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SAP officially announced the support for SAP HANA 2.0 on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1 for SAP Solutions on Intel and IBM POWER9 architectures in March 2020. With this offering, SAP HANA is fully certified and supported on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1 for SAP Solutions as documented in SAP notes 2777782 and 2235581

Today, we will walk you through how to use Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Solutions and Ansible Roles to automate your SAP HANA System Replication deployment on RHEL 8.1.  In the following demo, we will run SAP HANA System Replication on Microsoft Azure Cloud. 

Note: The Azure Cloud setups (e.g. VM and network, etc.) in this demo can be used for setting up test and development HANA instances on Azure. For officially supported production HANA Setups on Azure, please follow the guidelines provided by Microsoft. 

What is RHEL for SAP Solutions? 

RHEL for SAP Solutions offers the following components for your SAP applications: 

  • SAP-specific technical components to support S/4HANA, SAP HANA, and SAP Business Applications, e.g. compat-sap-c++, compat-locales-sap, etc. 

  • High availability solutions for S/4HANA, SAP HANA, and SAP Business Applications, which provide Pacemaker resource agents and other components needed for setting up high available SAP environments

  • RHEL System Roles for SAP, which can be used to automate the configuration of a RHEL system to run SAP workloads, examples will be covered later in this document. 

  • Smart Management and Red Hat Insights for lifecycle management and proactive optimization.

  • Update services for SAP Solutions, providing support for specific minor RHEL releases for four years from general availability. 

Note: Cloud Providers (e.g. Azure) may offer you a Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG)  model for SAP software. The subscription for RHEL is then included in the offer and is called "RHEL for SAP with High Availability and Update Services" and offers the same functionality as RHEL for SAP Solutions but without Smart Management.

Red Hat also offers Red Hat Cloud Access, which allows you to run eligible Red Hat product subscriptions on certified public cloud providers (e.g. Azure). This model is called "Bring-Your-Own-Subscription" (BYOS).  It makes your subscriptions portable, so you may choose the best architecture and infrastructure for your needs on public clouds.

What are System Roles?

Based on the usage and supportability, there are 3 "types" of Ansible Roles available specifically for SAP workloads to automate and accelerate your SAP deployments as shown in the following picture: 

Ansible Roles

First, the grey boxes are community-driven Ansible roles for SAP from Ansible Galaxy. These roles are maintained by Red Hat Community of Practice (CoP) for SAP. You can tell their functions from their names, which can be used to deploy SAP HANA System Replication, S/4 HANA stack, etc... Second, RHEL for SAP Solutions offers RHEL System Roles for SAP in green boxes, which help you configure your RHEL environment for SAP applications. Red Hat provides technical support for these roles. Lastly, the light blue ones at the bottom are the RHEL system roles in technical preview, which will cover the settings of network, NTP, storage, etc. 

Automate your SAP HANA deployment 

In the following demo, all the servers are running on the Azure Cloud, including bootstrap and SAP HANA servers. So, you will need an Azure account to create VMs. To automate the deployment, you need to have a "bootstrap" server. The bootstrap will run an Ansible playbook (i.e. deploy_azure_vms.yaml) to deploy Azure VMs. And then, it will run another playbook (i.e. deploy-sap-hana-hsr.yaml) to set up RHEL, install SAP HANA, and set up SAP HANA System Replication (SR) eventually. Additionally, the bootstrap also shares the SAP media to the VMs via NFS. 

Since you need to SSH to the bootstrap in this demo, the bootstrap will need to have a public IP. For the SAP HANA VMs, only internal IP is needed. Besides, both bootstrap and SAP HANA VMs are located in the default subnet, you can also create a separate subnet for your SAP applications as long as the servers can talk to each other.  

SSH to the bootstrapBootstrap and SAP HANA VMs located in default subnet

It’s time to set up an SAP HANA environment! Doing so involves a few steps. But, follow along with the steps below and you’ll be well on your way to deploy your SAP HANA System Replication environment!

