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What are key tips for implementing SAP Business Suite on HANA?

Migrating to SAP Business Suite on HANA requires that you invest strategic effort into infrastructure planning so you don't underestimate or overestimate the required landscape.

A strategic approach to SAP HANA infrastructure planning is a must for CIOs who have their sights set on implementing...

SAP Business Suite.

Fortunately, it is possible to perform several tasks associated with implementing SAP Business Suite on HANA well ahead of the actual migration project to ensure greater success. Depending on the current state of their SAP systems, companies may first require additional upgrade efforts before migration. SAP systems with SAP NetWeaver 7.31 or higher will require minimal upgrade efforts, while those on SAP ERP 6.0 on SAP NetWeaver 7.0 will need greater preliminary work to bring their current SAP systems up to par with SAP HANA migration requirements. The required upgrade of SAP systems to the Primary Application Server (PAS) is important, as SAP has already laid out clear landscape guidelines for PAS.

CIOs and SAP NetWeaver teams need to focus on the following five areas:

  • Enqueue server: The enqueue server is the SAP NetWeaver function that manages the lock table in the system's memory and minimizes business interruptions. For example, if one user is processing a purchase order and another tries to access the same purchase order, the system will display an error message to the second user to prevent data inconsistency.

    For large SAP systems, SAP highly recommends using a stand-alone enqueue server for better performance and scalability. In future releases, a stand-alone enqueue server will be a mandatory prerequisite for migration to SAP Business Suite on HANA. It is possible to split the enqueue server from the main instance using SAP Software Provisioning Manager (SWPM), and this can be done weeks or months before initiating the migration to SAP Business Suite on HANA.
  • Dual-stack split: To prevent system performance issues, as well as to reduce system maintenance efforts, SAP no longer supports dual-stack systems. A dual-stack system is a single SAP instance having both an ABAP Application Server and an Application Server for Java that share a single system ID and database.

    Using SWPM, it is possible to split the enqueue server from the main instance; this is a prerequisite to initiating the migration to SAP Business Suite on HANA. Like the enqueue server procedure, this task of splitting can be initiated weeks or months ahead of the migration project.
  • Sizing: It's best to use an SAP-provided ABAP report to begin SAP Business Suite for SAP HANA sizing. Doing so will provide an estimate of the main memory requirement for the SAP HANA database, but it will not provide an estimate of the SAP Application Performance Standard, which is the processing power for the application server. Be sure to engage your SAP hardware vendors, who are likely to have the necessary skills and expertise to provide a realistic estimate of the required hardware and memory.

    Three sizing tools and methods with varying degrees of accuracy are available; they are ballpark sizing, SAP sizing for SAP Business Suite on HANA and the SAP Quick Sizer. In ballpark sizing, the existing database size is halved, and a 20% buffer is added, followed by another 50 GB for repository, stack and other services. The second sizing tool, SAP sizing for Business Suite on SAP HANA, is available if the current SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) system is already upgraded to EHP 7.0. With the Quick Sizer, the sizing estimate is even more accurate, as it is either user-based or throughput-based. User-based estimates are categorized by low-, medium- or high-activity users. With throughput, the sizing estimation is based on the number of transactions and documents (throughput) generated over a period of time. 

    You should also undertake performance testing of your target landscape before going live to mitigate any risk of poorly estimated sizing.
  • Backup: SAP HANA, being an in-memory database, uses persistent storage, thereby allowing for database backup. SAP supports a scale-up scenario of Business Suite on HANA migration, but not a scale-out scenario.

    The backup strategy of a company often starts with SAP recommendations, best practices and the company's own experience with SAP ECC. The standard backup point from HANA to disk is every five minutes, which can be changed if needed. The backup options are a daily storage snapshot, automatic log backups and a weekly backup of the entire database.

    Using multiple backup options reduces risk and reduces your dependency on a single component for the backup solution. Companies often move one copy of the backup to cloud storage in case of a HANA appliance or storage failure.
  • Recovery: A good recovery process ensures database recovery to a data center in the case of a power outage, disk drive failure or major mishap. SAP HANA offers the latest recovery options, including recovery to the latest point in time, a specific point in time or restoration to a new system to create a copy of the database. 

    The parameters of a recovery point objective for HANA are set by SAP, but the system administrator can change them to suit their company's particular business needs. Another best practice is to ensure that, as soon as the SAP Business Suite for HANA backup is complete, a copy of the production environment is made to a quality assurance system. Doing so will enable SAP consultants, system administrators and programmers to fix any go-live errors in the QA system that may occur in the production system.

It's also highly recommended that you conduct regular performance testing during your SAP Business Suite for SAP HANA migration project to mitigate the risks associated with an incorrect sizing that may lead to a system slow down after going live. 

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