Today is “registration and networking day” at ASUG2011/SapphireNow, since I am not committed to any pre-conference sessions. That should include reviewing the annual conference schedule one more time, from the paper and electronic copies, looking for content I might have missed on the prior searches (see yesterday’s blog post for reasons why this might be). I can take my time getting to registration, and I heard that printers were fouled up.
One ASUG customer session on my agenda I am looking forward to is “How Nike Minimized System Downtime with the Near Zero Downtime Method through ALM”. Quite the mouthful, and that doesn’t include the unpronounceable acronym NZDT – “Near Zero Down Time.” When we were working on our Unicode conversion, there were several technologies being developed and promoted to speed up the process, including one called “Customer based upgrade”. The Nike session is the first real time slot Monday, 10:30 in Room S330E. I’ve looked at the slides and expect this to be an in depth recount of an upgrade process I’ve only previously seen referenced.
For background, here are several links that talk about NZDT, including SAP white papers, prior blogs, and earlier (theoretical) presentations from SAP:
- Near Zero Downtime – Reduction of Business Downtime – this is a 29 page paper describing the process in great detail, though certainly not deep enough to run the thing by yourself. What’s not talked about much is the organization of testing, not surprising given the focus is on the “how” from an infrastructure perspective, not the “what if” from a business view.
- ALM302 Minimizing Downtime for Software Maintenance – presentation from SAP TechEd 2009 (assuming it is still online). This is rather forward looking, as the process was under development and I’m not sure if any pilot customers had used this then.
- ALM300 – Near-Zero Downtime Software Maintenance – placeholder at SAP TechEd 2010; since I don’t have a registration link I can’t see the slides.
- Minimized Downtime Strategy for Upgrades – blog post by Faycal CHRAIBI.
- Managing Business downtime during SAP release Upgrade & Unicode Conversion – blog post by Sachin Pokalwar.
While most of these don’t go into testing strategies with sufficient detail, Sergey Vlasov asked on one blog comment, “I think you don’t want to open your system to users until testing of changes is completed. Automation of testing should reduce testing time.” That’s in line with my thinking (and questioning): when is user validation done, and how does one back out of a failed upgrade or cutover? There’s a place on the overview (image below) where the “GO/NO GO” decision needs to be made, but businesses must have realistic plans for recovery or repair should the bottom drop out.
Here’s a recap of my travels on Sunday, with some, but not all of the people I networked with.
Abesh / Dipankar – planning for my trip to India; basic event planning being sidetracked with less important issues, so only have a rough timeframe between October 17th and 30th. Saw Ahir on the internet via Skpe video chat, along with many of Abesh’s family.
Saw Graham Robinson and Doug Hay on the way from the hotel to the convention center, chatted with them a bit, kept going.
Saw Vitaliy Rudnytski in the convention center hallway (never met him before, but he recognized me I guess), who had read my blog, and had opinions about the “crash-worthiness [my phrase]” of HANA, or SIMA as it could be known as now. He’s trying to put it through his paces.
Saw Stacey Fish and Andrea Kaufmann of the SAP blogger relations program, in the Hilton lobby. That was far enough into the business hotel area; time to get back to meeting other customers and SAP partners
Saw Dennis Howlett and Jon Reed, got on film. Uh oh. Link to the video. Got some positive feedback later, after it went live, so I guess I didn’t say anything too obnoxious.
Sat in the convention center hallway and prowled around the preconference session area, meeting a few new people, and many others I have not seen in person since previous events. The business card collection for today included:
- Michael Doane
- Gerhard Saumweber – Texperts
- Christian Holsing – IBM
- Nixon Xavier – former ASUG volunteer, now with Tata Consultancy Services
- Tom Ryan, Workbeast
- Last but not least, Jeanne Carboni, SAP
A tweet while I watched the crowds (so to speak) ebb and flow:
- Sitting in OCCC hallway I’m like a people magnet. Rao, Nixon, Chrissie, Bhavesh, Bob, Ken, Georg, Jen, Nellie (to name but a few) #ASUG2011
At 6PM, the SAP Mentors met to be introduced to the newest Mentors in person, as well as “non-fresher” Mentors, hear about the plans and be given the latest in fashion wear, SAP Mentor neckwear. OK, maybe not for everyone, but if you must wear a tie, why not the one with your group logo on it? We waited for Mark Yolton, but his cab driver seemed to have given him the runaround.
There is probably not a significant amount for me to analyze yet, given I did not attend the preconference sessions directly, only talking to a few organizers and speakers in the area. There were what I would call”cloud problems” with some of the technology to be used, causing a bit of delay and minor unhappiness, but the crowd size was large and attendees seemed engaged.
I did not watch my own video yet. I’ll be interested in see what Michael Doane has to relate, and any others that Dennis and Jon engaged. I’m not looking forward to a repeat of the infomercial/TV news style of multimedia blitz from SAP, nor the hours of keynotes, but to hear from my peers, and try to help others trying to get enterprise software to live up to its name and promise.
Dipankar, Abesh, Me
The famous ASUG ribbon kiosk.