A database upgrade entails changing the database version to a more recent major or minor release (for example, from 6.2.10 to 7.3 or from 7.5 to 7.6). These database upgrades often occur in connection with an upgrade of the SAP application software. For a database upgrade, SAP provides relevant software CDs or DVDs. You always use the SAP tools R3up (6.40 or lower) or SAPup to perform the database upgrade.
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A database patch entails changing the database version to a more recent Support Package or patch level, for example, from 7.6.01 to 7.6.03 or from 7.6.03.04 to 7.6.03.05. A change to a new database Support Package or new patch level in the OLTP, CS (content server), and BW environment is independent from a change to a more recent release of the relevant application software.
One exception is the database patch in the SAP liveCache environment. In this case, you must apply a patch only in combination with a patch of the SAP liveCache application routines.
Database patches are provided as complete SAP MaxDB software packages in the SWDC for download.
You use the SAP MaxDB tool SDBUPD to apply the database patches.
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