Portal to Connect to Non-Unicode SAP Backend
I have what should be a simple question, yet SAP Notes provides conflicting answers. I am about to install an EP 7.0 system (for DEV) and connect it to an ECC 6.0 backend (for ESS/MSS scenarios, among others). The ECC system will be upgraded from our current R/3E 4.7 system.
The question I have has to do with Unicode to Non-Unicode interoperability. I'm aware that the Portal, being a Java component, will be a Unicode installation (no other choice). Since our ERP system is an upgrade from an existing system which is Non-Unicode, we have no current plans to convert it to Unicode (we only support English and have no internationalization requirements). Now, I have seen Notes which imply that any ABAP system which must communicate with a Java system must be Unicode. But I've also seen other Notes which imply that in a Portal scenario this really only applies if the backend system is MDMP (which ours isn't; it's single code-page). So, I have conflicting information.
So, the question is, do I have to convert my backend SAP R/3 (ECC) system to Unicode in order for it to work with the Portal, or not? I have no other compelling business reason to do this, and a number of technical reasons (hardware requirements, for instance) not to.