As shown in the below picture, you’ll first need to set up a "bootstrap" for your SAP applications. Once the bootstrap is set up, you can run Ansible roles and modules on the bootstrap to deploy 2 Azure VMs and install SAP HANA SR on the VMs. 

Set up bootstrap

Installing the Bootstrap server 

In this demo, the bootstrap server is running on RHEL 8.1. To set up the bootstrap server, you will need to install Ansible cloud modules for Azure, system roles for SAP, and NFS server to store SAP HANA media. 

The installation was pretty easy but setting up isn’t quite as so. If you’re not scared off yet, let’s jump right into it.

Setting up Ansible Cloud Modules for Azure

You’ll first need to set up your RHEL subscription and Ansible Engine.

# subscription-manager clean
# mv /etc/yum.repos.d/rh-cloud.repo /etc/yum.repos.d/rh-cloud.repo.bk
# subscription-manager register --auto-attach
# subscription-manager repos --enable=ansible-2.8-for-rhel-8-$(uname -m)-rpms
# yum install -y ansible

Once the Ansible Engine is installed, set up and install Azure CLI.

# rpm --import https://packages.microsoft.com/keys/microsoft.asc
# sh -c 'echo -e "[azure-cli]\nname=Azure CLI\nbaseurl=https://packages.microsoft.com/yumrepos/azure-cli\nenabled=1\ngpgcheck=1\ngpgkey=https://packages.microsoft.com/keys/microsoft.asc" > /etc/yum.repos.d/azure-cli.repo'
# yum install -y azure-cli

Now, let’s install the required packages for the Azure Python SDK modules.

# yum install -y gcc libffi-devel platform-python-devel openssl-devel
# yum install -y python3-pip python3-wheel
# curl https://bootstrap.pypa.io/get-pip.py -o get-pip.py
# python3 get-pip.py
# pip3 install 'ansible[azure]' --use-feature=2020-resolver

It is worth mentioning that these Ansible Cloud modules for Azure will be installed in path /usr/lib/python3.6/site-packages/ansible/modules/cloud/azure.

Ansible includes a suite of modules for interacting with Azure Resource Manager, giving you the tools to easily create and orchestrate infrastructure on the Microsoft Azure Cloud. Using the Azure Resource Manager modules requires authenticating with the Azure API. Let’s configure Azure authentication with Azure service principal. 

You’ll first need to enter "az login" to authenticate your Azure administration server and log in.

# az cloud set --name AzureCloud
# az login

And then, create an Azure service principal with Azure CLI.

# az ad sp create-for-rbac --name hanaSP

Create an Azure service principalOnce the service principal is created, record the Azure SubscriptionID.

# az account show

Lastly, Insert the following lines into the credentials file.

# mkdir $HOME/.azure
# vi $HOME/.azure/credentials
[default]
subscription_id=<id from command "az account show">
client_id=<"appId"> 
secret=<"password">
tenant=<"tenant">

Now, Azure authentication is configured, you need to create an ssh key pair on the bootstrap server, and record the public key. You will use it while creating Azure VMs.

# ssh-keygen -t rsa

Setting up NFS server for SAP media

To store the installation media, you will need to install and set up NFS server, and unzip the SAP HANA installation binary to the NFS share (e.g. /ssd_vms/SAP_HANA_BINARY/HANA2SPS04/)

Setting up System Roles for SAP HANA

Now, let’s install the following system roles for SAP.

- redhat_sap.sap_rhsm
- redhat_sap.sap_hana_mediacheck
- linux-system-roles.timesync
- linux-system-roles.storage
- redhat_sap.sap_hana_deployment
- redhat_sap.sap_hostagent
- redhat_sap.sap_hana_hsr

Make sure to install the RHEL System Roles for SAP.

