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SAP System Cloning & Copy, the painful post processing tasks and why it takes so long?


A couple of months ago, I started a discussion on the fact that every SAP customer needs to make a copy their SAP Production system in this blog post, and I mentioned that more often than not, SAP customers need to perform quite a bit of post cloning activities before the copy of the system can be used for other purposes.  Examples of such activities range from changing the instance name from PRD to QAS, to changing the path names for data files, to turning off printers and cancelling current print jobs, to cancelling existing pre-scheduled batch jobs, to redirecting RFC destinations, and so on.

So let’s review what these post-processing tasks are all about and why they need to be performed.

First, let’s examine when post-processing is NOT needed: if the system copy is made purely for backup purposes, nothing should be changed since we want to be able to restore this copy of Production back exactly as it was copied.  This copy of the Production database could be then sent to tapes for a more permanent backup, or it could be used as a point-in-time copy of a steady state, where the database can be easily and quickly mounted for a very aggressive RTO and if needed, the database can further be recovered by applying redo logs for a short RPO.

But if the system copy is made for other purposes, such as to obtain a fresh copy of the Production database for new development work, or to create of a sandbox for testing new patches or version, or to have a functional or load testing environment using the latest Production data, or to create a training environment, then the post processing work must be done.

Now why is that?  Well for one thing, you don’t want to have 2 SAP instances named PRD in your landscape and network environment, as you cannot even begin to imagine the havoc that such an unfortunate event will create – this is very basic SAP Basis 101 that every SAP Basis person knows by instinct since it was taught from day one.

So at the very least, the SAP/database SID name must be changed, say from PRD to QAS, and the entire OS level path name for the database executables and datafiles must also be changed since SAP had unfortunately hard coded the SID name into such paths, for example \data\oracle\PRD\sapdata1 needs to become \data\oracle\QAS\sapdata1.  If the path names are not changed, Oracle (or the database being used) will have trouble starting correctly.

Most SAP customers have long ago automated this task by using a combination of shell and SQL scripts, and the level of effectiveness depends greatly on the skill of the script writer.  Needless to say, the maintenance of these scripts is not a trivial task, especially if the script writer leaves the company and did not leave behind good documentation – talking about a potential real nightmare!

But that’s merely the BEGINNING of the significant amount of work which needs to be done.  This is because the SAP Production system has printers configured and there may in fact be print jobs in the queue when the system copy was made – we don’t want these print jobs to be sent to the Production printers, especially if that printer is located half way around the world, so the print queue must cleared.  The SAP Production system also has RFC destinations defined and we definitely do not want that million dollars purchase order to be sent out twice via EDI (the real one was sent from Production and the bogus one was sent out by the Production clone when it came online).  Again, the kind of havoc that this sort of carelessness creates will probably cause someone to lose their job!

This is why the post cloning work takes so much time, since after the system copy is done and the SID and path rename has been done with the scripts, a skilled SAP Basis person must log into the target SAP system through the SAP GUI and manually execute the post-cloning tasks.  Just waiting for that skilled SAP Basis person to become available in order to perform these tasks could take days, unless this person drops something else to do this work because this is a rush job and there is a crisis at hand.

And we’re not talking about a few tasks here. Oh no!  The list of post-cloning tasks needed to be executed varies from customer to customer, but the list is so long and people do not want to forget any step that such a list is often maintained in an Excel spreadsheet, and it is part of the standard Run Book.

