SAP support backbone update

SAP has announced an update on its support backbone to go live per 1.1.2020. If you did not prepare your systems for it, you might loose support functions.

Even recently you might see this big warning on SAP support site:

Questions that will be answered in this blog are:

  • Where can I find more background information on the SAP support backbone update?
  • Do I need to upgrade SAP solution manager?
  • How to switch to digitally signed OSS notes?
  • Do I need to change my OSS RFC’s?
  • What else do I need to do?
  • How to check the correct setup in the SAP EWA report?
  • Where can I find a checklist to see if I am completely done?

Background information on SAP support backbone update

The landing page for SAP support backbone update can be found by following this link.

The webinar recording explaining all the highlights can be found by following this link.

The official OSS note is 2737826 – SAP Support Backbone Update / upcoming changes in SAP Service and Support Backbone interfaces (latest) in January 2020.

What will change per 1.1.2020?

Basically the connection from SAP solution manager and the on premise SAP systems connection to the SAP backbone will change. This will impact many areas like OSS notes, EWA’s, landscape planning etc.

What do you need to do if you don’t want to loose any functionality?

Solution manager

If you don’t want to loose any functionality in SAP solution manager you will need to upgrade to Solution manager 7.2 to support package 7 or 8. If you are on 8 you have to do less manual work than on 7. On solution manager support packs 5 and 6 some functions will work, but with manual work and limitations. On solution manager 7.1 and solution manager 7.2 up to support pack 3, the connection to SAP support backbone will be lost on 1.1.2020. You can already upgrade to SP8 now and prepare solution manager.

For the automatic configuration of the connectivity follow the instructions in OSS note 2738426 – Automated Configuration of new Support Backbone Communication.

OSS notes

For OSS notes there are 2 changes: the RFC to SAP and digitally signed OSS notes.

For the RFC connection read and follow the instructions from OSS note 2740667 – RFC connection SAPOSS to SAP Service & Support backbone will change (latest) in January 2020.

OSS notes via SNOTE must be switched to digitally signed OSS notes. How to do this: see blog.

Next to this, you will need to change the OSS note RFC destination. The generic user will no longer work. You will need to change it to named technical user, or change to the connection from RFC to https connectivity.

If you setup digitally signed OSS notes there is an option for fallback to insecure.

Attention: this fallback will no longer work after 1.1.2020.

ANST

ANST is a great function to help you find OSS notes relevant for your issue. For more explanation on ANST look at this blog. The ANST reaches out to the SAP support backbone to check for recent notes. To keep the function working you need to setup a new webservice in SOAMANAGER (if the SOAP runtime is not active follow instructions in this blog). To setup the specific webservice follow the instructions in oss note 2730525 – Consuming the Note Search Webservice. Then apply OSS note 2732094 – ANST- Implementing SOAP Based ANST Note Search.

While switching to new SAP support backbone you might get a connection error. Follow the instructions from OSS note 2781045 – ANST / ST22 note search “Connection cannot be established” to solve it.

Online checklists

SAP has now published online checklists, based on your solution manager version. You can find the checklists on this link.

Support backbone configuration check in EWA report

If you install ST-A/PI 01T sp02 or higher in your system (see OSS note 2827332 – Service Data not Complete due to ST-A/PI not Up-to-date), the EWA report of that system will give information about the correct connection to SAP support backbone and correct use of technical user for the communication.

Example:

In the process OSS note 2802999 - SDCCN activation fails without errors or red icons in Migrate tab might need to be applied as well to solve an SDCCN error.

ANST for webapplications and FIORI

In the blog on ANST we focussed on searching notes for ABAP GUI applications. This blog will focus on web application that run ABAP code in the backend (such as FIORI, BSP, webdynpro for ABAP).

Questions that will be answered in this blog are:

  • How do I use ANST for web applications?
  • What do I need to do to prepare my system for this?
  • What do I need to do for using ANST for FIORI back end recording?

System preparation for ANST for web applications

First you need to follow the instructions in OSS note 2286869 – ANST: Trace On/Off error “Dynamic Start and Stop cancelled by user” to get rid of the trace error. Unfortunately this note is not really clear. The short instruction on what to do follows now. Goto transaction FILE and search for the ANST_TRACES_GLOBAL. It will look like this:

ANST delete assignment of paths

Here you see that there are logical files possible. Select both and delete. The result should look like this:

ANST file after deletion

Then select the logical file definition and delete the line for Physical path. Should look like this:

ANST file delete logical path

Now we are good to go for the web part recording, but not yet for FIORI.

ANST for FIORI

To use ANST for FIORI you first need to install OSS note
2605555 – ANST: Enahcement to support Fiori applications
. Please follow also the manual steps in the note very carefully.

Tip: this note contains a very good PDF attachment as manual for ANST.

Run ANST for web application

Running ANST for web applications is not very much different from running on SAP GUI. Upon start of the ANST tool select your web application (which is bit different per application):

ANST FIORI

After you now start with Execute you get a popup screen to confirm recording start:

ASNT FIORI start

After pressing start your web browser will start and you can perform the actions you want to trace. To stop go back to the ABAP screen and press the Stop Recording button:

ANST FIORI stop

The rest of the ANST processing is the same as usual.