# yum -y install rhel-system-roles-sap

Once the roles are installed, you will need to set the RHEL release and enable required repositories for the bootstrap server by running the following playbook: 

setup_subscription.yaml

---
- name: test variables of rhsm
 hosts: localhost
 connection: local
 become_user: root

 vars:
   # sap_rhsm role variables
   sap_rhsm_username: '<your Red Hat login>'
   sap_rhsm_password: '<your Red Hat login password>'
   sap_rhsm_pool_ids:
               - "<pool id>"
  roles:
     - { role: redhat_sap.sap_rhsm }

If you have questions about which repositories have been enabled currently, you can check the handy tool - RHEL for SAP Configurator

And then, it is an important step to set up variables for SAP HANA servers, you can refer to the following configurations:

./group_vars/hana.yml

---

# sap_rhsm role variables

sap_rhsm_username: '<your Red Hat login>'

sap_rhsm_password: '<your Red Hat login password>'

sap_rhsm_pool_ids: 

            - "<your pool id>"

 

# Deploy SAP HANA vars

sap_hana_deployment_root_password: "MyPassw0rd!"

sap_hana_deployment_sapadm_password: "MyPassw0rd!"

sap_hana_deployment_hana_sid: RHT

sap_hana_deployment_hana_instance_number: "01"

sap_hana_deployment_hana_env_type: development

sap_hana_deployment_hana_mem_restrict: 'n'

sap_hana_deployment_hana_db_system_password: "MyPassw0rd!"

sap_hana_deployment_ase_user_password: "MyPassw0rd!"

sap_hana_deployment_hana_groupid: 30200

sap_hana_deployment_hana_userid: 30200

sap_hana_deployment_apply_license: false

 

# Seems sapadm password won't be taken, so use a common master password instead

# Update it if sapadm password is working again 

sap_hana_deployment_common_master_password: "MyPassw0rd!"

sap_hana_deployment_use_master_password: y

 

# Variables required for 'sap_hana_hsr' role

sap_hana_hsr_hana_sid: RHT

sap_hana_hsr_hana_instance_number: "01"

sap_hana_hsr_hana_db_system_password: "MyPassw0rd!"

sap_hana_hsr_hana_primary_hostname: saphana01

 

# linux-system-roles.storage role variables

storage_pools:

        - name: vgsaphana

          disks:

            - sdc

          volumes:

            - name: hana_shared

              size: "24 GiB"

              mount_point: "/hana/shared"

              fs_type: xfs

              state: present

            - name: hana_data

              size: "24 GiB"

              mount_point: "/hana/data"

              fs_type: xfs

              state: present

            - name: hana_logs

              size: "12 GiB"

              mount_point: "/hana/logs"

              fs_type: xfs

              state: present

            - name: usr_sap

              size: "49 GiB"

              mount_point: "/usr/sap"

              fs_type: xfs

              state: present 

 

# rhel-system-roles.timesync variables

ntp_servers:

                  - hostname: 0.rhel.pool.ntp.org

                    iburst: yes

                  - hostname: 1.rhel.pool.ntp.org

                    iburst: yes

                  - hostname: 2.rhel.pool.ntp.org

                    iburst: yes

                  - hostname: 3.rhel.pool.ntp.org

                    iburst: yes

 

# SAP Preconfigured role

# SAP-Media Check (get unpacked HANA from Mountpoint)

sap_hana_mediacheck_serverpath: "10.0.0.4:/ssd_vms/SAP_HANA_BINARY/HANA2SPS04"

sap_hana_mediacheck_mountpoint: /SAP_HANA_BINARY

sap_hana_installdir: "{{ sap_hana_mediacheck_mountpoint + '/DATA_UNITS/HDB_SERVER_LINUX_' + ansible_architecture|upper }}"

 

# SAP Host Agent

sap_hostagent_installation_type: "bundle"

sap_hostagent_bundle_path: "{{ sap_hana_installdir + '/server'}}"

sap_hostagent_clean_tmp_directory: true

...

./host_vars/saphana01.yml

sap_hana_hsr_role: "primary"

sap_hana_hsr_alias: "DC1"

./host_vars/saphana02.yml

sap_hana_hsr_role: "secondary"

sap_hana_hsr_alias: "DC2"

 

You survived! Congratulations! There are only a few steps left, I promise.

