Click here to close now.

Welcome!

SAP HANA Cloud Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Plutora Blog

Related Topics: SAP HANA Cloud, @MicroservicesE Blog

SAP HANA Cloud: Article

Web Services Strategy - SAP Platform

It's not your father's SAP

Packaged business applications have dominated enterprise IT landscapes for over a decade. Now these products are undergoing major changes to segway into the world of Web Services. SAP has been one of the most aggressive companies in embracing this revolution. Its NetWeaver platform is an ambitious suite of integration technologies designed to morph SAP into enterprise SOAs. SAP unveiled a four-year roadmap for NetWeaver in 2003. This article looks at the platform at its halfway point as well as SAP's vision for creating a Web Services-based agile business process infrastructure.

What Is NetWeaver?

NetWeaver is really a brand that encompasses a suite of tools just like WebSphere, WebLogic, and .NET are umbrellas for a family of products within a platform. Some of these products are relatively new, while others are proven solutions that have been widely deployed. What is significant is the way SAP is bringing these products together in support of a common vision for service-oriented computing. This has led to a unified roadmap, better compatibility, and shared release cycles for the entire suite.

All of the usual suspects can be found inside of NetWeaver. First is an application server that SAP calls the Web Application Server or WAS. What's unique about WAS is that it contains both a fully compliant J2EE engine and SAP's ABAP engine, which serves as the technical foundation for most SAP products. In fact one might argue that SAP figured out the application server concept long before Java. And much of the proven high-availability, security, and fault-tolerant technology built for the ABAP environment has been extended to the Java engine. WAS also contains rich support for exposing both Java and ABAP-based applications as Web Services as well as consuming external Web Services.

The next component is an integration broker and business process management (BPM) tool called Exchange Infrastructure or XI for short. XI offers the same modeling, design repository, and execution environments you'd expect from any EAI tool. Besides traditional adapter models it was designed with XML-, SOAP-, and Web Service-based integrations in mind. The BPM part of XI offers a fully complaint BPEL orchestration modeler and execution engine. Table 1 provides a more complete view of how XI supports Web Services standards.

SAP will soon begin to ship significant amounts of pre-built integration content modeled in XI along with its business applications. What's unique about XI is the way SAP is trying to bridge the gap between coarse-grained business process definitions that users understand and the much finer-grained orchestration execution models that exist today in BPEL semantics. SAP is partnering closely with IDS Scheer, a leading business process automation firm, in this endeavor. Closing that gap is a prerequisite to realizing the promise of agile business-driven computing.

The third major component of NetWeaver is a portal server that SAP calls Enterprise Portal. As with any portal server Enterprise Portal acts as an integrated user interface across many applications. It offers role- and user-based personalization, single sign-on APIs, a portlet model called iViews, XML/XSLT data transformation support, and so on. Enterprise Portal also includes tools for easily exposing portal services as Web Services.

NetWeaver contains many other products including workflow and collaboration tools, a private UDDI registry, a business intelligence suite called Business Warehouse, a Mobile Infrastructure Engine for accessing SAP from portable devices, and Master Data Management for synchronizing and harmonizing data. Accompanying these products is a set of modeling, development, deployment, and monitoring tools, some of which will be discussed in more detail below.

In short NetWeaver is a technology platform with many of the features you would expect from any application development and integration middleware stack. In addition, Web Services are becoming a pervasive part of this platform. NetWeaver will be part of every SAP system landscape in the future because it's part of the upgrade path. Enterprise Portal will become the ubiquitous user interface across the company's business suite. XI will be the out-of-the-box way to integrate SAP with other applications. Most importantly, SAP customers will soon see a flood of new Web Services options unleashed on their organizations.

NetWeaver Is About Business Processes

At first glance it looks like SAP is going head-to-head with IBM or BEA in application middleware. While there's a lot of feature overlap between these platforms that's not the intent. SAP is first and foremost a business applications company. NetWeaver is designed to morph SAP's business applications into the SOA world. The reason is simple. It's inevitable that process logic will be liberated from individual applications.

