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Best Practice Brief

Two Strategies for Managing SAP Transports

· · · · How agile does your company need to be to meet its business goals? Is a stable production system valued over immediate updates or enhancements? Are you able to keep the production system up-to-date? How important is customer satisfaction?

Key Points

· · · · · Continuous or Batched Transports? Sequencing Issues vs. Object Dependencies Dependency Checking and Transport Clustering Rolling Back Faulty SAP Transports Automated Change Control

Two Transport Strategies -- Which One is Right for You?

Answers to the above questions will determine a company's strategy for managing SAP transports. Each strategy has associated advantages and challenges that need to be considered, in addition to business priorities. 1. Continuous or High-Frequency Strategy. SAP teams migrate transports from development to testing to production frequently, perhaps as changes occur (daily or weekly). 2. Batched or Project Strategy. SAP teams accumulate all transports that are submitted within a given window of time and then release them together during regular, pre-scheduled rollouts (bi-monthly, quarterly, etc.)

Continuous or High-Frequency Transports

Advantages

Turning on a Dime Continuous transport migration keeps a company agile and able to adapt rapidly to customer requests and to government regulations. By staying on top of transports as they occur, critical features can be rolled into production as needed Satisfied End Users New functionality and enhancements usually result in a high end-user satisfaction rate. End users are then able to execute job responsibilities with efficiency. Newmerix 1100 South McCaslin Blvd. Suite 160 Superior, CO. 80027 (303) 350-3900 (303) 350-3889 Fax www.newmerix.com

Challenges

Pushing Errors into Production Migrating transports into production on a continuous, high-frequency basis can increase the risk of an unstable production system because of the highly integrated nature of SAP. This risk can be reduced with thorough testing.

© 2007 Newmerix Corp. All rights reserved.

Two Strategies for Managing SAP Transports

However, it's extremely difficult to capture all test scenarios in a timely manner, especially in a manual-test-generation environment. Additionally, without conducting an impact analysis each time, the effect of new transports on recent rollouts is unknown and may result in negative effects on business processes. Therefore, the risk of destabilizing the production environment increases as the frequency of transports into production increases; and the consequent troubleshooting and recovery process expands exponentially. If errors do enter production, the whole system may have to be analyzed if the change is not isolated or communication between SAP teams is lacking. Object Dependencies Identifying object dependencies and assuring testing approvals are another challenge with a continuous, high-frequency transport approach. If an error is introduced in one transport, discovered in QA, and fixed in another--you must ensure that both transports move to production at the same time and in the right order. Otherwise, that error is persisted in production until the fix is put in place. Frequent transports, without checking for object dependency and assuring testing approval, increase the risk that faulty transports will be moved into production before the fix is available. Risk of Data Loss or Corruption vs. Downtime Due to the potential for data loss or corruption, SAP recommends migrating Data Dictionaries changes on a "down" system. However, following this best practice reduces the uptime of the production system when supporting a continuous, high-frequency transport strategy.

Batched Or Project Transports

Advantages

More Stable Production System Batched transport management permits a company to plan rollouts around its business schedule--allowing end users to plan for downtime in advance. Business processes are interrupted less often than with continuous transports and production is more stable due to less downtime. This is advantageous for companies such as 24/7 on-line retailers or 24/7 manufacturing companies. Such companies can plan rollouts semi-monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, or whatever time frame works best--and whatever time of day works best as well. More Thorough Testing Batched transports also allow for more thorough testing and impact analysis since there is more time between rollouts. Developers can make changes in QAS and run all tests there before pushing transports into production. This reduces the risk of carrying errors into production.

Challenges

Sequencing Issues Even though batched or high-frequency transports have advantages, this strategy also presents some challenges, such as sequencing issues. A sequencing issue occurs when companies selectively migrate change requests from the Production Import Queue (leaving some change requests still in the queue), while simultaneously operating with an "import-all" strategy in the test system. This practice is not uncommon as it relieves the burden on the BASIS team for administering change requests in the test system. However, it becomes imperative in this situation that each project's or batch's changes are correctly selected and migrated into production.

© 2007 Newmerix Corp. All rights reserved.

Two Strategies for Managing SAP Transports

Also, a project may have more than one transport or change request; and perhaps not all changes are ready to roll out at the scheduled time. Yet, there may be dependencies between certain transports--some of which are ready to roll out and some aren't. Thorough testing of a business process then becomes impossible because of missing "parts". Changes Slow to Production When employing the batched or project strategy, new functionality and enhancements may not be rolled out in a time frame that is acceptable or desired by functional users. This delay may impact the level of customer satisfaction or a user's ability to accurately complete job functions.

Detecting Sequencing Issues and Object Dependencies

This solution also provides automatic transport dependency checking

(see Figure 1)

to prevent

sequencing issues. It monitors every object in every transport that moves through the SAP landscape, and then alerts Automate!Change users if a transport is being migrated out of sequence.

Solutions for Transport Challenges -- With Automate!TMChange

As you can see, each strategy for managing SAP transports has its pros and cons. Fortunately, companies aren't tasked with choosing between the lesser of two evils thanks to Automate!TMChange, which resolves issues inherent in either transport strategy. Automate!Change for SAP automates transport management within SAP landscapes. It is built in SAP's proprietary ABAP language and installs directly into a landscape's configuration and development system. Automate!Change: · · · · Is easy to deploy Integrates seamlessly with SAP's proprietary language Is cost-effective Requires no new hardware In addition to dependency checking, Automate!Change proactively "clusters" transports into sequenced groups--ensuring they migrate together and in the correct order.

(See Figure 2.) Figure 1: Automate!Change

automatically detects transport dependencies

Figure 2: Automate!Change

enforces correct sequencing by clustering transports

© 2007 Newmerix Corp. All rights reserved.

Two Strategies for Managing SAP Transports

Roll Back Faulty Transports in Seconds

Automate!Change easily reverses the effects of a faulty transport in the same amount of time that it took to migrate it--allowing your company to continue productive activity as quickly as possible

(see figure 3).

Summary

Choosing the right strategy for managing SAP transports will depend on your company's business needs. If continuous uptime is important, batched transports may be right for you. Or if rapid response to changes ranks high, continuous transports may be your strategy of choice. Either way, Automate!Change for SAP helps automate, track, and manage all transports, along with eliminating many of the associated risks with either strategy.

You no longer have to

shut down the system or compromise business processes to troubleshoot one faulty transport. This feature delivers significant savings in time and resources; and dramatically reduces downtime to seconds versus hours or days normally experienced.

To download additional Newmerix Best Practice Briefs, go to www.newmerix.com/reports.

Figure 3:

Automate!Change can roll back faulty transports -- entire transports or in groups

© 2007 Newmerix Corp. All rights reserved.

Newmerix 1100 South McCaslin Blvd. Suite 160 Superior, CO 80027 (303) 350-3900 (303) 350-3889 Fax www.newmerix.com

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