In SUM we call the new zero downtime maintenance (ZDM) procedure “Zero Downtime Option of SUM (ZDO)”. Since January 2015 the next step to reduce the overall business downtime for updates, upgrades and also customer releases was available for pilots. With help of our customers in meanwhile more than 60 updates/upgrades we tested successfully the zero downtime procedure in customer PoCs and productive landscapes.
In close cooperation to our customers the CoE / Consulting colleagues did an excellent job and in all these customer projects mainly in North America and Europe we shared the knowledge about ZDO.
With SUM 1.0 SP16 that is available since February 2016 the ZDO procedure is available on request.
What can you expect from ZDO?
The new zero downtime procedure is a new procedure of the Software Update Manager (SUM). So you just continue with the tool you use anyway and know in detail. The new zero downtime option of SUM (ZDO) abolishes the technical downtime and finally enables a business downtime of down to zero. So it is a big step towards serving the increased business requirements of the availability of logistics systems.
With zero technical downtime and almost zero business downtime the costs of maintenance windows will be reduced significantly. It is easier to schedule additional maintenance windows, e.g. to install a feature pack or a new release when the business requires new functionality. With ZDO, upgrades can be performed at any time and any frequency. Thus maintenance planning can react more flexibly and the innovation adoption timeline becomes shorter.
The ZDO procedure supports SAP updates / upgrades and custom development activities as well.
The import of custom transport transport requests is available in SUM since SUM 1.0 SP14 (standard and advanced mode) and this is used for ZDO as well.
How does it work?
With ZDO of SUM SAP architects found a smart solution to manage the conflicting database table access between the update and the user without the need of a system copy. Only a small subset of DB tables has to be copied. The additional DB space is in the range of the existing SUM features for downtime minimization.
The huge difference with ZDO however is, that end-users now run their business while the upgrade is completely executed. The conflicting DB table access between the update and the users is managed on the database layer and is hidden from the end-users as well as from the administrator.
The zero downtime option intends to support customer update or customer upgrade activities on a regular basis. It has to be comfortable in use with minimum costs and acceptable effort for the IT team. The zero downtime technology is integrated in SUM (Software Update Manager). It is therefore equipped with a proven automated procedure and uses the new UI. The zero downtime technology furthermore needs a minimum footprint of DB space when big systems need to be updated several times a year. Thus the zero downtime option does not work with a clone-based architecture. The zero downtime technology works “in-place”. All actions are performed within the same database, and the upgrade and production get different views on the tables.
With zero downtime we refer to the update procedure end-to-end. This means that we also consider the subsequent activities that are usually scheduled after SUM has run, e.g. customer transport requests, cool-down or ramp-up.
Regarding customer transport requests you maintain the transport buffer in the configuration screen and all imports of this buffer, no matter if it is related to e.g. SPAU, DDIC, development or customizing are considered. The SUM imports the transports with import_all. In standard or advanced mode you get all transports related to repository in uptime (shadow), non-repository transports are managed by the SUM as well but have to be imported during the downtime phase. In ZDO even all customer transports are imported in up time.
So the ZDO covers all your big releases no matter if it is an SAP update or a customer release.
After the update when SUM has successfully upgraded the system during up time, the current version of ZDO needs a small period of business downtime. Users cannot work on the old software version in parallel to the new software version. Currently all users have to log off and log on again. A quick restart is needed at this time.
Which products and maintenance activities are supported?
This is the availability according to current planning and can be changed at anytime.
You need to read the SAP note 2163060 to get all details about “available on request”.
In focus of the zero downtime option of SUM are the most downtime critical SAP products and Add Ons. If you miss an add on or product here, it is appreciated when you tell us your planning.
Due to technical reasons a BW or an embedded BW is not supported.
Thanks to a big variety of pilot projects we consider different stacks on different databases for the zero downtime enablement. So most of the databases already support the ZDO technology. The databases in green will “be available on request” according to current roadmap
Restrictions of ZDO enablements:
– SAP EWM is currently restricted to installations on SAP NetWeaver only
What does “available on request” mean?
The most common products and database combinations are “available on request” and are available for your tests and productive upgrades without any additional costs.
For detailed info see SCN article Zero Downtime Option of SUM (ZDO) is “available on request”
and read SAP Note 2163060 – “Prerequisites and Restrictions of Zero Downtime Option of SUM” to get all requested info.
What does “on project basis” mean?
“Available on project basis” refers to a restricted shipment phase. It ensures a direct support for customers and developers get feedback that is needed to validate and improve the new technology close to business continuity. The update project with ZDO is based on a service contract.
This means SAP Support (AGS) or SAP Consulting have to be involved. The software life cycle development team will support your update/upgrade project directly in close cooperation with SAP Service / SAP Consulting and the customer.
In about 60 update executions on customer side this pilot setup was proven. It ensures a direct onsite support for the first PoC activities, enables the know-how transfer, supports your cookbook improvements / adaptions to get the best benefit of ZDO and finally ensures a direct and very fast support from the SAP development team.
Are you limited regarding the use case of ZDO in a pilot project?
Not at all. The first pilot in January 2015 was performed in U.S.A. with 2 PoC iterations The first productive upgrade on SAP HANA for the internal project system (ERP) at SAP in May 2015 was the start for a roll-out to all critical system in the SAP company. In September we celebrated the first ERP update on customer side.
Do you want a deeper insight?
If you want to get further information about how ZDO works in detail and would like to be one of the pilot project participants in the next months, feel free to get in touch with @jensfieger (Product Manager Downtime Minimization of Cloud & Lifecycle Management).