The next step in the transition to Unicode at SAP is just around the corner – actually sneaking in with the New Year while we are partying. So what delights does 2007 bring us?
This next step on the road to Unicode is probably an obvious one for those observant globalization readers of SDN and the SAP Service Marketplace but this now puts a definitive stake in the ground in regard to what and when. Before we go into details, it might help to know a little background about the SAP globalization solutions for supporting representation of multiple language character combinations:
1. Every SAP Customer was sent a letter in April 2006 notifying them of this change. It is a possibility that this letter did not reach the system administrators/landscape architects in your company - it is probably sitting on the desk of someone who signed the SAP contract and is still wondering what Unicode and bits are but afraid to ask anyone. Yes, this the same person who gets the regular shipments of service release CDs, all requested SAP Applications CD shipments, and is invariably always on holiday when you desperately need to get that CD for the installation. But I digress; you can find a copy of the letter at this link: Customer letter
Please note that there is also information in the customer letter about the de-support of 32 bit for new SAP installations! My colleague Matt Kangas has an informative and entertaining weblog on that topic… you can access this Will You Still Love Me When I'm 64?. 64 bit processing is a real asset for delivering Unicode solutions.
2. This change only really effects NEW installations of SAP NetWeaver and SAP applications based on SAP NetWeaver that were previously available with non-Unicode installation options (e.g. mySAP xxx business suite applications, SAP xApps, and the BI and (ABAP) AS capabilities of SAP NetWeaver). Remember only the ABAP stack supported single code pages in the past - J2EE is only Unicode.
3. Existing installations of SAP NetWeaver and SAP applications based on SAP NetWeaver that were based on single code pages can be upgraded to the new releases WITHOUT having to convert to Unicode. This is really cool as it protects your existing investments and you can live in the non Unicode world for a little longer. Please do remember that MDMP will not be an option for mySAP ERP customers… this solution was de-supported as of the mySAP ERP 2005 release!
4. For those administrators worried about processes that require some of the installation tools (i.e. those much loved system copies that you are asked to do much too often!), SAP will still deliver tools to enable you to do this for single code page based system. I guess some administrators would prefer that we did not make the tools available. That way they could tell the business users to tidy up their own data and not rely on system copies to provide refreshes for them! :-)
5. For clarification - Unicode does not simultaneously translate from one spoken language to another (You’d be surprising how often this is asked!).
Another additional clarification - contrary to some popular beliefs Unicode is not the name of a small, yellow, leechlike fish that is probably the oddest thing in the Universe. That is another globalization solution from far away in future whose species was hijacked by a translation tool (I hope Mr. Adam’s estate is getting royalties!). Just in case there was some confusion or misplaced beliefs in this area, check out this Link for more information on the other globalization solution for your amusement.
6. Customers can convert to Unicode now assuming that they are on the minimum supported Unicode releases and do not have to wait for the delivery of all new releases of SAP NetWeaver and SAP applications based on SAP NetWeaver after 2007. SAP strongly recommends that customer's consider Unicode conversions in the short term as a per-active step and to potentially reduce the need for further resources and monetary costs further down the road as you systems grow.
So there you have it, a whirlwind tour of the upcoming changes for SAP NetWeaver and applications built on SAP NetWeaver from the end of 2006 onward.
“Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws.” … So I hope the weblog was somewhat informative and good, otherwise you may have read it before I finished it…
All the best,
We at SAP have had a lot of questions concerning the ongoing support of 'Multi Display, Multi Processing' (MDMP) for our future mySAP ERP releases. Hopefully I can clarify this question and provide you with information that enables you to plan your future mySAP ERP rollout and requirements for multiple languages.
MDMP was the solution SAP developed for support of combinations of multiple code pages in one system prior to the availability of unicode database support. MDMP effectively enabled an SAP ERP system to be installed with a non-unicode database, and to support connections to the ERP application by users with language combinations not supported by a single code page.Example: support of one ERP system with English, French, Japanese, and Chinese.
MDMP implementations implemented strict rules and restrictions(*) in order to ensure data consistency and avoid data corruption.
MDMP was only supported for SAP R/3, SAP R/3 Enterprise, and mySAP ERP applications. No other SAP applications or SAP NetWeaver components support MDMP.Future of MDMP:
MDMP was a short term solution delivered to customers until unicode was released for SAP ERP applications. Once unicode was released, MDMP was not recommended to customers. Therefore SAP strongly recommends utilizing unicode versions of SAP ERP for multi-language solutions that require multiple codepages.Note: Unicode is supported from SAP R/3 Enterprise onwards
For those ERP customers already running MDMP, SAP has clarified the ongoing support of MDMP in a letter to customers:
MDMP will no longer be fully supported from mySAP ERP 2005 onwards:
From mySAP ERP 2005 onwards SAP can only warrant for consistent data in installations with mixed languages (more than one code page) if the whole system is based on Unicode.
In cases where customers want to use MDMP from mySAP ERP 2005 onwards, SAP strongly recommends to involve an experienced SAP consultant, but SAP disclaims all responsibility for
Any damages or losses of (productive) data and Interruption of or restrictions for scenarios in mixed environments (E.g. Unicode <-> MDMP - systems)
Unless such damages are attributable to SAP’s willful misconduct or gross negligence.
Conversion from MDMP to Unicode:
SAP provides migration tools and services to support the conversion of non-unicode and MDMP systems to unicode. For more information please consult the unicode home page on the SAP Service Marketplace.Further information:
For more information please consult the following info sources:
SAP Unicode home page: http://service.sap.com/unicode
>SAP note: 741821
*- Since the potential risks are extremely complex depending on a given scenario, interfaces and data exchange, a general list covering ALL potential possibilities of data corruption is not feasible to cover.
SAP has announced that as of 2007, there will no longer be shipments of non-unicode installation kits for new releases of applications that run on SAP NetWeaver or SAP NetWeaver itself. More information can be found in this Single code page SAP systems heading towards history - Unicode Only Future! (Single code page SAP systems heading towards history - Unicode Only Future!)
I hope you find this useful
All the best,