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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert
The 3SL Upgrade Process has been designed to not impact customer projects during the upgrade of the customer landscape. After the upgrade of the Test system, unlike in 2 System Landscape environments, all kinds of transports (CBC Business Config, fine tuning, developer extensibility & key-user extensibility) can still be transported into the P System.

In order to better understand this process, this document will take you through the journey of an 3SL S/4HANA Cloud Upgrade with our fictional customer – QWERTY Utilities. In this case we will use the SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2302 upgrade as an example.



As the QWERTY Utilities team approach their first release they note the release dates that were sent via email 6 weeks prior to the test upgrade. Their next release is the 2302 release in which their Test system will be upgraded on 28/29 January.
Since QWERTY Utilities are based in Europe they look at the release schedule and note that the upgrade pre-processing is due to begin around 18:00 UTC on Thursday, 26th January. During this time there is no downtime but they take note of the following limitation:

  • No ATO Transport Processing is possible

The next milestone in the upgrade of their test system occurs around 04:00 UTC on Saturday, January 28th when the SAP S/4HANA Cloud Software is upgraded in the Test System. The downtime for the Test system upgrade takes approximately 2 hours but may take longer if any issues are encountered.
During this time the following limitation is in place:

  • No logon to SAP S/4HANA Cloud tenant(s) possible

Once the Software upgrade is complete SAP finalizes SAP S/4HANA Cloud tenant processing this takes roughly an hour but can take longer if issues occur.

  • Log on to SAP S/4HANA Cloud Tenants is possible, but it is important to wait until the upgrade completion status mail is sent


Period Between Test upgrade and Development and Production Upgrade

Unlike with 2SL there are minimal limitations on Customers to bring transports into their P-System. During this period customers can test developer extensibility accordingly and perform other project specific activities accordingly.

Some limitations exist around transport of certain items during this period, the most up to date information on these limitations can be found in the Release Restriction note for the corresponding release. For example 2302 - https://launchpad.support.sap.com/#/notes/3273553

During this period, regression testing should be performed via the Test Automation tool. The SAP S/4HANA Cloud Test Automation Tool provides our SAP S/4HANA Cloud Essential customers the necessary feature set to create an automated regression suite for their testing needs. The tool is a no-code, no-installation, cloud native solution. The solution comes bundled with more than 300+ standard pre-delivered test automates based on the SAP Best Practice Processes.

If a regression issue is identified a support incident should be opened with the prefix “[R]” in the title. This helps SAP Product Support to recognize and prioritize regression incidents accordingly.

Production and Development System Upgrade

The first milestone that QWERTY Utilities need to consider in the upgrade of their Productive landscape for 2302 is the S/4HANA Cloud lock phase which begins at 18:00 UTC on Thursday, February, 16th. In the 24 hours leading up to this Customers are discouraged from triggering large deployments as the Cluster’s Database is upgraded.

Once the lock phase is triggered the following limitations are put in place:

  • Deployments to Development & Productive Systems are disabled

  • No ATO Transport processing is possible in Development or Productive Systems

  • From the final hours of the lock phase (circa 07:00 UTC, customizing is set to read-only. This is to avoid any blocking of the software change (Upgrade & Update process) which could happen due to ongoing deployments.

The Software Upgrade process to 2302 for Production

  • Logon to SAP S/4HANA Developer & Productive Tenants are not possible

  • Deployments to Development & Productive Systems are disabled

  • No ATO Transport processing is possible in Development or Productive Systems

  • In the Central Business Configuration (CBC) tenant Organizational structure enhancements, adding new scope or country are possible until the content update is triggered and the CBC Project is locked.

Once the Software Upgrade process is complete SAP upgrades the Business Configuration content and finalises the S/4HANA Cloud tenant processing. This usually takes approximately 3 Hours from 9:00 UTC to 8:00 UTC on February, 18. During this time the following limitations are in place:

  • CBC projects get locked until content upgrade is successfully completed

  • Login to S/4HANA Cloud tenants is possible but customer should wait for Handover Mail

Once the upgrade is completed Business Configuration content upgrade in Test and P tenants have to be managed by customer. After the software in the development system and production system has been upgraded, SAP makes the new reference content available in SAP Central Business Configuration, and your workspaces are upgraded to the new content version. The new content is deployed to the corresponding tenants of the development system (which upgrades the content in the development system).

