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SAP product naming confusion

Hello SCN community


I received feedback from a reader of one my previous blogs which I’m grateful for. He mentioned the topic of the product naming and the fact that many community members seem to have difficulties understanding the frequent product name changes.

Being part of a community means helping out fellow community members and getting help from other community members. The benefit of being part of the community is that everyone can get added value out of it.


I was convinced I would find a previous blog or sources with this topic as I also know a lot of persons are having trouble to understand the naming of the SAP products. While I found some information on specific products and their naming history I did not find any general overview.

There has already been tumult in the past because of the frequent name changes that occurred. Gartner recently criticized SAP for the frequent name changes of SAP products.

Just last summer I performed an upgrade from 46D to ECC 6.0 at a customer. They were confused which SAP product was going to be the target of the upgrade, was it ERP 6.0 or ECC 6.0 or ERP2005? What about SAP Netweaver, do we need that?

I will be using ERP throughout this blog as an example. I cannot cover every single product as it would be too much, this information can be used for lots of other SAP products in terms of understanding the naming and versioning. I added some sources in the blog for other specific products I could find information on.

Idea place

I hope by now you have heard about idea place, a new initiative by SAP which fits into the new way of giving customers and partners a bigger input into the SAP world. Why isn’t there a central spot in the SAP service marketplace or on SCN where you get an overview of all the different product versions with the date/time the product was released and information to get rid of the confusion?

I have no clue, but since the Idea place exists, I created an idea to have such an overview, you can vote the idea up or down depending on whether you like the idea or not and if there are enough votes up it will be implemented by SAP, sounds nice right.

Please read to idea text for a better view on what I would like to see and please add comments to the idea so they can also pick up your feedback on the matter.

You can vote on the idea right here:
Product name overview page (historical, future).

Not all products have to be on one page (nearly impossible) but a dropdown so you can select one and see a historical view (past and future)of what product offered the same kind of functionality in the past and which product will take over the task in the future would be a good start point.

Along with information about the technology platform (Netweaver?), the release levels (SR1, SR2 and their respective SP levels), available EHPs (enhancement packages and their respective SP levels).

The history of SAP product names

The beginning, keep it simple

SAP (Systems, Applications and Products) was founded in 1972 and the first product served the purpose to do financial accounting and was called “R/1”. The “R” stands for real-time data processing. The “1” stands for the fact that the product was residing on a mainframe (no separate layer for database, application or presentation) so only one layer.

At the end of the 1970s “R/2” was released. “1” was changed into “2” because now it used two layers, (a database+application and a presentation layer). Mainframe (database+application) and a terminal (presentation layer) to connect to the mainframe.

In 1992 “R/3” was released. “2” was changed into “3” because now it used three layers (a database, an application and a presentation layer). With this version multiple operation systems and multiple platforms were supported. Now you could have an Oracle database on a Windows server and SAPgui on a desktop to connect to your SAP system.

After the release of R/3 SAP began to put release information behind the product names to continue the product line. It still made sense, R/3 3.1I and R/3 4.0B and so on up till R/3 46C and R/3 46D (here and there you can still find R/3 SAP systems at customer side).

The technology platform, lets add more

Now we come to a point where SAP introduced something new, a technology platform in addition to the product name. The first technology platform to be used in the naming was WebAS (Web Application Server). Perhaps this was already the start point for frequent name changes, adding technology platform naming to the product line and getting everyone confused.

Some of you who read my blog on Java garbage collection basics know I fancy cars so let’s take a look at what this means by an example involving cars (yes here we go again).

Porsche Cayenne Audi Q7

Picture 1.1

You can see the Porsche Cayenne on the left and the Audi Q7 on the right in above picture 1.1. Now what both cars have in common is their platform. Both are build on the same base (the chassis, the wheelbase and even lots of parts are the same).

The cars don’t look exactly the same; they don’t both have the same option list nor the same price. Each car on its own (Porsche Cayenne or Audi Q7) is a different product but they are both build on the same platform.

You can very much compare this with how the technology platform for SAP works.

