BACKUP STRATEGY FOR SAP APPLICATIONS

Introduction
Backup and Recovery strategy is one of the most important aspect of any SAP implementation and must be defined as uncomplicated as possible, the same helps to ensure that the defined procedures can be implemented without any difficulties during the critical situations
Road Map

Preliminary steps involved in devising a backup strategy, it basically contains four main steps:

  • Analyze
  • Define
  • Implement
  • Test and Fine Tune

 

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Our focused is on Analyze phase which is a key to define and implement the backup strategy. In order to define a robust backup and recovery strategy, a detailed assessment must be done on technical requirements, business requirements, architectural requirements, etc.

 

        Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO)
RPO and RTO are the most important factors which play a major role in deciding the backup frequency and types of backups to be taken on any given database. For example, in case of MS-SQL, if the RPO is 30 minutes, then it is recommended to take the full back up on a daily basis along with the transaction log backup every 30 minutes. With this approach, in a worst case scenario, you will be able to recover the database with 30 minutes (or) less of data loss from the crash point.
Similarly when it comes to RTO, it is the base to decide upon the frequency, type of backup, size of transaction log file, backup/restore read/write speed, backup solution, etc., For example, If the RTO is just 6 hours in your environment, then you should have a robust solution (i.e. Network, Backup Infrastructure, Skilled Resources, etc.,) to bring the system back up and running in 6 hours of time.

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Downtime/Runtime Requirement

This is an important element to be defined by reviewing the business requirement; this is another key factor to decide the backup type, hardware and software. If the SAP system is supporting global operations, then downtime may not be affordable by the business which will lead to choose online backup.

Retention Period

There are legal requirements that must be taken into account while defining retention period, it is generally recommended to have a workshop with the legal team to understand the federal, state and local data retention requirements.

The technical side of the retention is that you must be in a position to restore a database backup with at least one copy of the backup taken in the recent days, hence several generation of backups have to be available to be able to deal with the faulty backups. SAP’s general recommendation is that you maintain the backup of 28 days (4 weeks); consequently 27 backups are available in the event of database failure as indicated in the graphic below.

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Retention period is not just about daily backups, the same rule applicable for the backups like month-end, quarter-end, year-end backups must also be retained according to legal/business requirements.

                                         Components To Be Backed Up


 

Various components to be backed up for the SAP products like AS ABAP, AS JAVA, Portal, APO, Business Objects and MDM. The reason for choosing these products is that they are unique in nature. The specific details of each of these products are covered in the following sections.

Basic Components (Applicable for any application)

  • Below are the few important components to be considered for the backup for any SAP application.
  • Database
  • Log files
  • Operating System Files
  • Connected Systems (i.e. BW, SCM, non-SAP applications, etc.,)
  • Any other component that is integrated and updated on daily basis

 

AS Java Specific Components

There are few java specific components which are to be backed up.

  • SDM Repository
  • UME Store (either AS ABAP/LDAP/Local DB)

 

Portal Specific Components

The list of components to be considered while designing the backup strategy for Enterprise Portal.

TREX Indices
Portal Archive
Content Server
Associated Components
 
APO Specific

Components specific to APO/SCM
Live Cache Database
Live Cache Log files

MDM Specific

Components specific to MDM

MDM Log files

MDM distribution port data

MDM Configuration Files (mds.ini, mdss.ini, mdls.ini and mdis.ini

Backup Type

We will be discussing about the various database backup types used in SAP environment.

  • Full Database Backup
  • Incremental/Differential Backup
  • Offline Backup
  • Online Backup
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    Backup Management Tasks

    Monitoring: Backup must be monitored on a regular interval, the same to be defined in the backup strategy along with the roles and responsibilities for each of the database backup components (i.e. database, transaction log, operating system, etc.,). 

    Tape Management: Tape management activities such as Labeling, Tracking, Handling and Retaining are to be defined in the backup strategy to enable the tape management team to handle the tapes efficiently. 

    Verifying Backup/Integrity check: Backups must be verified following a regular schedule (once in the retention period), only then you will know that you have a valid backup that can be restored when it is needed.  
    Storage: Once the successful backup is taken, the tapes must be transferred to offsite to protect them from disaster. This is one of the key items to be defined in the backup strategy.

    Backup Test: The backup and recovery must be tested and validated before rolling out the backup procedures to production. In addition to backup/recovery test, performance must also be tested to identify the potential bottlenecks.