Good Things Come in One Complete Package

In January 2003, SAP NetWeaver emerged on the scene. This integration and application platform encompassed the components of SAP technology – SAP Web Application Server, SAP Enterprise Portal, SAP Business Information Warehouse, and SAP Exchange Infrastructure. In the ensuing months, SAP 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, SAP now offers SAP NetWeaver solutions and components in a synchronized release cycle, whereby all SAP NetWeaver components are delivered in a single package. The exception is SAP Master Data Management (SAP MDM), the newest member of the SAP NetWeaver family. SAP MDM 2.0 will be able to use SAP NetWeaver ’04 (in particular SAP Exchange Infrastructure 3.0), but will still be based on SAP Web Application Server 6.20.

A common technical foundation

The first such release is SAP NetWeaver ’04, which delivers:

SAP Web Application Server 6.40
SAP Enterprise Portal (SAP EP) 6.0
SAP Exchange Infrastructure (SAP XI) 3.0
SAP Business Information Warehouse (SAP BW) 3.5
SAP Mobile Infrastructure (SAP MI) 2.5

There are numerous administrative, TCO, and QA benefits to this synchronized approach. All of these SAP 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. By reducing complexity in an IT landscape, companies reduce TCO. All parts of SAP 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.

Examples of SAP Web AS System Architecture
Examples of SAP Web AS System Architecture

Many parts of SAP 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.

Joint Ramp-up program

The whole set of SAP NetWeaver ’04 components has been tested and validated together in diferent scenarios by SAP – something that would not be 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 SAP 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 SAP NetWeaver platform as a whole and help to exploit the synergies between NetWeaver components.
SAP applications delivered in 2004 are built upon the synchronized SAP NetWeaver ’04 technology base: mySAP ERP, mySAP Supply Chain Management (mySAP SCM), and mySAP Supplier Relationship Management (mySAP SRM), among others. The same approach will apply in 2005 and subsequent years. The result? Reduced complexity. The synchronizing of, for example, SAP BW and a mySAP SCM solutions, or mySAP CRM and portal solutions, or mySAP SRM solutions and the SAP Exchange Infrastructure will be simplyfied.

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, customers could not get this technology without the application on top of it.

The Evolution of Basis to SAP NetWeaver ’04
The Evolution of Basis to SAP NetWeaver ’04

This changed in 2000, when SAP introduced SAP Web Application Server. 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.
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 SAP 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.

Upgrading to NetWeaver ’04

With all the advantages and flexibility of SAP 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.

SAP 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 SAP 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 SAP NetWeaver pieces. Customers can upgrade to SAP NetWeaver ’04 all at once, if they choose, and then have the option to go from SAP NetWeaver ’04 to a future synchronized release like SAP NetWeaver ’05 or SAP NetWeaver ’06, and so on, as needed – something that can be especially important to those with smaller installations.

SAP NetWeaver ’04 FAQ
SAP NetWeaver ’04 FAQ

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. (In this case, compatibility rules and restrictions are somewhat more complex.) Ultimately, along with the benefits of a synchronized release, customers have the flexibility to upgrade and install SAP NetWeaver components incrementally and as needed.
For more information on SAP NetWeaver ’04, see netweaver.

Source: SAP Insider

Dr. Franz J. Fritz
Dr. Franz J. Fritz