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SAP NetWeaver '04: Good Things Come in One Complete Package

by Dr. Franz-Josef Fritz | SAPinsider

January 1, 2004

by Dr. Franz-Josef Fritz, SAP AG SAPinsider - 2004 (Volume 5), January (Issue 1)
 



Dr. Franz J. Fritz,
SAP AG

In January 2003, SAP NetWeaver emerged on the scene. This integration and application platform encompassed the very best of SAP technology — SAP Web Application Server, SAP Enterprise Portal, SAP Business Information Warehouse, and SAP Exchange Infrastructure. In the ensuing months, we added SAP Mobile Infrastructure and SAP Master Data Management. These are each very powerful solutions in their own right. But they offer unprecedented capabilities when used in concert with one another.

With this in mind, we now offer SAP NetWeaver solutions and components1 in a synchronized release cycle, whereby all SAP NetWeaver components are delivered in a single package.2 The first such release is SAP NetWeaver '04, which delivers:

  • SAP Web Application Server 6.40

  • SAP Enterprise Portal (EP) 6.0

  • SAP Exchange Infrastructure (XI) 3.0

  • SAP Business Information Warehouse (BW) 3.5

  • SAP Mobile Infrastructure (MI) 2.5

Take note! There are numerous administrative, TCO, and QA benefits to this synchronized approach:

  All of these NetWeaver components are now based on the same version of SAP Web Application Server (Release 6.40) and therefore share a common technical foundation. This simplifies a wide range of infrastructure activities, including administration, monitoring, and user and security management. Everything can use the same operating system release, as well as the same DBMS release. Reduce complexity in an IT landscape, and you reduce TCO.

  All parts of NetWeaver can be run within a single physical server if a small configuration is sufficient, thus reducing the number of systems and databases to be administered.

  Many parts of NetWeaver can be run within one management entity, the SAP Web Application Server (SAP Web AS) system, with its shared database, shared central services, common external IP address, administration, etc. An SAP Web AS system can be a single small box running just one instance of the SAP Web AS, but it can also scale up to multiple big computers with many instances of the SAP Web AS that run together as one logical unit. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1
Examples of SAP Web AS System Architecture

  The whole set of NetWeaver '04 components has been tested and validated together by SAP — something that is simply not possible for all the potential combinations that could occur when you’re dealing with arbitrary releases of different components.

  There is a joint Ramp-Up program for all NetWeaver components. This means that SAP not only takes care of the individual components, but that documentation, consulting, training, partner enabling, and so on, are all targeted to support the NetWeaver platform as a whole and help to exploit the synergies between NetWeaver components.

In 2004, the following SAP applications are built upon and ship with the synchronized NetWeaver '04 technology base: mySAP Enterprise Resource Planning (mySAP ERP), mySAP Supply Chain Management (mySAP SCM), and mySAP Supplier Relationship Management (mySAP SRM), among others. In 2005, all SAP applications will ship on the NetWeaver '05 platform.

The result? Reduced complexity. The synchronizing of, for example, SAP BW and your mySAP SCM solutions, or your mySAP CRM and portal solutions, or your mySAP SRM solutions and the Exchange Infrastructure will be streamlined. The need for different sets of adapters and plugs-ins simply goes away.

A Short Look Back at the Evolution of Technology for SAP

Of course, SAP R/3 has always contained a technology layer (Basis), which included an application server, a development environment, a generic user interface (SAP GUI), and a workflow engine, among others. SAP BW, SAP APO, and all the newer products also contain the same technology layer. But back in the early days, you could not get this technology without the application on top of it.

This changed in 2000, when SAP introduced the Web Application Server. The SAP Web AS was still an extension of Basis, but for the first time, it could be used on its own to develop Web-based applications (see Figure 2).

Other technology components followed, including SAP Enterprise Portal and SAP Exchange Infrastructure. Together, these were called mySAP Technology. Here again, each of these components was used for some applications, but could also be used standalone for the integration of non-SAP applications or for developing custom solutions.

In January 2003, SAP introduced NetWeaver as the successor and significant extension of the former mySAP Technology layer. Now, SAP NetWeaver has all its components in a synchronized release. SAP NetWeaver '04 is the first of these synchronized releases.

