On 21/10/2013 it was time. SAP ERP EHP7 powered by SAP HANA went live successfully. So what has happened since the last episode?
After the sandbox testing went very well and the new hardware landscape was able to be put into operation, in early August as planned, we began the last phase, Wave 2 You might perhaps remember that last time we mentioned a possible introduction of EhP7 into HANA. Again, the test migration went well, so we naturally decided to go further with EHP 7. We are one of the first SAP users worldwide, to have put EhP7 ERP powered by SAP HANA into live production.
A quick word on the DMO
In one of our recent blog entries, we wrote about a new SAP tool called DMO (Database Migration Option). This connects the two technical steps «Release — Upgrade» and «HANA-Migration» to each other and thus promises an advantage in speed. Due to time constraints, the conversion of our production landscape with the DMO tool was out of the question. We have nevertheless carried out speed tests in parallel on another sandbox-system (copy of our production system). For technical release changes and the HANA database migration, we measured a speed advantage of about 10 % when using the DMO Tools. For users, for whom the duration of the downtime is very critical to their operation, the DMO Tools as part of a HANA migration is a very appropriate approach. Since this tool has not yet been officially signed-off by SAP, it must currently be specifically requested.
As a first step, we made a copy of our development system and then migrated it. We made a copy since we still needed our development system for error-checking and legal requirements. Because sensitive HR data is deleted from our development system for reasons of data protection, the copy is also compliant with data protection requirements and we can provide developers with extensive privileges. The migration to SAP HANA and the subsequent release upgrade to EHP 7 went without a hitch. In accordance with SAP’s recommendations, we have carried out specific adaptations to our internally generated ABAP programs in connection with HANA. With the help of the so-called «Code Inspector» and appropriate selection criteria, programs are checked for their compatibility with HANA. Both syntactic problems and potential performance optimization are presented. We dealt first with the syntactic problems and adjusted about 80 lines in our own programs. This was followed by initial testing for the key users worldwide. The tests ran without any major surprises or fatal errors and so our next step was to copy and migrate our test system. This formed the basis for the final test phase of about 2 weeks in which all key users worldwide tested the new system intensively and ran through all the processes. On 11.10.2013 the key users and internal IT signed off the new system. Although there were still small errors here and there, these were so minimal that nothing stood in the way of go-live.
On 15/10/2013 we therefore started the migration of our production system. On the Friday, we went out into the hot phase, for which a period of downtime was scheduled from 6PM Friday to Noon Tuesday. For Europe, this meant an unavailability of 1.5 working days and for the U.S. and Canada 2 working days. We had, of course, scheduled time buffers for the individual steps time and fortunately finished the technical migration and the release change earlier than planned. As of Monday afternoon, the key users were asked to check the «new» production system intensively for 2 hours and to run through agreed processes. At the same time corporate finance undertook a balance of accounts and other FI reports for all company codes with the data before the migration, to document the stability of the data through the upgrade process. The review of financial data ran smoothly, as did the exemplary implementation of processes, with the result that we were actually ready to go live with the new system on Monday night. But as there would have been no support in the U.S. and Canada to help in the event of a problem in Germany, we decided to go live with the system on Tuesday morning, i.e. half a day earlier than originally planned.
All in all, the project was a success both on the technical side as well as on the performance side. There are many spots in which you can see performance improvements made by HANA, particularly in the area of evaluation. However, there are also places where we will work together with SAP to generate further improvements in the performance area. Technologically, we have learned a lot, most especially that HANA and EHP 7 could be implemented by us without big mistakes and problems and that it is stable. We can now also recommend HANA to our customers based on our own experience.
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— written by Heinz Feil, Head of internal IT, itelligence —