True SAP Blooper #2: A go live nightmare

Ellen O'Brien

Anyone who has ever survived a massive go-live knows it's a time for avoiding on-the-job learning and last-minute surprises. That's exactly what Basis administrator Kevin Zonts and his team experienced.

Zonts, who works at Binghamton, N.Y.-based Universal Instruments, described a system administrator's nightmare: working months on a migration and then hitting a huge snag in the hours leading up to the big event.

He recounted his SAP blunder, blow by blow, for

"Our blunder occurred hours before go-live and after many months of hard work migrating from an AS/400 Mapics system," Zonts said. "Final preparations continued throughout the night, and the last task was a system restart.

"Earlier in the evening, our Basis consultant discovered a few memory management parameters needed to be adjusted, so we applied the changes as requested. Little did we know; this parameter change would lead to big trouble!

"We sent our Basis consultant back to the hotel for some shut-eye so he would be fresh for the next day's activities. He falls sound asleep, of course.

"Well, now 4 a.m. arrives. It's time to restart the system. This seemed like an innocent task, considering we did this many times before. However, during the execution of the SAP startup scripts, we received fatal errors. My immediate thought was that my career was over.

"Keep in mind, we're not very experienced in debugging parameter conflicts. This was our first

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After looking in all the wrong places to resolve the issue, we had to wake our Basis consultant out of a deep sleep, whisk him away from the hotel and back to the office. He was able to fix the problem in a matter of a few minutes, and we learned a very valuable lesson about parameter changes!"

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