The new reference content is recorded in a transport request, which is released and exported automatically. When this transport is imported into the test system, you can test the new content there. The content is automatically forwarded from the test system, and the import into the production system is triggered.

You find more information on this process in the Activate Activity -  Deploy Upgraded Business Content



Post Release – Hotfixes and Continuous Feature Delivery

As well as moving to a bi-annual release cadence for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP now introduces new functionalities to the solution via frequent updates between releases.

While the now semi-annual releases include the usual system upgrades with more extensive developments , updates in between releases deliver functionalities without disrupting the day-to-day business of end-users.

With this in mind, after the 2302 release, QWERTY Utilities keep an eye on the maintenance schedule to ensure they are up to date.




As you can see in the image above, Hotfix collections are deployed every 2 weeks (with an exception for Black Friday).

Every second Hotfix collection deployed contains corrections and a product update (also known as continuous feature delivery where new features are shipped with the Hotfix). These Hotfix collections with content updates are labelled as brown on the figure above.

Upcoming innovations planned to be deployed with product updates via Hotfix can be viewed here - https://help.sap.com/whats-new/4328a3353fb14ef6ba3345697ac9ecc3?locale=en-US

The Hotfix collections that only contain fixes are labelled as green. Information regarding corrections included in Hotfix collections can be found in the Patch Collection Information Note. Here is the same for 2208 - https://launchpad.support.sap.com/#/notes/3228477

Hotfix Deployment Schedule

 In order to clarify the timeline for deployment of Hotfixes with product update (highlighted in brown on maintenance schedule), here is walkthrough of deployment of 2301.1. In this case we use our sample Customer – QWERTY Utilities who is based in Europe.

On Saturday, 18th March at approximately 07:00 UTC the lock phase is initiated and the following limitations are in place:

  • Maintenance mode is engaged and deployments to all systems are disabled

  • Working on CBC tenant/workspaces is still possible

  • No ATO transports are possible

  • At approximately 13:00 UTC customizing is set to read-only

At approximately 22:00 UTC SAP updates the software with downtime. This takes on average .5 – 1 hour but can take longer in case of issues. During this time:

  • No logon to SAP S/4HANA Cloud tenants is possible

At approximately 23:00 UTC once the software update is complete, SAP updates the Business Configuration content and finalizes S/4HANA Cloud tenant processing. This takes on average 2 hours but can take longer if issues occur or customer scope is large. During this time:

  • CBC Projects are locked until content upgrades are complete

  • Logon to S/4HANA Cloud tenants is possible again


Innovations and the Release Assessment and Scope Dependency tool (RASD)

In order for our customer QWERTY Utilities and other customers like them to keep track of the continuous innovations being added to SAP S/4HANA Cloud

RASD presents to the customers, a tailor-made lists of deleted, deprecated, new and changed objects like apps, APIs and CDS views for each S/4HANA Cloud release and continuous delivery. This list is filtered based on a customers’ used and activated scope which means that the customers only see the changes relevant to them and not the entire list (which could run into thousands of entries).

Customers get a time window of approximately 3 weeks between the upgrade of the Test system and the upgrade of the Productive system. RASD helps the customers to narrow down to the changes which need immediate attention and perform regression tests which are crucial during the short window of upgrades.

Please note that this information is also available in the “Preliminary: What’s new section of the Help Portal - https://help.sap.com/whats-new/7d3d11840a6543329e72391cf4d48e2d?locale=en-US



This blog post makes reference several sources and serves as a compilation document to give an overview of the end-to-end release process from a customer perspective.

For a more granular look into any of the topics mentioned here, please check out the primary sources used:

Software Lifecycle Management for Customers

SAP S/4HANA Cloud, 3-System Landscape – Upgrade & Maintenance Schedule

Release Assessment and Scope Dependency Tool(RASD 2.0)

Restrictions during the software change (Upgrade & Update) for 3SL Customer