This blog contains experience gained over the years of implementing (and de-implementing) large scale IT applications/software.

HowTo: Extract SAP PI/PO Message Payload from SAP ASE DB

Sometimes you may need to directly the extract the SAP PO message payload from the underlying database tables such as BC_MSG_LOG in SAP ASE 16.0 database.
This could also potentially be called: extracting hex encoded ASCII data from an ASE image column. Because the SAP PO tables use an ASE image data type to store the payload as an off-row LOB.

There are plenty of examples for doing this extraction in Oracle, but in ASE it is not so easy because the message size could be larger than that supported by the page size of ASE (usually 16k in an ASE for BusSuite).
This means you won’t be able to store it into a T-SQL variable and use the ASE functions.

Instead, we can use the below simple approach to extract the raw hex, and then use Python 2 to convert it to ASCII:

1, Execute the selection SQL using isql at the Linux command prompt on the database server:

isql -USAPSR3DB -S<SID> -w999 -X

select MSG_BYTES
where MSG_ID='<YOUR MSG ID>'


The output will consist of hexadecimal output, which starts with “0x” and should look something like this:


Copy & paste into a text file on the Linux server (use your favourite text editor) and call the file data.txt.

Edit the data.txt file and remove the first “0x” characters from the data.
Remove all newlines and carriage returns in the file.

Now create a simple Python script to read the data from our file data.txt and translate from hex to ASCII then print to the screen:

with open('data.txt', 'r') as file:
    data =
print data.decode('hex')

Run the Python script:

python ./

The output should contain a header and a footer which start with:  “–SAP_”.
If you get an error from the Python script, then it could be because there are additional newlines or carriage returns in the data.txt file.

SAP ASE Error – Process No Longer Found After Startup

This post is about a strange issue I was hitting during the configuration of SAP LaMa 3.0 to start/stop a SAP ABAP 7.52 system (with Kernel 7.53) that was running with a SAP ASE 16.0 database.

During the LaMa start task, the task would fail with an error message: “ASE process no longer found after startup. (fault code: 127)“.

When I logged directly onto the SAP server Linux host, I could see that the database had indeed started up, eventually.
So what was causing the failure?

The Investigation

At first I thought this was related to the Kernel, but having checked the versions of the Kernel components, I found that they were the same as another SAP system that was starting up perfectly fine using the exact same LaMa system.

The next check I did was to turn on tracing on the hostagent itself. This is a simple task of putting the trace value to “3” in the host_profile of the hostagent and restarting it:

service/trace = 3

The trace output is shown in a number of different trace files in the work directory of the hostagent but the trace file we were interested in is called dev_sapdbctrl.

The developer trace file for the sapdbctrl binary executable is important, because the sapdbctrl binary is executed by SAP hostagent (saphostexec) to perform the database start. If you observe the contents of the sapdbctrl trace output, you will see that it loads the Sybase specific shared library which contains the required code to start/stop the ASE database.

The same sapdbctrl also contains the ability to load the required libraries for other database systems.

As a side note, it is still not known to me, how the Sybase shared library comes to exist in the hostagent executable directory. When SAP ASE is patched, this library must also be patched, otherwise how does the hostagent stay in-step with the ASE database that it needs to talk with?

Once tracing was turned on, I shut the SAP ASE instance down again and then used SAP LaMa to initiate the SAP system start once again.
Sure enough, the LaMa start task failed again.

Looking in the trace file dev_sapdbctrl I could see the same error message that I was seeing in SAP LaMa:

Error: Command execution failed. : ASE process no longer found after startup. 
(fault code: 127) Operation ID: 000D3A3862631EEAAEDDA232BE624001
----- Log messages ---- 
Info: saphostcontrol: Executing StartDatabase 
Error: sapdbctrl: ASE process no longer found after startup. 
Error: saphostcontrol: StartDatabase failed (sapdbctrl exit code = 1)

This was great. It confirmed that SAP LaMa was just seeing the symptom of some other issue, since LaMa just calls the hostagent to do the start.

Now I knew the hostagent was seeing the error, I tried using the hostagent directly to perform the start, using the following:

/usr/sap/hostctrl/exe/saphostctrl -debug -function StartDatabase -dbname <SID> -dbtype syb -dbhost <the-ASE-host>

NOTE: The hostagent “-debug” command line option puts out the same information without the need for the hostagent tracing to be turned on in the host_profile.

Once again, the start process failed and the same error message was present in the dev_sapdbctrl trace file.

