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Data Load and Full Load in SAP

Updated Aug 23, 2023

Data Load vs Full Load 

The terms delta load and full load play pivotal roles in determining how data is updated and transferred. These methods are crucial for maintaining accurate, up-to-date, and efficient data repositories, enabling businesses to make informed decisions based on current information. In this article, we learn the concepts of delta load and full load, when and why each method is used.

Delta Load: Optimizing Incremental Data Updates

Delta load, also known as delta extraction or incremental loading, is a data loading mechanism employed when it is necessary to capture and transfer only the changes that have occurred in the source data since the last extraction. This approach offers several advantages, especially in scenarios where large volumes of data are involved, and frequent updates or changes are the norm. Here are some key situations where delta load becomes the preferred choice:

  • Volume and Frequency of Changes: When dealing with a substantial volume of data that undergoes frequent changes, a full load can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. For instance, if an initial load of 2 million records is followed by 200,000 new records each month, it's far more efficient to transfer only the 200,000 new records rather than reloading the entire dataset daily.
  • Wide Record Sets: If the data includes numerous fields and only a fraction of them are modified, employing delta load saves time compared to a full load, as it processes only the relevant changes.
  • Datasource Restrictions: Certain business content data sources are designed to support either delta loads or full loads exclusively. Depending on the type of data source, the appropriate loading mechanism is determined.
  • Load Performance: Long load times can affect operational efficiency. Employing delta load can help optimize performance by reducing the time taken for data updates. Converting full loads to delta loads can contribute to overall load time reduction.

Full Load: Ensuring Data Accuracy and Consistency

Full load, as the name suggests, involves transferring the entire dataset from the source to the target system during each data update cycle. This method ensures that the target system is always consistent with the source, leaving no room for missed changes or discrepancies. While delta load offers efficiency advantages, there are scenarios where full load remains the more suitable option:

  • Load Time and Complexity: If the load time for a full dataset is reasonable, and the complexity of determining missed deltas or changes outweighs the time saved, a full load might be more practical.
  • Specific Requirements: Some business scenarios demand that only the most recent data is relevant. For example, when dealing with forecasts, companies often revise their predictions, discarding previous versions entirely. In such cases, a full load aligns with the requirements.
  • Snapshot Loading: There are instances where data snapshots of specific dates are required. For instance, if inventory needs to be captured for a particular day, performing a full load on that date ensures a comprehensive snapshot.


The choice between delta load and full load in SAP data integration depends on a multitude of factors, including the volume and frequency of changes, the nature of the data, load performance considerations, and specific business requirements. A nuanced understanding of these factors empowers businesses to implement data-loading strategies that strike a balance between accuracy, efficiency, and operational demands. By using the appropriate loading technique, organizations can ensure that their SAP systems remain reliable sources of information, driving better decision-making and better operation.