Important Information for those Customers still using Windows 2003 – April 2015

 

Any customer that is still running Windows 2003 should read this blog and immediately start planning to upgrade to modern Windows Server releases.

SAP has released SAP Note 2135423 – Support of SAP Products on Windows Server 2003 after 14-Jul-2015

 

It is now more than 13 years since Windows 2003 development was started.  Windows 2003 is now completely obsolete and has significant supportability, performance and reliability limitations compared to modern Windows Server releases.  Windows 2003 is also unable to support modern hardware features that have evolved over the last 13 years such as offload devices on network cards and servers with many threads and a large amount of RAM. 

 

In summary those customers that have not already done so should immediately upgrade to modern Windows Server releases.  Windows 2003 is now at its end of life and more modern Windows releases offer better performance, support and value. 

 

1.        What does this announcement mean?

Windows 2003 extended support will finish on 14th July 2015.  After this date it is neither possible nor practical for SAP to support Windows 2003 in the same manner.  SAP will not purchase a custom support agreement for Windows 2003.  The supportability of SAP applications on Windows 2003 will continue on best efforts basis, however SAP’s own internal IT department are already phasing out Windows 2003. 

SAP Support and Development Support staff will no longer have Windows 2003 test systems and SAP software (such as kernels) will no longer be tested on Windows 2003.

 

2.        Why is this being announced now?

Both Microsoft and SAP have been encouraging customers to upgrade to modern Windows Server versions such as Windows Server 2012 R2 for many years.  The overwhelming majority of SAP customers have already done so.  There are now only a small minority of customers running Windows 2003. 

Microsoft has communicated the support cycle for Windows 2003 and for all other Microsoft products via the Microsoft Support Lifecycle website http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/products/windows-server-2003/

 

3.        How to Upgrade to a modern Windows Server Release?

The recommended procedure to upgrade the OS is to perform a SAP Homogeneous System Copy. 

The SAP System Copy documentation can be found here: http://service.sap.com/sltoolset

 

Typical downtimes for a Homogenous System Copy procedure on a SQL Server system is 1-3 hours, though can be much less if required. 

 

In the example below we take an example of a ECC 6.0 EHP4 running on Windows 2003 x64 bit and SQL Server 2005 SP4:

1.      Perform a Check Database on the original Windows + SQL Server System – ensure the database is clean

2.      Ensure there is free space in all datafiles (datafiles should all be the same size)

3.      Check SAP_BASIS support pack levels are high enough for SQL Server 2014 (or 2012, do not install new SQL 2008 R2 systems).  For non-BW systems just the SAP_BASIS patches may be applied.  For BW the entire SAP Support Pack Stack must be applied. 

4.      Purchase modern 2 socket commodity Intel servers based on Intel E5v3 processor, 384GB RAM or more and 10G network cards (see Note 1612283 – Hardware Configuration Standards and Guidance)

5.      Install Windows 2012 R2 + all available Roll Up patches

6.      Remove Internet Explorer and other unused software as per Note 2055981 – Removing Internet Explorer & Remotely Managing Windows Servers

7.      Install SQL Server 2014 and apply the latest SQL Server Service Pack and Cumulative update 

8.      Copy the SAP database from the old database server to the new database server:

a.      If the database is small, simply do a backup and restore or do an detach/attach

b.      If the database is large, consider setting up log shipping from the old server to the new server.  The attachment to this note has detailed instructions on how to setup log shipping or do detach/attach

9.      Run SWPM and choose System Copy -> Target System

10.   Perform Post-processing as per the SAP System Copy Guide

11.   Update the SAP Kernel to the latest available

 

 

4.        What are the benefits of modern Windows Releases?

There have been 4 major releases of Windows Server operating system since Windows 2003:

Windows 2003 – End of life 14th July 2015

Windows 2008 – End of mainstream support 13th January 2015

Windows 2008 R2 – End of mainstream support 13th January 2015

Windows 2012 – End of mainstream support 9th January 2018

Windows 2012 R2 – End of mainstream support 9th January 2018 – Extended Maint. 10th January 2023

Windows Server 10 – in testing and evaluation with SAP

 

Performance, Reliability and Security capabilities are greatly enhanced on modern Windows Server releases.  A list of these can be found here. 

Today some of the largest SAP systems in the world run on Windows Server OS and the performance, reliability and patching/security cycle is as good or better than proprietary high cost UNIX platforms. 

 

5.        What to do if a Customer cannot Upgrade to a modern Windows Release?

Customers that are running SAP 4.6C, ECC 5.0 or other Kernel 6.40 based systems can only run on Windows Server 2003.  It is recommended to upgrade these old and out of support SAP applications to modern releases. 

 

6.        Who Perform Operating System and/or Database Upgrades & Estimate the Effort?

There are many qualified and skilled partners who can assist customers.  Please contact your Microsoft Account Team for a list of partners

 

Links

SAP Notes

Note 2135423 – Support of SAP Products on Windows Server 2003 after 14-Jul-2015

Note 1612283 – Hardware Configuration Standards and Guidance

Note 2055981 – Removing Internet Explorer & Remotely Managing Windows Servers

Note 1966681 – Release planning for Microsoft SQL Server 2014

Note 1101017 – Log shipping on SQL Server 2005

Note 151603 – Copying an SQL Server database

Service Packs

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/sqlreleaseservices/

Gartner Magic Quadrant for SQL Server

http://www.gartner.com/technology/reprints.do?id=1-237UHKQ&ct=141016&st=sb

Win2012 R2 Hyper-V + SQL Server 2014 Free Trial Software

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-windows-server-2012-r2

Windows Server 2012 R2 Features

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/products/windows-server-2012-r2/Features.aspx

Windows Server 2012 R2 Rollups

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/22084.list-of-windows-server-2012r2-monthly-rollups.aspx

Free Azure Trial Subscription

http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/free-trial/