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OpenText 101: Archive Server system refresh

A recurring topic were a lot of SAP/OT maintenance team struggle is what to do with the Archive Server when performing a SAP system refresh. Let’s be honest: How many of you had the same issue? I had it couple of times in the last months… This happens because it is not really clear how to do an Archive Server system refresh. It is not as easy as a SAP system refresh. It implies more work and task to be performed so at the end the Archive Server ends up as it was before. No system refresh for Archive Server. The problem? You will have tons of problems with your new QAS environment when you try to check any SAP business objects that have attached files on them.

A few months ago one of my readers wrote me about this topic (thank you Salim). I thought it was a great question so the next step was writing an entry about it. Lets take a look!

The problem

Some of you would already read my previous entry about OpenText Archive Server. If you didn’t read them I would recommend starting with this one:

OpenText 101: Journey to the Centre of Archive Server

Over there I explained how the Archive Server files are mapped with SAP Business Objects:

Archive Server integration with SAP

So basically each Business Objects in SAP have a document ID that points to the file in the Archive Server. For example, when you attach a file on a purchase order in ME23N transaction the SAP system creates the document ID that is then passed to the Archive Server so both the file in SAP and the Archive Server have the same reference. This document ID is kind of unique within the system and the combination of the Business Object and document ID makes everything works.

What will happen after you refresh the SAP system

So, what happens when we perform a system refresh on the SAP system? As I said the document ID depends on the system that it was created. When you perform a system refresh in SAP you are restoring the database of the SAP system from PRD into DEV/QAS. In the SAP system the documents IDs will be the ones that we have in the PRD system after restoring the database. The problem is that the document IDs in the SAP system doesn’t link the document IDs in the Archive Server. It will happen this when you’ll try to open a document in the QAS system:

  1. SAP will check the document ID stored in the SAP database for that specific Business Object.
  2. SAP will ask the Archive Server about the file that is stored with that document ID.
  3. Since the document ID doesn’t exist in the Archive Server database it will send an error message to SAP.

This will happen with all the documents that were created before the system refresh date. Of course if you attach new documents in the SAP system you will be able to download and see them.

Let’s check with OpenText Support

I already said it before: I’m not a big fan of the OpenText Knowledge Center. You won’t find a lot if you try to find any document related to this kind of operation. Basically there is no official document about how to perform an Archive Server system refresh. If you don’t believe me you can do the test. Go to the OpenText Knowledge Center and search “Archive Server System Refresh”. 1361 results and zero results related with the topic.

You can also open a support case to OpenText and if you are lucky they will send you couple of guides that could be related. If you are not lucky they will tell you that the OpenText Consulting Team will perform the project for a lot of money. I’m a fan of OpenText Support but in this case they were not really helpful. Probably because someone inside the company saw the market opportunity in this area…

We are lost! There is no hope!

Don’t panic, there is always hope! After studying the issue in the past I came around with the following ideas:

  • It is possible to perform a Volume Migration from PRD to QAS environment. You can read about it in the OpenText Archive Server: Administration Guide. Using the migration utility we can create a copy of the volume from PRD to QAS. The steps are described in the Administration Guide but it basically involve to first migrate the attributes from PRD database to QAS database and later perform the volumen migration. The migration shouldn’t delete any data from the repositories in the PRD environrment. Do not use the export/import utility since it will delete the data in the PRD environment.
  • The second options is to use the dsh and dsClient utilities for exporting documents from PRD and importing them in the QAS Archive Server. I wrote about this applications in old posts so please feel free to check them. The problem here is that you will need to know some shell scripting in order to create the two programs that export and import the documents. I did something similar in the past when I create a program that used dsh for exporting documents in PDF file. If you are interested contact me and I will send you the script.
  • The third option is to create a Z program in SAP to export/import the documents using ArchiveLink. I know that this is one of the options used by OpenText Consulting Team. In my case one of the last system refresh I did was using this program, the development team create a Z program that will copy the documents from PRD to QAS using a list of documents ID that we provided. Unfortunately I have no idea about how to create the program and neither I have the code of the Z program. If I find the program I will share the code.

The best option for Archive Server system refresh

There is no best option in this case. All the described options have their pros and cons. For example, if you don’t mind about storage and you want to copy all the documents I would choose the option A. If you don’t want to copy all the documents and just copy a few I would go for option B or C. In the last years I used options A and C mainly, the only times I used option B was for exporting documents from Archive Server in order to migrate them to Sharepoint.

I hope this post clarifies the possible ways to perform an Archive Server system refresh. It is not a clear topic and it is difficult to find information about it on the Internet. As usual, please feel free if you have any question about the topic. Have fun with your Archive Servers!

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