This was now really strange.
I decided that the next course of action was to start the process of raising the issue with SAP via an incident.
If you suspect that something could take a while to fix, then it’s always best to raise it with SAP early and continue to look at the issue in parallel.

Continuing the Diagnosis

While the SAP incident was in progress, I continued the process of trying to self-diagnose the issue further.
I tried a couple more things such as:

  • Starting and stopping SAP ASE manually using stopdb/startdb commands.
  • Restarting the whole server (this step has a place in every troubleshooting process, eventually).
  • Checking the server patch level.
  • Checking the environment of the Linux user, the shell, the profile files, the O/S limits applied.
  • Checking what happens if McAfee anti-virus was disabled (I’ve seen the ePO blocking processes before).

Eventually exhaustion set in and I decided to give the SAP support processor time to get back to me with some hints.

Some Sleep

I spend a lot of time solving SAP problems. A lot of time.
Something doesn’t work according to the docs, something did work but has stopped working, something has never worked well…
It builds up in your mind and you carry this stuff around in your head.
Subconsciously you think about these problems.

Then, at about 3am when you can’t get back to sleep, you have a revelation.
The hostagent is forking the process to start the database as the syb<sid> Linux user (it uses “su”), from the root user (hostagent runs as the root user).

Linux Domain Users

The revelation I had regarding the forking of the user, was just the trigger I needed to make me consider the way the Linux authentication was setup on this specific server with the problem ASE startup.

I remembered at the beginning of the project that I had hit an issue with the SSSD Linux daemon, which is responsible for interfacing between Linux and Microsoft Active Directory. At that time, the issue was causing the hostagent to hang when operations were executed which required a switch to another Linux user.
This previous issue was actually a hostagent issue that was fixed in a later hostagent patch. During that particular investigation, I requested that the Linux team re-configure the SSSD daemon to be more efficient with its Active Directory traversals, when it was looking to see if the desired user account was local to Linux or if it was a domain account.

With this previous issue in mind, I checked the SSSD configuration on the problem server. This is a simple conf file in /etc/sssd.

The Solution

After all the troubleshooting, the raising of the incident, the sleeping, I had finally got to the solution.

After checking the SSSD daemon configuration file /etc/sssd/sssd.conf, I could clearly see that there was one entry missing compared to the other servers that didn’t experience the SAP ASE start error.

The parameter: “subdomain_enumerate = none” was missing.
Looking at the manual page for SSSD it would seem that without this parameter there is additional overhead during any Active Directory traversal.

I set the parameter accordingly in the /etc/sssd/sssd.conf file and restarted the SSSD daemon using:

service sssd restart

Then I retried the start of the database using the hostagent command shown previously.
It worked!
I then retried with SAP LaMa and that also now started ASE without error messages.

Root Cause

What it seems was happening, was some sort of internal pre-set timeout in the sapdbctrl binary, when hit, the sapdbctrl just abandons and throws the error that I was seeing. This leaves the ASE database to continue and start (the process was initiated), but in the hostagent it looked like it had failed to start.
By adding the “subdomain_enumerate = none” parameter, any “delay”, caused by inappropriate call to Active Directory was massively reduced and subsequent start activities were successful.

SAP PO 7.31 SPS14 JCO NoSuchMethodError

Scenario: We had an outbound interface from SAP PO which was an iDoc being sent to a SAP ABAP stack via HTTP, in the message monitoring log we saw:

javax.ejb.EJBException: nested exception is:

The message is retried and eventually set to NDLG.

The PO system was a fresh install of PO 7.31, then patched to base SPS13, then we had applied the base 7.31 SPS14 along with the available patches at the time.
During the error, we had the following component levels:

