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Author's profile photo Cay Rademann

SAP Solution Manager for SAP S/4HANA Cloud

SAP Cloud ALM is the default Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) offering for SAP S/4HANA Cloud. The usage rights are included in SAP S/4HANA Cloud (public or private) and RISE with SAP subscriptions.  But what if you want to use SAP Solution Manager instead? Let me discuss your options in this blog post. 

While both are ALM platforms, there is no feature parity between SAP Cloud ALM and SAP Solution Manager. See the blog series ‘ALM for SAP S/4HANA Cloud – SAP Cloud ALM or SAP Solution Manager?’ for details. SAP Cloud ALM provides standardized ALM functionality targeting at cloud-centric customers. SAP Solution Manager provides more flexible options for on-premise centric customers. Some SAP S/4HANA Cloud customers want to use SAP Solution Manager for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, especially for the private edition. 

Using SAP Solution Manager requires corresponding usage rights. They are included in SAP on-premise maintenance agreements. If you have such an agreement, everything is fine: You can install SAP Solution Manager (on premise or at a hosting partner or hyperscaler) and use it for implementing and operating SAP S/4HANA Cloud (public or private), if you wish to do so.  

However, if you are a cloud-only SAP customer, you have no usage rights for SAP Solution Manager. The same applies if you have an on-premise SAP maintenance agreement but want to switch to a RISE with SAP subscription. In this case, you will lose the SAP Solution Manager usage rights with the go-live of RISE with SAP (unless you have another on-premise SAP maintenance agreement).  

If you do not have usage rights but want to use SAP Solution Manager features that are not available in SAP Cloud ALM, there is another option: SAP Enterprise Cloud Services (SAP ECS) offers the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC) service SAP Solution Manager for SAP S/4HANA Cloud. When you subscribe for this service, SAP ECS provides the required hardware and infrastructure, installs SAP Solution Manager in the private cloud, and operates it for you. The SAP Solution Manager usage rights are included in this offering as well, of course. 

Two versions of SAP Solution Manager for SAP S/4HANA Cloud are available:  

  • Project Documentation Version 
  • Full Version 

Both versions have the same software: The full SAP Solution Manager stack (software component ST with the underlying basis components) plus the add-on ST-OST, which holds both Focused Build and Focused Insights. If the software and usage rights are the same: What is the difference between the versions? This is mainly caused by the way of deployment. 

Single-system vs. Two-system Landscape 

Key differentiator between these versions is the number of SAP Solution Manager systems deployed. For the Project Documentation Version, there is only a single system. This means, you (or the SAP ECS team) do any change directly on the productive system. There is no possibility to test changes beforehand on a quality assurance system.  

The Full Version of SAP Solution Manager for SAP S/4HANA Cloud has a two-tier landscape. You can check changes on the quality assurance system before you transfer them to the production system. This lessens risk significantly. 


Why is a single-system landscape suboptimal? There are multiple reasons: 

  • SAP Solution Manager does not support the ABAP client concept. Many functions are cross-client. You need to take special care not mixing test, training, and productive data. 
  • Changes in customizing and development will be active immediately in production. Erroneous changes have an instant impact. This applies to changes in workflows as well. 
  • When SAP Notes or support packages are deployed to the single system, there is no chance to check for conflicts with custom code or even modifications beforehand. Such conflicts can disrupt the system.  

Some ALM capabilities of SAP Solution Manager use workflows intensively. Multiple teams are involved in the agile end-to-end implementation process with sprints, waves, and releases. Adapting these workflows in a single-system landscape implies high risks.  

In SAP Solution Manager, this applies especially for the implementation support of Focused Build. It is based on pre-configured workflows (see picture below), which can be adapted by customers. And the processes in IT Service Management and Change Request Management rely heavily on workflows as well. Therefore, we recommend not to use these capabilities in SAP Solution Manager for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, Project Documentation Version. 



Cost is a significant differentiator between the two versions of SAP Solution Manager for SAP S/4HANA Cloud. This is closely related to the number of systems in the landscape as well. Since both the Project Documentation Version and the Full Version use the smallest system size available in HEC, the hardware cost of the Full Version is nearly twice as much as the hardware cost of the Project Documentation Version. And since hardware and infrastructure cost is crucial for hosting, this reflects in the subscription price as well. You need to pay about twice as much for the two-system landscape than for the single-system landscape. 

Diagnostic Agents 

Another difference between the two versions is the deployment of agents. SAP Solution Manager needs diagnostic and host agents on the managed systems (e.g., SAP S/4HANA Cloud) to exchange monitoring data. This is foundation for operations functions. 

