Feeds

Unicode bloat blights SAP upgrades

Oracle throws the mob a body

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A relatively small change to the way SAP represented characters four years ago is threatening to complicate upgrades to the latest edition of its software.

SAP's implementation of Unicode - now widely adopted - has massively expanded the amount of data held in the databases underpinning many customers' SAP systems, increasing their size of systems.

And the increasing bulk and complexity is causing worries about system failures following in the wake of potential upgrades, according to a recently released survey by SAP partner Macro4.

Almost all - 90 per cent - of SAP's customers in the UK, France, and Spain are now facing upgrade challenges thanks to the increased size of their databases, the Micro4 poll of 135 customers said. Organizations are looking at longer upgrades and increased complexity - 73 and 60 per cent respectively.

There's a fear among 41 per cent that these big and complex systems could lead to system failures following an upgrade, with 39 per cent concerned about losing their data.

A large percentage of the data in question, 67 per cent, is not even important to day-to-day business operations, according to Macro4. It's static or historical information.

Macro4, which specializes in document management for SAP systems, said the problem effects customers moving to SAP 6.0 - which implements Unicode and was introduced in 2005 - and off of versions 4.6 and 4.7. Macro4 recommends archiving before upgrading.

Companies are only now facing up to the size of their databases because many are still running 4.6 or 4.7, which are due to be end-of-lifed by the end of December this year and in 2012 respectively. Typically, upgrades can take up to twelve months while new implementations of SAP take years to complete.

Macro4 SAP product specialist Markus Fehr told The Reg that Unicode requires four bytes of memory per character, leading to a growth in the size of an SAP database or SQL Server from Microsoft running an SAP system of between 30 and 60 per cent. He said SAP's rival Oracle had done a bit better in managing the increase in data growth when it adopted Unicode.

Oracle, meanwhile, has tossed out a minor pricing concession to keep its customers from turning on it in the way SAP's customers recently turned.

The giant Monday said it has waived the first year of extended support fees for Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i 10 until November 2011, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 8.11 until December 2010, Siebel CRM 7.8 until May 2011, and Oracle Database 10g R2 until July 2011. Oracle's extended support for PeopleSoft Enterprise 8.9 has been waved until June 2011.

Oracle offers three types of support: premium, which last five years and covers database, application and middleware maintenance and upgrades; extended, which adds another three years on to premium; and sustaining, which provides help through call centers and knowledge bases.

The company said in a statement the move would help customers reduce the total cost of ownership of their Oracle systems. It is unclear how many customers will be affected by the change, or how much they will save.

The change comes after SAP customers reacted against SAP's increase in support costs just as IT budgets were being cut. Long-running, European customers - particularly in Germany - have become concerned that SAP 's becoming more like Oracle by pushing up prices to make a profit. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.