SUM, SPAM/SAINT and the story about Support-Package Levels
Products with several software components inhere complex dependencies that have to be considered for a maintenance activity (applying SPs, SP Stacks, implementing enhancement packages, or upgrades). The Maintenance Optimizer is the central tool in SAP Solution Manager to plan the maintenance, considering the dependencies, and it offers only valid SP-combinations. The result is the stack.xml as a kind of recipe for the Software Update Manager (SUM) to apply the changes on the system.
Until SUM 1.0 SP12, it was possible to increase the SP-level for software components on a SUM dialog during the BIND_PATCH phase, and thus kind of overruling parts of the stack.xml. Now with SUM 1.0 SP13 (and higher), this option is no longer possible for central components as listed in SAP Note 2084104 (central note for SUM 1.0 SP14).
SUM or SPAM/SAINT
For applying only few SPs, it was possible to use either SUM or SPAM/SAINT. SAP Note 1803986 provides a tool comparison with hints when to use which tool. With SAP NetWeaver 7.4, there are some dedicated SP-Stacks that only SUM can apply on the system (see note 1803986). This applies to SAP NetWeaver 7.40 Support Package 05 (SR1) und Support Package 08 (SR2). The reason is that these SPs include changes of the DDIC tools (not only DDIC content) that only SUM can consider, but not SPAM/SAINT. This is accompanied by a new kernel version, so some software components are bound to specific kernel versions.
SUM being stricter now
SUM checks the kernel requirement provided by the stack.xml, calculates other dependencies and prepares internal buffers. Later, the SUM offers the dialog to adapt the SP levels for software components. If you would now increase the SP level for the central components, you may end up in a situation that this software component SP-level requires a newer kernel, and several SUM internal calculations are invalidated.
So how do I …
For the planning of the maintenance, creating a Maintenance Transaction in either the Maintenance Planner or the Maintenance Optimizer remains the central point. You will have to plan your maintenance activities with the desired SP-level for the central components from the start.
SUM 1.0 SP13 patch level 2 (and higher) allows adapting the SP-levels for software component SAP_HR again, as this seams the biggest hurdle. The other central components will not change. Other components than the listed ones are not affected.
Product Management Software Logistics, SAP SE