Windows Server 2012 Generally Available for SAP NetWeaver – April 2013

Microsoft and SAP have been testing SAP products running on Windows Server 2012 since this new operating system was released in September 2012.  This process is now completed and SAP products are now released on Windows Server 2012.

 

1.        Windows Server 2012 is Now Generally Available for Systems Based on SAP NetWeaver

Windows Server 2012 includes many performance, reliability and scalability enhancements and is now generally available for productive use with most SAP NetWeaver releases.  The SAP Product Availability Matrix (PAM) contains the latest information.  SAP installations, SAP version upgrades, OS/DB migrations and system copies of most SAP NetWeaver ABAP and Java 7.0x and 7.3+ products are generally available and supported on Windows Server 2012.

 

Windows Server 2012 includes many new features and benefits:

1. Built in Windows Hyper-V Virtualization.  Virtual Machines up to 1TB of RAM, 64 vCPU, LiveMigration, Virtual NUMA, SRIOv support, Virtual HBA support, Hyper-V Replica,VHDX format and many other enhancements

2. Built in Network Teaming – performance and stability is greatly improved over the previous vendor provided teaming solutions

3.  Increased scalability – Windows Server 2012 supports up to 640 logical processors and 4TB RAM large enough for any SAP customer

4.  Server Core role for Hypervisor hosts eliminates almost all patching on Hypervisor hosts

6. SMB 3.0 now allows for transparent application failover.  Previously, a failover would reset file handles.  SMB 3.0 preserves the state of application even during a failover

7. Up to 64 cluster nodes and many improvements in Windows Failover Clustering such as Dynamic Quorum.  This allows for more complex HA/DR configurations including sophisticated Geoclustering.

 

Windows Server 2012 provides a platform to consolidate SAP and non-SAP systems to a single highly reliable platform.  Hyper-V 3.0 removes the limits on the workloads that can be run in a Virtual Machine and provides a stepping stone to moving applications to Cloud platforms.

 

2.        Software Requirements to Install an SAP System on Windows Server 2012

Before installing an SAP system on Windows Server 2012 please review these items.

SAP Notes:

1780433 – System copy of SAP systems on Windows 2012: SQL Server

1721575 – SAP system migration to Windows Server 2012

1732161 – SAP Systems on Windows Server 2012

1811298 – SAP NetWeaver Upgrade/Update on Windows Server 2012

1753578 – Windows Server 2012 in Virtual Environments

1783528 – Migration path to Win2012/MSSQL2012 for 4.6C and 6.20/6.40

1728283 – SAP Kernel 721: General Information

1357244 – High Performance SAP Kernel for Windows

 

SAP Installation DVD: The Software Provisioning Manager (SWPM), the successor of the installation tool “SAPinst” is part of the “Software Logistics Toolset” (SL Toolset for short).  There are two versions of SWPM.  A version for 7.0x and a version for 7.1x and higher.  Details are explained in SAP Note 1680045 – Release Note for Software Provisioning Manager 1.0, SAP Software Provisioning Manager (70SWPM) for 7.0x and SAP Software Provisioning Manager (SWPM)

 

SWPM 1.0 SP2 fully supports Windows Server 2012 standalone and cluster installations.

 

SAP Kernel: SAP Kernel 720_EXT and 721_EXT are supported on Windows Server 2012.  Previous kernels such as 7.00, 7.01 or 7.10 are not supported on Windows Server 2012.  720_EXT and 721_EXT are compatible with SAP_BASIS releases 7.00 -> 7.31.

 

The minimum kernel patches are:

720_EXT = Patch 400 or higher

721_EXT = Patch 100 or higher (Performance Optimized Kernel)

Kernel 721_EXT Patch 100 or higher contains a new Compiler Optimization to improve performance. See 1728283 SAP Kernel 721: General Information

SAP Host Agent: Due to a problem with SMB 3.0, the SAP Host Agent 720 EXT provided with the SWPM kernel media needs to be updated manually before starting an installation. Download SAP Host Agent 720 EXT SAR file with minimum patch level 138 from SAP Service Marketplace. Rename the downloaded SAR archive to SAPHOSTAGENT.SAR. Locate the DBINDEP folder on your kernel media for SWPM and replace the old SAPHOSTAGENT.SAR archive with the downloaded version. Please have a look at SAP note 1823833 “Accessing shares via SMB 3.0 can result in long waiting times”

 

Databases: SQL Server 2012 is the only supported release.  SQL Server 2005, 2008, and 2008 R2 are not supported on Windows Server 2012 for SAP applications and there are no plans by SAP to support these databases in the future.  In SAP Note 62988 – Service Packs for Microsoft SQL Server it is stated that the most recent SQL Server Service Pack and Cumulative Update is always supported by SAP. 

