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Author's profile photo Moritz Gysler

How to get ready for Change & Deployment Management in SAP Cloud ALM

This blog post will help you to understand the new business object “Feature” in SAP Cloud ALM in order to deploy changes.

  • What is a Feature?
  • Which SAP solutions are covered by Features?
  • How to handle Features?
  • Wrap-Up & Next Steps

What is a Feature?

A Feature is a vehicle to deploy your changes throughout your system landscape. A Feature holds the landscape information, the container for the transportable objects and your technical change documentation.

Which SAP solutions are covered by Features?

SAP Cloud ALM can be connected to:

  • Change & Transport System (CTS), hence deployment management for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition, and SAP NetWeaver Application Server for ABAP on-premise is covered by Features.
  • SAP Cloud Transport Management Service (CTMS), hence deployment management for SAP BTP, Cloud Foundry and Neo environment as well as for SAP Integration Suite – Cloud Integration and API Management is covered by Features. (More under Supported Content Types)

Further information about enabling transport management can be found here and in these blog posts:

Please note that your managed systems for the CTS integration need to fulfill the following prerequisites:

Note: Please make sure that your TMS is configured properly. 

How to handle Features?

For properly specified Features you can start the implementation to change software or configurations in the development environment. In order to provide the changes in the test environment for proper testing (test integration for Features not yet available) the changes can be deployed via the Features to the quality assurance system. Afterwards Features can be approved for deployment to the production system. By deploying the Features to the production system you are completing the implementation of your changes.

Feature%20with%20transports%20assigned

All changes to a Feature are captured in the history in order to provide transparency and preserve traceability.

Feature%20history

Nice to know:

  • Transports that are assigned to a feature that weren’t imported to one or more quality assurance systems yet will be deployed there first. Then, they will be deployed to the productive system as a package.
  • All transports assigned to a Feature will be deployed with import option “Import Transport Request Again”.

++Update – January 25, 2022++ 

  • Today we delivered the Deployment Status in the Feature Traceability. Easily figure out in which stage the transports assigned to a feature are deployed.
    • The Deployment Status provides an aggregated overview based on the feature:

Deployment%20Status%20in%20Feature%20Traceability

Deployment Status in Feature Traceability

    • By clicking on the respective icon you get the detailed information per system role:

Deployment%20details%20in%20popover

Deployment details in popover

    • Filter per deployment status to simply figure out the relevant features:

Filter%20for%20Deployment%20Status

Filter for Deployment Status

  • Now you can use Tags to categorize your features.
    • In Edit mode you can assign or create Tags in the Additional Information section:

Tags%20in%20Additional%20Information

Tags in Additional Information

    • Filter for Tags in the Features Overview easily:

Filter%20for%20Tags

Filter for Tags

++Update – January 12, 2022++

  • To avoid confusion the status “Ready for Deployment” was renamed to “Ready for Production”.
    • After the testing is completed successfully the feature can be approved for production:

Approve%20for%20Production

Approve for Production

    • The status of the feature is now “Ready for Production”:

Ready%20for%20Production

Ready for Production

++Update – December 15, 2022++

  • New status value “In Testing” was introduced for features.
    • After you have deployed the feature to the test stage you can hand the feature over to “In Testing” from status “In Implementation”.

Handover%20to%20Test

Handover to Test

    • After the successful test you can approve the feature for the production deployment.

Status%20In%20Testing

Status In Testing

  • Assign corresponding user stories to a feature easily. In the assign dialog you can simply select user stories related to the same requirement as the feature.

Assign%20user%20stories%20related%20to%20same%20requirement

Assign user stories related to same requirement

    • Switching to “All” via the segmented button provides you the list of all user stories available for assignment.

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Assign user stories switched to All

++Update – December 4, 2022++

  • It is possible to assign requirements to a feature from now on. Switch to Edit mode, select a requirement in the Additional Information section and save.

