Please join J2 and partners Delphix and the UKISUG (SAP Database & Technology User Group) for a masterclass on how the Delphix DataOps Platform can revolutionise the way that data is delivered and masked into Enterprises.
This is an excellent opportunity to learn how your investment in SAP ASE or SAP IQ can be enhanced with virtualisation and masking from the Delphix DataOps Platform.
Delphix is the industry leader in DataOps and provides an intelligent data platform that accelerates digital transformation for leading companies around the world. The Delphix DataOps Platform supports a broad spectrum of systems—from mainframes to Sybase databases, SAP ERP applications, and Kubernetes containers. Delphix supports a comprehensive range of data operations to enable modern CI/CD workflows and automates data compliance for privacy regulations, including GDPR. In addition, Delphix helps companies sync data from private to public clouds, accelerating the journey to the cloud and the adoption of disruptive AI technologies. In a world where every company is becoming a data company, Delphix provides a critical platform to enable data-driven transformation.
The high level agenda is as follows: –
• Overview of the Delphix DataOps Platform
• ASE Virtualisation Demo
• ASE Masking Demo
• Sybase IQ Virtualisation
The session will be a mix of Demos and information sharing.
Information Security continues to be a key business challenge. Technology and data usage are changing rapidly, the regulatory landscape is evolving, and the costs associated with data breaches are now very, very real.
I’ve observed the focus shifting over the years as businesses move to implement controls around their corporate databases. Interestingly, databases have not historically always had the security focus one would expect. There are number of reasons I can think of to explain this but possibly, a key factor is the lack of attention paid by auditors to database security. This is something I’ve always found perplexing – these databases hold the data ‘crown jewels’ of a business!
But things are different now.
Businesses are paying more attention to their key data assets – and this is reflected in the challenges our customers are now asking us to address. On a simplistic level, this could be attributed to the transformation of data from transactional item to valued asset, but there are many external influences at play. In addition to the obvious regulatory drivers, we are noting a growth in customer influence; in the B2B landscape end users are asking their suppliers, our customers to meet specific and direct requirements about database security. The impetus for data security is no longer just Audit, Compliance or the risk of losing control of this data, it’s also about winning customers – and retaining them.
So yes, we are seeing a change in our customers’ attitudes to securing customer data. Over recent years we’ve worked on ‘least privilege’ access, separation of duties, auditing, data encryption and full database encryption solutions for customers. The SAP Sybase product set provides the tools to address all these requirements; the implementation of full database in ASE 16 is a great solution for encryption at rest. Later releases continue to enhance security.
One area of changing attitude is ‘Data masking’ or ‘Data Obfuscation’. Delivery of representative and full-size data sets for development and testing is important for a number of reasons. From a DevOps perspective, it allows for realistic development and testing scenarios, reducing risk and accelerating development and testing cycles. Clearly the use of highly sensitive customer data outside of production is fraught with risk and as we are all so aware with GDPR the legal requirement to mask data is now much more explicit. But, and there’s a big ‘But’, the data masking process can be expensive and painful; valuable resources can be subsumed in developing, implementing and maintaining a masking solution and then provisioning the masked data to multiple environments, which in the banking industry for example, can run into the 100s. Post implementation, the ongoing costs are considerable – multiple versions and environments all requiring reiterative refreshing … and the cost and effort involved with maintaining each additional non-production environment is significant. We know this from experience.
But there are now alternatives. We partner with Delphix, whose excellent technology allows for data to be masked just once, automatically and irreversibly, and then delivered repeatedly to every environment. As a result, data can be securely delivered on demand where it is needed, without manual intervention.
Data Masking is just one of things that Delphix does extremely well. With a mission to empower businesses to accelerate innovation through data, the Delphix Dynamic Data platform is making data accessible to every stakeholder across on-premises, cloud and hybrid environments – crucially at the pace required to enable rapid development of applications and solutions. Capabilities include virtualisation, data masking and the provision of self-service personal data environments for data operators and data users alike. It is hardly surprising that Delphix is already being used by many of the world’s leading companies.
Delphix works seamlessly with SAP ASE and is the obvious progression for SAP users.
If you’d like to find out more about how Delphix could make a difference get in touch.
J2 is delighted to announce its partnership with Delphix. Delphix’s mission is to empower businesses to accelerate innovation through data. In a world where every company is becoming a data company, the Delphix Dynamic Data Platform gives teams self-service access to secure, personal data environments to fuel application development, analytics, and AI while also minimizing data risk.
