I am trying to understand how other SAP shops deal with building test environments for production support and development...
testing. We currently employ a methodology of doing homogeneous copies of our production system and laying down a test copy. We have become proficient in the process, but there is pain involved. Our basis folks have a cow because of the resources needed (staff; cycles; disk). We have a cow because the turnaround time from snap to availability is about 4 days. Any pointers or advice would be very much appreciated!
You may want to investigate an archiving process for your production system. By regularly archiving data in your production system, you can reduce the number of disks required to take a copy and hopefully reduce the time to create the test environment.
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