As explained above, SAP build a platform, the first being WebAS to be included in product naming or referenced when talking/writing about the product. They also gave the WebAS a version (first one to be released was 6.10 if I’m not mistaken). So you have your R/3 (real-time 3 layer SAP system) 4.x (version of your R/3) on WebAS (base platform) 6.10 (version of your platform).

Translated into SAP components this means you have specific components which represent your platform and other components which represent your functionality build on that platform.

The confusion started

Once R/3 Enterprise 4.x came out things became even more confusing (we are still miles away from what we have today).

Now the above wasn’t enough really, the Enterprise part was added to the product name because now they had split up some components.

You can read the following information on the facts of the split up, to what purpose and so on:
R3 Enterprise.

So now you have your R/3 (real-time 3 layer SAP system) Enterprise (components split and possibility to use extensions) 4.x (version of your R/3) on WebAS (base platform) 6.20 (version of your platform).

Lets recap

Let’s take a look at where we are so far to try and not get confused:

  1. 1972 – SAP R/1 (R for real-time, 1 for one layer)
  2. Late 1970s – SAP R/2 (R for real-time, 2 for two layers)
  3. 1992 – SAP R/3 (R for real-time, 3 for three layers)
  4. 1992 – 2001 SAP R/3 . (for example 4.6C)
  5. 2001 introduction WebAS (technology platform)
  6. 2002 – SAP R/3 Enterprise 4.70 (on WebAs 6.20)

Now let’s confuse everyone that can still follow

All the above name changing, additions to the product names wasn’t really enough. SAP started to use years in the product name, for example mySAP ERP2004 in 2004. This is where it really plummeted down to the ground and people got more confused than ever.

People started asking questions on internet and writing articles on the products and the confusion that existed, if you are interested you can read the following white-paper about the confusion whether to go for SAP R/3 Enterprise or mySAP ERP because they also released a mySAP ERP (2003?) version in 2003.

Let’s bring in Netweaver

A new technology platform was created, SAP Netweaver in 2004. The previous platform WebAS became part of SAP Netweaver but continued to be referenced. The SAP Netweaver 2004 platform contains the WebAS 6.40 (also referred to as BASIS 6.40). One of the big changes SAP Netweaver brought is the possibility to have a Java Application Server (no longer only ABAP was available).


The story continues when the naming was again disrupted by the most important component of ERP. The term ECC 5.0 was used instead of mySAP ERP2004 which caused a lot of confusion in the customer base. The ECC (Enterprise Central Component) component is the most important SAP component of an ERP SAP system.

At that moment you could have a mySAP ERP2004 (successor of R/3 Enterprise) which is in fact an ECC 5.0 (synonym) which is build on the SAP Netweaver 2004 (Web AS 6.40) platform.

If that wasn’t yet enough it also mySAP ERP2004, ECC 5.0 was also referenced as being ERP 5.0. I didn’t look up every single name change of the product because seriously I need to write a book to keep up with every single change and I’m just writing about one single product here.

It got worse in 2005

Things got even worse in 2005 when mySAP ERP2005 came out, which was referenced as ECC 6.0, resided on SAP Netweaver 2004s (Web AS 7.00) platform and was also called ERP 6.0. Explaining this mixture of terms, numbers and years to a customer makes the customer look like a UFO just flew by the window.

A good time to recap again

  1. 1972 – SAP R/1 (R for real-time, 1 for one layer)
  2. Late 1970s – SAP R/2 (R for real-time, 2 for two layers)
  3. 1992 – SAP R/3 (R for real-time, 3 for three layers)
  4. 1992 – 2001 SAP R/3 . (for example 4.6C)
  5. 2001 introduction WebAS (technology platform)
  6. 2002 – SAP R/3 Enterprise 4.70 (on WebAs 6.20)
  7. 2003 – MySAP ERP (2003?) (on WebAs 6.30)
  8. 2004 – MySAP ERP 2004 ECC 5.0 ERP 5.0 (on WebAs 6.40 – Netweaver 2004)
  9. 2005 – MySAP ERP 2005 ECC 6.0 ERP 6.0 (on WebAs 7.00 – Netweaver 2004s)

Enhancement packages

By 2005 SAP had already received lots of comments and feedback on the product names and the confusion. Because they wanted to avoid that customers had to perform major upgrades frequently, the enhancement packages were invented.

