Build a Reduced-Size System Copy for Testing with TDMS Shellcreation

  • by Nils Krugmann, Consulting Lead TDMS Shellcreation, SAP Deutschland AG & Co. KG
  • January 15, 2009
SAP Test Data Migration Server (TDMS) is a high-speed data-extraction tool that you can use to populate your development, test, quality assurance, and training systems (called receiver systems) with data from your live production environment (called sender systems). A TDMS Shellcreation builds a receiver system as a reduced-size copy of the sender system; since it builds only a small system, it doesn’t consume as many resources as a full-system copy and requires only a fraction of the storage space. Shellcreation for SAP ERP systems is the only possible approach to creating a small receiver system for large sender systems. Learn how to navigate the Shellcreation process and avoid major pitfalls.
Key Concept

If you have a system of 150 gigabytes (GB) or less for which you need to create a test system, the best method to use is the homogeneous system copy with database means. In this backup/restore procedure, you save the sender system’s database as a backup and then restore that backup copy to the receiver system, creating the test system.

Any time you make changes to your production environment, you need to test them before you implement them. Testing can be a huge project in itself. You already know that, but you need to know what the best (and least expensive) way is to test the changes. Typically, you want to test every possible condition and situation that might occur, but if you do that, you’ll need a system as large and complex as your production system just for testing purposes. Enter the SAP Test Data Migration Server (TDMS), a new System Landscape Optimization (SLO) product from SAP that enables you to manage test data and figure out how much of it you actually need. (SLO is a division of specialists within SAP and SAP Consulting focused on the consolidation, harmonization, and optimization of your SAP system landscape. For more details, see

TDMS is a high-speed data-extraction tool that populates your development, test, quality assurance, and training systems (called receiver systems) with SAP business data from your live production environment (called a sender system). You can make a complete copy of your sender system and use it on your receiver system, or you can perform a TDMS Shellcreation (a reduced-size, homogeneous, R3load-based system copy approach). The primary reason that IT departments decide to build the receiver system for TDMS using Shellcreation, instead of performing a homogeneous system copy of the sender system (or using a third approach that is even less feasible, described below), is the receiver system’s potentially limited size.

For example, if you decide to make a complete copy of your sender system, TDMS enables you to build and refresh test systems with actual data from your production environment, resulting in a smaller system size. However, you only reach this reduced system size at the end of the TDMS run after performing a database reorganization. Between building the receiver system from a copy of the sender and performing the TDMS run itself, the two systems remain equal in size. If your company is running low on storage capacity, outsources its storage systems to an IT-hosting company and is billed for every bit of data that the system allocates, or just doesn’t have enough storage space to provide terabytes (TB) of data even temporarily, size limits can be a real problem.

Using the TDMS Shellcreation approach, you build up the receiver system as a reduced-size copy of the sender system. Shellcreation excludes application tables from the beginning of the export, resulting in a smaller receiver system that can accept the TDMS data and still allocate only a fraction of the storage space required for a full-size copy of the sender system.

Since 80% to 90% of production data, according to SAP, is stored in 10% to 20% of client-dependent tables (see the sidebar “Dependent vs. Independent Tables” below), TDMS enables you to reduce data volume, simulate production environments, automate refreshes of complete systems or individual client systems, and scramble the data. This last feature can save you a lot of headaches. For example, if you create a test system from your production system and include the data, you don’t want your programmers, testers, and developers to be able to check on the salaries of your employees and managers. For this reason, you can scramble the data with TDMS, as well as perform a Shellcreation.

Nils Krugmann

Nils Krugmann is the consulting lead for Test Data Migration Server (TDMS) Shellcreation at SAP Deutschland AG & Co. KG. He graduated from the University of Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, with studies in computer science and computational biology. He joined SAP Consulting in 2006 and now focuses on SAP NetWeaver, SAP ERP, infrastructure, and SAP BASIS technologies. TDMS is one of his major consulting focuses.

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