In February 2002 version 1.4 of the Java Development Kit was introduced. A couple of years later NetWeaver in it's early versions was delivered with this version of Java. And soon after NetWeaver 7.0 became the stable version that ever since only was updated by small Enhancement Packages.
And just a couple of weeks ago SAP announced that standard support for SAP Business Suite, and this includes SAP NetWeaver technology platform, will be continued until 2017.
At the same time everybody technical enough knows that support for the Java JDK never was intended to last this long for a sinlge version. Producers of Java Virtual Machines who are in general the platform providers where this runs (with a famous exception), rather like to update early, of course.
Because of some specific platform details it was not possible to exchange the Java version 1.4.2 that was included with NetWeaver and mostly runs under Enterprise portal and SAP BI installations or Web Dynpro applications. Of course, it is always possible to talk to vendors and convince them to continue support over the announced support date. Also of course it is a matter of convincing arguments, which in our society usually means money involved...
With the future perspective of supporting future versions of Java also on a much longer life cycle than this is intended by other vendors and the forseeable cost, together with the not so sudden discovery that SAP has a manufacturing of virtual machines in house since about twenty years already,it was an easy decision to conclude that future versions should be produced at SAP. The SAP JVM was born.
Since, the SAP JVM for Java 5 and Java 6 run in the newer versions of SAP NetWeaver. However, the Java 1.4.2 for NetWeaver 7.0 remains and unfortunately it cannot be replaced easily. And support for the old 1.4.2 JVM now really runs out of fashion.
For this SAP developed SAP JVM 4, which is just a replacement of the old vendor JVMs. After extensive testing this version was released recently and should be installed by all customers not later than September 2012.
To some this might be an early warning, for SAP system planning this is just the right time to plan this into next years activities. Also be aware of the SAP JVM Switch Tool that supports the exchange to your convenience.