 2019 with CU8 or higher and Windows 2016 or higher. 

The default.pfl and Windows environment variables should be updated.  A sample ENV can be seen below.  The TCP port number specified in the powershell command must be added to both the ENV and default.pfl.  The format should be <listenername>,<port>.  A comma and not a “.” or “:” must be used

MSSQL_CONNOPTS=MultiSubnetFailover=yes

MSSQL_DBNAME=P01

MSSQL_SCHEMA=p01

MSSQL_SERVER=dnnp01lsnr,6789

 

The latest SQL Server Service Pack and CU is always supported by SAP and can be downloaded from here https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/sql-server/bg-p/SQLServer/label-name/SQLReleases

SQL Server 2019 CU8 Availability Groups Supports DNNs (microsoft.com)

6. Running Oracle on Azure NetApp Files

It is now supported to run Oracle 19.8 DBMS on Oracle Linux 8.2 connection over NFS to Azure NetApp Files.  NetApp features such as Snapshot backup can be used for near instant Backup & Restore

Note: VM skus with very high network quota may be needed

7. SUSE Linux 15 Service Pack 2 – Remove Mount Option NOBARRIER        

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 (SLES 15) or SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 for SAP Applications  (SLES for SAP 15) is now certified and supported for both NetWeaver and Hana.  The /etc/fstab option NOBARRIER has been depreciated for some time.  Suse 15.2 uses a Linux 5.0 kernel.  The option NOBARRIER will now cause an error and should be removed.  On most modern Linux distributions the NOBARRIER option will be ignored.

The correct IO Scheduler options are documented here SAP HANA Azure virtual machine storage configurations - Azure Virtual Machines | Microsoft Docs

 

Azure Site Recovery and Azure Hana Backup are both supported on Suse 15 Service Pack 2 (Linux Kernel 5.0)

List of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server kernel (version and release date) | Support | SUSE

8. Update on Support Matrix for SAP on Azure  

In recent months many new features have become available for SAP customers.  The list below is a very brief overview of recommended features and updated documentation

  1. Azure Disk Encryption is now supported for Gen2 Windows VMs.  Gen2 Linux VM support is in progress
  2. Redhat 8.2 is now certified for Netweaver and Hana.  
  3. Suse 15.2 is now certified for Netweaver and Hana
  4. Azure Site Recovery now works with Linux Pacemaker clusters and the procedure for protecting and recovering Pacemaker clusters after an ASR failover is documented here https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/blogs/blogworkflowpage/blog-id/SAPApplications/article-id/722
  5. Azure Site Recovery Portal support for PPG is now live https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/site-recovery/how-to-enable-replication-proximity-placement-g...
  6. Azure Backup for Hana now supports incremental backups  Azure Backup for SAP HANA databases now supports Incremental backups – Public preview | Azure update...
  7. Azure backup increased SAP HANA soft limit from 2 TB to 8 TB volume
  8. Customers with a requirement for Immutable Storage for legal or compliance reasons and/or to prevent modification of objects such as backups can use https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/storage/blobs/storage-blob-immutable-storage
  9. Customers are recommended to review “Azure Monitor for SAP” which is in preview - https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machines/workloads/sap/azure-monitor-providers

 

The Azure platform offers ADE and additional encryption solutions.  These will be discussed in an upcoming blog:

  1. Double Encryption https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machines/disks-enable-double-encryption-at-rest-porta...
  2. Encyption at Host https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machines/disks-enable-host-based-encryption-portal

9. New Azure Monitor Counters – Guest VM Throttling

Customers and Partners should setup Azure Monitor and leverage new performance counters to ensure SAP on Azure solutions are correctly sized for optimal cost savings and performance.

Over-sizing VMs leads to excessive costs.  Undersizing VMs can lead to performance and stability problems. 

Each Azure VM is assigned a specific quota of CPU, RAM, Disk & Network.  If these quotas are saturated for extended periods performance and stability problems may occur.  It is recommended to size VMs such that there are only momentary spikes to 100% for brief periods, typically no more than tens of seconds

Forunately the Azure platform comes with Azure Monitor – a very powerful and useful tool.  https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/azure-monitor/overview

 

Azure Monitor Quickstarts for Linux and Windows can be found here https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/azure-monitor/learn/quick-monitor-azure-vm

 

A list of all the Azure Monitor metrics can be found here

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/azure-monitor/platform/metrics-supported but the more useful counters for SAP IaaS VMs can be found here Azure Monitor supported metrics by resource type - Azure Monitor | Microsoft Docs

 

The counters that monitor disk quota consumption are labelled “Consumed Percentage”.  In addition to the below monitoring the network throughput may also be useful. 

 

Cameron_MSFT_SAP_PM_0-1614307678763.png

 

Cameron_MSFT_SAP_PM_1-1614307678768.png

 

Cameron_MSFT_SAP_PM_2-1614307678773.png

 

The quotas of typical VMs used for SAP systems can be found in this link below. 

Edv4 and Edsv4-series - Azure Virtual Machines | Microsoft Docs

Additional Links & Notes

The new Azure Portal Application is faster and has useful features – available for download

https://portal.azure.com/App/Download

 

Redhat support cycle and support dates Red Hat Enterprise Linux Life Cycle - Red Hat Customer Portal

 

Azure Files NFS 4.1 is now in Preview https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/azure-files-support-for-nfs-v41-is-now-in-preview/   Azure Files NFS removes the need for a highly available NFS VM infrastructure

 

Azure Certification and Training courses

Collections - MicrosoftAzuretrainingandcertifications | Microsoft Docs

 

SAP on Azure Free Online Training Course.  Exam AZ-120: Planning and Administering Microsoft Azure for SAP Workloads

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/certifications/exams/az-120

A free Certification Exam offer is here https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/certifications/microsoft-build-cloud-skills-challenge-2020-fr...

 

This Red Hat article How to in-place upgrade SAP environments from RHEL 7 to RHEL 8 - Red Hat Customer Portal  describes the supported combinations. For HANA, according to the article the in-place upgrade is only supported on non-cloud systems: “The in-place upgrade of RHEL 7 with SAP HANA can be performed from RHEL 7.7 to RHEL 8.2 only, on x86_64 only, and on non-cloud systems only. A SAP HANA system running on RHEL 7.6 or earlier must be updated to RHEL 7.7 “

 

Gen 2 support

 

RH 8.1, 8.2 and CentOS 8.1, 8.2 support

 

 

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‎Mar 02 2021 09:11 PM
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