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Classic “Refresh or Move DB Instance” vs. New “Refresh DB Content”

Customer Situation:

Customers may need to setup a new system with existing DB content. This can be necessary when you want to create a test system or you want to refresh a system that has been corrupted with an existing proper backup.

The Software Provision Manager offers two slightly different ways to do this. In this blog I want to introduce those two functionalities and to show the differences.


It is possible to use the system copy procedure to export / import the DB content but this will install a new DB instance using the installation media. This option is called: “Refresh or Move Database Instance

In many cases, it is better to refresh a system without having to install a new DB instance but only replace the DB content in an existing ABAP schema.

This new option is called “Refresh Database Content”

Background / Motivation

Customers should be able to refresh the DB content of an existing system as fast as possible.

The new process is faster, since the new DB instance does not need to be installed every time the DB content gets refreshed. It is also faster because the Kernel media and RDBMS media is not needed for that scenario. TCO is reduced, due to a minimal downtime of the system.

However, moving the refreshed system to another host is not possible with the new functionality. For this scenario, the classic option is still available.

Description: Classic “Refresh or Move DB Instance”

  • Using the DB content on the same host it is called “Refresh”
  • Using a different host to refresh the DB content it is called “Move”

-> Installation media is required and DB backup or migration export

-> New Kernel is needed (from media): download new Kernel media = time consuming

-> Database media (RDBMS server and client software) is needed = time consuming

-> New DB instance is installed = time consuming

Result: System refresh with existing DB content on the same or different host and new DB Instance

Description: New “Refresh DB Content”

  • Refresh the database content on the same host only

-> No installation media is required, only DB backup or migration export

-> No new DB instance is installed, only DB content is replaced, this is faster as option “Refresh or Move DB Instance”

Result: System refresh with existing DB content on the same host on the existing DB Instance


For additional Information please see also: -> System Provisioning -> System Copy Option ->  Guide for Systems Based on SAP NetWeaver 7.1 & Higher

Section “Copying Single Instances Only -> Copying the Database Only – Refresh Database Content”:

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  1. Yogesh Patel

    Couple of questions regarding this.

    • Is this only for MaxDB?
    • Refresh Database Content is refreshing transaction and master data in system?



  2. Stefan Jakobi Post author

    Hello Yogesh,

    thank you for the questions.

    In fact this functionality is available for all DBs except MaxDB (I had a wrong screenshot in the Blog). 

    Yes, it will refresh the complete Database schema including transaction and master data.

    Best Regards


  3. Bart Couvreur

    Hello Stefan,

    this looks like a good development, however I do have a quick thing: it seems when using this function (or even when using the original): it seems it requires a file based backup. This basically makes both options irrelevant for a lot of customers executing point-in-time refreshes.

    When executing either the “Refresh database content” or the “Refresh or Move database instance” I get at a certain point the following screen:

    As far as I can see there is no way around this which would make restores from backup/restores tools impossible.

    Did I miss something?

    Kind regards,


  4. Stefan Jakobi Post author

    Hello Bart,

    in fact, if you want to create a complete system refresh, you need a consistent status of the system at a certain point in time. For the Software Provisioning Manager, this is done by a full DB backup or a migration export.

    However, other tools from 3rd Party vendors may have their own solution to create a system refresh.

    Best Regards

    Stefan Jakobi, Product Management CLM


  5. Miguel Fonseca

    Great article. I was reading the system copy guide. We want to refresh our QAS system with PRO and I was thinking to do it with the new option “Refresh Database Content” as we only need to refresh our ASE database on our distributed system. Is this option going to work? Can we change the schema from pro to qas with this?

  6. Stefan Jakobi Post author

    Hello Miguel,

    thanks for the question.

    There are two options with the “Refresh Database Content” scenario.

    Option 1 is Backup/Restore based, Option 2 is Load based. When using option 2 (load based) you can change the schema from pro to qas.

    Best Regards


  7. Paul Pop


    really desperate trying for hours this new option.(It seems that i don’t have available in the menu the “old” option) I keep getting the attached error, and didn’t found anything online about this.

    What do you think?

  8. Stefan Jakobi Post author

    Hello Paul,

    sorry that you face this problem.

    For that case please open an SAP Support ticket so we can analyze the error and solve the issue or transfer the issue to the right team inside SAP.

    Thanks and best regards

    Stefan Jakobi

    Product Management CLM

  9. Muhammad Bilal Barlas

    Hi Stefen ,

    Thanks for wonderful blog,

    Our customer want to refresh data of ERP Sandbox system from ERP Production. Production SID (PXX) is different from Sandbox SID (SBX)

    In system copy guide Chapter “6.41. Copying the Database Only – Refresh Database Content on MS SQL Server”, there are three options as mentioned below.

    Please advise which option will be suitable for my requirement.

    1. Using the SAP Standard Method. (Export and Refresh DB Content)
    2. Procedure Using Database Backups
    3. Procedure With Copying the Database Device Files of the SAP database

    Please Refer page 116-117 from system copy guide

    Your agile response is highly appreciated.

    Abuzar Ehteshamuddin


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