Jo Hughes, Head of Marketing at J2 commented: “With their data growing exponentially, the big challenge for our customers is how to access it whilst maintaining compliance and security. Delphix answers that challenge perfectly.”
The Dynamic Data Platform works seamlessly with database solutions including SAP Sybase to facilitate data agility across the whole organisation. Richard Bennington, Director of Channel Sales EMEA at Delphix: “J2 bring a wealth of experience in data management and we welcome them to Delphix. Together we look forward to growing the Delphix community.”
If you would like to find out how working with Delphix could benefit your organisation contact Jo Hughes on 0121 746 3066.
Addison Lee Group is a leading global transport provider, servicing the needs of more than 10 million customers each year in London alone. Global and 24/7 with an extreme OLTP requirement, Addison Lee runs its business on SAP.
At this year’s TechSelect we will be discussing how ASE, IQ and Replication Server lie at the heart of Addison Lee’s data management strategy, providing the technological excellence they require to meet their exacting service targets.
Why not come along and find out what J2 could do for your organisation?
Find out more
25-26 June 2018, Congress Centre, London, WC1B 3LS
As more and more companies move their SAP Sybase database operations to the cloud, the need for accurate database monitoring is becoming ever more acute. But did you know that one of the best systems on the market, Asemon is completely free? I’ve been using it for years and rate it highly. Here I explain why every SAP DBA needs to know about it.
What is Asemon?
Asemon is a performance monitoring tool for SAP Sybase ASE, SAP Replication Server (SRS) and SAP IQ. It is widely used and has the huge benefit of being a mature and stable product (first delivered in 2004 and actively maintained ever since). And, offered as a GNU General Public License version 2.0, Asemon is completely free to use.
Why is it needed?
As anyone familiar with the excellent Sybase data management suite will know, Sybase did not have a focus on delivering ‘easy to use’ monitoring solutions. Yes, Sybase products did deliver detailed monitoring but getting useful information out could be tricky, requiring DBAs to write their own bespoke, scripted solutions.
A number of third party commercial products developed to fill this gap, delivering a cohesive, graphical overview of server processing. And this is exactly what Asemon does – and does it very, very well.
How is it structured?
Asemon consists of three components:
A “Logging” process for each monitoring component; A “Reporting” process – HTML GUI for Asemon; A “Data Repository” (ASE or IQ) which stores the captured data.
Asemon is a centralised monitoring solution, with a central Reporting server and Repository for each site. The result is centralised monitoring of all your ASE, SRS and IQ servers in one place.
Is it hard to use?
Absolutely not. Simplicity and ease of use are the great benefits of Asemon. Setup is simple with configuration of each capture component completed by a simple configuration file.
The web based reporting GUI is well laid out and highly intuitive:
What we really like about it
As well as its ease of use and general simplicity, there are a number of features which make the DBA’s job so much easier:
- Comprehensive server metrics monitoring
- Centralised, web based reporting and monitoring
- The ability to configure different environments to meet your specific needs – e.g. you might capture pretty much all metrics from a test environment (including executed SQL and associated plans) whereas on a production system you are likely to focus on server metrics
- Excellent ‘Trends’ feature – this is a very simple feature that’s very well executed. Get an overview of key system metrics over months at a click of a button:
- Export to Excel – One easy click to export results to Excel
- Want to alter a report? One click in Asemon takes you directly to the SQL used to generate that screen – so if you want to modify that report or create another based on it simply take the SQL and change as you require (we’re DBAs – we write SQL!)
Are there any drawbacks?
Asemon captures data on the server itself, which has its limitations. Capturing a full range of server metrics and user activity can place a significant load on the monitored ASE server, especially on servers with a high volume of user activity.
Like most traditional monitoring systems, it is also constrained by being entirely IT centric. This is great if a problem began in IT but what if, as is often the case, database performance is being degraded by user decisions? We came across a complementary solution to this several years ago in the form of the excellent iWatch database performance monitoring solution. Unlike Asemon and other traditional monitoring systems, iWatch is non-intrusive – it resides outside of the database and works by capturing every SQL user interaction with the database. This holistic “capture all” approach gives the business an unparalleled picture of what is happening and why – from the viewpoint of the user – with of course no CPU impact. Trends in performance become incredibly easy to identify as well as areas where the most dramatic performance improvements could be made. Comprehensive reporting features ensure that following an incident, iWatch can be used to immediately identify what has changed and why e.g. has user behaviour changed since this morning, yesterday, last week…? These are significant advantages, particularly in complex, distributed environments where critical time can be wasted simply determining which area of expertise within the IT organization can best be brought to bear to resolve a particular issue.
