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SAP software users can benefit by removing temporary and historical data

SAP Database Health Checks suggest better data management holds the key to improved performance, less downtime and smoother upgrades

2009.06.10

SAP software users can improve system performance, reduce downtime and make upgrades easier by removing temporary or historical data from their SAP databases, according to a series of customer assessments carried out by Macro 4.

“We’ve been analysing the databases of UK SAP software users as part of a free Health Check service and we’re finding that their BASIS modules, which typically contain temporary data such as message logs, spool files and workflows, hold the second highest volume of data. Only the Finance and Control module, which is normally the core of any SAP system, was found to contain more. IT teams are supposed to remove BASIS data as part of regular housekeeping, but in around 60 per cent of cases, it was left to pile up over many years,” explained Lynda Kershaw, marketing manager, from Macro 4.

The more data held within the SAP system, the harder it has to work, affecting performance and response times. More data also means higher data storage costs, longer downtime and disruption because it takes longer to backup the system and to restore it in the event of failure. Software upgrades will take longer because there is more data to migrate.

The other major finding from the 122 Database Health Checks conducted over the last 18 months, was that 50 to 70 per cent of the content of most SAP databases is historical data that could be removed from the live SAP system.

“As well as problems with BASIS data, we found that people are hanging on to a lot of historical data, such as invoice and payroll data, that no longer needs to be on the system,” explained Nick Parkin, technical director at Macro 4 partner, Proceed, a data archiving specialist. “When customers let their database accumulate too much old data, we find they’re hit with performance problems such as slower response times and timeouts on queries, as well as batch runs and backups taking longer and becoming harder to schedule.”

Macro 4 has been offering the remote SAP Database Health Check service to help customers identify how much historical data they can archive off their systems. Customers are given instructions on running a number of specific transactions on their systems. The resulting statistical data is sent for analysis by Macro 4’s SAP experts who provide a report estimating the volume of data that can be archived to help improve performance.

“As you’d expect, the Finance and Control module was generally found to hold the largest volume of data, followed by the BASIS Module. Other modules containing large quantities were Payroll, Materials Management and Sales & Distribution. With the Health Check we’re able to calculate approximately how much of this can be archived, to make performance improvements such as improved user responses and faster batch processing,” explained Kershaw.

Macro 4 is noticing that upgrades are another big ‘pain point’, especially as many SAP software users are currently in the middle of planning upgrades to the latest version of the software, SAP ERP 6.0. The large volume of data that users need to migrate exacerbates the complexity involved and makes it difficult to schedule upgrades without lengthy downtime disrupting business operations.

“To avoid all the problems caused by maintaining a large SAP database, users need to have in place an ongoing archiving strategy to regularly remove historical data and to clear away old BASIS data. This will keep their systems lean and running efficiently,” concluded Parkin.

Macro 4 SAP database Health Check
Macro 4 is providing a free health check to analyse users’ databases and identify archiving possibilities. Click here for further information.

About Macro 4
Macro 4 is a global software company that helps organisations to improve the performance of their critical business applications by making the complex simple. Macro 4’s solutions for application performance, document management and application availability are easy to use, fast to implement and deliver value quickly in even the most complex IT environments.

US and European subsidiaries and a network of international business partners represent the company in every major market worldwide.

Macro 4’s Document Management solutions capture, store, present and deliver business-critical documents electronically and physically in the most appropriate way to increase the efficiency of key processes such as SAP™ ERP, application decommissioning and customer service via the Internet or call centres.

Macro 4 is a part of the UNICOM Group of Companies.

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