Deploying 2 Azure VMs for SAP HANA

Once you’ve got all of the proper prerequisites, it’s time to deploy the Azure VMs. To get the VMs deployed, you would need to do some preparatory steps on Azure. You’ll first need to create Resource Group (i.e. ResourceGroupHana) and Virtual Network (i.e. VirtualNetworkHana). And then, check your Azure subscription’s quotas to make sure that you have a sufficient number of vCPU in your quotas. Otherwise, your playbook will fail.

Check Azure subscription’s quotasSo you’ve installed Ansible modules for Azure and survived the setup portion. Now comes the easy part; deployment Azure VMs by running the following playbook: 

./deploy_azure_vms.yaml

---
- hosts: localhost
  connection: local
  vars:
    resource_group: ResourceGroupHana
    virtual_network: ResourceGroupHana-vnet
    virtual_subnet: default
    virtual_machine1: saphana01
    virtual_machine2: saphana02
    nic1: NicHana01
    nic2: NicHana02
    security_group: SecurityGroupHana

  tasks:
    - name: Ensure a security group that allows SSH
      azure_rm_securitygroup:
        resource_group: "{{ resource_group }}"
        name: "{{ security_group }}"
        rules:
          - name: 'AllowSSH'
            protocol: Tcp
            destination_port_range: 22
            access: Allow
            priority: 101
            direction: Inbound

    - name: Ensure a network interface for VM saphana01 
      azure_rm_networkinterface:
        resource_group: "{{ resource_group }}"
        name: "{{ nic1 }}"
        virtual_network: "{{ virtual_network }}"
        subnet_name: "{{ virtual_subnet }}"
        security_group: "{{ security_group }}"
        ip_configurations:
          - name: ipconfig1
            primary: True
    - name: Ensure a VM saphana01 to run SAP HANA
      azure_rm_virtualmachine:
        resource_group: "{{ resource_group }}"
        name: "{{ virtual_machine1 }}"
        vm_size: Standard_E8s_v3
        admin_username: adminUser
        admin_password: "adminUser#1"
        ssh_public_keys:
          - path: /home/adminUser/.ssh/authorized_keys
            key_data: <Insert the public key of the bootstrap server here>
        network_interfaces: "{{ nic1 }}"
        image:
          offer: "RHEL"
          publisher: "RedHat"
          sku: '8.1'
          version: latest
        managed_disk_type: Standard_LRS
        data_disks:
            - lun: 0
              disk_size_gb: 128
              managed_disk_type: Premium_LRS

    - name: Ensure a network interface for VM saphana02
      azure_rm_networkinterface:
        resource_group: "{{ resource_group }}"
        name: "{{ nic2 }}"
        virtual_network: "{{ virtual_network }}"
        subnet_name: "{{ virtual_subnet }}"
        security_group: "{{ security_group }}"
        ip_configurations:
          - name: ipconfig2
            primary: True
    - name: Ensure a VM saphana02 to run SAP HANA
      azure_rm_virtualmachine:
        resource_group: "{{ resource_group }}"
        name: "{{ virtual_machine2 }}"
        vm_size: Standard_E8s_v3
        admin_username: adminUser
        admin_password: "adminUser#1"
        ssh_public_keys:
          - path: /home/adminUser/.ssh/authorized_keys
            key_data: <Insert the public key of the bootstrap server here>
        network_interfaces: "{{ nic2 }}"
        image:
          offer: "RHEL"
          publisher: "RedHat"
          sku: '8.1'
          version: latest
        managed_disk_type: Standard_LRS
        data_disks:
            - lun: 0
              disk_size_gb: 128
              managed_disk_type: Premium_LRS
...

