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Author's profile photo Bernhard Steigleider

Near-Zero Downtime Maintenance for SAP Business Suite Systems

Near-Zero Downtime Maintenance for SAP Business Suite Systems

How to use the new build-in downtime minimization capabilities of Software Update Manager with SUM 1.0/SP4

What is this blog about?

SAP’s Software Update Manager (SUM) SP4 is equipped with new downtime minimizing features, the so called near-Zero Downtime Maintenance Technology (nZDM), to minimize the business downtime which occurs while applying Support Packages, installing an Enhancement Package or upgrading an ABAP-based SAP Business Suite or SAP NetWeaver System. This Blog describes the new feature and the procedure to follow in order to make use of the build-in near-Zero Downtime Maintenance capabilities of Software Update Manager with SP4.


The Software Update Manager (SUM) has been extended with nZDM-Capabilities with Support Package SP4:

  • Introduction of capabilities for extended downtime optimization
  • Introduction of “Record & Replay” technique for business transactions

These features addresses ABAP-based SAP Business Suite & SAP NetWeaver Systems and are available on request only. Details to register can be found in SAP note 1678565 “Prerequisites, Terms and Conditions for nZDM/SUM.

More details about the nZDM Capabilities with SUM 1.0/SP4:


Significant Reduction of Business Downtime compared to current standard update and upgrade tools, because more relevant deployment phases will be executed while system is still available for business users:

  • Load generation (SGEN)
  • Selected long-running After Import Methods
  • Mass-generation of Enhancement Objects, Generation of Enqueue Objects
  • Main import (based on Record & Replay technique)
  • Table structure adjustment incl. conversions (based on Record & Replay technique)
  • Allows binding of customer transports into uptime part of the deployment procedure

What is the difference to older versions of SUM?

  • Several deployment phases which needed to run while the system is down can now be executed in the uptime phase of the deployment procedure
  • ABAP Load Generation can now be done prior to the remaining business downtime in the uptime deployment phase

nZDM vs. Traditional.jpg

This leads to a significant reduction of business downtime (in average more than 10 hours compared to former standard maintenance tools without any significant increase in system resource requirement.

What Do I need to invest?

  • There are no separate license fees for using the near-Zero Downtime capabilities of Software Update Manager (SUM). SUM is contained in the SL Toolset 1.0  and can be download from the SAP Service Market Place.
  • System resource consumption may increase slightly due to record & replay of configuration tables (minor temporary increase in disc space)
  • The overall runtime of the technical procedure may take longer, as more maintenance activities are controlled by the SUM and are mainly executed during the uptime deployment phase. To meet fixed maintenance windows you need to start the preparation and uptime deployment phases earlier (in average ~ 10-15 hours earlier)
  • No consulting service is necessary to use the nZDM capabilities with SUM 1.0/SP4.

What is the difference to Downtime Minimization Service for ERP?

The Downtime Minimization Service of SAP Consulting and SAP Active Global Support uses the near-Zero Downtime method (NZDT) and other technologies in order to minimize business downtime. This service has been successfully delivered for more than 20 systems at more than 10 customers.

NZDT reduced considerably the business downtime

  • Table conversions are executed on the clone during the uptime
  • The switch to the new software and the generation (SGEN) executed during the uptime
  • Import of the customer’s transports and 3rd party add-ons in the uptime
  • Achievable business downtime 8-16 hrs depending on the necessary validation in the downtime

But … NZDT requires a significant customer-specific effort

  • Additional hardware is required for the clone

  • Recording of changes results in a performance impact on heavily used systems
  • Additional testing cycles in the NZDT project have to be considered
  • Customer’s individual table classification

The lessons learned from these customer specific projects are integrated into the Software Update Manager (SUM) – the update and upgrade tool for SAP NetWeaver-based systems.

The nZDM-capabilities of SUM offers therefore a significant TCO-Reduction for standard software maintenance activities compared to customer-specific Downtime Minimization Service based on NZDT and other technologies. It addresses all ABAP-based SAP Business Suite & SAP NetWeaver Systems, not only ERP.

