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Important Points To Consider When You Plan for an Upgrade

Tuesday, 31 July 2012 11:00

Written by Prakash Palani

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When I was scanning through few documents on release/EHP upgrades, got to know many of the important tasks that should be taken care during the course of any EHP upgrade projects (any release upgrade for that matter). I just wanted to collect and list them in this blog, if you think that there is something missing in the list, do post your comments, so that I can keep the blog updated to make it comprehensive and useful for others.

 

During the preparation of the projects, below are few important items to be considered to ensure smoother upgrade.

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Detailed Description

Downtime Planning

Agree and decide as early as possible with business what the downtime requirements are. Only then it is possible to decide the upgrade strategy and to decide on the measures that are to be taken for downtime optimization and to have enough time to perform the optimization.

Maintenance optimizer update in Solution Manager

Upgrade Package Download and Generation of Stack Configuration File (xml) is performed using Maintenance Optimizer, hence it is imperative to ensure maintenance optimizer is configured in solution manager.

Archiving / Housekeping

Plan for archiving and housekeeping for largest tables (or) basis tables (i.e. BALDAT, BALHDR), early identification of tables and objects will help to drive efficiency during the upgrade process (downtime reduction).

Backup and recovery

Backup and recovery starategy need to be checked and re-defined for the project (backup before upgrade, after upgrade) as well as post-go-live landscape.

Hardware sizing

Start sizing assessment excercise early enough to determine additional requirements needed during and after the EHP upgrade. Monitring the CPU, Disk, User and Memory utilization and judge the hardware resources that will be needed during the upgrade. For the post-go-live hardware requirement, Ideally benchmark the bread-and-butter transactions in both releases and calculate the additional load.

Transports to be released

Plan to release transport requests which contain SAP standard objects, this is to avoid any object locked error during the upgrade

How to handle support during upgrade (or) Reducing Code-Freeze Period

In order to implement emergency fixes and to reduce the timelines for the code-freeze, it is recommended to build a parallel upgrade landscape. Any emergency change that is implemented in production landscape should also be applied in upgrade landscape.

Business functions activation

As business functions are not reversible, it is recommended to use sandbox system to explore new functions.  Never play around with "Business Function" activation in Upgrade Landscape. If possible, it is recommended to order "Business Function Prediction for ERP" service from SAP (which is available at free of cost)

Add-ons

Dependency on third party add-ons connected to SAP system are to be validated well in advance. This will help us to get necessary support from third party software provider to ensure smoother transition to next release.

Documentation

Allocate enough time for documentation (i.e. Technical Upgrade Process, Lessons Learned, Issue Log, Downtime Optimization Techniques, Upgrade Time Analysis, etc.,). This is the key for success.

 

I've also listed down some of the non-functional tests that should be performed during the mock-run / final preparation phase.

 

Non-Functional Tests

Fail-over Test

The failure test plan is a documented plan to test the failure scenarios of technical components that can cause all or part of the SAP solution to fail. Components include hardware, software, and operational procedures. Failure scenarios should be simulated to develop recovery procedures. A list of each failure scenario and its impact should be part of the plan.

Interface/Connectivity Test

The connectivity test plan is a documented plan to ensure that all of the technical components of the solution can connect to one another as required in the technical design.

Response Time Snapshots Before and After Upgrade

The response time snapshot is required to ensure that the system is performing as it was

Disaster Recovery Test

The purpose of this task is to test and retest the disaster-recovery plan and procedures defined for the production environment.

Transport Test

The purpose of the test is to check whether the transport mechanism is functioning as expected

Backup and Restore Test

The purpose of this task is to test and retest the backup-and-restore procedures defined for the production environment, until the results are acceptable.

Printing and Faxing Test

The printing and faxing test plan is a documented plan to accurately test the all the business critical printers, fax machines, and output of forms.

 

 

 

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Important Points To Consider When You Plan for an Upgrade