Figure 2
The Evolution from Basis to SAP NetWeaver '04

Upgrading to NetWeaver '04

With all the advantages and flexibility of NetWeaver '04, there are basically two main reasons to upgrade:

  Getting to a more unified infrastructure in terms of operating system, database system, application server release, etc., with the goal of reducing TCO.

  Using the new integration capabilities to extend the reach of services and processes.

BW 3.5, for example, can integrate with virtually any data source — from Excel and Access databases to all relational data sources, other data warehouses, and even Web services, which provide access to analytical data inside or outside the company.

And XI 3.0 comes with a very strong adapter framework and a much larger set of adapters. It can transfer data to and from file systems, message queues, legacy applications, database systems, etc. It provides the needed queuing, routing, and mapping services, as well as advanced process management for features such as message synchronization, splitting and joining messages, and many more.

All customers have the option to perform their own synchronized upgrade for all of their NetWeaver pieces. Customers can upgrade to NetWeaver '04 all at once, if they choose, and then have the option to go from NetWeaver '04 to a future synchronized release like NetWeaver '05 or NetWeaver '06, and so on, as needed — something that can be especially important to those with smaller installations.

On the other hand, it will still be possible for a larger company, with components spread out across multiple systems, to upgrade components separately, each with its own life cycle. (Note that in this case, compatibility rules and restrictions are somewhat more complex.) For more on installation of SAP NetWeaver '04, see the FAQ sidebar below.

Ultimately, along with the benefits of a synchronized release, you have the flexibility to upgrade and install NetWeaver components incrementally and as needed.

For more information on SAP NetWeaver '04, see http://service.sap.com/netweaver.

SAP NetWeaver '04 FAQ

Is SAP NetWeaver '04 shipped as one product?

The answer is “yes.” All parts of SAP NetWeaver '04 come together in one shipment, can be installed in one installation procedure, and can be run together in one system.3

However, for greater flexibility, there will also be installation scenarios that activate only a subset of NetWeaver components.4 So for performance, throughput, stability, or other reasons, it will still be possible to:

  Run only XI 3.0 in one system

  Run only BW 3.5 in one system

  Run only EP 6.0 in one system

  Run just Web AS 6.40 and the development infrastructure for your homegrown applications

Is SAP NetWeaver '04 sold as one product?

Yes. But in addition, you can still buy the individual components.

Can I upgrade NetWeaver '04 components individually, as needed?

The answer is a clear “yes.” NetWeaver '04 does not force you to upgrade and run everything simultaneously. You can gradually bring your current components to the NetWeaver '04 level in order to make use of the new features of a component or to reach the common IT infrastructure in several steps. For example, you can:

  Upgrade XI 2.0 to XI 3.0

  Upgrade BW 3.0 to BW 3.5

  Upgrade EP 5.0 to EP 6.0

  Upgrade a standalone Web AS 6.20 to Web AS 6.40

What is SAP’s maintenance strategy for NetWeaver '04?

Not only will NetWeaver '04 be a synchronized release when it comes to its components, but it will also be aligned regarding maintenance rules and regulations. There will be a synchronized standard maintenance period for NetWeaver '04, which will be aligned with the maintenance statements for the applications sitting on top of NetWeaver '04.

Please note that SAP has significantly expanded its maintenance strategy. Beyond standard maintenance, SAP offers extended and customer-specific maintenance — so in principle, maintenance never ends.

When does it ship?

The Ramp-Up program of NetWeaver '04 is planned to start in Q1 2004.



1 SAP implements all capabilities and features of its solutions using a number of components. Components can be installed and upgraded separately, and each component has its own release schedule.

2 The exception is SAP Master Data Management (MDM), the newest member of the NetWeaver family. MDM 2.0 will be able to use NetWeaver '04 (in particular Exchange Infrastructure 3.0), but will still be based on SAP Web Application Server 6.20.

3 Again, the exception here is MDM 2.0.

4 These scenarios will be documented in the NetWeaver Master Guide and the NetWeaver Solution Management Guide.


Franz J. Fritz has a Ph.D. in mathematics and 30 years of experience in all areas of IT. Workflow and business process management have been particular areas of interest for much of his life. He has worked for SAP since 1993 as Program Director and Vice President with responsibility for the Business Process Technology and Internet-Business Framework departments. Recently, he took over responsibility for SAP NetWeaver product management within SAP AG as Vice President of NetWeaver Product Management and Standards.

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