Assign%20requirement

Assign requirement

Select%20requirement

Select requirement

++Update – November 23, 2022++

  • To assign a transport or a user story to a feature you must switch to Edit mode from now on.

Switch%20to%20Edit%20mode

Switch to Edit mode

Assign%20in%20Edit%20mode

Assign in Edit mode

++Update – September 28, 2022++

  • Now it is possible to deploy several features to production at once. Only for features in status “Ready for Deployment” for which all assigned transports are ready to be deployed to production.
    • In the Features Overview you can filter for “Release” and the status “Ready for Deployment”. By selecting several features the “Deploy” button is enabled.

Selection%20for%20deploy%20to%20production

Selection for deploy to production

Note: In case one of the selected features is not in status “Ready for Deployment” the “Deploy” button stays disabled.

    • In the confirmation popup you get another information about the number of selected features for deployment to production.

Confirm%20deployment

Confirm deployment

Note: By using select all in the Features Overview you select all features matching the filter criteria and not only the ones shown on the screen due to lazy loading.

    • In case the check whether all transports assigned to the selected features are ready to be deployed to production fails, an error message is showing up.

Deployment%20error

Deployment error

    • A simple message toast is indicating that the deployment for the selected features was scheduled successfully.

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Deployment scheduled message toast

Note: All ABAP based transports will be imported as subset. The CTMS transports will be deployed in the sequence of the transport node’s import queue.

  • Now you can check the respective deployment status per feature.

++Update – August 10, 2022++

  • Assign and unassign user stories to and from features. You can only assign user stories which are not yet assigned to any other feature.
    • The Assign button is available in display mode and user stories can be assigned in all feature statuses other than “Not Planned” and “Deployed”.

Assign%20user%20stories

Assign user stories

    • You can assign several user stories at once.

Assign%20User%20Stories%20popup

Assign User Stories popup

    • Unassigning user stories is possible in all statuses of a feature.

Unassign%20user%20stories

Unassign user stories

 

  • The Cloud Transport Management tile is available in the SAP Cloud ALM for Implementation section of the launchpad.

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Cloud Transport Management tile

  • You can now release CTS transports in status Modifiable.

Prerequisites:

      • ST-PI 740 SP18 or higher
      • For SP18 and SP19 please follow SAP Note 3228978
      • With the release of SP20, SAP Note 3228978 will be already included and doesn’t have to be installed.

To enable the release of transports within an SAP Cloud ALM feature, you have to execute the Configuration of Client Dependent Use Cases in each development client you are using.

    • To schedule the release of all transports assigned to a feature you can click the Release button. In this example there is only one modifiable transport in client O11-200 assigned to the feature.

Release%20transport

Release transport

    • Confirm the release for all transports assigned to the feature in status “Modifiable”.

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Confirmation popup for release

    • The Transport status switches to “Release scheduled in <system>”.

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Status Release scheduled

    • After the batch job in the managed client picked up the transport to be released the status switch to “Released” will be pushed to the feature.

Status%20Released

Status Released

Note: If the release of a transport is not possible – most likely due to modifiable transport tasks – the status of the transport will stay “Modifiable”.

++Update – July 27, 2022++

  • Feature support of deployment for TMS transport target groups and multiple targets for Cloud Transport Management Service (CTMS) is available now.

Prerequisites:

      • Install ST-PI 7.40 SP18 or higher.
      • Implement the notes 3221589 and 3201146. Implementing note 3221589 starts the implementation of note 3201146.
    • For TMS transport target groups the successor clients will be resolved within a feature.

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Deployment status per client in target group

    • For CTMS the deployment status is shown per target node.

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Deployment status per transport node in CTMS

Check the blog post How to handle transport target groups in SAP Cloud ALM for further information.

++Update – June 1, 2022++

  • Releases can be assigned to features from now on.
    • You have to define your deployment plan first and assign it to the corresponding implementation project (if not yet done).

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Deployment Plan definition

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Deployment Plan to Project

    • Now you can assign the respective releases to features in order to indicate the intended release to production.

