Client copy comparison – SAP standard vs. Datavard Transformation Suite (DTS)

If you are running an SAP landscape, then you must have got to a point where you need to perform a client copy in one of your systems. There are multiple business scenarios for client copies, such as creation of a new client for development or testing purposes on an already existing system or a data refresh within a specific client. Doing a client copy is also easier and less “invasive” than restoring or running a backup of the whole database.  Although client copy is a commonly used functionality with big added value, there are certain limitations especially related to the client size and overall runtime duration.

Client copy is a standard feature available in SAP. But there is also an alternative solution – Datavard Transformation Suite (DTS) – which can save lots of time and customer effort. Before comparing the two, let us briefly summarize SAP standard capabilities.

SAP standard scenarios

Client copy is a standard feature available in SAP systems, with two basic scenarios:

  • Local client copy (SCCL) – creating a local copy of a client, for testing or development purposes without the risk of messing up the productive client, all the changes are performed on the same database.
  • Remote client copy (SCC9) – client from the source system is copied to the target system via RFC, which is created upfront. Data is read from the source and then written to the target’s database.

For both scenarios, multiple profiles are available that simplify the selection and combination of the objects to be copied, and they are often chosen depending on the business scenario. In general, the below profiles are delivered by SAP:

Profile

Purpose

SAP_USER

Users, user roles and authorization profiles are copied. The client is not reset.

SAP_UONL

Users without authorization profiles and roles

SAP_PROF

Only authorization profile and roles

SAP_CUST

Client-specific customizing including authorization profile is copied. The application data is deleted, the user data is retained.

SAP_CUSV

Corresponds to SAP_CUST with variants

SAP_UCUS

Corresponds to SAP_CUST with master data

SAP_UCSV

Corresponds to SAP_UCUS with variants

SAP_ALL

All client data except change documents (see note 180949) and local data is copied.

SAP_APPL

SAP_ALL without user master data

SAP_APX

SAP_ALL without authorization profile and roles

Client copy can run several days or weeks

Factors that you need to consider when planningthe client copy are mainly the client size and the overall duration of the procedure, as well as the chosen scenario.

Duration of the client copy is dependent on the actual size of the source client. Each SAP table is processed in one background process which creates a huge bottleneck in runtime. Overall time for a client transfer is based on the duration of the copy of a biggest SAP table in the system. Especially for large clients, SAP warns customers that client copy can eventually run several days or weeks (SAP note 2163425).

Runtime for several days often means a no go from the customer’s point of view. To avoid very long runtimes SAP recommends performing a full database copy, which requires additional effort and resources. (e.g. additional hardware, necessary system adjustments).

Ran into an issue during a client copy? You need to start over

Another factor that affects the runtime, is the chosen scenario. In general, a local client copy is faster and less troublesome than remote copies. Since the source and target systems are identical, you are unlikely to get issues related to differences in dictionaries or software versions. However, for remote copies the first thing that needs to be considered is that the source and target system should have the same version of components as well as kernel. If these are not identical, client remote copy will get cancelled.

What both of those scenarios have in common, is that it is not possible to continue with the copy if issues occur – either DDIC changes, network related, loss of connectivity, RFC failure or unexpected system unavailability. If that happens, issues need to be corrected, target client dropped and the whole process must start over, which can lead to a loss of several days in case copy gets stalled or erroneous.  

DTS offers flexibility and significantly reduces the overall runtime 

Datavard DTS offers a viable alternative to both scenarios. Using a unique approach and toolset, we can perform local and remote client copies much faster, with less effort and risk as process can be paused and resumed at any time.

In case of any adjustments needed, tables in scope can be dynamically updated and re-run, if necessary. From the performance point of view, the biggest advantage is achieved with remote client copies. Datavard DTS also supports client copies on all versions of SAP S/4HANA, as well as standard SAP ECC.

Project example: where SAP standard kept failing, DTS completed the task in just 9 hours

Remote client copy – Client transfer using S/4HANA as source and target

Customer wants to transfer client from the development system to quality in order to perform UAT. Client size 2 TB HANA memory + ~2TB Disk space, source and target system: S/4HANA 1909 FPS 01

At first standard remote client copy (SCC9) was used as a default solution, however after approximately 27 hours of runtime, copy stalled. After opening an SAP incident, recommendation was to follow and apply corrections from SAP notes 2761821, 2868569 and 2163425 to improve the performance. Corrections were applied, and remote client copy was reset and executed from the beginning. After 32 hours it stalled again and the customer was not able to finish the copy.

Due to the constraints to the project schedule Datavard DTS was chosen to perform a remote client copy. Using default DTS settings client copy was successfully finished within 29 hours.

Summary

Due to the limitations of SAP standard client copy feature in terms of runtime and execution limitation, Datavard offers an alternative and effective way of performing client copies. DTS offers a new and reliable approach to client copy, with significantly shorter runtime and execution improvements. Alongside standard SAP ECC, also S/4HANA client copies (both remote and local) are fully supported.

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