The SAP Kernel is a crucial aspect of your SAP system. It is like the JVM to Java and contains a set of native OS binaries that is started and run on a specific operating system (OS). The central program requires that an SAP Kernel upgrade is done frequently so that your system runs smoothly and at its best. Here is more you should know about upgrading your SAP Kernel.

How to Check Your Kernel Version

Assess the Version

This is quite easy as all you need to do is check your user manual for the configuration of your SAP system, which would have also listed out the kernel versions in place. You can go ahead and use transaction code SM30 (Display or change system parameters) to determine your kernel version.

Check the Available Upgrade Packages

Assessing the availability is even simpler and only requires some research on the internet. Just look up SAP Note 1250290 to get details of all the upgrade packages available for your SAP Kernel version. The next time you plan to upgrade, you already have the information with you and can start preparing quickly.

Top Reasons You Should Upgrade Your SAP Kernel

For Better SAP Service Level Maintenance (SLM)

Since the SAP Kernel is a crucial part of your system, you may experience performance issues when it gets outdated. To solve this problem, there is something called SAP Service Level Maintenance (SLM) which allows updates and fixes to be applied on the current kernel within weeks of their official release by SAP. As you go about it, make sure to run an up-to-date Kernel version.

To Facilitate Bug Fixes and Other Security Updates

Bug fixes are another part of SLM, where bugs get fixed when reported by customers. Other security updates released by SAP also keep your system secure from potential attackers or any other malicious threats. The latest security updates have to be applied immediately.

To Improve Performance and Response Times of Your SAP Applications

Another advantage is that it will improve the performance and response times of your SAP applications, which means a better user experience for all users involved. This can also help ease up the load on your servers, resulting in overall performance boosts.

To Avoid SAP Security Vulnerabilities

An excellent example of this could be a handful of security issues discovered and patched previously in HANA systems. If these vulnerabilities were not applied, it presented a considerable risk to the businesses using the applications.

To Stay Updated with the SAP Kernel Fixes

The SAP Kernel team indeed releases security updates regularly as part of SLM. However, there are other fixes to issues that customers have reported in case any bug gets out of hand. With each Kernel version, you will experience improvements over the previous one, so it’s always recommended to keep up with the latest update.

To Get Fixes for SAP SD and BW Systems

If you have installed systems like SAP ERP, then there is another reason how upgrading your Kernel may help improve performance. The SAP ERP kernel fixes are only applicable if you use SAP GUI and SAP NetWeaver Client Connectivity. These updates are only available if you have upgraded your kernel so that you can see the benefits.

To Help You Plan for Upcoming Releases of SAP Systems

When you upgrade your kernel version, staying updated with the latest developments and enhancements is crucial. It enables the kernel to be better prepared and plan for upcoming changes and improvements that may affect your system.

How to Perform SAP Kernel Upgrade

Perform a Cluster Check

Before you begin the actual upgrade process, ensure that your system is in healthy condition. First, do a cluster check so that you can identify whether there are any issues with the nodes or components of your SAP.

Start the Upgrade Process

The actual upgrade process is initiated in a cluster environment, where all of your nodes or servers are working together and sharing workloads. Depending on your version of SAP, you can activate the kernel upgrade from different menus.

Wait for Initialisation

Once these settings are in place, wait for the progress bar to fill up with green, and then you are ready for the next step.

Verify Changes, Errors and Outputs

The kernel upgrade process has been completed when your screen is back to normal with no output or error message in red font. If there is an error, then that needs to be resolved first before proceeding further.

Take Actions on Error Messages

If you get an error message which says “Kernel Upgrade failed”, then that means there is something wrong somewhere, be it a configuration, master data or specific system catalogues.

Verify All Components

After you have resolved all the errors, make sure that all SAP components have been upgraded or not. When you initially initiate the kernel upgrade process, it looks for all components that need to be upgraded and locks them after the verification process is done.

Perform a Cluster Check Again

Since you have just done a Kernel upgrade, it is imperative to perform a cluster check again after the upgrade has been completed. This will ensure that your SAP environment is in order and everything is working fine.

Restart the Nodes

Once you have confirmed that everything looks good, proceed with restarting all the nodes of your SAP system one by one from the “Master Control Program” (MCP). You can restart a node by going to “SAP GUI”, → “Administration”, → “System Management”, and clicking on the System Restart button.

SAP Kernel Wrap Up

If you have been hesitant to upgrade your SAP kernel because it sounds like a nerve-wracking and challenging process, we want you to know that upgrading is not as hard as it may seem. Simply follow our procedure, and you will be able to upgrade your SAP kernel systems with ease.