Enhancement packages serve the purpose not to touch the core components but to provide the customer with additional functionality. Those additional functionalities become active after activation.

The version of the enhancement package is referenced in the product name, for example ERP 6.0 EHP1 (enhancement package level 1). The latest enhancement package version has all the enhancements (additional functionality) of the previous ones.

An overview of enhancement packages released for ERP 6.0 so far:

  1. EHP1 for SAP ERP 6.0 in 2006
  2. EHP2 for SAP ERP 6.0 in 2007
  3. EHP3 for SAP ERP 6.0 in 2007
  4. EHP4 for SAP ERP 6.0 in 2008
  5. EHP5 for SAP ERP 6.0 in 2010 (ramp up)

Reflection in component versioning

The platform on which your product resides and the product itself influences the versioning of your SAP system components. Once you are logged into a SAP system click on system – status in the upper navigation bar.

System status

Picture 1.2

This opens the system status screen; there click on the magnifying glass icon as shown in picture 1.2.

Components 701

Picture 1.3

You can see in picture 1.3 that components SAP_ABA and SAP_BASIS are part of the Netweaver 7.0 platform (701 first two digits 7.0). The last digit represents the enhancement package level (701 so Netweaver EHP1).


Picture 1.4

In the same SAP system when you scroll down you can see the component in picture 1.4.

There you see SAP_HRCCH and SAP_HRCCL are part of ECC 6.0 (604 first two digits 6.0). The last digit represent the enhancement package level (604 so ERP 6.0 EHP4).

So this SAP system is an ERP 6.0 EHP4 on a SAP Netweaver 7.0 EHP1 platform.

Reflection in kernel versioning

The SAP kernel versioning is based on the platform your product resides on. For the above example, ERP 6.0 EHP4 on a SAP Netweaver 7.0 EHP1 platform the kernel level is 701 (platform version + enhancement package version of the platform).

Reflection in platform versioning

The newer platforms that come out receive a higher second digit; SAP Netweaver 7.1 without enhancement packages installed on it would have Netweaver components with version 710 and a kernel with version 710. The changes made can be checked in the release notes of the platform on

Available sources on product names / versions

Business Objects

Business Warehouse / Business Intelligence:

SAP Business One – SAP Developer Network

Overview on SAP history and versions

SAP R/3 overview


I hope SAP does some effort to keep the product naming simple and understandable as it changed so many times in the past it started to get confusing for almost anyone.

A community can be as powerful as its members and their actions. I’m convinced a lot of people would like to see an overview page to have a better understanding of the confusing product names and I hope the idea gets launched and implemented. It’s always a serious task explaining customers where the product name came from and clearing out their doubts.

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    • Hello,

      Thanks for taking the time to provide valuable feedback.

      SAP Business Suite is a bundle of applications (bundle of SAP products) which means it has SAP ERP, SAP CRM, SAP SRM etc to provide a full set of tools to support any kind of business.

      From a technical consultant perspective it's just a DVD with those products on it and you can install one or more products from the installation DVD.

      Kind regards


    • Hello Tammy

      As far as I can understand it myself, I think it's business suite + additional products? + enhancement packages for those products.

      Looks like they are still adding to the confusion.

      Kind regards


  • Hello,

    same counts for BW (if this is the actually name of for datawarhousing component at SAP - not sure about - 😉 ), but a name is still name.

    BW as product is one out of few(?) end-to-end data warhouses on the market.

    All the best,


  • Great blog helping those of us relatively new to the SAP world understand (and try to make sense of) the history. We implemented at the height of the name changes--started in 2005--and a lot of folks at our company have been confused ever since.
    • Hello Jim,

      Thank you for the comment. I started 4 years ago without any knowledge of SAP what so ever and I too was puzzled when I attented the first internal knowledge sessions and heard all the terms and versions flying around.

