Q and A


Boost Your Data Archiving Strategy with SAP Solution Manager’s Data Volume Management (DVM): Q&A with Michael Pytel (transcript)

by Kristine Erickson

The Data Volume Management functionality of SAP Solution Manager is "an underappreciated tool," according to Michael Pytel of NIMBL, and SAP Solution Manager 7.1 brings "drastically improved" features. But what does that mean for customers?

To answer this question,we  recently moderated a Q&A with Michael that covered the performance and analysis benefits of DVM, the latest features and functionality, how to use information gleaned from DVM to determine the value of an archiving project, the difference between ADK and DVM, implementation and configuration considerations, and more.

You can read the full text of the Q&A in Insider Learning Network's IT Forum, or read our edited transcript here. And don’tm miss Michael at the SAP Solution Manager Seminar later this year.

Molly Folan, SAPinsider Events Welcome to today's SAP Solution Manager Forum. For the next hour, NIMBL's Michael Pytel will answer questions on SAP Solution Manager 7.1 and the Data Volume Management (DVM) work center.

Michael is just coming off some great Solution Manager sessions at Admin 2013 and we're looking forward to his sessions at the SAP Solution Manager Seminar as well. Today we're covering a feature of SolMan 7.1 that Michael said is underutilized but can really improve performance and simplify a data archiving strategy. Thank you so much for joining us today, Michael!

I know there are already a number of questions, but when you have a moment, I'd also like to start with some DVM basics to set this up. You've mentioned that there are "dramatic improvements" in DVM in 7.1. Exactly what role do you see for DVM in improving system performance and technical operations? And what measures and reporting can system administrators expect to see in a DVM work center?

Michael Pytel, NIMBL: Thank you for having me! Great to be here! Excited to field some questions on Data Volume Management.

DVM is an underappreciated tool, in my opinion. It allows organizations to perform an archiving analysis without having to create a whole sandbox environment where we need to archive and measure what was done. DVM does everything based on data it gathers via Managed Systems and lets you simulate settings. It also creates some great reports for administrators to show business users what's consuming a system.

DVM in Solution Manager 7.1 is still based on the idea we deploy SAP Service Tools to our Managed Systems (the SAP systems to be analyzed). Basis administrators are already familiar with this process since our Early Watch Reports require the Service Tools as well.

From a performance perspective, system administrators also know that small er tables mean faster performing systems. It's amazing how many times we've helped an organization find old or unnecessary data via DVM. A lot of times it's custom tables that were written for an interface and no one knew specific tables needed to be purged.

As part of Solution Manager 7.1 SP08, administrators will get the following features in their DVM Workcenter

1. Statistics & Trends -- What's growing and where? What tables and how old is the data in specific tables?

2. Potential Savings -- If I archived, how much disk could be saved?

3. Archiving Info -- If I'm currently archiving, what am I getting rid of?

4. Service Documents -- Great reports that are generated based on data in your environment. Includes recommendations from SAP on what to archive.

Ken Murphy: Hello Michael,

I'm curious, which SAP and non-SAP systems and modules can DVM report on? Can it analyze legacy R/3 systems as well as more recent SAP ERP implementations? Thanks, Ken

Michael Pytel: Ken -- Thank you for joining! Great first question. DVM can connect to R/3! We've had the opportunity to configure on R/3 4.6C and Solution Manager 7.1 SP05. Lots of notes to apply as you can imagine. Key component is to install the SAP Service Tools on any/all managed systems (ST-PI and ST-A/PI). Check out the DVM preparation note here.

The note above also describes the basis patch level required to use DVM. If you've got Early Watch Reports running, you're almost ready for DVM.

Umeshsap14: Hi Michael,

We have SAP Solution Manager 7.1 sp4.

Can I configure DVM using this SP level or do I need to increas e the sp?

Also please let me know the BI and BO standard dashboards for the DVM.



Michael Pytel: Umesh -- Thank you for the post! DVM has been around since Solution Manager 7.01. Vastly improved in SM 7.1 and now includes some guided setup procedures in SP05 and above. You can technically get started on SP04 -- but be aware you will probably run into 25+ notes to be installed.

Re: dashboards -- if you can get to the latest SP08 for Solution Manager 7.1 you would have access to the DVM planning dashboard not available in SP04.

More detail on the planning dashboards can be seen here.

TomKissel: Hi Michael,

We run MM, FI/CO, and HR/Payroll. A number of years ago, we tried to get data archiving going, but ran into roadblocks with getting approval (from on high) to remove anything off of the main system. Can this module tell us what the savings (in disk/tablespace) would be for archivable objects (without actually removing anything)? (Our database is ~1.4 TB, running Oracle, no compression.)