Just for fun, here is a partial list of post-cloning tasks for SAP R/3 or ECC from one of our customers:

1. Set Oracle parameters for non-productive operation
2. Implement OSS NOTE 185821 (this task has substeps describing what needs to be done)
3. Implement OSS NOTE 641630 for missing PLAN_TABLE
4. Verify database logging
5. Grant dba to OPS$<SID>ADM and OPS$ORA<SID>
6. Truncate monitor tables
7. Truncate load tables
8. Update the database statistics
9. Connect via R3trans –d and start SAP
10. Set SAP parameters for productive operations
11. Start SAP (disable background processing)
12. Transaction SICK (SM28) to verify that the system is stable
13. Install the SAP license (SLICENSE)
14. Configure the Workbench Organiser (SE06)
15. Configure the Transport System (STMS)
16. Run report RDDNEWPP (as user DDIC)
17. RSBTCDEL to delete all existing job logs (SE38).
18. RSPO0041 to delete all spool files (SE38).
19. Clean-up TEMSE (SP12) to clear out and cancel all existing print jobs
20. Adapt RFC destinations (SM54, SM55 and SM59) 
21. Adapt SAPOSCOL destination (AL15) since this system has a different SID name
22. Import default, instance and start profiles (RZ10) for non-productive systems
23. Create instance for operation modes (RZ04) (RZ03) for non-productive systems
24. Re-fresh logon groups (SMLG / RZ12)
25. Generate ABAP loads (SGEN) to speed up execution of standard SAP Tcodes
26. Re-assign printers (SPAD) away from the Production printer pools
27. Run report CSM_TAB_CLEAN (SE38)
28. Run report SDB3FORA (SE38)
29. Run report RSSNAPDL (SE38)
30. Run the database checks (DB02)
31. Check SAP/Oracle memory allocation (ST02 / ST04) for non-productive systems
32. Check SAP processes (SM51 / SM66) for non-productive systems
33. Verify printer installation (SPAD) are pointed to non-productive printer pools
34. Verify background environment (SM65) for non-productive systems
35. Verify update and locking (SM13) (SM12)
36. Verify the NLS configuration (SE38 --> RSCPINST) (OSS NOTE 42305)
37. Configure system administration jobs (SM36)
38. Execute transaction RSSGPCLA


I have seen some SAP system copy post-processing lists run into hundreds of tasks.


It’s important to note that as far as I know, the majority of SAP system copy or cloning solutions in the market today DOES NOT handle this post-processing work.  EMC is the only vendor which offers Intelligent SAP Cloning Solutions for ABAP and Java that incorporate post-processing activities for a true end-to-end SAP system copy - that’s why we refer to our solutions as “Intelligent” because once the post cloning tasks have been analyzed, configured, tested and successfully implemented, you can in fact have 70% to 80% automation (and in some use cases, 100% automation) of the SAP system copy process.

In most use cases, EMC’s Intelligent Cloning Solutions do NOT require that a SAP Basis person log in to execute these tasks, because our orchestration software, Replication Manager, can automatically call these post-processing scripts to execute as many tasks as needed in practically any customer use case.  Replication Manager also handles the renaming of the SID and the data OS level path names out of the box, without the need to build any script.  Better yet, Replication Manager stores all the necessary login and password credentials needed to perform these tasks in its own internal database, and therefore such sensitive information as the Oracle SYS password is not being sent in clear text over the wire as would be in the case of shell scripts.


More details on EMC's Intelligent SAP Cloning Solutions for ABAP on AIX or HP-UX, as well as for Java can found on the Solutions section of this site.

OK, so we’re able to automate the SID and path rename, along with the needed post-processing activities, but in some use cases, we’re not out of the woods yet, because of a dreaded SAP script called BDLS.  What is this monster?

In its infinite wisdom, SAP hard-coded the SID name (such as PRD) into the tens of thousands of database tables in a typical SAP system.  If the newly cloned system must communicate with other non-Production systems in the SAP landscape for testing of IPCs or RFCs (such as when SAP XI or MDM is involved as an example), then all these hard coded SID names must also be changed, and SAP supplies its customers with the BDLS script to handle such a chore.

Now just imagine any script navigating through terabytes of data, at the database table’s level, to perform a search and replace of PRD to QAS one table at a time – how long do you think that such a script would need to run?

