S/4HANA® Migration & the Missing Link: S/4HANA Archiving

The transition to the upcoming S/4HANA® system is rapidly approaching. Many companies are already in the transition phase – in practical terms, only few, but in mental terms, the majority. How do things stand with your S/4HANA readiness?

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Elementary questions about the S/4HANA migration have now been clarified: Greenfield or brownfield migration, on-premises installation, etc. The road maps to the goal as well as the migration path to it have also been determined. In preparation for a S/4HANA migration, everything has to be planned carefully and meticulously. How do things stand with your S/4HANA readiness?

In this respect, one question is often neglected: What happens to the data from the former product system in S/4HANA®? From experience, we know that the question about which stock of data you would like to migrate to the new S/4HANA, and which data you would prefer to archive externally, is rarely asked. Many customers have data in their SAP system that has never been archived – dating from the go-live twenty years ago, for example. Have you already thought about this, or don’t you care about the costs that result from the change over to the S/4HANA migration?

If the S/4HANA migration is properly planned, it means cost savings are achieved

The core component of the new SAP system is the S/4HANA in-memory database. Experience has shown that the main memory is one of the more expensive types of memory – which is, of course, priced in on the basis of gigabyte-based SAP® licensing. It is naturally clear that in this way, a genuine performance boost in the S/4HANA system is achieved. It is also clear, however, that from now on, almost every byte counts, or should count, during the S/4HANA migration. After all, the licenses for S/4HANA are now gigabyte-based, while in the past, the licenses were independent of volume. As a result, the costs of the S/4HANA in-memory database are approximately three to five times higher than those of a conventional database.

In the context of the data archiving and document storage in particular, the chances of keeping costs under control and even achieving lower costs through a well-considered strategy for S/4HANA migration are very good. Of course, data archiving has always been an issue, but it’s becoming more important now!

In pre-S/4HANA times (R/3, for example), storing the SAP document chain in the SAP system, for example, was considered a viable approach. In addition, keeping all the data in the database, starting from when the SAP system first went live, wasn’t unusual either. Therefore, data from up to twenty years ago isn’t uncommon. The advantage was, quite simply, making savings on the added costs posed by an archive system. Things are now moving in the opposite direction, and should always be considered before a S/4HANA migration.

The solution: S/4HANA archiving before the migration

In the upcoming S/4HANA system, all the data and documents will be stored in the S4/HANA database and therefore in the main memory. And that isn’t cheap – on the contrary. Now is the time to get used to the idea of outsourcing the data and documents from the productive S/4HANA system to an archive system – ideally before the S/4HANA migration. This is all the more important, as the amount of data held by companies is growing exponentially, at least according to the experience of recent years. And this is obviously associated with a cost factor after the migration to S4/HANA. But more than that: If the planning is excessively restrictive, performance problems in the production system are also possible. At this point, it makes sense to ask yourself which data and documents no longer need to be available in the HANA database. After all: Although access is required to a lot of data, it no longer has to be stored in the HANA database of the production system.

The advantages of S/4HANA archiving at a glance

  • The identification and selection of data that should not be in the HANA database, i.e. data no longer required for productive use)
  • The identification of documents stored in the SAP database
  • The transfer of the determined data and documents from the main memory to an external archive; this creates security, also for subsequent backup strategies
  • Secured access to the data stored in the archive; for instance, for audits (for example, auditors, in-house analyses over several financial years, etc.)
  • Considerable cost savings through reduced data volume in the S/4HANA production system
  • A leaner production system with S/4HANA
  • Another milestone checked off on the way to the successful S/4HANA migration

S/4HANA archiving – are restrictions and limits to the database myths?

For a long time, there was a myth that SAP had not thought sufficiently about the scalability of the database with S/4HANA. That’s not the case.  As John Appleby (Global Head of DDM/HANA COEs at SAP) wrote in a blog post in 2015, 6 TB is not the end of the story.  There is no lack of storage space, but it costs money.

You should, however, consider the costs associated with increasing data volumes.  As a business grows, the amount of data to be processed in the production system naturally increases, which everyone should be happy about. In terms of cost efficiency, however, savings can be made through the well-considered S/4HANA archiving into an external archive. You should seize this opportunity – with EASY WebDAV for SAP ILM® and EASY Archive before the S/4HANA migration.

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