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Perception about the upgrades in companies which are running complex landscape is not positive. They think that the upgrades are expensive which is true if there are no smart strategies and planning involved. As upgrades involves lot of peoples from different modules across the landscape it may sound complex and expensive. This blog will provide smart strategy for PI upgrades which is helpful to people who are involved in decision making of an upgrade project or a technical architect involved in an upgrade project.  In recent past I have accomplished a PI upgrade project for a client with team of 4, that is correct just team of 4. We had used following tools in our project.

  • HP Application Life Cycle Management (ALM)
    • Used to create test scripts
    • Used to create defects
    • Used to document the fixes so that it would help as a reference documents in future projects.
  • SAP Solution Manger change management process (SOLMAN ChaRM):
    • To create change document which would document all changes related to project
    • To create transports for a change related to specific project
    • To attach all documents related to changes for a project

As a PI architect, I owned complete upgrade responsibility which included following tasks

  • Strategy to perform upgrade
  • Technical validation of components after upgrade
  • Technical testing of the interfaces in development
  • Functional testing of the interfaces in quality
  • Playbook preparation for Go-Live
  • Go-live and hyper care support

Our client’s PI landscape was dual stack running on 7.1 version which had to be upgraded to 7.4 dual stack having service pack level 8. They were running a 2 tier landscape in which first was called production tier and second was called project tier. To keep it simple I will be using Tier1 for former and Tier 2 for latter.  There was a critical time factor involved as there were many parallel projects going on to bring companies businesses into SAP and the requirement was to have upgraded PI landscape.  The reason they required upgraded PI landscape was because all other SAP systems connecting PI was upgraded to latest version. You may think why there was a miss, yes true and my very first statement in this blog holds true.

I divided the project into following phases as we need to deal with 2 tiers. One thing which had to be kept in mind was to have one quality system available all the time to transport emergency changes to production.

  • Discovery phase
  • Restore phase
  • Upgrade development system in Tier 1
  • Upgrade quality system in Tier 1
  • Upgrade development system in Tier 2
  • Upgrade production system and perform go-live
  • Upgrade quality system in Tier 2

Note: In any upgrade project client does not want to spend money unless needed so above mentioned phases are key to successful accomplishment.

Discovery Phase: In this phase we spent most of the time with very aggressive pace. The reason being, we planned to capture all the dos and don’ts related to upgrade. In this phase Tier 2 quality system which was a mimic of production system was upgraded. We performed following tasks in this discovery phase of upgrade project.

  • Prepare interface dash board to capture all the interface details with respect to Adapters, Systems, Frequency, Business System and Business Process Management (BPM)
  • Take backup of current version which was PI 7.1
  • Upgrade Tier 2 QA system and track the basis hours
  • Keep track of errors fixed during the process of upgrade and track effort spent
  • Keep track of SAP NOTE which have been implemented and track effort spent
  • Perform component validation of the upgraded system and track the effort spent
  • Perform technical testing of the crucial interfaces which was derived from dash board document which would cover all major adapter, systems and BPM’s related to different business processes
  • Restore the Tier 2 QA system back to previous version and take a special back of upgraded version and store it for 3 months (I will explain why?)

The discovery phase was completed in 4 weeks, after which we were at 97 % confidence level (As Prod system may always surprise you!) of pros and cons related to PI upgrade. We presented our approach with details and time frame to project sponsors. There was no much discussion as the time line which was projected for PI upgrade hypothetically was way off from the time frame we projected with details. Then we got project rolling and accomplished the project with Go-Live as expected within 3 months.

In my next blog will explain with technical details in a diagram how we completed upgrade by always having a system as emergency path to send changes to prod in a 2 tier SAP PI landscape. I have provided a landscape architecture diagram just to a feel of complexity which was handled by team of 4.

Stay tuned!

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