BW Developers Benefit from Using Production Data for Testing

  • by David Eady, Reporting Team Lead, SI Corporation
  • September 1, 2006
BW developers spend most of their time in the development system, often the least suitable environment for testing due to the lack of solid production-class data. Explore creative ways to populate your development system with real production data.
Key Concept

When you load data from your production source system into the Persistent Staging Area (PSA) in your BW production system, a PSA table stores the data. This PSA table holds all of the raw data from your source system’s DataSource, including full loads or initial/delta loads. A request identifier identifies each individual load in the PSA table. When you decide to load this PSA data from your BW production system to your BW development system, you should consider using the request identifier or some other InfoPackage selection to control which sets of PSA data to load. If you don’t specify any development selections, then you get all the PSA data, which is often more than what you need.

Note that the data in the PSA is an exact copy of the data from the original source system with no manipulation by transfer rules or update rules. Because this is untouched data, you must manually recreate any custom transfer rules for the data flowing into the BW development system.

One of the best ways to ensure a high-quality product is to test and prototype extensively before moving to your production environment. However, many development systems lack the live, diverse data necessary for comprehensive testing and quality assurance.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could thoroughly test your extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL) with more realistic data? I am sure that your users would appreciate seeing their prototype reports with recognizable data. I’m going to give you several tips to show you how to populate your BW development system with a sample of BW master data and transactional data from your production system. This includes back-end objects (DataSources, transfer rules, update rules, InfoProviders, and MultiProviders) as well as front-end objects (queries, workbooks, and Web reports). Note that BW does not continuously update this data, so it becomes stagnant test data as soon as it enters the BW development system. I’ll provide three scenarios of increasing complexity that allow you to transfer master data, InfoProvider data, and PSA table data.

Transfer Master Data Loads

The first and easiest scenario is transferring master data such as attributes, texts, and hierarchies from BW QA to BW development. Figure 1 illustrates the flow of data from the original source system into BW production and then into BW development.

David Eady

David Eady is the reporting team lead of the SI Corporation MIS team headquartered in Chattanooga, TN. The reporting team is responsible for all aspects of SAP information delivery. David has been with SI Corporation for six years and has been involved with BW for the last four years. He has a BS degree in industrial engineering from Mercer University and lives with his wife and two daughters in the foothills of northwest Georgia.

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