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Often it is the simple things in life that bring you most happiness and joy.

That’s why we have worked hard over the past two SAP NetWeaver releases or Enhancement Packages (which are for technology effectively minor releases in the terminology of the rest of the world as we do not support switchable functionality like the SAP Business Suite) to simplify the parallel code lines and version numbers of SAP NetWeaver.

And since the most simple approach is a single code line, we’ve simply gone for that one.

So while in the past, we had two parallel development code lines of our NetWeaver platform, one underlying the SAP Business Suite as “stable core” applications infrastructure, e.g. the Application Server ABAP, labeled version 7.0x (e.g. 7.00, 7.01, 7.02, you got it), and a separate one for our “faster innovation cycle” standalone SAP NetWeaver “hubs” like SAP NetWeaver Portal or SAP NetWeaver Process Orchestration, labeled version 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 and 7.31 respectively. Confused? Don’t worry! You are not alone. And there’s more: For our on-demand Business ByDesign solution we had started to build a multi-tenant, HANA-optimized version of our Application Server ABAP, internally labeled 8.0x. In parallel. Again a separate code line.

“I’m confused… No, wait… Maybe I’m not…” [Unknown]

Now, luckily, we got the message from our customers (and we even got confused internally from time to time) and simplified things again: with SAP NetWeaver 7.03(underlying SAP Business Suite 7 Enhancement Package 6) and SAP NetWeaver 7.31 hubs, we have a single, identical ABAP application server again! We merged the two 7.0x and 7.x code lines. And with SAP NetWeaver 7.4 — the next backward compatible Enhancement Package or minor release version of this combined 7.0x/7.x code line, you will even get major improvements ported back from our on-demand operations optimized ABAP server version. Plus, to complete the picture, you will get optimized support for SAP Hana with it as well. All in one single code line, that we will continue to evolve in a backward compatible manner. And in sync with the SAP Business Suite release cycle.

Our release numbers will reflect this simplicity in the future: 7.4, 7.5, 7.6, …Got it?  Actually, just in case you haven’t recognized it yet: it says 7.x all the time. Emphasis being on 7. So SAP NetWeaver will remain backward compatible.

Simple enough?

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15 Comments

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  1. Steve Rumsby

    Yes, much better. Thank you!

    You say NetWeaver will remain backward compatible. One thing I’ve never been clear on – if I’ve got ERP6 EHP5 running on NW 7.02, can I upgrade the underlying NW to something newer – 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, etc. – without affecting ERP6?

    For example, if I wanted to gain access to ABAP in Eclipse, which doesn’t work with 7.02.

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    1. Bjoern Goerke Post author

      In theory “yes”, in practice “no”: we are not supporting the combinatorics of all the “basis” and applications release versions. Too difficult to handle and making things unmanageable for us if one looks at SPs etc., upgrade scenarios etc.etc.

      So “basis” release and app release go hand in hand…

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          1. Steve Rumsby

            It sounds like what you’re saying is that my code will continue to work, but yours won’t:-)

            Which does make me wonder what Suite might be doing that might break, and how I can be sure I’m not doing the same things.

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            1. Bjoern Goerke Post author

              Well, it’s a matter of how big the matrix of combinations is that we are going to test and support. Already today with the platform (e.g. OS/DB versions supported), we are running thousands of tests before we can ship a new version of NW. Take scratch installation, upgrade and update paths from all start releases into account, the number is HUGE already. The cost of now adding additional combinatorics through “basis”/application release versions is simply not justified.

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  2. Paul Hardy

    Just to recap, I also was wondering why you can’t leave the application layer as is and upgrade the programming language to 7.4 or whatever.

    I can see how the applications are dependent on the programming language, but how can the programming language possibly be dependent on the applications written in it?

    That is, if you (SAP) add a whole bunch of new ABAP commands and BASIS functions and don;t delete any, how does that break the existing applications? You imply it does, can you explain this reverse dependency?

    It was the same in R3 “Enterprise” 4.7 you could not update the BASIS (WAS) layer without also updating the application layer despite fifty million powerpoints from SAP marketing trumpeting the final separation of the two layers.

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    1. Steve Rumsby

      I think the best summary is in Bjoern Goerke‘s first response to me – In theory “yes”, in practice “no”.

      In other words, it should work fine, but they can’t test all possible combinations. It isn’t a question of what breaks – because nothing should. It is a question of how much resource they have to test all the combinations. And for something as critical as an ERP system, if they haven’t tested it they can’t support it.

      It is disappointing, but I understand SAP’s position on this one!

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      1. Paul Hardy

        Yes I can see SAP’s position, though it is a hole they have dug for themselves, by constantly trying to seperate the various layers – different levels of ERP, different levels of enhancement packages for ERP, different levels of enhancement packages for Netwaever, support packs for ERP and then support packs for the enhancement packages for ERP, and other support packs for enhancement packages for Netweaver – all supposed to be independant, but all hopelessly intertwined.

        I bet, with the 20-20 vision hindsight provides, they wished they had stuck to not splitting anything up and releasing a new version of SAP every three years, especially considering installing an enhancement package is an upgrade no matter how you look at it.

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        1. Steve Rumsby

          If you just run Suite, then yes the current situation does seem overly complex. There’s only one version of NW you can run under your current version of suite so this compatibility isn’t useful. Worse, some new functionality turns up in newer versions of NW (like ABAP in Eclipse) and you can’t get it.

          But NetWeaver isn’t just the platform for Business Suite. Lots of other stuff runs on it too, and some of that may be able to take advantage of the backwards compatibility of newer versions. Maybe.

          It would be nice to think that the simplification would continue, and that maybe one day NW will be properly backwards compatible, and properly separated from the applications that run on it, including Suite. I can see it happening, but I can also see it isn’t an easy task so I won’t be holding my breath!

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      1. Steve Rumsby

        Thanks for the more detailed explanation. It reminds me of one of my favourite sayings:

        The difference between theory and practice is bigger in practice than it is in theory.

                           

        Steve.

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  3. Scott Gilbert

    Hi Bjorn.  I am about to do a fresh install of ECC on AIX with Oracle.  Is it reasonable to say that I want ECC 6.0 EhP6  and want it on the new NetWeaver 7.41 Kernel?  I ask this because I run into one of two problems:

    1) If I use the latest Provisioning Manager as of July 12th 2013,  it wants me to use the NW 7.4 Kernel DVD,  but it does not expect the ECC 6.0 SR3  Installation Export DVD’s.  It thinks I should have the Business Suite 2013 7i DVD’s. 

    2) If I use the previous Provisioning Manager it is happy with the ECC SR3 Installation Export DVD’s,  but it is unhappy with NW 7.4 and wants me to use the old NW 7.2 Kernel DVD’s from 2010. 

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    1. Bjoern Goerke Post author

      Hi Scott,

      thinks work as intended. There’s always only certain combinations of applications and underlying technology stack released. You cannot independently upgrade.

      Best regards,

      Björn

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