Understanding and using SAP data archiving tools

A number of vendors offer data archiving solutions that can be incorporated into existing SAP implementations. Learn more about using SAP data archiving tools, and what role Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) plays in an SAP data archiving environment.

Several vendors offer archiving solutions that can be incorporated into existing SAP implementations. The term...

to learn here is Information Lifecycle Management (ILM), which SAP defines as a combination of processes and technologies whose goal it is to provide the right information at the right time and at the right place, with the lowest possible costs, over the entire lifetime of the data.

This entails knowing and categorizing a company's data, defining policies that govern what the company does with the information, setting up the system in such a way that these policies can be applied to the data, and then implementing a customer-specific information management strategy with the help of technology.

Many vendors offer solutions that encompass what ILM is all about, with the primary focus being on the archiving portion of an ILM strategy.

SAP offers tools and solutions for data archiving, with capabilities built directly into the SAP NetWeaver Application Server. Two variations of data archiving can be defined under the NetWeaver Application Server: ADK-based archiving, which is used only by SAP ABAP applications, and XML-based archiving. It offers the ability to archive ABAP applications that are XML aware, as well as JAVA applications. Working with the NetWeaver Application server is more of a hands-on approach for archiving chores and will require extensive knowledge of the SAP applications as well as intimate knowledge of XML and ABAP. Of course, some other native tools are available with an SAP deployment. Most notable is the SARA (SAP Archive Administration) tool, which is used to manage and schedule archives. It is also a hands-on tool, however, and it requires administrative input and is step intensive.

Some vendors can complement SAP's own tools by simplifying processes and reducing steps. Others specialize in services and software that are designed to offer long-term access to archived SAP data. And others offer suites that bring automated data archiving to SAP systems, with products designed to provide quick access to archived SAP information, improve system performance by offloading inactive data, protect offloaded data securely and meet retention requirements by compliance rules.

Many other vendors are also offering archival products or portions thereof that allow administrators to combine a myriad of features to develop their own archival strategy.

The key is to evaluate the features needed against the features offered, consider the support options and determine the overall pricing. Although several solutions exist, none may be a perfect fit, leaving some of the integration chores up to the in-house administrators.

About the Author: Frank J. Ohlhorst, CNE, MCP, L+, N+, A+, is an award winning technology journalist, professional speaker and IT business consultant with more than 25 years of experience in the technology arena.

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