Data archiving: store files in SAP content server

With data archiving you reduce the database size of SAP and increase the performance by reducing the amount of records in the SAP tables. The data archiving process write files with the archived data. These files must still be stored securely, since on file level any admin can delete the files and you might loose valuable business data.

This blog explains the setup of storage of data archiving files by using SAP content server as storage medium.

Questions that will be answered are:

  • How do I setup the link from SAP netweaver ABAP stack to the SAP content server?
  • Which settings do I need to make in the archiving objects to store the archiving file to SAP content server?
  • How do I store the files in the SARA transaction?

General tips and tricks for SAP content server can be found in this blog.

How to setup archiving technically can be found in this blog.

How to run archiving can be found in this blog.

Linking the SAP Netweaver ABAP stack to SAP content server

First we need to maintain a special protocol in customizing using this path:

Create a new protocol:

This protocol can now be assigned to the SAP content server you want to use for storing the data archiving files. Goto transaction OAC0 to link the protocol to your content server:

If the field protocol is not visible immediately there, click the button Full administration first.

Data archiving object specific linking

After the steps above to make the general connection to content server available, the content server needs to be explicitly mentioned in each data archiving object. For any data archiving object (start transaction SARA first and select the object), click on the customizing button:

In the popup screen now select Technical Settings in Archiving Object-Specific Customizing:

At the bottom fill out the content server repository and decide if you want to start automatically or immediately:

Remark 1: the F4 search help does not work here! Key in the value directly and check using the check button. Then save the data.
Remark 2: always tick the option Delete Program Reads from Storage System. This forces that the archive file is securely stored first, before the deletion run is allowed to start. 

Storing archive files in SARA

After the configuration is done the new button Storage system appears on the screen in the SARA transaction for this specific object:

Storage system

If the button does not appear: check the technical settings above, and remember: this is to be repeated for each object.

Storing files that have been written by the Write phase of the data archiving process can now be stored by pressing the Archive Files button:

Select the file(s) to store:

Now a batch job starts (per file!) to store the archive file into the SAP content server.

After correct storage of the file, the file can be selected in the delete phase.

SAP content server 7.5

SAP has released content server 7.5. Content server can be used to store attachments, documents and archiving files outside of the SAP database.

Questions that will be answered in this blog are:

  • Where can I find more information on SAP content server 7.5?
  • How to upgrade to SAP content server 7.5?
  • What is the support on my SAP content server 6.5 installations?

SAP content server 7.5

The main OSS note for SAP content server 7.5 is 2786364 – SAP Content Server and Cache Server 7.5 (and higher). This is a major different technology setup: there is no Apache or Microsoft webserver needed any more. The content repository setup itself does not change.

For installation you can follow the instructions from the main OSS note, or follow the steps from the SAP blog on content server 7.5 installation.

Upgrading from 6.5 to 7.5

As mentioned before the technology has changed on how data is put into content server and how it is retrieved, but the data structure itself is the same. Note 2786364 – SAP Content Server and Cache Server 7.5 (and higher) is also describing the migration process. Your database (most of the times MaxDB) remains as is. But you have to install new 7.5 content server. Then you migrate the configuration. You stop the old 6.5 server and start up the new 7.5 server. You test that all works via the content server check programs from this blog (you might need to perform changes in transaction OAC0). SAP recommends after successful migration to clean up the old 6.5 as soon as possible to avoid issues (like an overzealous admin starting it up again…).

Support of SAP content server 6.5

In the main OSS note on SAP content server 6.5 (1983930 – Availability of SAP Content Server 6.50) there is no direct indication of end of support date. SAP content server 6.50 is part of the Netweaver 7.40 stack. The support of this stack ends by 31st of December 2020.

Changes to test programs

The content server test programs (for example RSCMST) can respond differently with the new content server. SAP is updating these. For more information see the blog on content server tips & tricks.