As a result, we now pair Asemon with iWatch for really comprehensive database performance monitoring. The two products complement each other perfectly, addressing the different database performance monitoring problems that face modern businesses.
And both products can be used in conjunction with SAP ASE in the cloud – Asemon can reside locally and iWatch can be used as a BYOL, with plans afoot to make it available on AWS.
We’ve been using SAP ASE on AWS, want to know what we think? Then read on…
This is a really compelling offering from SAP and AWS, with the promise of superb flexibility and significant reductions in licensing, infrastructure and administration costs. But is it the right move for everyone?
How easy is it to use?
Our initial test shows great ease of use – the solution is well designed and we were up and running in minutes. It is currently available in London (EU) and USA (East and West).
We used the m4.4xlarge (‘Vendor Recommended’) server. This is an 8 core 64Gb server. The operating system is Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 7.4. The installation allowed for configuration of a user database as part of the installation process.
ASE configuration ‘out of the box’ is very good with the key parameters set to reasonable values with well designed caches (note we’ve not had time yet to review the other sizings so cannot comment at this time whether they are as optimally configured). Configuration changes will be required for many implementations however it seems SAP have provided, at the very least, an excellent starting point. And let’s not forget that most (if not, all) customers moving to this solution will also upgrade ASE in the process so we’d expect at least some configuration changes.
SAP DBA Cockpit is started automatically. SAP ASE has a rich set of performance metrics but we aren’t that keen on SAP’s GUI interface so we tend to use a third party solution. Asemon is our prefered solution for customers (note – it’s free and we will be reviewing Asemon online shortly). For detailed SQL monitoring we recommend iWatch which, sitting outside of the database, has the dual benefit of being able to capture the true origin of problem (whether it’s db centric, or not) whilst not eating up valuable CPU power.
So what are the advantages?
We are all aware of the generic benefits of moving to the cloud – flexibility, scalability, quicker implementations, lower TCO… and cost reduction is certainly a big benefit here. For the 8 core m4.4xlarge instance we used, licensing is $4 an hour (50 cents a core). Infrastructure costs for an M4.4xlarge is priced $1.058 an hour, giving a total hourly cost of $5.058 per hour. This appears to be extremely good value, even more so when you consider that you only pay for the system when it’s switched on. And of course, this fee also includes the costs of hardware and software ongoing maintenance.
However to my mind, the flexibility of this approach is the biggest benefit. This is a true “pay as you go” model with no caveats. You switch off the system and you stop paying immediately. Flexibility of usage is incredible – in a matter of minutes the system can be scaled up or down, allowing you to react quickly to your business requirements with no cost penalty.
So should you move?
The answer to this question is of course complex. Yes, on paper SAP ASE on AWS is a very workable financial no-brainer, at least for a one server setup. But cost is just one of the factors that you need consider here: what is your current landscape, what are your current needs, where do you want to be, what are your drivers, what is practical for your organisation? For some SAP ASE users, AWS will be ideal but the reality is that every customer’s needs are different – and requirements have a habit of changing through time…
What is certain is that this is a very welcome new model from SAP, offering its customers yet another level of business agility. SAP Licensing is already agile, offering a wealth of benefits e.g. all use outside of production is free, global usage, sub capacity licensing and of course there’s the very flexible ASE Platform Edition model which allows interchange between ASE, IQ and Rep Server, as requirements dictate. It is worth noting that ASE Platform Edition can also be delivered on AWS under a BYOL model.
All said, SAP ASE on AWS is well engineered and very well priced and definitely worthy of consideration. However, in my opinion, we need to think of as another feather in the bow of SAP’s already comprehensive suite of licensing options, rather than purely as a replacement. Some customers will move completely to the cloud but I see others, in the short term at least, exploiting the model’s flexibility to the full, using AWS to complement their existing SAP licenses as and when required.
Get in touch if you’d like to chat through your requirements.