Michael Pytel: Tom -- Thank you for joining! Lots of customers in the same place. How do we decide if an archiving project will give us some meaningful returns?

The above is the value pitch for Data Volume Management. It will not archive your systems for you -- but it does give you access to more information than customers had before. We can answer questions like...

1. How old is the data in my system?

2. What module is consuming the most storage?

3. What does SAP say I should archive?

4. If I archive, how much space could I save?

The last qu estion is answered with the DVM component "Potential Savings" analysis. Solution Manager collects data from the target system and stores the information inside Solution Manager. Then we run some analytical reports (provided by DVM/SAP) to find out what can be saved.

How do you get started?

1. Ensure you have your Early Watch Reports active and running normally

2. Access the DVM Setup via Transaction SOLMAN_SETUP

3. Follow the wizard and installation prompts

4. Post setup, ensure your DVM extractors run completely (sometimes easier said than done)

If you have any BW experience in house, it sometimes is good to have a BW person around to check the extracts into Solution Manager (yes, Solution Manager does also include BW, crazy).

Here is a screenshot of what the DVM setup wizard looks like.

Giovanny: Michael,

What is the difference between ADK and DVM? Is DVM just for analysis?

Michael Pytel: Giovanny -- Thank you for posting!

DVM is a complement to ADK. It is only used for analysis to help discover what to archive, what archive objects to use, and to measure the savings before/after an archive execution.

Here is a link to an online demo of DVM within Solution Manager 7.1.

sheaMatt: Hi Michael,

You mentioned "the DVM planning dashboard not available in SP04." Can you tell us more about that?

Michael Pytel: Correct -- dashboards were not included (to the best of my knowledge) until SP05. You can see an example screenshot of the dashboard on page 12 of this doc.

How practical are they? You can only view them in SolMan -- and cannot export. Use it during demos to executives. But the service delivery reports are more effective for sharing with non-SolMan users (they are in MS Word format)

Here is a link to the self-service demo.

Dave Hannon: Michael, are there any scenarios where DVM could be a useful solution that SAP users might not think of? A hidden use case, if you will? Thanks!

Michael Pytel: Hidden use case? Hmmmm! Good question.

I think one idea is the ability for DVM to analyze all tables -- customer-created objects included. For example, sometimes we focus most of our energy on what's in front of us -- sales orders, POs, transfer orders, etc. What about the tables supporting the little known interface for XYZ? It's amazing how we (SAP project teams) focus on building an interface that meets business requirements but don't think about the long term effects on systems.

For example, we found a table using DVM that was growing faster than any other table on a customer system. It was a GL interface related table storing journal entries. It was an intermediary table that wasn't being purged once the final records were written to the standard SAP tables.

Long story short -- DVM provided a better view into what was growing, how fast, and when, than our DBAs could provide.

DanielLeal: Michael, how much overhead does DVM typically introduce to a system?

Michael Pytel: Daniel -- Good question!

So here's how the process works on the backend.

1. Much of the data is already provided via SDCCN and Early Watch Reports.

2. When we set up a potential savings analysis or custom analysis, this kicks off the DVM extractors.

3. DVM extracts are the same as BW extractors -- it's extracting data from the target system using programs included with SAP Service Tools (ST-A/PI and ST-PI).

4. Data is loaded into BW cubes on SolMan and then reports are executed.

When running these "extra analyses" we can schedule them. They will consume a dialog/background process and read data from the system. It is additional workload but difficult to quantify. Thankfully we can schedule them.

Michael Pytel: For all that joined -- here is another great link on SDN which references some critical notes to be implemented, etc.

And a reminder -- we first need to complete Managed System Configuration and have Early Watch Reports active before starting DVM. Managed System Configuration takes between 4-6 hours per system assuming you have system admin access.

How do we deploy DVM when we use a hosting partner? Get them to complete Managed System Configuration -- and install the notes defined above. Once they've completed, you can begin running analyses in DVM.

Thank you again everyone for attending! Insider Learning Network is such a great resource!

Michael Pytel

Molly Folan: Thanks to all who joined us in the Forum today. Some great discussion here! (And you can post your questions at any time in the IT Forum. Simply log in to Insider Learning Network, go to the IT Forum and select the "New Thread" button at the top of the page.)

Once again, thanks to Michael Pytel of NIMBL for taking these questions today. We look forward to seeing you at the Solution Manager Seminar!

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