It is recommended to check http://blogs.msdn.com/b/sqlreleaseservices/ and download the most recent Service Pack and Cumulative Update whenever installing SQL Server.  More information about “Slipstreaming” SQL Server 2012 installations can be found here.  SAP also provides SQL Server 2012 DVDs on Service Marketplace.  

 

SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 + CU3 or higher Generally Recommended  

 

Windows Service Packs & Cumulative Update: Windows Server 2012 introduces “Cumulative Updates” each month.  Cumulative Updates include all previous patches and it is generally recommended to apply the latest Cumulative Update when installing Windows Server 2012.  Thereafter each patch to the Windows Server 2012 OS can be assessed on its merits. Rare critical patches can be applied urgently whereas a Service Pack or the latest CU can be applied once or twice per year.

November 2012 – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2770917

December 2012 – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2779768

January 2013 – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2785094

February 2013 – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2795944

March 2013 – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2811660 (CU March or higher recommended for SAP Installations)

Windows Server 2012 has two editions relevant for SAP systems.  Standard Edition (with limited virtualization) and Datacenter Edition (1024 powered on VMs per host / 8000 per cluster).  There is no “Enterprise Edition” of Windows Server 2012.  In general, Datacenter Edition is used as a Hypervisor on a physical host and Standard Edition is used for running SQL Server or an SAP system on a physical host or virtual machine.  There is no difference in the number of logical processors or amount of RAM supported by Standard and Datacenter Edition.  Server Core for Windows Server 2012 is not supported by SAP at this time. 

SAP Support Packs: Generally, operating system support is determined by the SAP kernel, and database support is determined by the SAP_BASIS Support Pack.  There are no specific Support Packs required for Windows Server 2012, however, Windows Server 2012 is only supported in combination with SQL Server 2012.  SQL Server 2012 requires specific SAP_BASIS support packs.  These are details in the FAQ section of this blog.

3.        Hardware Requirements for SAP Systems on Windows Server 2012

Windows Server 2012 includes many technologies to leverage features in modern hardware.  These include memory error checking and correction features, virtualization assist and technologies to accelerate network throughput. 

Customers should follow the official SAP recommendations when procuring new hardware for SAP systems.  These recommendations are contained in OSS Note 1612283 – Hardware Configuration Standards and Guidance.

Before installing an SAP system on Windows Server 2012, it is highly recommended to:

1. Check with the H/W vendor in regards to Windows Server 2012 support status.  Example: only HP “G7” servers are supported on Windows Server 2012.  Earlier models do not have device drivers available

2. Update the server BIOS to the latest available

3. Update the firmware on HBA, Network, FusionIO, and other PCI cards

4. 10 Gigabit Networking is strongly recommended, especially for virtualized systems (10G is mandatory if iSCSI is used)

5. Ensure Network cards support SRIOv and VMQ

6. Ensure server BIOS supports SRIOv, and virtualization settings are enabled in BIOS

7. Ensure third party software such as backup agents, monitoring agents, and MPIO software is supported on Windows Server 2012

4.        Upgrade Windows Server 2003/2008 and SQL Server 2005/2008 -> Windows Server 2012/SQL Server 2012

 

Older versions of SQL Server are not supported on Windows Server 2012, therefore, a recommended process is to:

1.     Import the latest Support Pack Stack.  It is no longer recommended to use SPAM, instead you should use SAP “Software Update Manager” SUM

2.     Optionally, if the entire SAP Support Pack Stack cannot be imported due to time and testing constraints, then proceed as follows:

a. Update to the latest kernel
b. Update to the latest SPAM
c. Download SAP_BASIS support pack stacks and unpack the sar file into the usrSAPtrans directory
d. Create SQL database snapshot
e. Consider increasing parallel R3trans in SPAM – Settings – Parallel (values of 8/16/24 are common)
f. Define SAP_BASIS queue and import

3.     Stop the SAP system

4.     Backup the database

5.     Either restore the database to new H/W or install Windows Server 2012 on existing H/W

6.     Optionally, detach  and attach the database following Note 151603

7.     Follow the SAP system copy guide for a homogeneous system copy (run SWPM -> Software Life-cycle Options -> System Copy)

8.     Update the SAP kernel to 721_EXT Patch Level 100 or higher

 

5.        Heterogeneous Migration from other OS/DB -> Windows Server 2012/SQL Server 2012  

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