Storing SAP office documents in content server

When you are storing a lot of SAP office documents, you will find that table SOFFCONT1 is growing to a large value. Out-of-the-box SAP stores SAP office documents in that table. This blog will explain how you can route the storage of these documents from database to a content server.

Questions that will be answered are:

  • Which settings do I need to make to route SAP office documents to the content server?
  • Which settings do I need to make to route GOS attachments to the content server?
  • How can I test if the documents are stored correctly in the content server?

Check current settings

Start transaction OAC0 and open the entry for content repository SOFFDB:

Here you can see documents are written to SAP table SOFFCONT1.

Reconfiguration of SAP office to content server

First check with transaction OANR that the number range is defined properly:

Goto transaction OAC0 and alter the settings for SOFFDB to your content server settings:

Also set up a new content server:

Now goto transaction AOCT to change the category settings for 3 entries: SOFFDB, SOFFHTTP and SOFFPHIO:

More background can be found in OSS note 2571570 – Where are documents physically stored with Business Communication Services?. And in OSS note 1634908 – Reduce the number of entries of table SOFFCONT1.

Reconfiguration of GOS (generic object services) to content server

Goto transaction SKPR08 and assign the content server category to class SOFFPHIO:

More background can be found in OSS note 530792 – Storing documents in the generic object services.

Other settings

There are more settings to be done or validated. It might be that these settings are already done in your system. If not, make the settings.

First define the Data carrier in customizing:

Make sure the entry for Data Carrier for front end has the type PC defined with a temporary storage path:

Please make sure that the end user has full rights to this directory. Some companies shield a lot. Without write and delete rights a temporary file cannot be stored here and the function will not work.

Now check that the default entry for data carrier is present. If not present use the Create Default Entry button to create it:

Now check the workstation application settings in the customizing path below, or directly via transaction DC30:

Search for the application type PDF and make sure the entries for 1 (display), 2 (change) and 3 (print) are maintained:

%AUTO% means it will take over the value from windows default to open PDF file.

Repeat this check for the popular formats DOC and DCX (Word), PPT and PPX (powerpoint), XLS and XLX (excel), ZIP (compressed files).

Testing the setup for SAP office

To test the setup for SAP office goto transaction SBWP to create a new message:

Create a document with attachment:

During upload you will see in the left bottom side the Test HTTP destination and destination test ok:

This means the document will be moved to content server. If this does not come, it is not ok.

If all is uploaded and you have filled out a receiver: hit the send button.

Now go back to SBWP and select the outbox. Double click on your message you just created and go to the attachment tab:

The document opens now.

You can ask your basis team to stop the content server. If that is stopped the document will not open (you get a HTTP error). This proves that the attachment is stored in the content server.

Testing the setup for GOS

To test the setup for GOS goto one of the transactions supporting the GOS setup. In our example we will use purchase requisition change (transaction ME52N). Select a purchase requisition and open the GOS box top left:

Select Create… and then option Create Attachment and upload a file.

Now select attachment list:

Open the document. Ask you basis team to stop the content server. Now try to open again and you will get an http error proving the document is stored in the content server.

Migrating existing documents

To migrate existing documents from the database to the content server, you can use program RSIRPIRL. The use of this program is explained in OSS note 2459712 – How to use report RSIRPIRL.

Regaining storage space

Depending on your database the moving of attachments from database to content server will immediately free up storage, or only after database table reorganization.

SAP database growth control: data archiving general setup

This blog will explain the general technical setup to be performed for SAP data archiving.

Questions that will be answered in this blog are:

  • Which generic settings do I need to make for data archiving in the technology domain?
  • Why should I use a content server to store archive files?

Data archiving content server setup

For data archiving you can use the file system for storing the archive files. This you can do to perform initial testing. For productive use it is best to store the archive files in a content server. It will not be the first time an overzealous basis person in need for file storage deletes some old files in a directory called /archive…..

After you install the content server, set up in OAC0 the customizing for the content server to use it for Archivelink:

OAC0 define content server

More details are explained in OSS note 2452889 – Assign a content repository to an Archiving Object.

