Refreshing SAP test systems using full copies of their production counterpart has been around since the birth of SAP R/3 back in the late nineties and was the only available method at the time. For some SAP installations this remains the traditional method but over recent years, a number of factors have arisen that preclude companies continuing in this manner, for example:

  • Moving to Cloud: When planning a move to cloud, we need to be conscious of the hosting and storage costs whilst at the same time, taking advantage of the agility and flexibility these platforms can offer. Moving multiple copies of multi-terabyte non-production systems to cloud will be expensive.
  • GDPR Legislation: European regulations such as GDPR mean we cannot simply copy productive data to non-production systems and do nothing to anonymise it.
  • Business Challenges: In the modern world, business requirements come in thick and fast and often require fast turnaround; projects in the landscape often clash, risking the instability of the production system.
  • Resource Intensive: The traditional SAP system copy process can be very resource intensive and occupy Basis teams for days.

Typically, the traditional method for refreshing non-production systems involves a combination of SWPM and a database backup/restore, as depicted below.

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As an alternative to the traditional system copy method, we can introduce a strategy that refreshes only the client dependant data within a target test system; the repository and client independent configuration remain untouched.

The new strategy can be realised with specialist software from the SNP CrystalBridge product range, namely Shell and Test Data Organiser (TDO).

To build a new empty target system with repository and client independent configuration from the production system ready to receive data, the Shell Empty Target (ET) is used. This results in a process flow as depicted below – a target system with an identical repository and client independent configuration to production.

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To refresh an existing system or populate a new empty target system with data from the production system, TDO Data Refresh (DR) and Data Scrambling (DS) are used. Data Refresh can reduce the target data volume by selective extraction or object carve out, for example; Data Scrambling addresses the data protection aspects by anonymising the data. This results in a process flow as depicted below.

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Test Data Management Readiness for Cloud