ANST: automated notes search tool

This blog will explain one of the most usefull new tools from SAP when having to find bugs in standard SAP coding. The ANST (automated notes search tool) is not receiving the recognition that is should get. In usability it is same ease as the SNOTE tool.

If you love SNOTE you will also love the ANST tool! Just try it out.

Questions that will be answered in this blog:

  • What is the ANST automated notes search tool?
  • How does is work?
  • Why should I always use this tool before submitting an incident to SAP?

ANST (advanced notes search tool)

The ANST tool can help you in:

  • Quickly finding OSS notes for your issue
  • Check if you Z code is causing the issue or dump, or it is a standard SAP issue

OSS note 1818192 is the ANST FAQ note which also has the minimum version. This note also has an extensive explanation. The how to use below is just a summary.

OSS note 2605555 also contains an excellent PDF inside as attachment, that gives a step by step manual.

How to use the ANST tool?

Start tcode ANST.

ANST start screen

If you launch it for first time you might get an error "ANST001 Fatal Error. Customizing table is not filled". If this is the case follow the solution steps in OSS note 1909768.

In the transaction code box key in the transaction where you have the issue. As example we will use tcode S_BCE_68001417 (search for authorizations by complex criteria). The user admin is complaining about an incorrect number of selected authorizations that are shown in that transaction.

So key in the transaction code and description (you can keep it same).

Now press execute: the transaction will be called. In the authorization object screen fill out S_DEVELOP and execute again to get the results:

Initial S_BCE_68001417

Now leave the transaction recording.

In the left bottom of the screen you can see the recording being written into the trace file:

Create trace file

Depending on the complexity and amount of screens you have passed this can take up to 1 to 10 minutes.

The result is shown after the trace file. The result is sorted per SAP module. If you open the details, you can also see the exact program blocks that were hit during the recording.

ANST trace result list per module and program block

Now you can select the modules (if wanted specific code blocks) where you thinks is the issue. After selection hit the Note Search button. The SAP system will now connect to SAP service marketplace and look for the most recent notes for your version, which have not yet been implemented.

Note search result

The middle note seems to be very relevant. From this screen you can can already link to the note (click on note number) and start download to SNOTE already.

Tips on the selection of the components:
1. Never select more than 1000 components: ANST will reject this
2. The less components you select the faster you get results, and shorter list of potential notes as well
3. If you want you can later retrieve the recording and make a different search on different components: no need to re-record
4. Most of the times you can ignore the basis and cross application and basis notes
5. Run the recording and the result together with your functional consultant: he can help filter the components and select usefull notes

Using ANST to analyze short dumps

The ANST tool can be used as well to analyze short dumps. Just start the ANST tool and run the steps including the step where the dump occurs. After the dump the ANST tool will trace the modules including the point where the dump occurs.

Make sure OSS note 2535278 is applied: this contains bug fix for the short dump case.

Checking for customer code issues

After the trace file is generated and you have searched for OSS notes, it can be there is still an issue caused by your own customer code. To exclude this (or to check it anyhow), you have to use the buttton Customer Code from the trace result screen with all the components. Be a bit patient while the tool is scanning for modifications, user-exits, BADI implementations and enhancement spots it came across in the recording.

If you want to analyze implicit and explicit enhancements as well with ANST you must apply OSS note 2408785 first.

ANST clickable demo

SAP has made a nice clickable demo to show you how it works: link to demo.

Use of ANST tool before submitting incident to SAP

Even if the ANST tool does not help you search for the correct OSS note for your issue, the ANST tool can help you in speed up of the incident solution for SAP.

If you want to report the issue to SAP as an incident download the ANST trace file. If you report the incident mention:

  • ANST tool is used and add the recording
  • Add list of already implemented OSS notes
  • You alredy checked for customer code

With this information the first line processor will have a quick job assigning the incidinet to the real issue solvers in Walldorf. This will save you valuable time, since the first line normally come with simple list of notes, or also run the ANST tool themselves, and then come with obvious notes.

Increasing the maximum number of objects limit

If you are using the ANST tool on a transaction with many objects (for example ME21n purchase order), you will notice that you cannot search for more than 1000 objects at the same time. Then you have to open subsection and select subtree and run it more than once with different selections. But sometimes one node really expands into more than 1000 objects. In this case, you best increase the maximum object limit. In ANST start screen choose the Settings button can increase the Max.Object counter on the far right of the settings (scrolling required)

ANST max notes search settings

Needless to say, more objects do take more time to analyze. But it is worth the wait.

Relevant OSS notes

Some interesting OSS notes to review:

2735032 – ANST: Scan Source Code for Implicit Enhancements

While switching to new SAP support backbone you might get a connection error. Follow the instructions from OSS note 2781045 – ANST / ST22 note search “Connection cannot be established” to solve it.

ANST for web applications and FIORI

ANST can also be used for web applications and FIORI. See this blog.