Happiness and Misadventures

A SAP Nightmare

For the first time after years, during this last week, I encountered real obstacles at work. A small background: I work in an IT company, we resell several products about cybersecurity, backups, network protection, etc. Lately, a customer had the need to backup SAP databases running on Windows. They needed to write a full set of scripts to manage SAP tools with an external backup software. In brief: I had to manage this, but I never worked with SAP. ๐Ÿ˜ฐ

Now, speaking to IT administrators, I hope everyone will agree that managing scripts is much easier on UNIX/Linux, with Bash. So here is the first complexity: batch scripting. Then there is the main problem: SAP on Windows. I'm not a big fan of Oracle/SAP products running on this OS, but it's my duty to do what I've been told.

I start reading the documentation of the backup software andโ€ฆ here we go!

Day 1 - Drown

First, I had access to a SAP test machine so messed up that I couldn't even run a "local" backup on the server itself โ€” but I couldn't know. I didn't know the environment, and I was super-afraid to launch any commands. I spent the first day1 of this adventure trying to understand the correct paths and the actions needed to perform various backup types.

Again: I worked a very little with SAP, and never on Windows. I was panicking a bit, but didn't give up.

Day 2 - Asking for Help is Good

There is a SAP proprietary tool called "BRBACKUP" that can just copy the database to a different folder. I tried it, but it returned a very strange error that I could not find in any dark corner of the web:

BR1826E Null database file name found in DBA_TEMP_FILES for file Id -1
BR0314E Collection of information on database files failed

After one day trying to figure out what was the root cause, I asked help to a colleague of mine. After a brief analysis, we both agreed that the issue was upstream our backup software, so a SAP technician had to help us. Luckily, we found a very kind consultant who worked for the customer, and at the end of the afternoon, we figure out that, simply, the SAP installation on the machine was faulty. The technician was kind, and provided a new server for the tests.

Day 3 - Little Steps

Finally, on this new machine, the local save using "BRBACKUP" worked! ๐ŸŽ‰ From there, it was quite easy to test various backup types (offline, online, archive logs), and configure the backup software. At the end of the day, I even had written a short documentation of the necessary steps to configure and run this backup.2

Days 4-5 - Scriptium Leviosa

And finally, the fun part: scripting. I love writing and testing scripts because they can be quite complex and, when properly tested, they simplify IT admins life so much. As I said, I prefer Bash, but Windows batch was a nice challenge (I hate PowerShell, maybe one day I'll learn it); in a couple of days, the package of scripts was ready to be delivered, among with the documentation. ๐Ÿš€

I mainly love scripting because, while writing them, I am allowed to put on my earphones and listen to some high-volume music. I love focusing with music while writing, both for work and fun (e.g., for my blogs).

And luckily I was able to finish the work week by completing the SAP backup task in time, or I would have passed a terrible weekend. Maybe it's because I work from home, but for me sometimes it's hard to stop thinking about work duties.

But this weekend I already passed too much time in front of the computer, so it's time to take a walk in this cold January. ๐Ÿฅพ

๐ŸŽฎ Started Nobody Saves The World, simple but intriguing

๐ŸŽง 1000mods ๐Ÿค˜

๐Ÿ“– The first two chapters of Stories of Your Life by Ted Chiang โ€” wow!

  1. At least I can say this was not my only task in these days, but surely my biggest concern.โ†ฉ

  2. We still had to test restore, but we were confident. ๐Ÿ‘€โ†ฉ