The Project Documentation Version of SAP Solution Manager for SAP S/4HANA Cloud excludes the deployment of agents on managed systems (SAP S/4HANA Cloud). Therefore, you cannot use this version for application and business process operations. These functions are only supported by the Full Version. 

However, this restriction is not critical anymore. The recommendation of SAP is to use SAP Cloud ALM for operating public and private cloud services as well as ABAP-based on-premise systems, even if you use SAP Solution Manager for implementation in parallel. The advantage of SAP Cloud ALM for Operations is that it works without agents. And you do not need to pay extra for this as the usage rights for SAP Cloud ALM are included in your SAP S/4HANA Cloud or RISE with SAP subscription already. 

Other Differences 

Just for completeness reason: There are two other differences on Project Documentation Version and Full Version of SAP Solution Manager for SAP S/4HANA Cloud: 

  • Service level agreement (SLA): Production SLAs of SAP ECS apply for the Full Version, while the Project Documentation Version has only non-production SLAs  
  • Disaster recovery: If you have signed an SAP ECS disaster recovery agreement, this is valid for SAP Solution Manager for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, Full Version as well. It does not apply for the Project Documentation Version. 


Let me briefly summarize the content of this blog post in three recommendations: 

  •  The subscription cost of SAP Solution Manager for SAP S/4HANA Cloud are significant. Please consider if you really need SAP Solution Manager functionality for SAP S/4HANA Cloud? Use SAP Cloud ALM whenever possible, 
  • While selecting the best version for you, weigh the cost against risk properly. Especially, avoid using Focused Build, IT Service Management, or Change Request Management on the Project Documentation Version to reduce risk. 
  • Do not use SAP Solution Manager for SAP S/4HANA Cloud for operations unless there are very good reasons. SAP Cloud ALM is a decent alternative. You can use SAP Cloud ALM for operations and SAP Solution Manager for SAP S/4HANA Cloud for implementation in parallel (and maybe switch to SAP Cloud ALM for implementation later). 

Next Steps 

Add a comment at the bottom of this page to let me and other readers know if this blog post is helpful for you. If you have a different opinion, I will be happy to start a discussion with you. And please ask related questions in case you have some. 

Read the blog post First login to SAP Cloud ALM if you want to start with SAP Cloud ALM instead of subscribing SAP Solution Manager for SAP S/4HANA Cloud  

If you want to know more about SAP Solution Manager or SAP Cloud ALM, subscribe for our monthly newsletter for Application Lifecycle Management. And follow the tags SAP Cloud ALM or SAP Solution Manager for related information in SAP Community. Thank you. 

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      Author's profile photo Prashant Patil
      Prashant Patil

      Thanks for sharing Cay ! Its very well written - pretty detailed information.

      Author's profile photo Rupali Karbhari
      Rupali Karbhari

      Hi Cay Rademann ,

      Thanks for sharing this blog and glad to know upon Solution Manager system deployment options available for S/4HANA cloud clients. we always try to compare both Solution manager and Cloud ALM product in terms of transport management i.e. ChaRM, end to end monitoring , BPM etc


      Although Cloud ALM is evolving product , it is yet to get more functionalities for Implementation phase like central transport management , automatic emails etc.


      In case Release upgrade of S/4HANA extended edition scenario for S/4HANA cloud customers having cloud ALM,

      • Is it mandatory to have Solution Manager as it helps for stack file generation.
      • During upgrade procedure , for retrofit functionality (for parallel landscape) is it recommended to use Solution manager or we have such feature available into Cloud ALM
      • also would be helpful to know more scenarios wherein it is likely recommended to implement Solution Manager for S/4HANA cloud customers.


      Thank You,

      Rupali Karbhari


      Author's profile photo Cay Rademann
      Cay Rademann
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Rupali Karbhari,

      thank you very much for your feedback.

      Regarding the bullets in your comment: It is not mandatory to use SAP Solution Manager for SAP S/4HANA Cloud. But you are absolutely right: There are cases where SAP Cloud ALM does not yet provide features you know from SAP Solution Manager. Like Retrofit for upgrades of SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition.

      Concerning scenario recommendations: SAP Cloud ALM aims to provide standardized ALM processes while SAP Solution Manager provides more flexibility. I would say: If you are looking for more flexibility, it might be worth investing in SAP Solution Manager.

      Best regards, Cay Rademann

      Author's profile photo Marissa Ren
      Marissa Ren

      It's a nice blog to learn about SAP Cloud ALM and SAP Solution Manager for SAP S/4HANA Cloud.

      Author's profile photo Robert Hill
      Robert Hill

      With SAP Solution Manager - Project edition, is it possible or advisable to integrate with SAP Enable Now? As part of our implementation of RISE and getting to the Testing and Training portion of the project, there is a desire to sync up training and testing materials, especially for end to end scenarios.