SAP has launched extreme transactional processing capabilities on AWS marketplace with new hourly (on demand) pricing for SAP ASE. SAP ASE public cloud edition is the Enterprise Edition plus advanced options including: Security, Encryption, Compression, Partitioning and Workload Optimisation.
We are currently testing out the new service – watch this space for our reviews.
Contact us to talk through how we could help you move to the cloud.
Recent research commissioned by SAP among leading IT decision makers has confirmed what we all know to be true: firstly, the majority of organisations aren’t getting the most out of their data and secondly, data landscapes are so fragmented and complex that they limit business agility. Source: Data 2020: State of Big Data Study
No shocks here but, as more and more Sybase users are discovering, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Those organisations who choose to convert Sybase estates to SAP (or indeed migrate from any other provider) access a level of technological flexibility and business agility that previously they could have only dreamed of. The game changer? The option to convert all licenses to SAP’s revolutionary Adaptive Server Platform Edition.
What makes Adaptive Server Platform Edition ground-breaking is its deployment flexibility. Using Platform Edition businesses can interchange deployment between cores of SAP ASE, SAP IQ or SAP Replication Server whenever required, giving the flexibility to re-architect landscapes in response to market conditions, peak periods or new business demands – without the need to invest in new licenses each time. Yes, you read this correctly, Platform Edition is, in essence, three different SAP Sybase data management technologies in one. This level of agility is unprecedented within the data management market. Highly efficient, Platform Edition eliminates technological waste, ensuring that every license within an estate can be used to the full.
Lower Future Costs and TCO
However, flexibility and increased business agility are not the only features that set Platform Edition apart. The license model includes as standard 15 otherwise chargeable specialist options, significantly reducing future TCO. Standard options are:
- SAP ASE – Partition, Encryption, Compression, High Availability, Security and Directory Services, Tivoli Storage Manager.
- SAP IQ – Advanced Security, In-Database analytics, Unstructured Data Access, Very Large Database Management.
- SAP RS – Replication to HANA and Hadoop, Change Data Capture, Real-time loading, Advanced Services, Data Assurance.
Extended Usage Rights to support Business Agility
What is also impressive is that this technological agility is mirrored by licensing flexibility. The business landscape is ever-changing and as a result, SAP offers its customers generous Extended Rights. As standard, non-production use comes at no additional cost so that “Full-Use” licenses are deployed 100% for operational usage. Licenses may also be used globally on any machine or any current or future supported platform, and cloud deployment is straightforward. As virtualisation moves up the business agenda with urgency, the inclusion of sub capacity rights allowing virtualisation of entire Sybase estates is yet another extremely valuable benefit.
As those customers who have already converted will testify, the move unlocks the massive potential of SAP Sybase technologies to fully exploit Big Data – with the superior speed of IQ data warehousing delivering powerful on-demand analytics capabilities across the entire organisation.
The end result is a simplified data environment that is efficient, agile and cost-effective.
As a leading UK SAP Sybase consultancy and reseller, J2 are experienced in helping Sybase customer evaluate the benefits of converting their estates to SAP. Get in touch if you would like to discuss how your organisation could benefit from a conversion.
itelligence and J2 Consulting have been working with Japanese bank Mizuho to successfully re-platform its system running SAP® Adaptive Server® Enterprise (SAP ASE). The project has involved migrating from SAP ASE on Solaris to SAP ASE on Linux VMWare and upgrading to the latest version of SAP ASE.
Mizuho Bank uses SAP ASE to drive its risk management systems at its London branch. The migration helps ensure that Mizuho is able to continue to meet high performance and efficiency requirements across its network.
The upgrade to the latest version of SAP ASE has given Mizuho additional benefits, including the ability to upgrade to the new SAP ASE license model, SAP Adaptive Server, platform edition. The platform edition offers businesses broad flexibility; rather than be restricted to one distinct product, it allows interchange between SAP products including SAP ASE, SAP Replication Server or SAP IQ software in response to business requirements. Other advantages of upgrading include unrestricted platforms and virtualisation.
David Hurley, Director of Mizuho Information & Research Institute Inc. London Branch, commented: “This upgrade gives us the flexibility to be able to respond to our ever-changing business needs, ensuring that database performance continues to meet the high levels we demand. The itelligence support package is a valuable part of this agreement.”
The collaboration between itelligence and J2 aims to offer significant benefits for customers running SAP software. Whilst J2 provides specialist experience and understanding of SAP technologies, itelligence provides strong support as an SAP platinum partner in the UK. The relationship itelligence and J2 have built with Mizuho is an ongoing partnership that is expected to continue to grow.
