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Moving To SAP HANA – Consider Archiving

Archiving in SAP is more than just off-loading your data from an online database to an external content repository. It is about enhancing the overall end-user experience through better application response time. Discover the potential of SAP Archiving/Information Life Cycle Management (ILM) and realize savings on HANA license cost by trimming down your SAP DB.

The value graph of business relevant data declines over the years when data are accessed less frequently for reporting or other purposes. This should trigger the need for archiving to ensure the data are still available for legal/audit needs but out of the online database. This will not only alleviate the primary storage/administration demands but will directly impact your HANA license costs.

Perspective on Data

Archiving in SAP has mostly been an afterthought for several organizations. Considering the data explosion in the last decade, data archiving deserves to be planned up front for every SAP project. Efficient data management strategy is important in managing your SAP landscape, a topic that has been talked about enough, unfortunately has been equally neglected in practice. It is important to run your database lean and clean, not just to avoid performance issues and increased administrative costs, but also to avoid higher license costs when running SAP on HANA. Tons of IDOCs, years of applications logs, databases logs are a few typical examples of SAP Objects whose growth goes unnoticed in almost every SAP environment. Within no time these data add up to administrative overhead before most organizations realize.

Archiving and ILM

Data Archiving refers to removal of application data (from online SAP database) that is no longer needed for everyday business processes but retained in external repository for business or legal reasons. Data Archiving is essentially part of ILM. When we archive data, we are only referring to offloading data from SAP to an external repository; ILM refers to managing the information lifecycle which includes enforcing data retention periods required by legal regulations, industry best practices, and eventually handling the process of responsible destruction of data. Automating SAP DATA Archiving process helps HANA production system run efficiently, optimize resource utilization, faster backup/recover times, lower disaster recovery overhead, thus eventually reducing overall operational costs for organizations. Based on the work that we have done for several customers, most have saved at least a 20% on the TOC, more so in HANA environment.

Early Signs that should trigger Data Archiving Considerations
  • Watch out for that EWA report and pay attention to the fastest growing tables.
  • DVM in Solution Manager is a good option to bring transparency, control future data growth, and help plan minimizing data volume.
  • Posting transaction takes longer that usual for frequently used key business processes, typically noticed over a period.
Understand what you need to start SAP Archiving

The required archiving technology layer is part of standard SAP. However, one needs to procure a suitable archiving/content management storage solution. SAP Archiving and Document Access (ADA) is delivered as part of a standard SAP Instance. ADA leverages the standard SAP HTTP interface along with SAP ArchiveLink and Kpro storage interface to archive, link and retrieve data via standard SAP transactions. SAP supports several 3rd party archiving solutions which can be looked up from SAP Certified Solution Directory :

Archiving Objects in SAP

There are about 500+ archiving objects delivered out of box by SAP, these objects are the key components for performing archiving. They ensure that appropriate logical data dependencies are taken into consideration while archiving and retrieving the archived data. Below mentioned objects could be potential archiving candidates for almost every organization running SAP over the years. We found that the data footprint for some of these objects in most environments is surprisingly enormous.

Technical Objects: IDOCS, Workflows, Application Logs, DB Change Logs.
Functional Objects: Financial accounting documents, Sales Orders, Material Documents, Billing Documents, Purchase Orders and Purchase Requisitions.

Store attachments outside of SAP DB

Consider moving unstructured data (example: pdf/docx/xlsx/png) to external repository instead of SAP DB. Typically Purchase Orders, Invoices, Email attachments, etc. are by design stored in SAP DB which is not an efficient use of database in the long run. This area goes unnoticed but quickly takes over the database volume. We have seen several customers whose SOFFCONT1 table in SAP is over 500GB accumulating physical file attachments. Realize overall cost savings by moving such content from online SAP DB on to a less expensive storage solution.

Recommendations based on our Archiving Journey with several leading SAP Customers

Start Early: Establishing an Archiving strategy early on helps both the business and technical teams to adapt and accept the concept of data management.

Right Team: It is important to engage appropriate team players right from the start. People who understand data and business processes must be involved in the early phase, they can not only help mitigate risks associated with data archiving, but also help plan and adapt to future project initiatives.

Business Vs Technical: Start with Archiving/deleting technical objects (Workflows, App logs, etc.) and eventually consider moving to business data. This has proven to be successful as it helps organization evolve and adapt to more critical archiving scenarios in a phased manner.

Archive Vs Delete: Evaluate data that can be deleted, there is no reason to archive all data. Ex: Application logs beyond six months, IDOCS of certain statues have no business value.

MOURI Tech’s Archiving Strategy serves as a template to achieve your Data Archiving/ILM goals.

At MOURI Tech we have developed a template approach for executing SAP archiving projects based on years of experience working with several large and mid-sized SAP Customers. As part of our approach we help organizations plan their archiving journey right from conducting initial data discovery workshops to help identify application areas needing archiving, tailor future archiving/ILM roadmap, and eventually involve the right mix of team players for project execution. We also assist in training customer teams to handle archiving as an ongoing process and ensure the approach meets organizational needs by complying with legal and retention policies. A typical discovery workshop runs from 4 to 6 weeks where we help identify potential archiving objects and provide a detailed technical execution plan and future roadmap for archiving.

Good Reads

SAP Data Management Guide api=v2
Why (Almost) Every Sap Hana Needs A Data Management Solution
How to Understand Pricing of S/4HANA and HANA
5 Steps To Achieve a Successful Migration to SAP HANA
Simplify Migration to SAP HANA and S/4HANA
SAP Data Volume Management

Contact us for further details

Uday Bhoomagoud

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