One of the projects we've had to put a lot of effort into over the past few months is the upgrade of our SAP systems - HR, Payroll and Finance. After taking the systems down last Thursday evening, this morning we went live with a fully upgraded system. This was a large and complicated project that has taken many months of planning and preparation - building and testing the various SAP systems, downloading the software and doing trial installs and building a complete copy of all of the SAP systems to test the connections and interactions.
There were quite a few components involved with the project. Not only did we want to upgrade the SAP software to the latest version, but we also wanted to restructure how the SAP systems connected to each other to make them more resilient and better performing. A key part in doing this work was the virtualisation of the SAP infrastructure onto a new cluster of high capacity servers. In doing this virtualisation work, and going from 13 physical servers to two big ones, we will make considerable reductions to our power consumption and reduce our carbon emissions considerably.
We allowed 4 days downtime to achieve server virtualisation, technical reorganisation, the simultaneous upgrades of the systems, and the technical upgrade from Xi to Pi (the way the systems talk to each other) and it required not only an awful lot of hard work from our SAP teams (basis and development), some of whom worked all weekend putting in very long days, but also co-ordination and collaboration from other areas of the department including Unix, Networking, Storage, Managed Desktop, MUSE and Communications teams who were all available and all doing their bit. We also relied on the teams in Finance and HR to test that everything was working as it should be.
We had been told that this was an almost impossible task by our SAP consultants, but everything had been handed over to functional teams to test by yesterday, and today we went live. A couple of minor glitches this morning relating to load and portal links, but nothing that couldn't be fixed quickly, and altogether a successful outcome. I'd like to personally thank everyone involved.
Although this was a technical upgrade, and functional improvements can now take place, there have been some benefits to users, including a much wider range of browsers which are supported - this morning I've had all of the systems running on my mac on Safari, Chrome and Firefox, and even on my iPad! Perhaps I can finally ditch Camino.