Justin Brading, Managing Director at itelligence UK, commented: “We are pleased to have worked in sync with J2 to help drive forward Mizuho’s requirements of a high-performance database and help keep risk management at the top of the agenda. We look forward to working with Mizuho. “
Mizuho, the leading Japanese financial services group with a global presence and a broad customer base, is committed to:
- Providing customers worldwide with the highest-quality financial services with honesty and integrity;
- Anticipating new trends on the world stage;
- Expanding its knowledge in order to help customers shape their future;
- Growing together with customers in a stable and sustainable manner; and
- Bringing together group–wide expertise to contribute to the prosperity of economies and societies throughout the world.
These fundamental commitments support Mizuho’s primary role in bringing fruitfulness for each customer and the economies and the societies in which it operates. Mizuho creates lasting value. It is what makes us invaluable.
Please visit: https://www.mizuho-fg.com/index.html
About itelligence UK
itelligence UK is a wholly owned subsidiary of itelligence AG. itelligence is one of the leading international full-service providers of SAP solutions, employing about 6,000 highly qualified employees in 24 countries. itelligence is a global SAP Pinnacle Award–winning SAP platinum partner. A full-service provider of SAP solutions, itelligence offers customers a broad range of consulting and support services from cloud and on-premise implementations to support, maintenance, managed services and SAP-certified training. itelligence customers are leading the way in exploiting new SAP technologies that are powering digital transformation, from big data and analytics to cloud computing, SAP Fiori® user experience (UX) and SAP S/4HANA® as the digital core.
Please visit http://itelligencegroup.com/uk/
SAP, Adaptive Server, SAP S/4HANA, SAP Fiori and SAP products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP SE (or an SAP affiliate company) in Germany and other countries. See http://www.sap.com/corporate-en/legal/copyright/index.epx for additional trademark information and notices. All other product and service names mentioned are the trademarks of their respective companies.
– See more at: https://itelligencegroup.com/uk/localprsrlss/itelligence-works-mizuho-bank-drive-risk-management/#sthash.AnQ0q4nr.dpuf
Webinar – 26 April 2017
Download the webinar
SAP IQ delivers incredible speed and power for extreme-scale enterprise data warehousing and real-time Big Data analytics. Yet many Business Objects customers are not aware that this market-leading columnar database is an integral component of their Business Objects estate.
In this concise webinar, Chris Jones of data management specialists J2, will demonstrate how IQ can be used with Business Objects to deliver dramatic improvements in speed and efficiency. He will show how query response times can be up to 1000x faster than traditional row-based DBMS, even with heavy ad-hoc workloads. Highly scalable for both structured and unstructured data, SAP IQ is available on premise or in cloud and is easy to set up and administer.
The webinar will be of interest to both existing Business Objects customers and any organisation looking to improve its analytics provision.
Chris Jones has been working with SAP (previously Sybase) database technologies for 25 years. During this time, he has worked across numerous industries, gaining in-depth experience of design, systems integration, migration and support for products IQ, Adaptive Server Enterprise and Replication Server. With J2, he now works closely with SAP to help organisations realise the business benefits they seek from their technological investment.
Webinar hosted by itelligence UK
No longer purely “transactional”, modern businesses live or die by the availability of their data. A drop in database performance matters. Hugely. All the more so in complex, distributed environments where often the source of a problem can be frustratingly difficult to identify and even more difficult to prove.
Well, it used to be difficult. Query level monitoring changes all that.
Why is query level monitoring different?
SQL query level monitoring offers a business-focused perspective of database monitoring, with real-time problem identification and resolution. Whereas traditional database monitoring focuses on IT-centric metrics such as Disk I/O or CPU usage, query-level monitoring measures performance from the point of view of the application or end-user. This is achieved by capturing, analysing and monitoring every SQL ‘user’ interaction with your database. Yes, every one. Even if statements number tens of thousands per second, the best query-level monitors will capture them, storing and creating histories for comparative analysis. 24/7, in real time. With no database overhead.
For the business, this represents a sea change in business responsiveness. The holistic “capture all” approach gives the business an unparalleled picture of what is happening and why. Quickly. Trends in performance become incredibly easy to identify e.g. how does current performance compare to the same period last week, last month, last year? And because systems work in real time, alarms and alerts can be set to immediately identify a change in the performance, even when the request is still running.
