Downtime for SAP migrations & upgrades: the options

27 March 2017

Nicholas Chang

Nicholas Chang


“How much system downtime is required?” I’m not a betting man, but I can guarantee that if you’re considering an upgrade, an SAP S/4HANA conversion or migrating to SAP HANA, this will be one of the first questions you ask your implementation partner. I would even go so far as to say that is why you’re here, reading this post.

Time means money

SAP is the technology workhorse at the heart of many enterprises – 76% of the world’s transaction revenue touches an SAP system. However, the truth is that businesses simply can’t afford downtime. The mere thought of migrating a system in the 10+ terabyte range and the associated costs of the downtime incurred as a result of that project is enough to make many customers delay their upgrade and/or migration plans. So, what are the realities and options?

What are my options?

Today, there are now four options available to customers to reduce the downtime required during a production cutover, unfortunately all with similar names: DMO, nZDM, ZDO, and nZDT. OMG, right?

For clarity we've put together a breakdown of each approach to provide you with a stronger understanding. This will serve as a starting point; from here, you should be able to decide what strategy to use based on total amount of downtime permitted by the business. Additionally, to eliminate the ‘OMG’ factor, we’ve explained what the acronyms nZDM, ZDO and nZDT mean.



The business case

Ultimately, your decision on which technology, if any, to use will come down to a business case. If the cost of purchasing nZDT is $1,000,000 but the cost of your ECC system being down equates to $20,000 per day, you don’t have much of a case. Equally you must consider the complexity these tools introduce. DMO is the only one of these tools/methods which has been tried and tested on thousands of migrations. Is saving 12 hours of system down time really worth the additional project risk?

Setting up for success

With so many factors to consider, and the spectre of unplanned downtime looming if the migration doesn’t go according to plan, it’s vital to choose a partner who is hands on and pratical. Check their credentials in the specific area you’re requiring. To ensure success, partner with someone who has the depth and breadth of experience only multiple implementations can bring. Downtime is a costsly commodity so choose wisely.

Bluefin and SAP S/4HANA - welcome to the one horse race

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