Name    Vendor Location               Version
AJAX-RUNTIME                     SAP AG 1000.
BASETABLES               SAP AG 1000.
BI-BASE-B                 SAP AG 1000.
BI-BASE-E                 SAP AG 1000.
BI-BASE-S                 SAP AG 1000.
BI-WDALV                SAP AG 1000.
BI-WDEXT                 SAP AG 1000.
BI_UDI               SAP AG 1000.
BPEM-ACC               SAP AG 1000.
BPEM-BASE               SAP AG 1000.
BPEM-BASIS               SAP AG 1000.
BPEM-BUILDT               SAP AG 1000.
BPEM-COLLAB               SAP AG 1000.
BPEM-CONTENT                    SAP AG 1000.
BPEM-CORE               SAP AG 1000.
BPEM-CUUI               SAP AG 1000.
BPEM-FACADE               SAP AG 1000.
BPEM-HIM               SAP AG 1000.
BPEM-MM               SAP AG 1000.
BPEM-MON               SAP AG 1000.
BPEM-PP                  SAP AG 1000.
BPEM-WDUI               SAP AG 1000.
BRMS-BASE               SAP AG 1000.
BRMS-BUILDT               SAP AG 1000.
BRMS-CORE               SAP AG 1000.
BRMS-FACADE               SAP AG 1000.
BRMS-MON               SAP AG 1000.
BRMS-WDUI               SAP AG 1000.
CAF               SAP AG 1000.
CAF-MF                     SAP AG 1000.
CAF-UI               SAP AG 1000.
CFG_ZA                     SAP AG 1000.
CFG_ZA_CE               SAP AG 1000.
COLLAB-ADP               SAP AG 1000.
COMP_BUILDT               SAP AG 1000.
CORE-TOOLS               SAP AG 1000.
CU-BASE-JAVA               SAP AG 1000.
CU-BASE-WD               SAP AG 1000.
CU-BASE-WD-EXT                 SAP AG 1000.
CU-WD4VC-ADPT                 SAP AG 1000.
DATA-MAPPING                   SAP AG 1000.
DI_CLIENTS               SAP AG 1000.
ECM-ADMIN               SAP AG 1000.
ECM-APPS               SAP AG 1000.
ECM-CORE               SAP AG 1000.
ECM-JEE-COMP                     SAP AG 1000.
ECM-STORE               SAP AG 1000.
ENGFACADE               SAP AG 1000.
ENGINEAPI               SAP AG 1000.
EP-ADMIN               SAP AG 1000.
EP-BASIS                   SAP AG 1000.
EP-BASIS-API               SAP AG 1000.
EP-CONNECTIVITY                SAP AG 1000.
EP-MODELING               SAP AG 1000.
EP-RUNTIME               SAP AG 1000.
EP_BUILDT               SAP AG 1000.
ESCONF_BUILDT                   SAP AG 1000.
ESI-UI               SAP AG 1000.
ESMP_BUILDT               SAP AG 1000.
ESP_FRAMEWORK               SAP AG 1000.
ESREG-BASIC               SAP AG 1000.
ESREG-SERVICES                   SAP AG 1000.
FP-INFRA                  SAP AG 1000.
FRAMEWORK               SAP AG 1000.
FRAMEWORK-EXT                SAP AG 1000.
GWJPO               SAP AG 1000.
INTG_VIS                 SAP AG 1000.
INTG_VIS_DCJ               SAP AG 1000.
J2EE-APPS                SAP AG 1000.
J2EE-FRMW               SAP AG 1000.
JSPM               SAP AG 1000.
KM-KW_JIKS               SAP AG 1000.
LM-CORE                  SAP AG 1000.
LM-CTS               SAP AG 1000.
LM-CTS-UI               SAP AG 1000.
LM-MODEL-BASE                  SAP AG 1000.
LM-MODEL-NW                     SAP AG 1000.
LM-SLD               SAP AG 1000.
LM-TOOLS                SAP AG 1000.
LMCFG               SAP AG 1000.
LMCTC               SAP AG 1000.
LMNWABASICAPPS               SAP AG 1000.
LMNWABASICCOMP               SAP AG 1000.
LMNWABASICMBEAN               SAP AG 1000.
LMNWACDP               SAP AG 1000.
LMNWATOOLS               SAP AG 1000.
LMNWAUIFRMRK                 SAP AG 1000.
MESSAGING               SAP AG 1000.
MMR_SERVER               SAP AG 1000.
MOIN_BUILDT               SAP AG 1000.
NWTEC               SAP AG 1000.
ODATA-CXF-EXT                    SAP AG 1000.
PI-SCP-BUILDT               SAP AG 1000.
PI-SCP-EXT               SAP AG 1000.
PIB2BAS2                  SAP AG 1000.
PIB2BOFTP               SAP AG 1000.
PIB2BPGP                 SAP AG 1000.
PIB2BSFTP                SAP AG 1000.
PIB2BTOOLKIT               SAP AG 1000.
PIB2BX400                SAP AG 1000.
SAP-XI3RDPARTY                  SAP AG 1000.
SAP_BUILDT               SAP AG 1000.
SAP_XIADMIN               SAP AG 1000.
SAP_XIAF                 SAP AG 1000.
SAP_XIESR               SAP AG 1000.
SAP_XIGUILIB               SAP AG 1000.
SAP_XITOOL               SAP AG 1000.
SEA-CORE                 SAP AG 1000.
SEA-FACADE               SAP AG 1000.
SEA-UI               SAP AG 1000.
SECURITY-EXT               SAP AG 1000.
SERVERCORE               SAP AG 1000.
SERVICE-COMP               SAP AG 1000.
SOAMON                 SAP AG 1000.
SOAMONBASIC                     SAP AG 1000.
SR-UI               SAP AG 1000.
SUPPORTTOOLS                    SAP AG 1000.
SWLIFECYCL               SAP AG 1000.
THL-CORE                 SAP AG 1000.
TM-WLUI                  SAP AG 1000.
UDDI               SAP AG 1000.
UISAPUI5_JAVA                    SAP AG 1000.
UKMS_JAVA               SAP AG 1000.
UMEADMIN               SAP AG 1000.
UWLJWF                   SAP AG 1000.
VCBASE                     SAP AG 1000.
VCCORERT               SAP AG 1000.
VCFRAMEWORK                    SAP AG 1000.
VCFREESTYLEKIT                    SAP AG 1000.
VCKITBI                     SAP AG 1000.
VTP_BUILDT               SAP AG 1000.
WD-ADOBE               SAP AG 1000.
WD-APPS                 SAP AG 1000.
WD-FLEX                   SAP AG 1000.
WD-RUNTIME               SAP AG 1000.
WD-RUNTIME-EXT               SAP AG 1000.
WDEXTENSIONS                    SAP AG 1000.
WSRM               SAP AG 1000.
XI_CNT_SAP_BASIS               SAP AG 1000.