      Kind regards


  • Thanks for sharing.
    I agree with you and some time ago I created a timeline to help people understanding the evolution of the SAP products.
    Since it's not perfect nor complete your proposal is for sure very important.
    Let me know if you have any suggestions about the timeline that is published here and explained in the following blog [original link is broken] [original link is broken]


    • Hello Sergio

      Thanks your for the feedback. In my opinion a sort of timeline is a good solution to provide the neccesary information.

      I'm trying to put together a sort of demo page to get an idea out there how it could look like.

      It has to offer enough information. Not only the product and it's launch year but also the platform it residing on and sufficient information to understand it all.

      In my opinion it should also offer a search option and give you an idea where the product you are working on it situated and which product is next in line to provide that functionality.

      Kind regards


  • Hi Tom,

    very entertaining blog 🙂

    BTW: R/2 had release numbers, too (4.1, 4.3, 5.0), which reminds me of the classical joke:
    A: "We are on 3.1i" B: "Ha, we are already on 5.0"

    The characters after the R/3 releases (ie."i" in 3.1i) are so called "Put level" or short "put".

    Regards, Uwe

  • ...there will be a

    Business Suite 7 2010i (BS72010i)
    which will be (for ERP) "Enhancement Pack 5 for ERP 6.0"
    so the confusion continues...


    • Hello Markus

      Thanks for your feedback.

      I agree and I do think we have not yet seen the end of confusing product names and packages, that's why I see added value in having a product overview page (or pages) which makes it easier for customers to understand which product they are using, where it came from and where it's headed.

      Kind regards


  • Really Good and thanks Tom.

    One question here, i thought ECC is the only product in ERP which has FI,MM,HCM,PS... Can you please tell me any other product in ERP other than ECC


    • Hello Vinot

      Thanks for your feedback.

      Perhaps you can find some product versions which have for example FI or Finance included by checking, choosing start application, then SAP Software Product Versions and Possible Scenarios and entering *FI* as input in field "By Product Version Instance"

      I'm finding new sources each day but many are confusing, not easy to work with and require a certain knowledge level (beyond keeping it simple).

      Even then it would require research work to see what the product offers and if it's usable or feasible.

      Kind regards


  • I was under the impression that 46D was a Basis only release for R/3 4.6C. It was used by our old friend SAP Workplace (the first SAP portal?) and had no business functionality as such.
    • Hello Michael

      It was indeed product 46C which I upgraded to ECC 6.0.

      The point is that the product naming/versioning/packaging is confusing (the above again proves it) and that there are ways to stop the confusion (reach out to the community and provide sufficient information to get rid of the confusion).

      I think it would be a good improvement by SAP (which would be well received with the partners,customers, consultants and so on).

      Pieces of the puzzle are available (like the year a product was released in the SAP service marketplace product availability matrix). But the complete puzzle to give a simple and good overview with enough information isn't.

      Kind regards


    • That's right, Workplace 2.0 was first. Why 2.0? Because no one wants to buy a version 1.0 🙂

      Do you recall why the first EP version was 5.0? After WP 2.0, SAP was briefly a reseller of Yahoo! Portal 4.x (a now-abandoned attempt by Yahoo! to enter enterprise markets). That was quickly followed by the acquistion of Top Tier and it's portal at version 3.0. EP replaced an install base of three different portal products, with most recent version numbers 2, 3 and 4. So the new product obviously had to be 5.0!

  • I have been doing Basis for 14+ years and know most of what you write about. However great way to put facts/dates and very specific details and history. Great job!
    • Hello Raymond

      Thanks for your feedback. I don't know if all is 100% correct as all those product names are so confusing but it should give a somewhat better understanding how they got to the current state.

      I'm awaiting a reaction on the idea on idea place (it has some votes).

      Kind regards


  • You wrote: 1972 – SAP R/1 (R for real-time, 1 for one layer)

    It was before my time, but legend has it that R/1 wasn't what you might think of as a mainframe product. It was run as a service bureau: companies had to connect to the SAP office to access the system, it wasn't a product they could buy and run on their own mainframe.

