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      Picture the SAP Kernel as the heartbeat of the system, vitalizing the core programs upon which the fundamental functionality of SAP applications rely on. It's the life force pulsing through the application server, executable programs, database, and operating system, rather than merely encompassing them within itself.

      SAP Kernel upgrades refer to updating the system's current executables with upgraded versions. These upgrades are essential to patch security vulnerabilities and fix bugs.

      Besides bug fixing, SAP Kernel upgrades improve hardware compatibility, boost speed, and enhance stability. A significant upgrade also brings new features and functions to the SAP environment.

      Manual SAP Kernel upgrades are quite a hassle. Fortunately, the automation features of the Avantra platform can help. Here's how.

      Challenges of SAP Kernel upgrades

      It's a standard census among SAP consultants that SAP Kernel upgrades can be time consuming. This requires a lot from the Specialist, starting with having to download the relevant files and install the packages in their particular folders. They then must ensure server connections in order to restart their SAP system. While it appears as a straightforward task, incorrect kernels are often mistakenly put in wrong environments causing systems not to behave correctly. This can be extremely time consuming in large environments, especially with limited business approved downtime.

      While all this is happening, they also have to ensure that no one is using the SAP system and no jobs are running. They also have to set correct permissions to prevent errors. In short, there is plenty of room for human error.

      Additionally, SAP specialists have to repeat all these tasks across various landscapes and systems. That takes even more time and significantly increases the risk for error. If, due to a mistake, the system is not upgraded correctly, it won't start, requiring the specialists to start from Point A again. 

      How Avantra can help with SAP Kernel upgrades

      The $12.7 billion business process automation industry has made its way into the SAP space as well. The Avantra platform's Automated Kernel Upgrade feature, available to Avantra  automation and enterprise users, makes SAP Kernel Upgrades efficient and quick for clients.

      While the Avantra platform takes care of upgrade actions and checks, all you have to do is download the upgrade packages you want to apply and select which systems to update. The notable features of the platform's Automated Kernel upgrade are:

      • SAPCPE based upgrades: Avantra uses the SAPCPE program to copy files. It copies all selected directories, subdirectories, and files to a target directory.
      • Support for operating systems: The Avantra platform’s Automated Kernel upgrade supports Windows and Unix operating systems.
      • Rollback support: If the upgrade fails due to any reason, the automation features of the platform also include cleanup and rollback.
      • Complete package or components: You can choose if you want to upgrade the whole package or specific components.
      • Ultimate convenience: You can set the date and time for the upgrade. For instance, if you need to use the system during the daytime, set the upgrade for a night when there are no jobs running on the SAP system. 

      Benefits of using Avantra for SAP Kernel upgrades

      Zapier's 2021 State of Business Automation report found that 94% of knowledge workers in the US spend a significant part of their day doing repetitive tasks. The same report also noted that manual repetitive work led to 44% of employees in SMBs not feeling efficient.

      Automation helps prevent these problems by improving productivity and efficiency. With the Avantra platform’s Kernel upgrade automation, IT teams can focus on more pressing activities rather than spending hours, if not days, upgrading SAP systems across different landscapes.

      Automated upgrades also ensure all your systems are up to date at all times. You no longer have to worry about security loopholes and vulnerabilities since you'll be running the most updated version of the kernel.

      Since the Avantra platform’s Automated Kernel upgrade processes the package metadata automatically, there's no error in the package application to the system. In other words, it reduces the risk of human error and saves time otherwise spent on rectifying mistakes.

      By incorporating the Avantra platform into their SAP upgrades, organizations can focus on strategic initiatives without having to designate personnel, time, and resources to repetitive tasks. 

      How to use Avantra for SAP Kernel upgrades 

      First, you have to create the upgrade bundle using the information found here. Then, select which Kernel upgrade process you’d like to run.  This could be a ‘traditional’ kernel upgrade where there is SAP downtime, or a rolling kernel switch (RKS) where SAP remains up utilizing a high availability architecture. The program will direct you to the upgrade, whose progress you can follow in the User Interface of the Avantra platform. 

      Keep your SAP systems up to date with Avantra

      Upgrading SAP Kernel keeps your SAP systems safe from security risks, speed issues, and performance delays. The time consuming nature of manual upgrades makes the process complicated and tedious for SAP specialists.

      Avantra provides a time saving, efficient, error free, and seamless automation solution to assist SAP specialists in keeping their systems up to date, bug free, and secure.

      If you would like to learn more about how you can implement Avantra into your SAP systems, speak with one of our SAP experts today to see our automation in action.