Certainly, the Downtime Minimization Service is still available for more complex software maintenance activities and can certainly also book to safeguard upgrade projects using the nZDM-capabilities of SUM as well. However, the Downtime Minimization Service is an optional offering for customers, who plan a standard software maintenance using the nZDM capabilities of SUM 1.0/SP4.

nZDM and DMS.jpg

Will it work for my systems and releases ?

SUM will allow using the nZDM capabilities for the following standard software maintenance activities:

  • Apply a Support Package on any ABAP-System with a target release based on SAP NetWeaver 7.0 Enhancement Package 2, SP8 or higher, e.g.
    • Apply Support Package 8 or higher (NW 7.02 SP8) on a SAP NetWeaver 7.0 Enhancement Package 2 System
    • Apply Support Package 5 or higher on a SAP ERP 6.0 Enhancement Package 5 System
  • Install an Enhancement Package on top of any ABAP-System with a target release based on SAP NetWeaver 7.0 Enhancement Package 2, SP8 or higher, e.g. :
    • Install SAP Enhancement Package 5 on a SAP ERP 6.0 system with SAP Enhancement Package 4
    • Install SAP Enhancement Package 2 on SAP NetWeaver 7.0 (ABAP)
  • Upgrade your system to any ABAP-System with a target release based on SAP NetWeaver 7.0 Enhancement Package 3 or higher, e.g.:
    • Upgrade SAP R/3 4.6C to SAP ERP 6.0 Enhancement Package 6 (SAP Business Suite 7 Innovations 2011)

What do I need to do to make use of the nZDM capabilities with SUM 1.0/SP4?

At the moment, the nZDM-capabilities of SUM/SP4 are not generally released yet. In a kind of ramp-up period SAP offers interested customers and partners to use this new SUM feature on an “Available on Request” basis.

What does “Available on Request” mean in details?

No, it’s not a Pilot Phase. The “Piloting”-Phase has already successfully passed, giving a couple of customers the opportunity to evaluate this new capabilities based on a Test & Evaluation Agreement (TEA) base.

According to formal aspects, SAP cannot officially announce a ramp-up phase for a new features implemented into a new SP level of an already available tool. Therefore SAP decided to choose a pragmatic approach to offer a kind of controlled availability phase, thus the capabilities are “Availble on Request” until further notice. SAP certainly plans to make the nZDM capabilities of SUM generally available as soon as possible.

What is the process to register to use the nZDM-capabilities of SUM?

So, if you want to make use of this feature right now, you can use them – even in a productive SAP system landscape! You just will need to register your project in the related SAP Development Team, that in turn will enable you to activate the features and to benefit from direct SAP Back Office support. The latest description about the procedure is described in detail in SAP note 1678565 “Prerequisites, Terms and Conditions for nZDM/SUM. In short, the process looks like this:

  1. Open a support ticket under component “BC-UPG-OCS-NZDM”. The ticket header should contain the following Title: “[nZDM/SUM]: Request for registration”. Within the longtext of your support ticket please provide necessary information about your system’s architecture and contact data.
  2. The SAP Back Office will get back to you in order to clarify all necessary aspects of the feature activation and execution of the software. Depending on the number of requests in the pipeline, the point in time, when SAP Back Office is able to support you using this feature needs to be clarified with the SAP Back Office.
  3. SAP Back Office will provide you with documentation how to activate the nZDM feature of SUM and how to make use of it during the supported software maintenance activities.
  4. SAP Back Office will provide support in case of errors in the procedure. Any open questions and/or problems, which may occur during the preparation and execution of the maintenance process should be addressed via a regular support ticket on a dedicated application component in order to quickly bypass regular support line and get processes by the Back Office instance.

For any further question, don’t hesitate to contact me via mail to

Any feedback is also highly appreciated.

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Thanks! nice informative article.