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On The Road to EHP6

Implementing an SAP Enhancement pack across a typical ECC6 landscape compares better to a journey than an event. Some trips are like a pleasant drive in the country, other trips become a replay of the movie Duel1


Tweet:

Looking back, that tweet looks more appropriate for a young “fresher”. It was instead from a somewhat grizzled veteran who should have known better. 

If you expect this blog to be a step-wise how-to guide – you are in the wrong place. The Service Marketplace: https://service.sap.com/erp-ehp-inst has all the documentation you could ever want.

Pre-trip Planning

Tip #1  Plan Ahead

  • Grab the EHP6 Master Guide as your guide-book or GPS.
  • Next read the Upgrade and Update Guide for EHP6. In this document are the latest SAP notes for EHP6. Download all notes that pertain to your landscape for the upgrade.
  • Read and re-read all the downloaded PDFs and SAPnotes.
  • Make a checklist of steps based on these documents. For example, I grab the upgrade key from the master note and place at the beginning of my checklist. For me this saves having to dig back through the notes while SUM is running. (for some reason the authors of SAP notes seem to delight in burying these keys deep within the note)
  • Read the Software Update Manager (SUM) guide, particularly if this is your first experience with this upgrade tool.

Tip #2   Expect the Unexpected

  • Make sure that ALL of your systems are up-to-date in your SLD and SolMan. The sandbox system I planned to upgrade was the only ECC 6 system that had not been updated since last support pack installation.
  • When LVM was introduced last year, I quickly got it downloaded and installed. The tool is not quite as good as I hoped.  REALITY check for ABAP systems it is quite possible to have many “correct” (ie. status green) solutions for the relevant products. (lost time: about 3 days due to a messy SMSY in Solution Manager).
  • Add about 50% to the disk space usage for the SUM install directory and the directory where the downloaded support packs are stored. All of the support packs are copied to the SUM/data directory for unknown reasons.
  • Download the latest version of the tp executable from SAPService marketplace. Keep the file handy so that you can copy to the correct directory locations during the SUM process.
  • Open a document and screenshot EVERY dialog screen and add notes immediately. This can be a huge timesaver later.
  • In stage 5.2 a dialog listing 20 or so SAP notes to review and implement will stop the installation process. Relax- on our system only 2 notes were needed. Add these to the preparation check list so that the next system is prepped before starting SUM.

Tip #3 –DETOUR AHEAD– Third-Party Add-ins

There are many vendors providing add-on products for SAP ECC systems. Many of these products are completely unaffected by an Enhancement Pack upgrade. If an add-on appears as a system component (check table CVERS to be sure), issues  can effect your upgrade. SAPnotes 1262124, 1117309 and 1226284 list many vendors who provide keys to allow you to “ignore” the add-on during the upgrade. If one of your add-ins is not there contact your vendor BEFORE you begin your installation. If you encounter issues with SUM stopping due to issues with your add-in:

The answer is 1324910

One wrong turn and you are on the Highway to Hell

For SAP enhancement packs and compatibility with third-party add-ons, the answer is always 1324910. The short translation: SAP will not provide any support. You must contact the vendor for resolution. If your maintenance contract with your vendor is up-to-date, the proper workaround for the upgrade conflict should be readily available.  In our situation, the add-on has not been used in around 4 years and maintenance was dropped 2 years ago (after our EHP4 upgrade). The message with SAP support was opened on June 14. To date SAP support has been insistent that it is not an SAP problem. However after my incessant questions regarding options and clarification of error messages, SAP support responded with this information:

07-12-2012 – 09:19:39 CST – Reply by SAP     

Hello Kevin,

It’s required the vendors to provide you the “Deletion CD”. However, currently it’s not possible for the vendors to provide an “Deletion CD” to delete the add-on. Again please contact the vendor to get the appropriate key for you to continue the upgrade.

So after 1 month of back and forth with support, is it actually an SAP problem? How can a vendor provide a deletion CD if SAP has not enabled it? 

The vendor has been less than helpful as well. The best offer provided was for us to purchase a new license + maintenance + configuration consulting. The total was over $100K US – for a product we do not use. We have chosen not to accept this as a solution either.

SHOUT-OUT — I would like to recognize some SAP support folks. First via Twitter: @SAPSupportCE – particularly Patricia, was helpful in getting the message unstuck after 5 days in the status “Message Sent to SAP”. Also, the SAP CIC phone support team has also been helpful on several occasions in getting the support people to respond to my questions.


BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE

We are now examining various “manual” options for getting around this problem – without compromising the future supportability of our systems.  A few final thoughts:

  1. This situation is probably unique in all the SAP landscapes in the world. There is certainly no information on SCN or through Google that comes close to this situation.
  2. I do not believe that any of the third-party add-in vendors, including the particular vendor in our situation are acting with bad intent.
  3. At the same time, I will never accept a new third-party add-in that does not come with a documented removal process. That process will be tested repeatedly during the initial set up and configuration. And the process will be reviewed every year during DR review time to ensure the procedures are still correct.

SAP is on a roll currently. Record breaking Q2 financial results, lots of shiny new products: HANA, Cloud deliveries, SuccessFactors, Ariba, mobility and more. All of this new technology is amazing, transformative and may lead major IT transformations to come. But back here on earth, the vast majority of SAP customers are still using the boring old stuff. We are running systems that bear the scars of numerous upgrades, support packs and customizations. These boring old systems are the ones that are running the business of the companies that are SAP’s customers. At times, one wonders if SAP has not become a little too focused on the shiny new stuff and forgotten those of us still working on with the legacy, tried and true, systems.

UPDATE: To restart the upgrade process, a Kobayashi Maru solution was implemented in our sandbox system. I hope that this is not the ultimate solution

1 Duel is a classic thriller movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MtAMc4i8OA starring Dennis Weaver, directed by some kid named Steven Spielberg.

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9 Comments

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  1. Tom Cenens

    Hello Kevin

    Nice blog post. I agree with you that SAP tends to focus a lot on everything that’s new and shiny nowadays and sometimes it looks like the core is forgotten. The problem is that lots of new shiny things are build based on that core which doesn’t make #sapadmin life any easier because of unpolished old school stuff that is still there.

    Best regards

    Tom

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    1. James Ibbotson

      Hi Kevin, forgot to mention.

      Dug out our old upgrade notes. if you have access to the SVERS table on the DB level, i think you can just delete the entries there. Which removes them from the installation stopping the issues with deletion keys etc.

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      1. Kevin Grove Post author

        James:

        Making the manual “adjustments” is a way around the problems. Our concern is whether or not we could face support issues in the future, or if we will face audit issues. Our preference is to have an SAP-endorsed resolution that will satisfy those concerns.

        Thanks for the comment,

        Kevin

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    2. Kevin Grove Post author

      Tom:

      I appreciate your comment. I admit that I would rather be adding new technology for my customers. The only thing missing is money and time.

      The frustrating aspect of this particular issue is that in EHP6 the add-in products seem to have a lot more “influence” in the upgrade. In the EHP4 upgrade, it seemed much easier just to skip past the add-ins for sorting out later.

      I will say that when the SUM is running for this upgrade, it is more stable and faster than previous upgrade managers have been.

      Regards,

      Kevin

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      1. Abhishek Paritosh

        Hi Kevin,

        I am going to start with EHP6 upgrade on ECC6.0 which is a sandbox system. There are many hurldles in between like the maintenance certificate is not updated, not able to understand wether the EHP upgrade would be done by the help of SUM as you discussed or through SAINT. Please help me out with any doc which covers EHP6 on ECC6.0.

        Thanks in advance,

        Abhishek Paritosh

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  2. Bert Ernie

    Nice, do Addons with a documented removal procedure really exist? Even “official” SAP Addons cannot be removed anymore. Why should they let you out of a contract anyways 😉

    Cheers Michael

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    1. Kevin Grove Post author

      Michael

      Thanks for reading the post and commenting.

      According to SAP development there is a prototype in progress for a removal “tool” or process; and absolutely no hint of a possible release date.

      __Quick Update__  EHP6 is installed in the sandbox system. The vendor in this tail finally provided codes that will be tested when the upgrade of the dev box starts later this week.

      I do have some more tips to share, but there is little time for blogging right now.

      Regards,

      Kevin Grove

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      1. Christo George

        Hi Kevin,

        Thanks for the post. I want to know how SUM handles the applicatoin servers during the upgrade to EHP6 from EHP4.

        I am not sure if the SUM took will take care of the applicatoin server or no.

        Appreciate your thoughts on this

        Thanks

        christo

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  3. Kshitij Pande

    Hello Kevin,

    We are initiating an upgrade from EHP4 to EHP6. We are at an early stage trying to estimate the efforts required on Security changes. Do you have any information to share on the impact EHP6 had on Security infrastructure ?

    Thanks,

    Kshitij

    (0) 

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