What is stored in SOFFCONT1 table (and why it grows so fast)
The table SOFFCONT1 grows quickly in SAP landscapes and is often found in the top 10 largest tables in the system (TIP: Check the list of largest tables in transaction DB02). This table belongs to SOC3 and contains SAP Business Workplace/SAPoffice documents attachments or attachments created via the Global Object Service (e.g. s PDF scan of the purchase order or invoice).
SOFFCONT1 is one of many SAP tables that contain aged data, which is data that loses business value after legal hold or when it reaches retention time. Often, these tables grow rapidly because data is not handled properly after serving its purpose.
The size of SOFFCONT1 highly depends on how these types of documents or attachments are used in the system and how they are stored. If an external storage solution is not used, SAP stores the office attachments directly in the table SOFFCONT1. That’s why it grows so quickly. To stop it from getting bigger, SAP recommends using an external storage system (e.g., archive storage).
Six out of 10 biggest SAP tables may not be generating business value
Did you know that up to six out of ten biggest SAP tables may not be generating business value? The example below demonstrates SAP Early Watch output that shows the top 10 tables based on their total size. The six tables indicated could be made significantly smaller if regular housekeeping were in place.
Proper SAP housekeeping and archiving must be in place to keep the volume of this data under control. If aged data is not properly archived, stored, and destroyed, it not only affects the storage costs, but also poses a myriad of risks, such as legal compliance, business disruption, reputational damage and revenue loss.
Two ways to keep the SOFFCONT1 table size under control
There are two ways to keep the table SOFFCONT1 small.
The first and recommended option is to store attachments and access them from an external storage solution. Bear in mind that the default SAP setting is to store attachments directly in SOFFCONT1, which is often the root of the problem. It is not possible to archive SOFFCONT1 data records with an existing standard archiving object. Instead, the document’s content (e.g., Microsoft or PDF attachments) should be migrated first and new content continuously stored in an external content server.
Moving attachments from the table SOFFCONT1 to an external content server is possible with Outboard ERP Archiving which supports multiple storage options (cloud based – e.g., Azure Blob, AWS S3 or Google Cloud Storage as well as on-premises – e.g., file system, Hadoop or other corporate data lake storages). For more information, see SAP Notes 389366 (SAP R/3 4.6B – SAP Web AS 6.10).
To allow the content server option you need to create a new storage category (transaction OACT) and assign it to the class SOFFPHIO (transaction SKPR08). If the SOFFPHIO class is not visible refer to SAP Note 668271. As of that moment, new documents will be stored in the content server and existing documents in the system will be kept in SOFFCONT1. This will keep your SAP system lean and clean. If the table SOFFCONT1 is too large we recommend you check SAP note 389366 to migrate existing data from SOFFCONT1 to the content server. Similarly, to SAP Note 389366, Outboard ERP Archiving offers an improved migration cockpit, enhanced with performance, monitoring, parallelization options and validation to secure the data integrity between SOFFCONT1 and the external content server. Because Outboard ERP Archiving offers multiple affordable storage options as an external content repository (cloud based or on-premises), this is the best way to reduce the SAP database size and reduce the overall costs of running an SAP landscape.
The second, less effective option, is to delete documents that are no longer referenced. Nevertheless, we recommend to performing the deletion before the migration to reduce the amount of data. Deleting documents or e-mails (with or without attachments) from a folder only removes the references between the folder and the documents. The content of the documents remains in the database, including the header data and the send logs. This data can be physically deleted from the database (e.g., SOFFCONT1) using the program RSBCS_REORG (see SAP Note 966854). This process is part of the SAP housekeeping activities recommended by SAP and is one of the many housekeeping jobs available in the software solution Outboard Housekeeping which automates all SAP housekeeping activities in one central cockpit.
Best practices for archiving and housekeeping SAP systems
Regular SAP housekeeping and archiving is essential, but according to our research covering over 300 SAP systems, only a low percentage of organizations are leveraging housekeeping in their SAP systems to the fullest extent.
It is best to start by analyzing your systems data volume. A proper analysis to identify quick wins as well as build a solid platform for kick starting system housekeeping practices and implementing regular archiving of aged data to comply with legal requirements and mitigate business disruption, reputational damage or revenue loss.
To summarize, archiving and housekeeping in SAP systems is an important task that often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It is important to clean up the data automatically, which not only reduces the overall effort, but also improves system performance and lowers storage costs.
Find out more about Outboard Housekeeping, the holistic solution to clean up no-value data from SAP landscapes and Outboard ERP Archiving, powerful software to archive aged SAP data in order to comply with legal requirements and keep the system lean and clean.
Contact us for a quick demo to learn how migrating SOFFCONT1 to an affordable external storage solution cwith Outboard can help you mitigate compliance risks and reduce your SAP TCO.