Aligning Release Dates for Cloud Harmony

Starting in 2020, cloud products from the top four intelligent enterprise suite end-to-end processes will align on common release dates.

In 2019, these nine cloud products had a combined 17 unique weekends in which they released impactful productive code to customers:

  • SAP Ariba
  • SAP Concur
  • SAP Digital Supply Chain
  • SAP Fieldglass
  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud
  • SAP Analytics Cloud
  • SAP Cloud Platform
  • SAP SuccessFactors

SAP will reduce those 17 release weekends to four quarterly release weekends for 2020: February 14-16, May 15-17, August 14-16, and November 13-15

The planned customer down times will be in accordance with the published service-level agreement document found in the SAP Trust Center site.

In addition to looking for less disruption, some customers have also expressed the desire for faster innovation from SAP. In response, these cloud products have identified eight more weekends in 2020 to release additional features in a toggled-off mode or by making them optional through other means.

No Day 1 Impact monthly release weekends for 2020: January 17-19, March 14-16, April 17-19, June 19-21, July 17-19, September 18-20, October 16-18, December 11-13

This allows customers that want or need features to access them faster than the companies that prioritize less disruption. The intent is for these No Day 1 Impact releases to not disrupt customer operations, require user training, or need additional downtime. Other restrictive criteria may apply.

How Will This Work?

As Development teams at SAP work hard on building integrations among standalone products, release numbers are identified — for example, 1911. When these release weekends do not line up, integrations are accidentally deployed to customers that start off broken and can stay broken for a week or more until the matching connector is released from the other product. Harmonizing these dates solves this unnecessary headache for the customer.

The industry is also challenging SAP to move quickly toward more modern technical strategies, including continuous delivery, microservice architectures, and better toggling. Combining these new strategies with a goal to reduce planned customer downtimes to zero means that ultimately we can deploy faster innovations while simultaneously putting the customer more in control of their own systems. The harmonized release date strategy will be evaluated continually to help ensure priority is focused on accelerating these technical advances while keeping customer impact low.

Customers should expect some planned and unplanned exceptions to the new release strategy. Identified exceptions for 2020 include:

  • SAP Cloud Platform will release to customers in the U.S. and Asia one week prior to the release dates identified above
  • SAP SuccessFactors will release November 20-22 instead of November 13-15

Continuous delivery and bug fixing patches will continue to be released throughout the year with minimal impact expected from these activities.

Not all products will release on all dates listed above. Please check with your individual product.
Changes or exceptions to the above can be found in the SAP Note 2888562.

Julie Ferrier is director of Release Strategy at SAP.