The Multiple-Client Concept of the R/3 System
The term “client” in the R/3 system is a business management organizational term that is defined as “a legally and organi-zationally independent subscriber to the system”, in which “all business management data is protected against access by other clients” (c.f. client definition in the R/3 Customizing IMG). The client appears on the logon screen of an R/3 system as a quali-fier which effects the division of the physical R/3 system into several logical user systems, each of which contains its own data and can be
operated fully independently of the other logical systems.
Given this definition one might expect that an arbitrary number of quite independent clients could be operated in parallel in the same physical system (“multiple-client operation”). An initial cost analysis might make this option seem attractive, since it would enable the costs of both hardware and system main-tenance to be substantially reduced.
However, every R/3 application requires certain central resources which are used for implementing the basic functional elements of the software concept. These include the complete ABAP/4 Repository and also a number of Customizing settings which for good reason have to be client-independent. These will be described in more detail later in this report.
In view of these facts, the multiple-client concept of the R/3 system appears more questionable, particularly to the extent that the existence of each client could cause (uncoordinated) changes to be made to the central clientindependent resources. It is clear that there must be at least some rules and boundaries governing multiple-client operation. Those rules will impose certain restrictions on the administration and development of individual clients. But they will be needed for the proper, orderly operation of a
This report considers all factors affecting potentially critical data and metadata in the client-independent Customizing and the ABAP/4 Repository. It shows how this data can be handled in multiple-client operation given conflicting requirements, and suggests how rules and recommendations for system organi-zation may be derived.
The aim is to equip the system planner with the knowledge he needs to be able to weigh the cost advantages of multiple-client operation against the more flexible administration afforded by single-client operation and to make an competent decision.
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