Wow, what a year it has been since the release of our last major version 21.11. This year we’ve focused on automation, improving the automation engine we delivered with 21.11.0 across our minor releases for the year and we’ve already received great feedback from our customers. Avantra 23.0 brings all these improvements together with even more automation features, the next release of our new UX project, new automation integrations and much more.
For those who want a complete list of changes, our release notes are publicly available here. Let’s dig in.
Our automation engine has received most of our attention over the past year and Avantra 23.0 is no exception.
We’ve also greatly improved the scheduling capabilities of our new automation engine in Avantra 23.0. Automation workflows can now be scheduled using a CRON-like syntax and tested to see when they will be run, allowing for much easier workflow schedule maintenance. A new built-in step has also been added to allow workflows to send notifications through our notification engine. This new step allows the status of a workflow to be broadcasted or a workflow to be used as an analytics generator, sending output to the business.
With Avantra 23.0 we’ve also improved what happens when a workflow fails. We’ve introduced a new failure type that will fail the entire workflow (and not allow retries), useful for completely automated workflows. We’ve also added the ability to change the value of a parameter on step failure which is really useful if you mistyped a file path or a password!
Additionally, we’ve added support for running automations on Java based SAP systems, cloud services and improved the overall experience of starting a workflow with many input parameters.
Enterprise Edition Automation Features
We’ve been working with several of our customers on our Avantra Enterprise Edition automation content and are releasing the next iteration of these add ins with Avantra 23.0.
Our SAP System Refresh automation receives support for Oracle and Sybase databases, in addition to the existing SAP HANA database support, to give our customers even more opportunity to automate their activities. We’ve also added the ability to implement HR related support packs with our SAP upgrade automation template, relieving some of the stress when the business comes with a last minute legal or regulatory change that must be implemented with a strict deadline.
With the automation engine for Enterprise edition customers, we’ve added the ability to integrate with Ansible playbooks, either directly or through Ansible Controller (Ansible Tower), to create even more powerful automations. Avantra brings the deep SAP knowledge and Ansible, with its breadth of integration possibilities, can further enhance your automation creativity. Bernd Engist, our CTO, recently demonstrated this with an example workflow that uses Ansible to resize a Google Cloud Platform VM to increase its allocated CPU cores, while Avantra performed the necessary Start/Stop actions (an Avantra built in action) and updated the SAP profile parameters (an Avantra Enterprise Add in) to make use of the new resources available. This activity can be scheduled to scale SAP with your known usage patterns (to beef up production over month end for example) or automatically in response to a critical check. Take a look at the full demo on our YouTube channel.
And, while not strictly related to automation (it can be used to start an automation from our SOAP API), we’ve also added the ability to create API keys for users that allow Avantra Enterprise Edition users to log in without SAML / passwords and provide a much more robust way to integrate our APIs in to other applications.
Our Avantra Enterprise Edition customers can now download and import these templates into Avantra by visiting this support article. As some of these automation templates are destructive, please do reach out to Avantra support for clarification if you have any questions or feedback!
New Landscape Browser UX
We’ve been working hard since 21.11.0 on our new user experience project. With Avantra 21.11.0 we released the first component of our new user experience, a completely rejuvenated dashboarding function. With Avantra 23.0 we are now ready to release the next phase of this project, our new Landscape Browser.
One of the key features our customers use in Avantra is to be able to understand the status of their monitored systems within their landscape, to find out which systems need attention and if their key business capabilities are impacted in any way.
With Avantra 23.0, we’re adding the ability to explore your monitored systems in our new UI. We’ve spent months looking at the data that Avantra collects and thinking about how we should display this in a more understandable and user friendly way. We’ve added the ability to navigate through your Servers, SAP Systems and Instances, Databases, SAP BusinessObjects and Cloud Services in our new, intuitive user interface.
Each monitored object list works similarly to our classic UI in that you can choose what fields you want to display in the list and we’ve added some new fields we think you’ll find useful too. Getting to the correct list of systems is easier as well. We show your existing system selectors in the main UI so you can access the most important systems. We’ve also made it easier to create system selectors too, where you can immediately see the results. You can also see your systems separated by customer and system role in our new Tree view mode, making it easier to focus on the task at hand.
That’s not all. When clicked, the new system list expands, showing more information about the system with embedded performance analytics and a system inventory or related systems that provide the option to drill into also allowing you to visualize the relationship between the monitored systems allowing you to understand the impact that a change or an outage can have.
We’re quite excited about this next stage of our new user experience project. We hope you are too and look forward to any feedback you may have when using this new view.
New monitoring capabilities
With Avantra, we’ve built a powerful platform that gives our customers the option to use, only the built in capabilities or extend it themselves with custom monitoring so that Avantra can keep track of what really matters to your business.
Over the last year, we’ve been collaborating with some of our customers to evaluate the manual labor of the SAP operations team and work to incorporate those activities into Avantra itself. Ultimately freeing up their teams to focus on creating and adding value to their organizations. With Avantra 23.0, we’re bringing the first wave of these new monitoring capabilities to all our customers.
Avantra 23.0 introduces 9 new SAP ABAP system daily checks that monitor things such as SAP license expiry to ABAP buffer performance, from SAP TemSe consistency to obsolete internal RFCs. Please check out our full release notes and documentation for more information on these checks!
In addition to SAP ABAP checks, we’ve been working hard engineering checks for the open source database, PostgreSQL. PostgreSQL is our recommended choice for the database that runs Avantra, and now, our customers can monitor the Avantra database usage and performance, as well as their own PostgreSQL databases, from within Avantra itself.
We’re excited for our customers to get their hands on Avanta 23.0. Upgrading is easy and customers running 21.11.x can upgrade just like a 21.11.x minor update. Customers running older versions of Avantra will be able to upgrade easily as well, although you would need to consult the recommendations for upgrading to 21.11.0 first, as we have dependencies on certain ABAP transports with this version.
A complete list of changes can be found in the release notes on our documentation website.
At Avantra, we are delighted when our customers tell us about their experiences. Let us know what you are looking for in Avantra by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to your customer success manager.
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