I can’t believe it's already been a year since the release of Avantra 23 in 2022. Over the past year, we’ve released three minor releases, 23.1, 23.2 & 23.3 that brought meaningful quality of life improvements across the entire product. We are bringing new checks, new performance optimizations, and highly requested features from our ideas portal (login needed). Additionally, there will be two new editions (Automation & Observability) so that customers can make better use of the features we have, and we have squashed 100s of bugs in different scenarios that our customers encounter in their day to day.
Avantra 24 builds on top of last year’s innovations with a fresh new look for 2024, a more optimized automation engine, new automation templates, a new Add In store, new security features, new integration possibilities and much more.
Let’s dive deeper into the new features. For a complete list of changes, check out our public release notes.
A brand new look and feel for Avantra
The most noticeable change in Avantra 24.0 is our new, brighter, fresher look and feel. We’ve spent months crafting this new design across Avantra that integrates the classic UI elements that our customers recognize and empower their work, with the fresh new look and feel of our next generation UI.
We’ve also been working hard on our next generation UI too, which also has a brand new look and feel (that matches the classic UI theme update) to give a consistent experience across Avantra. We’ve shaken up how we’re developing and delivering the new UI, including having the “Open new UI” button replaced by a much more function driven approach to switching between the two UIs. I’m excited to share the progress we’ve made and the aggressive plans we have for the next few releases.
We’ve reworked dashboards again with 24.0 on this new design approach and, internally, we’re loving how easy it is to build and interact with new dashboards. Our plan for dashboarding is with our major release of Avantra 25 next year, where we will remove our classic dashboarding. Over the next year we will work with our customers to ensure this transition is as smooth as possible and key features are included.
We’ve also taken the core “managed objects” of Avantra and given them a new look, a new detailed view and a much refreshed overview to highlight where the issues are and where you should spend your time. This is still in progress with the development team but we wanted to give a preview of what’s to come in 24.x and beyond to get your feedback.
Avantra Add Ins Library
With Avantra 24.0 we’re introducing the first component of our Avantra AIR roadmap and this one is for existing customers. We’ve been building add in content, delivering automation and check templates, for some time now. However, they’ve been hiding away in our support portal and customers have been needing to do manual work to get them installed on their landscape. With Avantra 24.0, these are visible inside Avantra and available with one click installs and upgrades to get up and running.
Additionally, Avantra tracks the content you have installed and when we add new features and fixes to automation templates, you’re alerted to the newer version so you can benefit from them as soon as they’re released.
This is the first part of our Avantra AIR initiative and we’re excited to get your feedback. Please let us know (links at the bottom of this blog post).
With the release of Avantra 24.0, we’ve also released a bumper collection of automation templates for our Automation and Enterprise edition customers. Available through the Avantra Add Ins Library, these automations focus on patching SAP HANA, SAP WebDispatcher and SAP Host Agent so that you can spend more time on handling the complex scenarios. These automations are available as templates to install and use out of the box or customize as you wish to suit your requirements!
Avantra 24.0 also marks the general availability of our ABAP certificate renewal workflow that allows you to centrally manage and update your SSL certificates in ABAP systems across your landscape. This automation can be tied in to your certificate authority (we have integrated it internally to Google Cloud Platform) to generate the certificate and the certificate renewal workflow will install it into an ABAP system. This automation can be scheduled from the check status, or simply scheduled at regular intervals, since certificate expiry is a continuous process. Automating this process also allows you to set much shorter expiration dates to keep your security team much happier!
Additionally, we’re releasing the SAP ABAP digital note implementation workflow. This workflow allows you to specify the number to an SAP note that contains automatic correction instructions and have Avantra implement them in one or many systems of your choosing using our workflow engine. We’ve also tied this feature into our SAP HotNews feed so you can implement directly from that list some of the notes correcting the SAP HotNews.
Our focus on the automation engine for 24.0 is in regards to what happens when you roll out a workflow to a large number of systems or perform operations on large data sets (that you sometimes need to pass to the next step). In Avantra 24.0 we’ve simplified the layout of the executions list, drastically improving the performance of showing this to you, and providing a drill down popup that breaks down the status of the workflow against each of the systems that it was executing against.
Furthermore, you can create a system selector from this screen to run corrective workflow on the systems that experienced issues with the first workflow or just to keep track of their status. These features came from a collaboration with one of our large customers and bring the usability of the workflow engine to the next level.
With Avantra 23.3 we introduced sequential loops for workflows and with Avantra 24.0 you can now execute these loops in parallel to reduce time needed for a workflow to execute. This can be turned on by simply selecting the checkbox in the workflow step properties!
Source code management for the automation engine
An administrator in Avantra 24.0 Enterprise Edition can link one or more namespaces to be backed by a GIT repository to provide secure and robust source code management for our automation engine.
GIT is a mature, distributed version control system in use by thousands of developers worldwide to store, manage access and streamline development activities. With Avantra 24.0, we’ve introduced the capability to automatically record changes to workflow and library steps to a GIT repository of the customers’ choosing and support external tools that would perform change control management and deployment of this code to a production Avantra environment.
Setup for this feature requires access to an external GIT repository, usually hosted on GitHub, Bitbucket, Gitlab or similar, to be configured in the new Administration → Repositories menu and namespaces can then be linked to it. This menu item allows access to track changes made, commit and push them to the external repository. For a customers’ productive Avantra system, a similar configuration can be made and pull those changes to deploy updates for your users.
One of the most commonly requested features for Avantra is more documentation and access to our APIs. Avantra doesn’t exist in a silo and integrating Avantra with your other systems to produce connected workflows and a smarter operations platform has been our goal for a while now. With Avantra 24.0, we have made our GraphQL API publicly available for our customers to use and control Avantra from scripts or 3rd party systems. We’ve been working with a number of customers on our APIs and they’ve already seen a big benefit to these changes and we hope you will too.
With Avantra 23.3 we introduced support for Java 17 for our Avantra Agents in a beta rollout. Since then, we’ve had lots of feedback on this and Java 17 makes supporting our software even easier by bringing a number of quality of life improvements for our support team. Thus making Avantra run faster and allowing us to use newer technology for a number of different features, paving the way for us to support Avantra into the future.
From Avantra 24.0, Java 17 is the only supported Java Runtime Environment (JRE) that will work with Avantra Server and Avantra Agents. To help customers on this journey, we’ve created this upgrade page with detailed instructions on how to upgrade to Avantra 24 and how to make use of our built in agent upgrade features.
A complete list of changes can be found in the 24.0 release notes on our documentation website.
For those upgrading from 23.x or below, I strongly recommend you read through our release notes, known issues and upgrade guide before pressing the button.
At Avantra, we are delighted when our customers tell us about their experiences. Let us know what you are looking for in Avantra by creating an idea at ideas.avantra.com, emailing us at email@example.com or speaking to your customer success manager.
For more information on Avantra 24, you may download our technical presentation.
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