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What is SAP ECC?

SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) is the previous generation of SAP’s enterprise resource planning software. ECC provides modules covering a full range of industry applications, including finance, logistics, HR, product planning and customer service, linked together into a single, customizable system run on a database of the user’s choice. SAP ECC was succeeded by SAP S/4HANA, SAP’s in-memory database.

Expert Insight — Curtis Gaska, Solution Architect

As a modular system, SAP ECC is designed so that businesses can use the pieces they need, configured in a way that makes sense for their landscape. SAP ECC can also work with third-party, or customized applications in a customized technology stack. That flexibility comes at the cost of complexity. All the parts of your landscape interact, which means a change to one part of your landscape can affect how other parts function. As a result, upgrades, Enhancement Packs and third-party products have to be carefully tested before they’re added to your landscape.

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SAP R/3 vs. ECC

SAP R/3 was a 3-tier ERP system released in the early 1990s. The lowest layer was the database layer, which consisted of the structures that store data, along with the data itself. Above that was the application layer, which consisted of one or (usually) more application servers running business applications (for finance, HR and so on), along with a message server to communicate between the application layers. The presentation layer was the layer users actually interacted with, using the SAP GUI — the user interface.

SAP R/3 was upgraded a number of times. With version 5.0, SAP changed the name to ECC. This was a major upgrade, but ECC is more like an evolution of R/3 than a completely different product.


SAP HANA and ECC are different types of things. ECC is an application suite that historically ran on a third-party database, while HANA is SAP’s own in-memory database. When ECC is run on HANA, it’s called Suite on HANAMoving to Suite on HANA provides substantial performance improvements, better reporting and other benefits for SAP users.


S/4HANA is the successor of ECC, but it’s not just an upgrade. SAP rebuilt its applications from the ground up to take advantage of the power and innovative design of HANA. SAP ECC users need to pass through Suite on HANA, and then undergo further transformations to reach S/4HANA. It’s worth the work. S/4 users get all the benefits of Suite, along with others, like flexible data modeling, real-time reporting, and numerous application-specific benefits.

The Future of SAP ECC

SAP is trying to phase out ECC and move everyone to S/4HANA. The company has announced they’ll discontinue support for SAP ECC after 2025. While that might seem far away, it’s sooner than it sounds. SAP HANA migration can be complex and time consuming, and you need to leave time to get it right. Contact us to learn how we can help.

Curtis Gaska - Solution Architect

Curtis Gaska is a solution architect on Symmetry's expert SA team, delivering complete SAP® technical solutions from upgrades to complex landscape implementations. Curtis pairs his sound SAP technical expertise with sales skills to knowledgably advise clients, and prospective clients of Symmetry’s services and product offerings throughout each stage of the sales cycle.

Curtis has a unique ability to deliver technical knowledge to create customs solutions per the client requirements, by not only taking the technical specifications into consideration but also the business drivers particular to that organization in turn creating an optimal SAP environment. This skilled approached includes scoping, planning, and execution of various projects including Migrations/Upgrades/Installs, Hosting and ongoing Managed Services. He also stays abreast of the latest technologies such as road mapping solutions for client’s to leverage SAP HANA® in their current environment to then be hosted in Symmetry’s state-of- the -art Datacenter.