  • Justo to add.. SAP netweaver 2004 and sap netweaver 2004s....

    In the other hand.

    Now with ERP 6.0 EHP5 or SAP Business Suite 7 2010i (BS72010i)  where 2010i stands for 2010 innovations.

    I guess ECC is going to dissapear in the names.
    Now the principal component is just named as "Central Applications"

    Can someone confirm me this?

    • Hello Manfred

      Central Applications is apparently a usage type used for EHP5 which consists out of EA-APPL and SAP-APPL.

      The name ECC isn't gone though, it's an ECC Server with usage type "Central Applications" 🙂

      Information is extract from following presentation:

      It's a real challenge to keep up with the product names, usage types and so on.

      I'm doing a Portal upgrade from 6.40 to 7.02 and the maintenance optimizer in Solution Manager showed me the current usage types and asked me to check the target usage types. One usage type was already checked although it doesn't exist anymore in 7.02, adding to the confusion.

      Kind regards


      • Thanks a lot tom for clarification..

        I see in installation of EHP5 to ERP an usage type named SAP ECC Server Value Pack successor, i cannot find any information about this usage type. You know what do this usage type?

        In other hand, can you share with me , which usage type of portal do you refer.

        • Hello Manfred

          The SAP ECC Server Value Pack (ECC-VPACK) is part of Central Applications now I believe. I don't think you can still choose it an additional usage type when perform a sp-stack application through maintenance optimizer.

          You can find more information by searching on ECC-VPACK.

          The Portal usage types also changed over time which can bring confusing situations. The best way to check the usage types is too use the SAP Solution Manager maintenance optimizer but it isn't bullet proof either, it can give some confusing situations when you upgrade from SAP Netweaver 6.40 to SAP Netweaver 7.0x or higher.

          You have many possibilities for Portal nowadays so it would depends strongly on what you want to do what the portal.

          Kind regards


    • Hi Juan

      Thanks for your comment 🙂

      Yes, in my opinion SAP should bring out one kernel (one source of truth) instead of creating a non EXT and a EXT, what's next right?

      At least the maintenance optimizer inside Solution Manager could use better brains to only show options that are relevant to the managed SAP system 🙂

      Best regards


      • Hi Tom,

        Great and funny post!, Yes, SAP could be notoriously confusing in the naming of its product versions, I only wish that improves one day.

        Regarding the kernels, if I recall well, the current kernel (ABAP) is 720 (or 7.20), and this kernel can be used to run 700, 701, 702, 703, 730 and 731 (but not 711 or 710, which were only for BW and other solutions, like Banking). So, you have the same kernel for different releases (check SAP_BASIS and SAP_ABAP packages and the kernel). At least this puts something in a stable status.

        The next kernel version will be 800, but I'm not aware that any product has already been *released* with it yet.

        If I recall correctly, the first time we saw this deviation between kernel and business system was in the 4.6C release: you had a 4.6C R/3 system running on a 4.6D kernel, as correctly Michael Nicholls points above. From that, the business part numbering somehow stalled and the kernel progressed separately, with the evolution you so clearly describe.

        For your info, the first WebAS version was 5.0 (kernel 500) from November 2000. It was never publicly released (someday I will find those CDs), but it was a revolutionary change for the ABAP world:

        • Integrated threaded Web Server called ICM (Internet Communication Manager) and the corresponding ABAP APIs (the ICF - Internet Communication Framework)
        • First programming model for ABAP web applications - BSP (Business Server Pages)
        • JavaScript engine (I think it was SpiderMonkey) integrated into the kernel (it is a pity that this didn't evolve into a nice framework for integrating scripting languages into ABAP, that would have been the killer app...)
        • STRING data type, which opened the ABAP world to the fantastic new world of non length limited varchars, also the basis for many interoperability options -like the web (together with XSTRING type)
        • Beginning of the evolution towards ABAP objects (the previous items were implemented with ABAP objects)

        Those changes are still there and are the reason we call it the "Web" Application Server.