Imagine a typical troubleshooting scenario…
Your DBAs have reported that your production system is experiencing a much higher load than normal. End users are reporting that your system is slow or unusable. What do you do? Query level monitoring gives you all the data you need to be able to quickly identify what has happened to change the performance profile: Are key SQL statements running more slowly? Are statements being run more frequently? Are new or modified statements being executed? How does this compare with previous periods? Guesswork becomes a thing of the past.
The beauty of this approach is the method of data capture. Whereas traditional monitoring works at an O/S or database level, Query level monitoring sits outside of the database, passively monitoring all network activity, in and out. As this process captures every interaction with the database, it also identifies (and proves) whether a problem is database-centric, or not. The effect of server-side delays, poorly constructed SQL, corrupt ad hoc queries and network anomalies are all plainly visible and fully documented. The confusion that can characterise a database outage is radically reduced. DBA team productivity on the other hand, is radically enhanced.
And the icing on the cake? It’s zero impact.
As it works without the use of polling processes or other intrusive operations, query level monitoring not only saves time but also capital outlay. Installed on a separate host, it has zero impact on database performance, eradicating 10-15% CPU utilisation associated for traditional monitoring systems. For critical applications, the importance of this saving cannot be understated.
Interested in finding out more?
At J2, we are so taken with this alternative approach to performance monitoring that we have added the leading iWatch query level monitoring tool to our range of solutions. Used widely in the US to monitor large-scale database environments, iWatch from performance specialists Exact Solutions, has an impressive customer base, particularly within the banking/financial services sectors. It works brilliantly with SAP Sybase ASE but also supports IBM DB2 and Informix, MS SQL Server and Postgre SQL. Easy to deploy without the need for configuration changes, iWatch is available to trial for free for 30 days.
iWatch is used worldwide to help improve performance of major databases including ASE, DB2 and SQL Server. Unlike traditional monitoring systems, iWatch captures a complete record of every SQL request in real-time – crucially without using polling or other intrusive methods that might interfere with performance and add overhead to critical applications.
The use of query-level logic offers the user many advantages in addition to non-intrusiveness. With iWatch, performance is measured from the perspective of the application or end user (rather than capturing IT-centric metrics), enabling organisations to quickly pinpoint areas where the most dramatic performance improvements can be made. In addition, comprehensive reporting features ensure that following an incident, iWatch can be used to immediately identify what has changed and why e.g. has user behaviour changed since this morning, yesterday, last week…? These are significant advantages in complex, distributed environments where critical time can be wasted simply determining which area of expertise within the IT organization can best be brought to bear to resolve a particular issue.
J2 are delighted to be able to add iWatch to their existing suite of solutions, which includes SAP (Sybase) database & technology tools and iReplay workload capture tool.
Jo Hughes, Marketing Manager at J2: “As specialists in both the implementation and on-going application of SAP database technologies, we are continually seeking technologies that will help our customers quickly improve performance and reduce costs. iWatch is one such tool – it deploys easily and offers extensive real-time metrics, comprehensive reporting and an intuitive, easy to use interface. We believe iWatch is an excellent monitoring choice for any user-driven organisation with a complex database environment that wants to maintain its performance edge.”
iWatch is available for a free 30 day evaluation:
More about iWatch
iWatch and iReplay are both developed by Exact Solutions, specialists in performance tools for large-scale database environments. www.exact-solutions.com
Phone: 08455 441683
Media contact: Jo Hughes
As any database manager or DBA will testify, the sentence “We need to do an upgrade” fills them with a sense of impending gloom. One DBA grumbled to me recently, “With major infrastructure changes you can’t win; migrations and upgrades are essential but no one cares if you do a good job, but of course everyone knows if something goes wrong.”
A bit harsh may be, but not far from the truth. I’ve completed my fair share of upgrades and yes, the process can be challenging – it’s the time consuming checking and re-checking that does it for me. But as we all know, it is a tedium that has to be endured to minimise the damage of the leap of faith that is infrastructure change, right? Well, no actually. On both counts.
Solutions designed to make the job easier
For some time, there have been a number of systems on the market that simultaneously do the heavy lifting of an upgrade and take the risk out of the change. They do this by capturing and replaying production database workloads in risk-free test environments, essentially eliminating the difference between simulated lab conditions and real production workloads. Perfect, it seems. So why doesn’t everyone use them?
