Recently, we were part of early workshops in Bangalore, India where SAP introduced internally the new Test Data Migration Server (TDMS) version – TDMS 4.0. I am assuming that the reader is aware of what TDMS does – for the un-initiated; it is an add-on that lets you create QA and Development systems on demand by reducing the size of the DB due to time reduction logic, in turn saving you a lot of disk space, time and money. Up to 70 % reduction in disk space is possible using time sliced data transfers with much lower runtimes. I will use this opportunity to summarize some of these key TDMS 4.0 features.
Using and administering TDMS for quite some time now, I have felt a need for improvements in certain areas of the application. In fact many of these new features in version 4.0 are result of customer enhancement requests. This, in my opinion, goes a long way to show that product development team @ SAP TDMS listens and responds to what their customers have to say. Kudos to the product development and product support teams for this major milestone in TDMS lifecycle!
Before proceeding further, do note that the product is still in the late phases of development and early ramp up and the final version for general release (March 2012) may differ slightly from what is described in this blog.
Okay, first off let us see at a high level what is changing. This illustration below shows main changes between the current version 3.0 and the proposed 4.0.
(Image Courtesy: SAP TDMS Product Development)
Let us review briefly what I consider to be changes with wide ranging impact on the tool upgrade and usability.
Support for new business suites: I believe that addition of SCM and SRM, along with ability to transfer IS solutions such as Oil & Gas are huge. This will enable clients (that have these solutions but did not earlier know that such reductions in their test data footprint are possible) to adopt significant reductions in cost and cycle times and at the same time improve quality of their test systems.
From a Quality Assurance (QA) and testing perspective there would be direct benefits such as following (in addition to intangible improvements like compliance and securing sensitive data):
- Decrease in cycle times- TDMS is faster than other comparable conventional solutions (such as client copy tools from SAP) to create test systems and more automated. This translates to fewer man hours spent creating and maintaining such test systems.
- Increased tester productivity – with a test data provisioning solution like TDMS, the tester is able to devote more time to actual test execution without having to create test data manually.
- A reduction in number of defects reaching System test and production – good test data allows QA professionals to catch defects earlier before it reaches production. It is 50 times more expensive to fix a bug once it reaches in production than it is to deal with it in early design/unit test phases.
Object based transfer for SAP Utilities: In addition to other IS reductions such as banking, CRM and SRM TDMS offers a solution to migrate data for utilities. Data is reduced based on a business object. All historical data linked to the business object is pulled to ensure consistency with CRM. Following objects are supported:
- Business Partner
- Point of Delivery
Enhanced application navigation & controls: One of the common gripes about TDMS especially amongst non-technical, business end users was a myriad of T-Codes and difficult to navigate interface. In newly redesigned interface, all relevant steps and activities are accessible from a single screen that can be accessed via a portal. As the following screenshot shows Projects, Portfolio, Data scrambling etcetera is accessible from one convenient central location.
(Image Courtesy: SAP TDMS Team)
Analysis and in-built reports: Just like the control center, the analysis and reporting work center provides a centralized access point for reports under following categories:
- System parameter details: These are tried and recommended settings for an optimal TDMS run. This could be number of processes needed, database parameters, Hardware sizing etc.
- Transfer performance report: for a given package ID, this report provides various level of detail about run time. This can be used to gauge the performance of your transfer package and also used to compare run times between different configurations, communicate information to SAP for performance enhancements etc.
- Table and field comparison – this is a very useful addition to TDMS reporting capabilities. You can execute this to find out the repository differences between the sender and the target. You can use the output of this report to determine if shell creation is required.
Stand alone scrambling: In certain cases it is desirable that you are able to scramble data within the same system without overwriting any objects; this is useful in those scenarios. You can scramble selected data within the system. You can use out of the box scrambling routines or create custom scrambling routines. There is a scrambling workbench available that you can use to create custom routines to scramble data based on special requirements.