The sad answer is that BDLS can take days to run!  At the typical SAP users conferences, customers often get together and trade tips and tricks on how to speed up BDLS, and I have witnessed more than a few high fives when someone found a way, thanks to a tip from a peer, to reduce their BDLS processing from 30 hours to 8 hours as an example.  Many skilled SAP consultants have made nice money helping customers reduce their BDLS processing time!  In today’s SAP environments of multi-terabyte databases, any BDLS run of under 4 hours should be considered a triumph.

OK, now that the bad news is out of the way, I have good news: all EMC intelligent SAP cloning solutions using Replication Manager can call the dreaded BDLS script as part of the post-processing work.

Now you can begin to see why quite a few SAP customers can only afford to do system copy or refresh once or twice a year, as the effort involved is too great!



So at EMC, we know this challenging scenario all too well, since at one time or another, all of us in the EMC SAP Solutions Group were SAP Basis consultants or admins, and we have had to endure this pain ourselves.

That’s why we built mutiple SAP Intelligent Cloning solutions to suit a wide range of use cases, from the most simple and basic system cloning to create a Sandbox or a quick test environment which will be quickly thrown away, to the most comprehensive and fully SAP DDIC-integrated cloning solution using Cisco’s Tidal Intelligent Automation software.  Above all, we offer real choices to you, our customers.

In future blog posts, I will go deeper into the weeds to explain and contrast how the EMC Intelligent SAP Cloning Solutions work, what SAP cloning use cases would benefit from Tidal vs simple SQL scripting, and which use cases would make the most sense with the innovative TimeFinder SNAP functionality available only on our market leading VMAX with Enginuity 5875.

More to come…


Tim K. Nguyen

SAP Global Technical Evangelist & EMC Cloud Architect

EMC Solutions Group


Replatforming SAP on Intel X86 with VMware – why you should not wait any longer


This blog post was written at 38,000 feet somewhere above the North Atlantic, while I was on my way home from Paris; you see, this past week, our customer Callaway Golf came all the way from Carlsbad, CA, to Strasbourg, France to provide a customer testimonial at the USF Convention 2011 (USF stands for le Club des Utilisateurs SAP Francophone, the very influential SAP French users group, similar to ASUG in the Americas).

I had the pleasure and privilege to accompany Chinh Van, Director of IT Infrastructure and Global ERP at Callaway Golf to France, and I was there to hear first hand from someone who has been there and done that with several of their key SAP instances, all 100% virtualized, running in Production since 2009, as he patiently explained to his French peers all the benefits that Callaway realized by virtualizing SAP and why they should not wait much longer to get started.

But first, a few words about what I saw in Strasbourg: the EMC/VMware booth was very busy and remarkably, the overhelming majority of customers and prospects who stopped by to have a discussion only wanted to discuss one thing: virtualizing SAP.  That’s right, most of these people did not stop by the EMC booth to discuss storage, or backup, or disaster recovery, but instead they want to know more about virtualizing SAP.  It was clear to our EMC France team that we were witnessing a tipping point!  People were telling us again and again that they either are seriously thinking about virtualizing SAP or already have a project under way, and that VMware has a major role to play in most of these people’s efforts.


Now, here are some key points from Mr. Van’s presentation, which really captured the very real world benefits of virtualizing SAP on VMware and Intel:


  1. By virtualizing, Callaway was able to go from 100 servers down to 5 servers!  Now that’s real money being saved.  Anyone can understand servers’ consolidation as a benefit of virtualization, not only in initial purchases CAPEX costs, but also in OPEX savings in reduced power consumption, data center flooring space and so on.
  2. He went on to add that in their virtualized SAP environment, his team of IT professionals was able to doing a lot more with less, since mutiple skill sets (such as servers, storage, and networking) can be consolidated into one person, and Callaway IT has been able to deliver more services to support their ever growing business.
  3. He also gave the example of SAP EP (Enterprise Portals) needing to be deployed “quickly” to get the development project started – in the past, it would take at least one to two weeks to purchase and rack a physical server, provision it with storage, networking, OS, patches, before the SAP Basis team can even begin to build the Sandbox and DEV environments.  Chinh Van stated that they were able to build the virtualized EP Sandbox environment in one day, and the virtualized DEV environment was ready the next day.  Today, Callaway can provision a brand new virtualized SAP DEV or TEST environment in a few hours!  Needless to say, the people listening were furiously taking notes on these great nuggets of information, as everyone can quickly do the math of costs savings.
  4. He further explained that Callaway was able to save a lot of time and effort when patching and upgrading SAP environments by using VMware snapshot capabities.  Snapshots of steady state VMs are taken before any patch or new code is being installed, and if something goes wrong during testing, Callaway can very quickly revert to an earlier snapshot of the VM, and therefore save a lot of time by not having to restore from backups.  Chinh Van emphasized that they were able to have increased levels of flexibility and agility in operations with their virtualized SAP environments.