For more details see this dedicated blog.

Data archiving general technical settings

Now start transaction SARA:

SARA start screen

In this initial screen no object is selected. Now press the Customizing button.

Data archiving customizing

Set the Cross-Client File Names/Paths to your needs. You can do that from this menu, or directly from the FILE transaction.

Set the physical path name to be used:

ARCHIVE_GLOBAL_PATH FILE name

Even when you use content server the file will first be written to physical path for temporary storage.

And check the archive file name:

ARCHIVE FILE name

Technical settings per archiving object

Per archiving object you can set the technical settings. Normally you keep settings the same per object. Only for very large installations with archiving or special needs, you might want to deviate.

In the technical settings per data archiving object set the following:

Data archiving technical customizing per object

Important settings to set:

  • Max size in MB or the max objects
  • Check the variants (some variants for production have still deliberately the test tick box as on: you have to change it)
  • Best to leave the delete jobs to Not scheduled (large archiving runs can create many files and many deletion jobs to kick in at the same time): best to do this manually in controlled way
  • Start storage automatically or manually is a choice for you
  • Best to store before deletion. This is the most conservative setting.
  • Best to delete only from storage system: if file is not stored properly in any way, deletion will not have. This is the most conservative setting.

2018 improvement notes on Data Archiving

In 2018 SAP released several improvement OSS notes on data archiving. Description can be found in this blog.

Controlling amount of parallel batch jobs

The deletion phase of archiving can lead to uncontrolled amount of parallel batch jobs. See this dedicated blog on how you can control it.

SAP content server technical tips and tricks

This blog will give you technical tips and tricks regarding the SAP content server.

Questions that will be answered are:

  • How can I check technical connection to content server?
  • How can I check that the content server functions work from technical side?
  • How can I test a cache server setup?
  • How can I extend to a file size limit above 2 GB?

Technical connection test to SAP content server

The first obvious connection test is in the administration function of the content server. Start transaction OAC0 (starts with letter O and ends with zero) and select your content server. On the next screen hit the check button. If the test is ok, click on the CSADMIN button and the detailed screen comes. There should be a green light behind your content repository. If no connection or no green light, there are issues in the linking and communication to content server (content server down, firewall block, etc).

Technical function test of SAP content server

To test if all the SAP content server functions are working from the technical level you can use test program RSCMST. Unfortunately there is no transaction linked by SAP, so you have to use SE38 or SA38 to start the program. After filling out the content server on first screen, you come to the second screen where you can launch the detailed tests. Per test you have to click the execute button.

Test program RSCMST result screen

Green means test has run and ok. Red is the unfortunate one where test has run and result is not ok. Yellow means test has not yet been executed.

In an ideal case all lights are green. If you have red light best to fix it by either applying OSS note to ABAP server or patch to content server.

Your specific company might not use all the technical options for content server (like the above HTTP using mCreate), but this is hard to correlate to end user scenario’s. If your users are facing issues with content server and not all lights are green on this report, it is a basis issue to be solved.

More background on the tests: OSS note 1482012 – Check the connection to content server.

Remark: the test program RSCMST can have bugs by itself. So check for latest version of this program and apply the OSS notes before running and relying on the program. Last known updates are from July 2017, by looking at keyword RSCMST in the SAP notes.

If you are running on content server 7.53 or higher, please read OSS notes 2888195 – Content Server 7.53 and report RSCMST and 2897793 – RSCMSTH2 reports errors for Content Server 7.53. This notes state that only the first 3 checks are relevant for 7.53 and higher.

Content server performance

Program RSHTTP80 can be used to test the content server performance.

Testing cache server setup

If you have a cache server setup and want to check if that works properly, also here test program RSCMST is used. Read OSS note 2083855 – How to check cache server access on the exact parameters to fill out.

File size limit larger than 2 GB

If you want to store files larger than 2 GB, follow the instruction from this OSS note: 1705940 – Check in/out of files larger than 2GB in SAP Content Server.