Introduction of system landscape concept: This makes creating and managing RFC connections easier for administrators. Ever wondered how cumbersome it is to maintain RFC connections for each and every project/package you created? In my own experience, I would often forget the password (at one time there were 9 different systems TDMS was servicing) and then wait in line for my security guy to fix that. With system landscape however, you define the participating systems in your TDMS control center and then you can assign these landscapes to your projects.
Another advantage is that you can have your basis or security personnel set this RFC connection that you can use in TDMS. I mention this because some projects there are access related issues in granting RFC authorizations to non-admin/basis persons.
(Image Courtesy: SAP TDMS Product Development)
Data Transfer through files: This is another of those cool features that make TDMS a must have for every QA & Testing tool suite. Assume you come across a situation where the sender and receiver are not “connected physically”. I have come across 2 similar scenarios recently-
- Production is ready to send data but the QA system is not yet ready to receive it since it is down for maintenance. The whole project is on hold because data transfer cannot be initiated until QA comes back online. I wondered at such times if there was a way I can export data and store it in the file system which I can then import saving a whole lot time in between.
- Air gapped productive system. Due to security concerns the sender system cannot be allowed to connect other systems via RFC. It is not therefore possible to use conventional means to extract data since it will potentially involve hooking up the sender via RFC or other technique.
Both of these problems can be resolved via this new TDMS functionality. I am sure there are other scenarios where this would be useful. TDMS treats this as just another process type like TDTIM for ERP.
New Features in SAP HCM: Several changes in the way SAP TDMS HCM works.
- New tools for HR data selection – you can select HR business objects such as PERNR, relations etc based on complex rules. For instance, select all those employees belonging to a certain wage type that report to a particular person and were hired after 01/01/2011. And what’s more you can save this filter and use it in multiple packages. There is a separate transaction for HCM selections meaning HR experts can make the selection without having to involve TDMS administrators.
- Copy ERC data- Transfer of E-Recruiting objects (Requisition, Job Posting, Application, Candidacy, Talent Group, Internal Candidate, External Candidate and Business Partner) and their corresponding relationships. In earlier version you had to manually define these objects and then generate business partner data. In this version the ERC copy rules are integrated in standard HCM copy.
- Migration of HR forms and processes: With version 4.0 you can now copy data based on forms and processes. All business objects related to that process would be copy. For example, you want to copy LOA, or birth of a child. You can copy this data by specifying the relevant selection.
- Simplified scrambling: Scrambling platform is redesigned making it more intuitive and easier to use for non-technical users. You can now scramble at the package level for each individual migration ID.
Several changes in the comparison tool: Following scenarios are supported to rapidly check the differences in time based events-
o Changes of the SAP Release,
o Installation of SAP ERP HCM support packages
o Changes in Customizing
o Compare after a TDMS run is completed
Netweaver BW solutions: For SAP BW following migration scenarios are available-
Shell Creation for SAP BW
- SAP TDMS transfers all repository objects such as reports, DDIC structures, and table definitions.
Time-Based Reduction for SAP NetWeaver BW
- SAP TDMS reduces BW transactional data based on the time slice
Upgrade from TDMS 3.0 to TDMS 4.0: Following 4 scenarios apply for customers making a switch from TDMS 3.0 to TDMS 4.0-
Upgrade to standard software (for customer without any specific customizations) –
o No impact on software upgrade, minor custom objects like selection groups will be kept as is
o Packages and projects would have to be created afresh
Impact on control system
o Customers would have to either upgrade WebAS to version 7.0 or migrate the controller to a system with WebAS 7.0
Impact on Data Scrambling
o Existing scrambling engine would be replaced with a better one
o There would be ready made routines available for some scenarios in ECC along with support for HCM scrambling
Impact to Business Process Library scenario
o BPL (DMIS_EXT) will be no longer available as a separate entity and would be integrated with the DMIS_CNT
o Existing BPL customizations will have to be manually moved to TDMS 4.0
These are what I consider to be major new or enhanced features. There are several under the hood improvements which I have not included in my notes at this time since I am trying to keep this blog short and simple. If you happen to have any questions about TDMS in general or a data transfer/reduction requirement in particular I would be very glad to answer that.