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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 Many customers have data in their SAP system that has never been archived – dating from the go-live twenty years ago, for example.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.

Whitepaper: Smart Data Archiving for SAP

How to make archived data from SAP and other applications more usable through integrated document management.

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data archiving with SAP S/4HANA®

S/4HANA offers SAP customers more benefits than any previous version of the ERP suite. In combination with the HANA database, SAP Fiori, and SAP NetWeaver technology, SAP has developed a promising complete offering.

Assuming correct management, S/4HANA above all enables more efficient processes and a significant increase in productivity – but SAP® has switched to a volume-based licensing model with the introduction of S/4HANA. This results in avoidable costs. We will show you what you need to pay attention to before introducing S/4HANA.

The new S/4HANA is certainly not lacking when it comes to performance. However, there is a certain degree of complexity and effort required when getting started. Migrating from SAP R/3 to SAP S/4HANA is not a simple database migration, but rather a data structural change in the ERP system. Successful projects can take up to five years and become very costly.

There is no other way, however, as SAP will discontinue support for older versions, including SAP R/3, in 2025. Undertaking such a mammoth project will of course mean you want make sure you exploit the full potential of SAP S/4HANA. In this blog post, we explain how SAP customers, with the right preparation, can make optimal use of the new possibilities when it comes to performance, speed and analysis techniques – right from the very first day of implementation.

The Challenge: Too Many Documents Make S/4HANA Sluggish

Even before the switch, data migration to HANA requires a far-reaching transition – and this is costly. Nevertheless, it also offers an opportunity to clean up the system, streamline the data structure and thereby create the basis for a fast, user-friendly environment. The first step is to ask yourself the following questions:

  • How does access to the stored data and documents work?
  • What data must also be accessible in HANA in the future?
  • What data and documents can be stored more easily and effectively elsewhere?

Remember: The more data you transfer from the old system to the archive, the better the performance of your new S/4HANA will be! For this reason, think carefully about what really needs to be available in the new system.

Step One: Select the Data on S/4HANA That You Actually Need

Even before the switch, data migration to HANA requires a far-reaching transition – and this is costly. Nevertheless, it also offers an opportunity to clean up the system, streamline the data structure and thereby create the basis for a fast, user-friendly environment. The first step is to ask yourself the following questions:

  • How does access to the stored data and documents work?
  • What data must also be accessible in HANA in the future?
  • What data and documents can be stored more easily and effectively elsewhere?

Remember: The more data you transfer from the old system to the archive, the better the performance of your new S/4HANA will be! For this reason, think carefully about what really needs to be available in the new system.

Step Two: Store Data Externally, but Do it Properly

Some existing SAP landscapes have developed over decades and are therefore very complex and company-specific. To ensure you have an efficient data archiving process, therefore, you need to adopt a good strategy and have an external archiving system. The data you sorted out in the first step can be stored there securely and quickly and will remain accessible without taking up space in S/4HANA.

On the one hand, data and documents can be securely removed from the main memory before migration to S/4HANA thanks to the external memory. On the other hand, the data in the archive can be clearly structured, allowing you to carry out all processes relating to your data in a simple and GDPR-compliant way. Are you interested in the GDPR-compliant storage and archiving of your data? Find out more!

How does data archiving on the external archive work?

Data archiving on the external archive happens via an interface. This creates a secure connection between the software and the external archiving system. This way, both data and retention rules can be transferred directly from the application. This ensures that the attributes assigned for blocking and deleting are also passed on to the archive.

Easy access to archived accounting records and documents is permanently guaranteed by the fact that the content is linked. The best bit? The amount of data on the external archive doesn’t pose any problems, since, unlike the HANA database, no special demands are placed on the performance levels.

Archiving, but easy

With the easy WebDAV for SAP ILM® server, easy provides the required interface to your current ERP system. Using this interface, data can be migrated quickly and directly to the external memory easy archive. Thanks to the SAP-certified extension module easy WebDAV for SAP ILM®, storing data on easy archives is incredibly simple and secure.

easy archive has long been used to successfully archive document types and data from SAP. easy’s external archive is also certified for SAP ILM and stores data in accordance with GDPR. It is even possible to store data in the archive according to internal company compliance guidelines without any difficulties. The archived data remains easily accessible, frees up valuable space to ensure a top-performing S/4HANA, and is still available centrally for employees.

Whitepaper: Completing SAP ILM projects the right way

In this whitepaper, you will learn best practices for preparing for an ILM project and learn more about the legal background to data archiving.

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