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Most businesses that leverage SAP in their day-to-day operations use SAP NetWeaver in some form or fashion. NetWeaver was initially presented to consumers in 2004 and brought with it a new way to visualize SAP interactions within the system. With each new update, SAP tries to deal with bug fixes but also to introduce new features and make older features more efficient. NetWeaver has gone through a series of updates leading to some of the older versions no longer being supported by SAP. In their drive to ensure that all systems are current and up-to-date, SAP encourages moving to newer versions of SAP by ceasing to support the older versions. So exactly what sort of version history does SAP NetWeaver Have?

SAP NetWeaver Through the Ages

The initial release of SAP NetWeaver 2004 stopped being supported by SAP in 2010. The next iteration, that of SAP NetWeaver 7.0x (which includes releases 7.01 to 7.03 but does not include 7.0x BW ABAP) stopped being supported by SAP with official updates in December of 2017. To date, the supported release versions of SAP NetWeaver are 7.0x BW ABAP, 7.3x, 7.4x and 7.5x. Of these, the 7.0x BW ABAP and 7.3x versions have their planned cycle of support ending in December of 2020.

A Look at Current NetWeaver Installations

Despite the fact that support has ended for some NetWeaver systems, a handful of companies still run the previous, unsupported NetWeaver systems in order to fulfil compliance and/or documentation. Many companies that have those older versions of NetWeaver have newer versions installed on top of the older ones in order to deal with current processing needs. The newest iterations of NetWeaver, namely NetWeaver 7.5x, offer solutions for dealing with modern advancements in technology such as IoT processing and implementation, that older versions of NetWeaver lack.

Moving with the Times

Based on where in the roadmap a company is, updating from an older version to a newer one might be a necessity. It is not recommended to run NetWeaver 7.0x and NetWeaver 2004 for processing purposes mainly because it will no longer be officially updated and any updates that may appear from now on would be unofficial ones. In order to maintain integrity of the system and security of the data upgrading should seriously be considered. For systems running the 7.3x and 7.4x versions, upgrading isn't an immediate concern as these systems are guaranteed to get support and upgrades from SAP until 2020 at the earliest. For older versions, the 7.51/7.52 deployment of SAP NetWeaver provides a very good upgrade as it's not likely to become obsolete anytime soon. Additionally, the 7.5x versions have support for more cutting-edge technologies, such as yard management system, and allow a company to harness these new innovations in their business quickly and hassle-free. Adopting a newer version now would mean a longer window before necessary upgrades show up, so this would be the best time to invest in the installation of version 7.5x.

Modern Business needs Modern Tools

SAP NetWeaver is the backbone of the 100,000 or so SAP installs scattered throughout the world. However, using outdated versions of NetWeaver has the potential to compromise both network security and data. The current version of SAP NetWeaver 7.5, offers a lot of innovative tools and advancements compared to older versions. Things like IoT device connectivity, cloud computing and processing, analytics and support for a complete move onto the cloud through SAP S/4 HANA are included in this release. In order to bring companies up to date with current development standards, support has ended for 7.0x systems and SAP NetWeaver 2004. Versions 7.5x are expected to be supported until 2024 by SAP, delivering constant upgrades and improvements to the software suite as time goes along.
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