Overview of Unicode
As Internet and intranet systems have evolved, various code pages have enabled national characters to be displayed, but collaboration on the Web has led to a huge number of language-specific, platform-dependent code pages that must all comply with each other. This compliance is only possible through Unicode - a widespread, accepted international standard that supports virtually all of the world's scripts. Implementing the Unicode standard enables a single software product or a single web site to be accessed across multiple platforms, languages, and countries without the need for re-engineering. It allows data to be transferred across many different SAP and non-SAP systems without corruption. To meet these requirements, the SAP Unicode team provides tools and full technical support for the smooth conversion of existing SAP non-Unicode systems to Unicode.
Unicode Conversion Procedures
There are different ways to convert an existing SAP system to Unicode; mainly depending on the code page configuration of the non-Unicode system. But also release, possibly planned upgrades, and other factors matter. The following sections deal with the two most popular procedures. The first one is the 'normal' Unicode Conversion without release change, the second one is the Unicode Conversion in combination with an upgrade. In any case, the conversion of the non-Unicode database must always be done as part of a System Copy and Migration.
Converting a non-Unicode SAP system to Unicode should be thoroughly planned and prepared. There are a couple of steps that can be done months before the actual 'preparation' of the non-Unicode system, others are part of the preparation and some need to be performed after the conversion in the Unicode system. To get a high-level picture, please read the Unicode Conversion Overview Guide.
When you have decided about the most suitable procedure, you need to download and peruse the applicable Conversion Guide. Each version of the Unicode Conversion Guide lists the required and the recommended steps in chronological order, and refers to additional documentation.
You can download the Unicode Conversion Guides from several SAP Notes. Which guide you should actually use depends on whether your system has an MDMP configuration or a Single Code Page configuration and on the release/support package combination. There is also a SAP Note which provides the Combined Upgrade & Unicode Conversion Guides. This procedure is described in the following section. You can access the SAP Notes from the right page section.
Combined Upgrade & Unicode Conversion (CU&UC)
When you are upgrading your system to SAP NetWeaver 7.0 (including all EhP) and your system is non-Unicode, you will be asked by the upgrade tools whether you want to convert to Unicode or not. In case you have an MDMP configuration, you must convert to Unicode because NW 7.0 and higher (including all EhP) does not support MDMP.
In short: You can perform Upgrade and Unicode Conversion as one single project. This procedure is support for source release R/3 4.6C, Web AS 6.20, NW 2004. The target release MUST BE NW 7.0 or higher. It is not possible to execute CU&UC to Web AS 6.20, for example. For details, please read SAP Note 928729 and pay special attention to the CU&UC Guides attached to this Note. In the right page section you can also take a look at the eClass and the separate CU&UC presentation.
Get detailed information on unicode.org about the current status of the Unicode Standard on the homepage of the Unicode Consortium.