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Business Drivers and Overview of SAP NetWeaver Information Lifecycle Management (ILM)

Legal requirements and internal processes are the commercial driving forces for a solution such as SAP NetWeaver Information Lifecycle Management. SAP NW Lifecycle Management is a new component that provides end-to-end support in the administration of your information over its entire lifecycle. It orientates your information to your business processes by administrating policies and service levels in relation to applications, metadata, information and data.

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SAP NetWeaver Information Lifecycle Management is a component that requires the acquisition of a license. Once you receive this license you need to activate it using the Switch Framework (transaction SFW5). The minimum prerequisite is the installation of SAP NetWeaver 7.0 Enhancement Package 1. You can find other requirements in the documentation for the various basic modules of SAP NetWeaver Information Lifecycle Management that are listed in the Scope Of Functionality section in the official documentation.

Demand for Information Lifecycle Management has risen strongly in the last few years as a result of internal and external factors. In particular, these factors include the requirements from legal regulations and the risk management this entails, the increasing trend towards harmonizing and consolidating system landscapes and the aspect of total cost of ownership (TCO).

SAP NetWeaver Information Lifecycle Management

The SAP NetWeaver Information Lifecycle Management is based on three pilars:

  • Data Archiving.
  • Retention Management.
  • System Decommissioning.

All pilars will be explained in greater detail in the following concepts.

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SAP NetWeaver Information Lifecycle Management – Data Archiving

With the archiving objects that are provided by SAP applications, you write data from the application tables in files in the file system within the framework of SAP data archiving. Naturally, during this process the writing programs use business criteria to decide whether data can be removed from the database. As soon as data from concluded processes can be securely saved in files, it can be deleted from the online system database with a delete program.


These files can be transferred from the file system to another storage medium for long-term storage and access. For this you use the SAP ArchiveLink interface as standard and save the data on DVDs or CDs.

The data archiving module forms the core of SAP NetWeaver Information Lifecycle Management. In SAP NetWeaver Information Lifecycle Management, these “classical” functions have been extended to allow you to link to the other two basic modules. The conventional archiving programs now support data destruction and the creation of snapshots in addition to data archiving for SAP NetWeaver Information Lifecycle Management.

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SAP NetWeaver Information Lifecycle Management – Retention Management


This module contains new functions and is orientated towards scenarios at the end of the data lifecycle. It encompasses various tools and methods for all aspects of data retention – from the creation of data to its destruction. Legal requirements and other rule sets are taken into consideration.

The second pilar is Retention Management:

The tools and methods include the management of policies and rules, ILM-conformant integration of storage systems, destruction of data at the end of its lifecycle as well as the functions of Legal Case Management such as setting legal holds and performing e-discovery drilldown reporting. With these functions it is possible to completely map and control the lifecycle of the data.


Retention Management is principally orientated towards the “end-of-life data” business scenario.

You can define policies and rules according to different criteria with the aid of IRM. For example, you can specify how long the retention period should be for a particular object type, in which storage location the data should be retained and when it can be (or must be) destroyed. Policies can be based on (external) legal requirements or (internal) Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and and can encompass structured and unstructured data.

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The Information Retention Manager (IRM) provides you with a new policy engine that you can use to create and administrate retention policies and rules for all data types in your business environment – including non-SAP data and even paper documents. This gives you a central access point in your system for the administration of all your retention rules. When archiving SAP data the retention properties of the rules are derived and then transferred to an archive hierarchy along with the archived data.

For transaction data a rule is defined with the specification of the minimum retention period, the maximum retention period, the unit for the retention period, the start of the retention period and the desired storage location for archiving.

Storage is a key aspect of the ILM solution and enables the SAP NetWeaver Information Lifecycle Management to cover the entire lifecycle of the data. ILM-capable storage means that the storage system is connected to the application by means of a WebDAV-based interface and is able to adopt the retention properties received from the application and use them.

Since April 2008, SAP has been offering an official ILM certification for hardware partners. We recommend using a certified storage product that is similar to WORM to ensure your ILM strategy has the best possible security.

When storing archived data, an archive hierarchy is set up in accordance with the rules determined in IRM. The hierarchy ensures that that archived data is clearly structured, which makes search functions and other ILM processes, such as data destruction possible.

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The new function of Legal Case Management supports the administration of specific data in the context of legal operations. You can create a legal case and find all data related to this case using search criteria that you enter. You can then use the legal hold function to “freeze” the data relating to this legal case.


Thanks to the close interlinkage between data archiving, IRM and ILM-capable storage, the data that is subject to a legal hold is not deleted until the legal hold is reversed – even if the retention period has already elapsed and the data could actually be released for destruction.

SAP NetWeaver Information Lifecycle Management – System Decommissioning

This module contains new functions and is orientated towards scenarios at the end of the system lifecycle. It provides a standardized method for decommissioning legacy systems. The process is handled in two phases by the corresponding functions: system decommissioning and auditing and reporting.

The third pilar is System Decommissioning:

In the first phase, new functions and tools are used to remove all of the data from the system to be decommissioned and it is then stored in a Retention Warehouse. The corresponding system is then rendered dormant. In the second phase, the archived data is prepared and transferred to an SAP NWBW environment where it remains available for reporting and audit purposes. Local Reporting is possible also.

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The old system is decommissioned and the data is stored in an archive. The original system is no longer available. If a check is announced involving the data that was stored in the dormant system and that is now stored in the archive:

1. The archived data is selected and a bundle is created.

2. The necessary infrastructure is generated in SAP NetWeaver BW and the bundled data is transferred to BW.

3. New queries can be created or predefined queries can be used.

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As soon as the auditors have performed an audit on the data and left the company, the SAP NetWeaver Information Lifecycle Management administrator can delete the objects again in SAP BW.

The Business Usage of SAP NetWeaver Information Lifecycle Management

SAP Data Archiving, which is part of the standard system provided by SAP solutions, enables you to ensure system availability and system performance at a high level. It keeps response times small and system resources are efficiently used.

SAP NetWeaver Information Lifecycle Management Retention Management supports the entire lifecycle of archived data: creation – retention – destruction. Centralized Retention Management facilitates automated processes and reduces the risk of cases of dispute and e-discovery costs.

You can avoid the costs incurred in maintaining legacy systems that are no longer used with the deployment of the SAP NetWeaver Information Lifecycle Management Retention Warehouse.

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The ROI sinks significantly with every additional decommissioned system. After the fifth system it is estimated to be less than 6 months.

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