Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Use IDocs to Retrieve a Failed Request Job

Extracting data from an SAP source system into SAP BW consists of triggering an InfoPackage from BW. In the background, this process involves a sequence of IDoc exchanges between BW and the source system. Clearly understanding the process behind this IDoc exchange can help you in many scenarios, the most important being recovering a failed data upload.

Key Concept

An IDoc (intermediate document) is a standard data structure for electronic data interchange (EDI). IDocs are used for the data interchange between SAP systems as well as between an SAP system and an external system. IDocs serve as the vehicle for data transfer in SAP’s Application Link Enabling (ALE) system. The contents, structure, sender, receiver, and current status of the IDoc are defined in the IDoc header.

Data acquisition from an SAP source system is a very common scenario in SAP BW. This process involves extracting the data using either standard business content-provided extractors or custom-built extractors.

Failure of data to load usually leads to loss of productive time in re-triggering the extraction. For the scenario that we cover in this article, a data load failure leads to restarting the mirror initialization process. Therefore, this article begins by explaining the process of communication between BW and the source system through IDocs and then applying this knowledge to recover a failed data load without having to restart the mirror initialization process.

Data extraction from an SAP R/3 source system to BW begins when BW sends a request in the form of a request IDoc. The source system then extracts the data and sends it to the BW system. During this activity of data transfer, the two systems exchange additional information from time to time in the form of info IDocs. These info IDocs also transfer the information about the extracted data, such as data source details, data package number, and number of records. Therefore, you should acquire a detailed understanding of the IDoc exchange process to help you more easily deal with problems such as failed requests.

Before we get into the details of how the process works and its various aspects, let’s take a look at how IDocs play a fundamental role in the communication process between BW and R/3 during the data extraction. This article covers the fundamentals of data extraction from R/3 to BW (versions 3.x as well as SAP NetWeaver 2004s).

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