Single System Landscape
From an execution perspective, a single system landscape is enough to manage the complete SAP landscape with its project and solution management capabilities. You can manage multiple projects and operation supports at the same time with the same Solution Manager. All the scenarios such as test management, Change Request Management, Business Process monitoring etc. availed by SAP Solution Manager can be handled and segregated as per different projects or solutions. So, you get a logical segregation inside the same system to support different target groups. However, if you consider using SAP Solution Manager as your long term application management tool, you will have to go for upgrades, custom developments or such similar activities which needs to be tested otherwise it may interfere with your existing functionalities. This is a big risk! And thus single system landscape is not enough in this case.
Three System Landscape
How about having three system landscape? A similar concept as any other SAP system. With this, we get a dedicated system for configuration or development or new support pack upgrade and then an environment for complete end-to-end testing before the change moves to productive environment. The approach is good as it removes all the risks identified in case of single system landscape. However, associated with this is a cost of maintaining two more systems. Do we really need it? If we check the specific scenarios for SAP Solution Manager like managing project and test, business process monitoring or any other scenario, not much of transportable objects are getting developed. Moreover you cannot do the exact similar testing as of productive environment in QA environment. Say for an example, in ChaRM you cannot have complete ECC productive landscape configured in QA system, as any test may cause unnecessary objects to move into ECC production. Similarly, if configuring BPMon on QA Solution Manager is of not much help as the same needs to be replicated manually in Prod Solution Manager. Thus, for Solution Manager, in general it is not needed to have a dedicated QA environment.
Dual System Landscape
So, considering above two cases, let’s check if two tier landscape can help us! As said in one system landscape case, only problem is testing the software or cross scenario changes. With two system landscape say DS1 -> PS1 as well you cannot do the complete development and testing for each scenario in DS1 and then move to PS1 due to the constraint of testing discussed in 3 system landscape case. Thus, you need to use a system (DS1) for testing support packages, SAP notes or any custom developments. You should use this system to do the basic configuration (transportable) changes in DS1 and move it to PS1. From RFC connection side, you should have at least some development/ quality systems (satellite system) added to DS1. Motive behind this approach is to have an environment where you can do the complete round of testing with all your scenarios when a new service package is installed in DS1. Similarly you can check the correction that you do with SAP notes and basic testing done if you are doing any custom development.
Fig1: SAP Solution Manager system landscape- All SAP and non-SAP productive application landscapes attached to the production Solution Manager
However, for the actual application management activities you should use a single landscape PS1 (Production Solution Manager system). This means, with regards to the managed systems (say ECC/ SCM/ SRM etc.) with corresponding roles (whether part of implementation, rollout or maintenance) can be assigned and connected to PS1 system. All productive use of SAP Solution Manager start from project documentation, development, testing, service desk, ChaRM, BPMon etc. can be executed here. Thus, in general two system landscape with above approach (unlike the standard two tier SAP system approach) is sufficient for managing SAP Solution Manager activities.
Note:If your company starts with single system landscape due to any reasons say initially not prepared for using SAP Solution Manager as long term application management tool or wants to add production Solution Manager only when it is extremely required, you can use the following link to understand what information can be moved and how to move from existing Solution Manager to your new Production Solution Manager:
-> select document ‘SAP Solution Manager- Content transfer’