        That kernel 5.0 evolved into 6.10 which was the first WebAS kernel released, but only as an standalone option. The first business system released with the new kernel was 4.70 on a 6.20, as you correctly point out.

        Great post and thanks for your documentation efforts on SAP History.


  • Dear  Tom Cenens.

    Thank you very much for giving such kind of valuable guide. I was looking for this for some times

    Good luck



  • Tom,

    Ad my thanks with the others.  I found this while searching for a way to update my "mature" Basis skills.  My last training was in 2002.  I didn't even know SAP had replaced the Central Instance with the Primary Application server instance and I'm concerned about what other important changes I've missed.  Is there a good community location for updates?

    Thanks again,


    • Hello Mike

      Your welcome. Well SAP tends to change it's mind over time since dual stacks are no longer the way to go in many cases for example. Latest recommendation for BW for example is to have separate stacks (one for Java, one for ABAP).

      SAP moved away from Platform JDK's and build it's own Java Virtual Machine (SAPJVM).

      Another something you missed is that the AS Java now has a Gateway in the SCS much like what you would expect from an AS ABAP Gateway so you can effectively register your local SLD in your AS Java Gateway for example 🙂 .

      There is too much that has changed / is changing to put it all in one page. My advice is dig up blogs / articles and so on on SCN and try to track down Basis content on Social Media as well (Twitter and alikes).

      Best regards


      • Tom,

        Those are good ideas and I'll be checking them all out.  I've worked more on portal and the split BW stack technologies lately and find the ABAP side has changed dramatically.  I expect that anyone trained before NW 7.0 will be surprised at the amount of change of the Basis architecture.



  • Tom:

    It's February 2013 and I thank you for the article.  It was very amusing, confusing, yet clarifying. 

    I find many people in the business who think they know all the versions.  This proves it has been confusing andpeople were afraid to admit it.  But I enjoyed your article, it was good to see the evolution of confusion.

    • Hi David

      There still is confusing around versioning 🙂 and it will probably stay that way. The good thing is that SAP is providing much more information now compared to before so it becomes easier to look things up and understand what a specific version stands for / means.

      Best regards


  • Hello Tom,

    Thank you for that great post, and it's a newer ending story ...

    SAP does it's best to keep its product naming as confusing as possible... I'm sure it's a game...

    But you're true, it's now more documented, and with SCN & nice people like you are there to help.

    The next move is now:

    SAP Business Suite 7 Innovations 2011

    code name:  BS7i2011

    Best regards

    • Hi Yves

      Thanks, it's on of my old blog posts which I reformatted recently due to migration.

      SAP is still going strong at renaming products and creating confusion 😉 .

      Best regards


    • Hi Gareth

      I can understand that but it can be useful to keep up depending on your role. In my case, I work around SAP Technology in a broad sense so I try to keep up 🙂 .

      A recent addition:

      SAP Netweaver Neo -> SAP Netweaver Cloud -> SAP HANA Cloud Platform anyone?

      No wonder people get confused on for example:

      Introduction to SAP HANA Cloud Platform

      = SAP HANA Cloud Platform = a PAAS solution of SAP which runs on a HANA DB


      Introduction to Software Development on SAP HANA

      = Application Server that is part of SAP HANA

      Talking to a number of persons I already found out they don't know about the different, the fact that they are talking about a different platform alltogether.

      Best regards


      • I was being somewhat petulant with my previous reply - in all honesty as a techy I also have to keep up!

        It's interesting you highlight this confusion - I've recently spent far too much time (and know I will be investing more soon) trying to explain the relationship between PI, BPM & PO and how they fit together (or don't as the case may be!)

        All of the cloud offerings are just confusing things even further in my book but I have some sympathy for SAP I suppose - they have to name all of their technology and solutions something.

        Maybe the real problem is the marketing and communication of these different platforms - for me it's the age old SAP problem that so many different, disparate parts of the big SAP machine are working away in isolation from other parts of their business and hence confusion arises.