SAP’s Extended Maintenance: What About AnyDB, NetWeaver And SoH?

5th February 2020 Peter M. Färbinger, Editor-in-Chief

SAP postponed the end of support for Business Suite 7, pushing the deadline from 2025 to 2027 with extended maintenance until 2030. SAP didn’t say anything about NetWeaver 7.2 or AnyDB. Does the offer only pertain to Suite on Hana, then?

The core of SAP Business Suite 7 is ERP/ECC 6.0, and this core needs NetWeaver and runs on AnyDB (IBM DB2, Oracle and Microsoft SQL server). SAP executive board member Michael Kleinemeier said in a press release, “We are determined to make our customers successful. The extended commitment to SAP Business Suite 7 and the long-lasting support for S/4 Hana is at the core of this, providing our customers choice and flexibility in planning for the right path to the future.”

Understandably, most news outlets rejoiced. SAP is finally listening to customers! And I think it is indeed commendable that SAP chose to listen instead of stubbornly insisting on a deadline that was never really feasible. However, there are some issues that SAP has yet to resolve.

For many years now, customers were able to choose Business Suite on Hana, SoH, which has become a favoured alternative. Now, it is up to SAP to officially announce extended maintenance for NetWeaver 7.2 and the Java and ABAP stack.

The AnyDB question

Even if customers work around the NetWeaver issue, there is still the AnyDB question that SAP has yet to answer.

By asking SAP directly, I was able to shed some light onto the AnyDB chaos, even though there are still some irregularities. One SAP spokesperson told me, “Concerning the database contracts, I can assure you that SAP has not cancelled them. As is common in this industry, the contracts have different terms depending on the provider. Like in previous years, SAP will contact and talk to providers before the contracts terminate. Alternatively, customers are free to choose to migrate to database Hana today or decide on directly licensing their databases with providers.”

SAP itself claims to be in contact with providers and appears to have contracts valid through 2025. An IBM insider told me that the DB2 contracts for ERP/ECC 6.0 have been terminated. I also tried contacting the German-speaking SAP user group DSAG on the topic but as of yet am still waiting for a response.

AnyDB will be necessary to be able to offer SAP customers extended maintenance for their existing ERP systems. If Oracle, IBM and Microsoft have been involved in SAP’s decision to extend maintenance is unclear.

The money question

Who’s going to pay for the resources necessary for extended maintenance, anyway? SAP has to pay for database licenses from Oracle, Microsoft and IBM for at least five more years. At the same time, SAP has to continue operating support and maintenance structures for hundreds of system configurations. Considering all that still has to happen, I don’t think we can expect the S/4 simplification with one operating system (Linux) and one database (Hana) in 2030, either.


Update February 5, 2020: In the new SAP service note 2881788, SAP writes, “Runtime licenses for third-party databases are not affected by this new maintenance strategy of Business Suite 7. Treatment of third-party runtime databases after 2025 will be announced once coverage from these vendors is confirmed.” This could mean that SAP is still negotiating database contracts with Oracle, IBM and Microsoft.

Update February 6, 2020: SAP has published an update to the service note 1648480 on February 4, 2020 (V21). In the note, SAP announces mainstream maintenance for NetWeaver and the Abap and Java stack until 2027 and extended maintenance until 2030. This maintenance extension for NetWeaver 7.5 pertains both to the Java and the Abap stack of the Application Server (AS) – even though there are still some legal and licensing issues to be solved concerning the use of Java stack after 2023. The ABAP stack will continue to be available on NetWeaver AS 7.0 EhP 3, 7.3 EhP 1, 7.4 and 7.5 until 2030. Extended maintenance until 2030 for the Java stack is unfortunately only available on NetWeaver version 7.5.

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