The following picture is the screen dump while running the above playbook:

Playbook ./deploy_azure_vms.yaml

Once the VMs are deployed successfully, remember to add the entries of the VMs to /etc/hosts on the bootstrap. The following playbook helps you get the IP address for your HANA servers:

---
- hosts: localhost
 connection: local

 tasks:
 - name: Get facts for saphana01's network interface
   azure_rm_networkinterface_facts:
     resource_group: ResourceGroupHana
     name: NicHana01
   register: result

 - name: Print Private IP address for saphana01
   debug:
     msg:
     - "saphana01 Private IP address: {{ result.networkinterfaces[0].ip_configurations[0].private_ip_address }}"

 - name: Get facts for saphana02's network interface
   azure_rm_networkinterface_facts:
     resource_group: ResourceGroupHana
     name: NicHana02
   register: result

 - name: Print Private IP address for saphana02
   debug:
     msg:
     - "saphana02 Private IP address: {{ result.networkinterfaces[0].ip_configurations[0].private_ip_address }}"
...

Once you’ve got the IP addresses, edit the /etc/hosts.

10.0.0.5 saphana01 saphana01.<domain_name>
10.0.0.6 saphana02 saphana02.<domain_name>

Installing SAP HANA with System Replication

Now that you’ve deployed the Azure VMs, it’s time to install SAP HANA with System Replication. Before getting to the last step, let’s run the below playbook to fix a few existing issues: 

./fix_vms_issues.yaml

---
- hosts: hana
 tasks:
 - name: Copy a new "/etc/hosts" file into place, backing up the original if it differs from the copied version
   copy:
     src: /etc/hosts
     dest: /etc/hosts
     owner: root
     group: root
     mode: '0644'
     backup: yes

 - name: Disable RHUI repos by renaming repo file /etc/yum.repos.d/rh-cloud.repo
   command: mv /etc/yum.repos.d/rh-cloud.repo /etc/yum.repos.d/rh-cloud.repo.bk

 - name: Extend root filesystem "/" of VMs to 10GB, the default to 2GB
   lvol:
     vg: rootvg
     lv: rootlv
     size: 10240
 
 - name: Extend the filesystem
   filesystem:
     fstype: xfs
     dev: "/dev/mapper/rootvg-rootlv"
     resizefs: yes
...

Now, you are free to go and run the following playbook to deploy SAP HANA SR: 

./deploy-sap-hana-hsr.yaml

---
- hosts: hana
 roles:
         - { role: redhat_sap.sap_rhsm }
         - { role: redhat_sap.sap_hana_mediacheck }
         - { role: redhat_sap.sap_hostagent }
         - { role: linux-system-roles.timesync }
         - { role: linux-system-roles.storage }
         - { role: sap-preconfigure }
         - { role: sap-hana-preconfigure }
         - { role: redhat_sap.sap_hana_deployment }
         - { role: redhat_sap.sap_hana_hsr }
...

Here is the screen dump while running the playbook. It takes approximately 20 minutes to install the SAP HANA instances and configure  System Replication.

Playbook ./deploy-sap-hana-hsr.yaml

2 Playbook ./deploy-sap-hana-hsr.yaml3 Playbook ./deploy-sap-hana-hsr.yaml

Once the installation is complete, you can check the status of SAP HANA System Replication.

SAP HANA System Replication

Summary

As SAP HANA takes on a central function as the primary database platform for SAP landscapes, requirements for stability, and reliability increase dramatically. With RHEL for SAP Solutions and system roles, you can deploy your SAP HANA in about 20 minutes! 

To further simplify the settings, you can convert the bootstrap server to an Azure VM image, so you can quickly start up a bootstrap to deploy your SAP applications when you need it. Besides, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) for SAP Solutions meets those requirements by enhancing native SAP HANA replication and failover technology to automate the takeover process, in order to reduce system administrators’ efforts and increase the stability and availability of your SAP applications. 


About the author

Edward Jin has been working in IT for more than 12 years. He has a strong service mindset and design thinking and insights to IT systems and processes within the pharmaceutical , manufacturing and finance industry. Currently, he is helping customers on their digital journey using open source technology. 

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