Time is undoubtedly the major issue. Finding the time to forward plan is never easy for any support team, even for the implementation of core production systems. Finding the time to evaluate (and potentially justify the purchase of) add-on solutions is even more difficult – there may be a software purchase cost, hardware requirements and undoubtedly resource allocation costs until the team gets up to speed. Justification for any solution that is not core is never easy, even if it’s worth its weight in gold.
Compatible with all versions of ASE
Yet I firmly believe that these systems are well worth the time and effort. I first came across one such system iReplay, some years ago and was so impressed that I now promote it. Compatible with all major databases including SAP ASE, and applicable to any version, iReplay has numerous features that set it apart from other more generic tools typically used to lighten the upgrade load. Unlike scripting tools or load simulators, iReplay allows the capture of a full-scale image of the production SQL workload using Network traffic capture, and then recreates that traffic with all of its native concurrency, interleaving & complexity for detailed analysis in test environments. This approach is ideal for situations where simple scripting based efforts are not sufficient, such as Database Upgrade, underlying platform changes, or Testing effects of Database optimizations on a Production scale workload.
It is worth pointing out that iReplay reproduces the captured workload exactly as was observed during the original capture. There is no exception to the workloads replayed and different types of SQLs, be it Dynamic SQLs, Bulk Inserts, Scrollable Cursors, SQLs involving Binary data (BLOBs, CLOBs, etc.) can be replayed using this tool. SSL Encrypted sessions can also be replayed if the encryption key is available.
Rent rather than buy?
And what about cost? One huge advantage of iReplay is the fact that it can be either purchased or rented, with rental perfect for one-off upgrades or migrations. It also works without imposing any load on your Production Database systems; passive network data capture means there is no requirement for changes/connections/applications to be installed on your production database system.
And the benefits?
It is easy to measure the benefits of iReplay in savings in time and cost (development and test teams are expensive resources better off deployed elsewhere). However, the intangible benefits are harder to measure but more valuable. Use of iReplay results in a significantly streamlined & more accurate testing process with a degree of rigor that was previously thought impossible. Replicated runs can be tailored to meet a variety of test objectives, including regression testing, functional testing, performance testing, capacity planning etc. Coupled with precise SQL-level performance measurements, the technology also allows organisations to judge & calibrate proposed changes, without exposing their business operations to unnecessary risk — or the potential for costly rollbacks.
As a result, the risks associated with database or infrastructure changes can be assessed more quickly & easily, and with unprecedented accuracy. The possibility that disruptive bugs or unexpected interactions might “slip through the cracks” can be virtually eliminated. Test and deployment cycles can be reduced, while confidence improves. Changes can be effectively gauged by comparing the SQL response times giving an accurate Change Feedback. Strategic re-architecture or re-platform projects can be streamlined and accelerated. Anticipated benefits of proposed changes can be measured precisely, before significant resources are committed.
Find out more about iReplay
itelligence Business Solutions UK and J2 Consulting, data management specialists, have today announced a strategic partnership. The agreement will allow the complementary companies to further enhance the solutions to their respective customers. J2 customers will gain access to the extensive range of SAP® solutions provided by SAP platinum partner, itelligence, whilst itelligence customers will benefit from J2’s expertise in SAP database and technology products such as SAP IQ software, SAP Adaptive Server® Enterprise (SAP ASE) and SAP Replication Server.
David Searro, Sales Director, itelligence: “itelligence are now able to collaborate with a specialized niche in SAP solutions, which will enhance our capabilities, both in terms of solution architecture and extended Business Intelligence. We are delighted that our customers will be able to benefit from this collaboration, and are looking forward to working with J2 more closely on many of our projects”.
Chris Jones, Services Director, J2 Consulting said, “J2 are delighted to be able to work with itelligence. This agreement will allow our customers to benefit from itelligence excellence, both in terms of enhanced, partner-led support and solution provision, particularly in Cloud Services and BI. As a leading SAP partner in the UK, itelligence will also provide J2 with important support as we continue to grow our customer base.”
About J2 Consulting
J2 Consulting is a UK-based consultancy and reseller of data management technologies. With more than twenty years of experience with SAP solutions across a range of applications and industry sectors, J2 works to help organisations get the best out of their database solutions.
