End of life program for SAP systems
Typically End of life period for hardware will be 5 years and software will be 2 yrs (It may differ vendor to vendor and depends on organization policy). SAP EOL policy is different from other softwares. It spans 3 or more years for software and extend the support for hardware in coordination with hardware partenrs. SAP policy for End of Patch, End of Maintenance, and End of life (support) is available and it is well monitored with solution manager maintenance tool. For example EOL for SAP BusinessObjects XI 3.1: December 31, 2015 this is the date that patch support will end. It is scheduled to reach End of Priority-One Support on December 31, 2017. For End of Life - Support (Product) cases customers should explore the migration options with their SAP Sales Account Executives.
SAP has its own discover tools (SolMan maintenance agents) for tracking the EOL of SAP software. HP Opsware agents shall be one of the tools for capturing the software asset data. Based on the discover tools data , the hard ware and software can be upgraded or replaced for better performance and to avoid sudden blackouts.
SAP certifify the hardware in collaboration with hardware vendors (IBM,HP,VMware etc.,) and separate excellence centers exist in Germany to ensure that the SAP certified hardware platform is stable and scalable when implementing SAP solutions. An SAP-certified hardware platform is subsequently supported for all SAP releases that are available for the Linux or Windows on an Intel/AMD platform combination, including all SAP approved databases.
The current trend is virtulization of non-production SAP systems and some of production SAP systems too. SAP software is being virtualized for the benefit of toal cost of ownership. Hypervisor version must be same for all virtual systems. So virtual servers' upgrades are mandatory and these are vendor driven.
In a typical End Of Life SAP program occurs when implementing a new SAP product. It mandidates the legacy software upgrade for the smooth integration. So the legacy SAP software will be supported by the new software initially and will set a deadline for its migration/upgrade. It is a challenge to prepare preliminary estimates and getting budget approvals as EOL projects are secondary. The EOL program can be combined with main upgrade project and plan for retiring the same after hypercare phase will help a lot. The bolt on systems integration and functional testing along with main upgrade program will be simple and smooth. BOL and EOL shall be back to back.