October 08 2014 0comment

SAP Data Archiving

Explosive data growth in SAP systems causes deterioration of application performance and user productivity, high costs due to large tier-1 Enterprise Storage volumes with high redundancy as well as high administration costs due to long backup and maintenance windows. Furthermore, large databases cause longer system downtimes during upgrades and restorations, resulting in loss of business.

Simply deleting this data is often not a valid option, due to legal data retention requirements. The best and most viable solution is Data Archiving. Data Archiving is the process of moving infrequently accessed data from closed business processes, from high cost Database storage to low cost Archive storage, retaining real-time access from SAP screens.

Data Archiving, in general means moving huge volumes of the data that is no longer required in the database to some file system or any third party storage system. It is a functionality provided within SAP applications for the consistent removal of data objects from database tables of the SAP database, where all table entries that characterize a data object are written to an archive file outside the database.

Benefits of DATA Archiving

  1. Reduces cost of infrastructure (storage, memory and computing)
  2. Reduces administration costs
  3. Ensures cost efficient system upgrades and migrations
  4. Improved SAP Application performance

SAP Data Archiving Process Flow

SAP Data Archiving mainly involves three steps:

  1. Run the ‘write’ programs to create archive files
  2. Run the delete programs
  3. Store the archive files

Creating the archive file and running the delete programs are the mandatory steps to follow for data archiving whereas storing the archive files is optional.

Run the ‘write’ programs to create archive files

In this step, a new archive file is created and data to be archived is read from SAP tables and sequentially written in it.

Run the delete programs

In this step, the delete programs are executed which delete the corresponding entries from the SAP database, after checking if the archived data can be read successfully from the archive files. The delete programs can be triggered manually or automatically.

Store the Archive files

Here, the archive file with the archived data is moved to the third party storage system or copied to disk, etc. This can also be triggered manually or automatically.

Avaali follows global best practices for SAP Data Archiving implementations, based on many years of implementation experience:

Start Early: Devise a data archiving strategy and policy based on the following parameters

  • System Age – typically for systems that have been live for 2 to 4 Years.
  • DB Size – typically 750 GB or more.
  • Growth rate – typically 15+% or more annually

Identify the right data for archiving based on:

  • Space savings achievable.
  • Business impact and dependencies.
  • Application performance.
  • What not to archive

Consider SAP Data Management with a holistic view. Apart from archiving, some data may be deactivated or purged (as they are not required for business or for audit) or may be subject summarization techniques.

Target quick wins first – Choosing data which are fast growing but have low criticality and dependencies or those which are purely technical, yields quicker space savings. This also ensures that business buy-in and acceptance is won before moving on to more complex data.

In-depth Analysis should be done to achieve maximum benefits from archiving, to minimize risks and to ensure business buy-in and acceptance of the archiving solution. For example, open business documents need to be closed before they can be archived. An analysis will show what data is still open, following which Avaali consultants will make recommendations on how to close data and make it ready for archiving. Furthermore, it is important to investigate the business impact of archiving to know where the data is being used and how users would need to access data from the archives.

Work with business and legal teams to put in place appropriate residence rules (how long the data must remain in the database before archiving) and retention rules (total time the data must available before it can be disposed/shred/deleted) for different types of data.

Put in place archive access mechanisms so that there is minimal or no impact for business users when they access data in reports and transactions. Avaali consultants will ensure seamless real-time retrieval of archived data.