Get Ready for Enhancement Packages (4) – Equivalent support packages and how they are related with Enhancement Packages
Enhancement Packages base on a dedicated Support Package
SAP Enhancement Packages for SAP ERP are pieces of software that are installed on top of an existing SAP ERP 6.0 system. The development of an enhancement package starts on a defined state of the underlying software – this dedicated stated is described not only by the release (SAP ERP 6.0), but also by the support level. For example, enhancement package 2 is built on top of SAP ERP 6.0 Support Package Stack 08 (SPS 08).
For Enhancement Package 2 (EHP2), this means that SPS 08 (and all former stacks) have to be installed before Enhancement Package 2 is installed. ‘Before” means, if we look at a queue of installation packages, SPS 08 comes before EHP2. So the SPS and the EHP can in fact be installed in one installation queue, in one step, in one downtime. (The identification of the relevant installation packages as well as building the installation queue takes place automatically by the SAP Solution Manager Maintenance Optimizer.)
Enhancement Packages include corrections
In a timely manner, EHP2 was built in parallel to SPS 09 and SPS 10. All corrections on traditional (SAP ERP 6.0) functionality are available in both software deliveries:
- The corresponding Support Package (for SAP ERP 6.0) and
- The enhancement package
In other words: an enhancement package does not only include new functions (which are of course ‘hidden behind switches), but it includes also corrections (which are not hidden, as usual). Corrections that are delivered in an enhancement package have the same impact on your solution as corrections delivered in a Support Package.
This is one reason why the installation of enhancement packages – even before activating any business functions – requires thorough regression testing. In order to not face an extra iteration of regression testing, EHPs have to be implemented along with the maintenance cycles – unless they are installed in an upgrade or a new installation.
The installation of EHP2 also brings the corrections of SPS 09 and SPS 10 to your system. This is also the case if you had SPS 08 or SPS 09 installed before installing the EHP. The corrections ‘cannot be left out’ during the EHP installation. This is valid for all software components that are part of the selected technical usage(s) of your EHP. Other software components – those that are not part of the technical usage and that are supposed to remain in their old version – will be touched (neither by enhancements nor by corrections) if you do not change their correction level.
Due to the short release cycles, Enhancement Package 3 was built in parallel to Enhancement Package 2 and shipped in parallel to SPS 11. As a consequence, EHP3 also bases on SPS 08, as EHP2 does. All corrections of SPS 09, SPS 10 and SPS 11 are part of EHP3 and are always installed during an EHP3 installation.
The later an Enhancement Package is implemented, the more occurrences you will face that corrections enter your system again – even though these corrections were already implemented in the system. Should you have any modifications in these corrected objects, these would have to be adjusted again.
Equivalent Support Packages
After the initial delivery of an enhancement package, all further support levels of this enhancement packages are in synch with the support packages of SAP ERP 6.0. Once an enhancement package is installed, you only need to have the support level of your enhancement package in mind, and corrections for software components on lower versions will be automatically (again by the Maintenance Optimizer) included in your installation queue.
All SP Stacks that SAP delivers for each EHP are time-synchronized with SP Stacks for SAP ERP 6.0 . These time-synchronized SP Stacks are called ‘equivalent support package stacks”.
Enhancement Packages are cumulative
The installation routine for enhancement packages ensures that an EHP cannot be installed without the former installation of all former EHPs. For example, EHP3 requires EHP2 – as a result, EHP3 also includes all functionality that was originally delivered with EHP2.
You cannot install EHP4 without receiving all business functions that were originally provided with EHP2 or EHP3.
Enhancement Package 3 includes SAP Enhancement Package 2 for SAP ERP 6.0
The delivery of EHP 03 technically differs from the delivery of EHP4:
- An EHP3 shipment includes all objects that were changed with EHP2 and EHP3.
The installation of EHP 2 brings a number of enhanced objects to your system. If then, EHP3 is installed, these same objects enter your system again, even if these have not been changed again with EHP3. Therefore, if you have the choice to implement either EHP2 or EHP3, you should directly go with EHP3.
- An EHP4 shipment will include only objects that were changed with EHP4.
If EHP3 was already installed, only objects changed with EHP4 are installed.
if EHP2 was already installed, an EHP4 installation would trigger the installation of the required sublayer: EHP3 (with EHP2 included).
EHPs still better than an Upgrade?
This is a question that you might ask yourself after reading this.
Yes it is, for the following reasons:
- Delta shipment: EHPs deliver only changed objects, whereas in a release upgrade, all objects of all software components are replaced. Since the number of objects can be very big, it is important to use the ‘EHP Installer’ tool in order to minimize your technical system downtime.
- Partial installation: option to install only selected parts of the EHP, so you can e.g. keep HR components stable while updating your Financials processes
- No delta customizing
- No table conversions
- No new functional developments are visible to the end-user before a business functions is consciousely ‘switched on”.
The scope of your regression test after installing an EHP should be as big as for your SP Stack update. The effort for installing and implementing an EHP (without switching on new features) is similar to a SP Stack implementation. It might be a bit bigger, because you have to deal with the enhancement package concept, which might still be new to you. You may want to decide which technical usages to install etc. And finally, the number of changed objects is larger than in a pure SP Stack update project.
I hope this brings some more light to your understanding of enhancement packages. Any thoughts on this? Questions or other comments?
Best regards, Doris.