SAP NetWeaver represents the touchpoint between users of SAP systems and the technology that SAP presents to the end user. originally released in 2004, NetWeaver has gone through a number of updates both large and small to make it more responsive in dealing with the demands of clients. The newest release, NetWeaver 7.5, provides a whole slew of features and interfaces, such as the Internet of Things and big data analytics (to name just a few), further aiding clients in interfacing their technology with productivity software and making it easier for SAP to perform its functions. In planning an SAP NetWeaver upgrade path we must take a look at the current existing versions of NetWeaver and how we can get them up to speed.
SAP NetWeaver 7.0x
Support and maintenance for NetWeaver 7.0x came to a close in 2017. The reason why was because this particular NetWeaver architecture was constructed on the ancient base of Java 1.4, which was released in 2002. Security protocols developed for this software suite are severely outdated and ending support was meant to shunt users upwards, to use current software which has a more robust security framework attached to it. SAP NetWeaver AS ABAP 7.0x is still supported (until 2025) and provides the framework for the running and development of applications on SAP Business Suite 7. The issues with the Java stack doesn’t severely affect SAP NetWeaver AS ABAP 7.0x. SAP Business Warehouse (BW) presents a challenge as it is socketed to the ABAP backend and the Java developed front end, leaving it in the unenviable position of trying to standardize elements across an obsolete system and one that is still viable. Due to this, SAP’s BW team has extended a grace period up until 202 so that users of the old BW systems can find one that is more current to migrate to before they shut down support for those systems.
SAP NetWeaver 7.1
Most upgrade paths ignore NetWeaver 7.1 because it wasn’t a full release of the SAP system. It only contains a handful of additional modules that were developed to work alongside other SAP installations.
SAP NetWeaver 2004
Another installation that has ceased to be maintained, NetWeaver 2004 are still present in come machines, but are relegated to run in customer-requested maintenance settings, so that no new updates or notes related to this suite is expected to come.
SAP NetWeaver 7.3
The standard maintenance of SAP NetWeaver 7.3 is slated to end on December 31st, 2020. The motivation behind this particular release was as an integration hub to link SAP business Suite through. While 7.3 represents a lot of enhancements of the SAP system, including the ability to use an SAP HANA install, it is recommended that users upgrade to SAP NetWeaver 7.4 or 7.5 when they can. This enables the client to take full advantage of a lengthier maintenance period.
SAP NetWeaver 7.4
Most users of the SAP system adopt NetWeaver 7.4 as their chosen release. This release sees the first fully optimized HANA interface as well as offering a very stable kernel and robust security system. The ABAP Codeline included with NetWeaver 7.4 is the evolution of the 7.3x Codelines, letting NetWeaver 7.4 serve as a foundation for the construction of enhancement package #7 for SAP ERP 6.0.
SAP NetWeaver 7.5
All new customers are introduced to SAP NetWeaver 7.5 as it’s the most current release of the NetWeaver system. SAP NetWeaver 7.5 was initially released in 2015 and is continually updated to provide new and innovative interfaces. Additionally, the ABAP stack is updated and support for SAP Fiori App development forms a major part of is continual updates. SAP NetWeaver 7.5 is slated to be active until 2024 (up from 2022), allowing customers that have older systems to take advantage of the NetWeaver 7.5 installs and update window. This also enables customers to prepare their systems for use with SAP HANA should they so wish. Update versions 7.51 and 7.52 were released in 2016 and 2017 respectively and are not full NetWeaver deliveries but facilitate the establishment of servers for Fiori and ABAP modules.
A company’s decision to upgrade comes from its need to change with the times. Many companies find it hard to move forward if they’ve already established a particular practice, but the added innovation in the later SAP NetWeaver versions are a good reason to upgrade. Combined with the generous maintenance window, it’s the best time to consider upgrading in order to experience the full extent of SAP’s offerings.