We then downloaded the following patches and applied with SUM:

Name    Version                Current                PatchedLevel
AJAX-RUNTIME                1000. 1              2
CORE-TOOLS      1000. 1              2
ENGINEAPI         1000. 1              2
EP-BASIS              1000. 2              4
FRAMEWORK    1000. 0              1
FRAMEWORK-EXT           1000. 1              2
GWJPO 1000. 0              1
J2EE-APPS           1000. 1              4
J2EE-FRMW        1000. 1              3
LM-CORE             1000. 2              3
LM-CTS 1000. 0              1
MESSAGING      1000.
ODATA-CXF-EXT               1000. 0              1
SAP_XIAF            1000.
SAP_XIESR          1000.
SAP_XIGUILIB   1000. 1              2
SAP_XITOOL      1000. 1              2
SERVERCORE      1000. 1              5
SOAMON            1000. 1              3
SUPPORTTOOLS               1000. 0              1
WD-RUNTIME   1000. 2              4

This fixed the issue.

Starting and Stopping Individual SAP AS Java Server Processes

Should you need to restart either manually or automatically (via script) a specific AS Java server node, it’s possible to use the sapcontrol tool to provide precise control.

The method detailed below is based on the documentation provided here:
Performs a given control function (EnableProcess/StartProcess, DisableProcess/StopProcess,
SoftStopProcess, ActivateProcess, DeactivateProcess, RestartProcess, SoftRestartProcess,
DumpStackTrace, EnableDebugging, DisableDebugging, IncrementTrace, DecrementTrace) on a given AS
Java process. processname must match a process name in the AS Java process list returned by
J2EEGetProcessList. To perform AS Java instance-wide operations (StartInstance, StopInstance,
RestartInstance, BootInstance, RebootInstance), use processname “all”.
Based on the above information, we can query the AS Java processes for a specific AS Java instance, using the following command line as the sidadm user:

sidadm> sapcontrol -host [host] -nr [sys##] -function J2EEGetProcessList
You should substitute the “host” and “sys##” with the host of your application server (virtual host) and the SAP instance number.
The command will return a list of the processes that the instance is running.
For a 2 node AS Java system, you can see the Server0 and Server1 processes in the list.
To restart Server0 on the AS Java instance use the below command line as the sidadm user:

sidadm> sapcontrol -host [host] -nr [sys##] -function J2EEControlProcess “server0” “RestartProcess”
You should substitute the “host” and “sys##” with the host of your application server (virtual host) and the SAP instance number.
Change “server0” for “server1” if you want to restart server1.
Based on the above restart, you can monitor the restart by using the below command line to see when the restart is completed:
sidadm> sapcontrol -host [host] -nr [sys##] -function J2EEGetProcessList | awk -F, ‘{ if ( $2 != “” && FNR > 5 ){ print “Name: “$2″ttState: “$8″ttStarted: “$9 }}’
You should substitute the “host” and “sys##” with the host of your application server (virtual host) and the SAP instance number.