At the end of the Callaway presentation, I briefly summarized some of the benefits of virtualizing SAP in French (Mr. Van presented in English with simultaneous translation to French), then I discussed the new capabilities of vSphere5 with SAP as detailed in this blog post, and I closed with a short presentation on EMC’s Project PROPEL, our own 100% virtualized SAP implementation on vBlock.  Customers were pleased that EMC is leading by example by virtualizing our own SAP implementation in its entirety.

During the Q&A session, the audience asked excellent questions, and here are some of them:


  1. Were there any concern on the stability of VMware and any concern on unplanned downtime for a Tier 1 application like SAP?  Chinh Van confided that yes, Callaway did initially have concerns about potential downtime, but they tested and tested and tested, and since their virtualized SAP environments went into Production in 2009, there has not been a SINGLE instance of unplanned downtime.  VMware has been absolutely up to the task!
  2. Since Oracle did not officially supported virtualized database on VMware, how did you deal with that potential headache?  Because the question was asked in French, I quickly answered that as of Oracle 11g, SAP and Oracle now officially support a virtualized Oracle database running on VMware.  I then translated the question to Chinh, who smiled and said that Callaway read all the SAP OSS notes and Oracle Metalink notes on the matter, and they worked out a “mechanism” to quickly revert the Oracle 10g database from a virtualized to a physical environment should a problem occurs, to allow Callaway to receive support from Oracle, consistent with the OSS and Metalink notes.  But since GoLive in 2009, they have not had to activate this “mechanism” at all, and the issue is now moot anyhow, as people are moving to Oracle 11g.
  3. Other than cost savings on CAPEX and OPEX as outlined on the slides, what other benefits did Callaway gained by virtualizing SAP using VMware?  Chinh Van quickly said that he almost always forgot to mention that by using VMware, Callaway gained new DR (disaster recovery) functionalities for their SAP environment, with vMotion and Site Recovery Manager.  In fact, Callaway is in the midst of rethinking their DR strategy to take full advantage of VMware’s DR and HA functionalities.  Chinh also said that Callaway is piloting Avamar since backup software with source dedup capabilities is ideal in VMware environments, where you may have hundreds of VMs, but most of them are copies of the others and therefore there is only a small delta between the VMs.  Because of its source dedup capabilities, Avamar can backup all these VMs a lot faster since only the delta between the VMs is being backed up instead of the entire VMs.


So, it’s worth repeating what Chinh Van told the audience in his closing remarks: “you should really not wait any longer to virtualize your SAP environments because the advantages are too compelling.  We at Callaway have been extremely pleased with what VMware has brought us, and we want to thank EMC and VMware for the extraordinary support and expert advices that they have given us over these last few years.”


I’m sure that the simultaneous French translation done by the linguists employed by the USF Convention’s organizers made that point eminently clear, but our EMC France Marketing team of Jean-Yves Pronier and Nadia Benazza will be sending the French version of Chinh Van’s presentation to everyone who attended as a follow-up.  Let’s see what interesting conversations EMC France will be having with its customers in the near future regarding virtualizing SAP.


May be some of these conversations could be started at VMworld in Copenhagen in 2 weeks?



Tim K. Nguyen

SAP Global Technical Evangelist & EMC Cloud Architect

EMC Solutions Group

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