J2 Consulting is a reseller for SAP database and technology products (including those of Sybase, which was acquired by SAP in 2012) and iReplay from Exact Solutions. For more information, please visit https://j2consulting.co.uk
Phone: 08455 441683
Media contact: Jo Hughes
About itelligence UK
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I recently completed a system implementation for a leading UK company, which resulted in a key processing time being cut from 4 hours to a mere 4 minutes. The implications for the client were considerable –performance was enhanced, costs reduced and, just as importantly for this data driven organisation, it gave them the real time deep analytics they crave. For the client it was a revelation, but I wasn’t surprised at all; I’ve witnessed this kind of improvement countless times before – and without any need to change application code, database schema or SQL.
But the experience got me thinking. Why in our Big Data obsessed world, isn’t everyone shouting more loudly about the software that produced this saving, SAP (Sybase) IQ?
Of course as we all know, SAP IQ is an extremely successful product, widely used and recognised as the world’s leading column architecture data warehousing and analytics software. Paradoxically however, it seems to me that the sheer all-round usability of SAP IQ as a BI tool is still one of IT’s best kept data secrets.
For most people, when you mention SAP IQ they think immediately of extreme scale data sets. Indeed, the ability of SAP IQ to manage, store and query extreme data sets is second to none; IQ (with HANA) is even in the Guinness Book of records for the largest data warehouse (at 12.1PB) and the fast loading and indexing of Big Data (performance can be 100 times faster, or more, than other systems). Whether dealing with fraud detection, risk analysis or operational bottlenecks, this ability to find answers to complex data queries at the speed of business is game changing.
But the success of IQ belies a wider usability – SAP IQ isn’t used just because of its incredible speed. As an SAP IQ user and implementer with an eye on what “the business” really wants from its IT, I’m convinced that IQ’s flexibility of usage, lower TCO and simplicity of implementation makes it invaluable for any organisation, big or small, that wants to harness the power of the data it holds.
Simplicity is the key
Undoubtedly, one of the key reasons is SAP IQ’s simplicity. Despite the state of the art technologies that lie at its core, SAP IQ is incredibly easy to implement and even simpler to use. Whereas traditional IT systems need fine tuning to access and decipher the vast amounts of data now available to organisations, SAP IQ is basically an “off the shelf” product. You set it up and off you go, with comprehensive analytics from day one. Simple as that.
And that’s not just for data downloaded directly into the system. With a ‘shared-everything’ architecture, SAP IQ acts like a central data portal, allowing data from all organisational sources to be immediately accessible for analysis. In my mind, this is a critical feature in our data obsessed world. Despite the allure of treasures hidden within, we all know that Big Data, or just plain data as I prefer to call it, can be unwieldy, is unstructured and can be completely unmanageable. SAP IQ gets over this by employing a range of state of the art technologies to ensure all captured data CAN drive operational processes – native Hadoop, MapReduce programming frameworks, a library of statistical and data mining algorithms … The result is ‘Big Data’ that is accessible, manageable and highly valuable for thousands of concurrent users, if your organisation so desires.
Lower TCO, in the face of scalability
And can it deal with spiralling data sets? SAP IQ has no problem dealing with data volumes that are growing annually by a previously inconceivable order of magnitude. Unlike complex, purpose-built analytics systems, SAP IQ is completely scalable; changing requirements and expanding user communities are dealt with seamlessly without the need for code rewrites that bring the whole system to its knees. The same applies to data changes that, of course, are immediately available across the network, meaning that your data analysts always have the most up-to-date information at their fingertips.
And finally but not least, TCO. This is where I think SAP really holds the trump card. SAP IQ is extremely affordable with a licensing structure crafted to meet the needs of all organisations, big and small. SAP’s revolutionary Adaptive Server Platform Edition license, launched earlier this year, even gives the licensee the option to buy a generic license that can be interchanged between SAP data products IQ, ASE or Replication Server to meet businesses’ changing data needs. And data sets growing at a meteoric pace incur no additional costs at all.
OK, yes I’m unashamedly an SAP IQ fan but I think, with very good reason. IQ has been around for a long time – it’s proven, reliable and indestructibly flexible, lending itself perfectly to the demands of the modern, data-driven era. If you have it within your arsenal, I strongly suggest you revisit its role within your data strategy to ensure that you are exploiting its assets to the full. If you haven’t, and you are grappling with extreme data sets, boy, are you missing out.