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Assign Release to feature

    • In the feature overview you can easily filter for the features per release.

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Feature overview by Release

++Update – May 13, 2022++

++Update – April 7, 2022++

  • You can find your transports in the feature overview now by using the search field.

Search%20for%20transports%20in%20overview

Search for transports in overview

  • Filter for features with no transports assigned yet.

Features%20with%20no%20transports%20assigned

Features with no transports assigned

++Update – February 24, 2022++

  • You are able to create a feature from within a requirement. This direct relation is shown in the Requirement Traceability as well.

Create%20feature%20from%20requirement

Create feature from requirement

  • By assigning your production system to the production role in the Project Landscape you can enable a check for the deployment of transports to production. As soon as one target tenant in the Transports section of a feature is flagged as production system you have to make sure that the feature is in status “Ready for Deployment” before triggering the deployment to production.

Deploy%20to%20production%20in%20status%20In%20Implementation

Deploy to production in status In Implementation

Deploy%20to%20production%20in%20status%20Ready%20for%20Deployment

Deploy to production in status Ready for Deployment

  • A failed transport can be set to “Repaired” in the transport section to indicate that you have fixed the error manually. As long as a transport is in status “Failed in <SID>~<CLNT>” the deployment to the next target tenant is not possible.

Set%20Status%20to%20Repaired

Set Status to Repaired

++Update – November 5, 2021++

  • Now it is possible to create user stories or project tasks from within a feature to track the implementation easily. The user stories and project tasks are linked to the feature and can be processed in the task list. 

Nice to know:

    • The excel export of the feature list contains the transport IDs. That’s an easy option to find out in which feature a certain transport is included.

Wrap-Up & Next Steps

The Feature can be used as vehicle for deployment and serves as your fast track to production. Together with the technical documentation and the change history you can preserve the full traceability.

In future the concept of the Feature will serve different ways of working and via relating it to the known items like requirements and user stories you are always able to jump on the Change & Deployment train in SAP Cloud ALM. In addition it gets clear that we distinguish between the business view with requirement as well as the work instructions on user story level and the technical view with the Feature as the technical change document holding all the information needed to do your job as a change & release manager.

Looking forward to receiving feedback. For latest updates and notifications you can follow me by clicking Moritz Gysler.

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      5 Comments
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      Author's profile photo Matthias Kiekens
      Matthias Kiekens

      Are there plans on supporting more complex TMS landscapes for example with target groups?
      (Roadmap doesn't show any)

      From SAP Help:

      • Currently supported landscapes:

        • Landscapes with at least two systems per route (also virtual systems)

        • Landscapes with basic consolidation and/or delivery targets (no target groups, delivery confirmation procedures, workflow-driven transports)

        • Landscapes with client-specific transport routes (CTC, optional)

      Author's profile photo Moritz Gysler
      Moritz Gysler
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Matthias,

      Thanks for your question.

      We will incrementally improve the functionalities of SAP Cloud ALM deployment management and here the target groups are definitely in scope. I thought about adding a preview / what's next section since we are delivering features bi-weekly and this would help to keep track. A topic like the one raised by you seems to be a perfect fit for such a section.

      Best regards,

      Moritz

      Author's profile photo Moritz Gysler
      Moritz Gysler
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Matthias,

      Today we have released the support of TMS transport target groups.

      I have updated the blog post and will create a dedicated one soon.

      Best regards,

      Moritz

      Author's profile photo Mark Wagener
      Mark Wagener

      Is it plannend to support gCTS in an SAP S/4HANA PRIV. CL. ED. system landscape (dev - qa - prod)?

      Author's profile photo Moritz Gysler
      Moritz Gysler
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Mark,

      We are looking into this scenario as well but there is nothing planned in the near future. Definitely a very interesting use case for hybrid landscapes and the the one mentioned by you. Thanks for the query.

      Best regards,

      Moritz