Let's reinforce the point. What it means is that the promise of Web Services, loosely coupled architectures, and digitized business process management is about to enter a new age. Companies like SAP that have been built on monolithic products with proprietary interfaces and high switching costs have surrendered to this eventuality. By embracing the SOA paradigm companies like SAP will actually accelerate the adoption curve.

SAP's vision for service-oriented, process-driven computing is called the Enterprise Services Architecture (ESA). It is key to understanding how all the NetWeaver pieces come together. SAP defines ESA as "Service Oriented Architecture principles and Web Services technology applied to the world of enterprise business applications." It means that value comes from fusing business applications with an enabling technology platform. ESA enables:

  • Role-based UIs built on Enterprise Services
  • Process automation in and across organizational boundaries built on Enterprise Services
  • Decoupling process and integration logic

Implied in these definitions is the notion of an Enterprise Service with three characteristics. First, it's a business-level service, which means that it's fairly coarse grained and delivers value at a functional level. Second, it's a service so it can be discovered, described, and invoked like any other Web Service. Finally, it's enterprise-class implying high levels of scalability, security, manageability, and other non-functional concerns.

As with any SOA model these Enterprise Services become the focal point for a layered architecture. They're built on a foundation of application and technology services that act as building blocks. Enterprise Services can then be woven together through composition techniques into applications that support cross-functional business processes. SAP has developed a commercialization strategy for these composite applications under the name xApps. xApps are business solutions that cut across multiple SAP and non-SAP applications using SOA integration patterns. SAP and its certified partners offer these composite applications as products you can buy. Examples include everything from pricing analytics to streamlined international trade management to optimizing exploration and production for oil companies. What's significant is they are concrete business-level solutions being built, sold, and deployed under a services composition model.

Making NetWeaver Work

So far we've described SAP's vision for service-oriented, process-driven computing called the Enterprise Services Architecture. We've also shown that SAP has a technology platform and suite of tools that lets us build and deploy composite applications. The next question is what lets us bring all of this together to make things happen? The following outlines a very basic evolutionary approach for leveraging the power of NetWeaver to build service-oriented applications and automate business processes.

More Stories By Scott Campbell

Scott Campbell is president of MomentumSI, a professional services firm specializing in platform-ready, service-oriented enterprise architecture and business process management solutions. Prior to joining Momentum in 1998, Scott helped open the Houston office for DiaLogos, Inc., and he previously held various positions in product marketing and IT at 3M.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Satish 08/03/05 08:24:16 AM EDT

An excellent article at the overview level. Very neat, crisp and simple! Thanks!

@ThingsExpo Stories
ThingsExpo New York is offering a limited time FREE "Expo Plus" registration option in New York. On site registration price of $1,95 will be set to 'free' for delegates who register during special offer. To take advantage of this opportunity, attendees can use the coupon code, and secure their registration to attend all keynotes, ThingsExpo sessions, expo floor, and SYS-CON.tv power panels. Special FREE registration givess access to all DevOps, Containers and Microservices sessions as well. Registration page is located at the ThingsExpo site.
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
The only place to be Nov 3-5 is Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo | DevOps Summit 2015 West at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT, Big Data and DevOps companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Whether...
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...
Health care systems across the globe are under enormous strain, as facilities reach capacity and costs continue to rise. M2M and the Internet of Things have the potential to transform the industry through connected health solutions that can make care more efficient while reducing costs. In fact, Vodafone's annual M2M Barometer Report forecasts M2M applications rising to 57 percent in health care and life sciences by 2016. Lively is one of Vodafone's health care partners, whose solutions enable older adults to live independent lives while staying connected to loved ones. M2M will continue to gr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "First Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. The “Second Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place November 3-5, 2015, at Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
The basic integration architecture, as defined by ESBs, hasn’t changed for more than a decade. Most cloud integration providers still rely on an ESB architecture and their proprietary connectors. As a result, enterprise integration projects suffer from constraints of availability and reliability of these connectors that are not re-usable across other integration vendors. However, the rapid adoption of APIs and almost ubiquitous availability of APIs amongst most SaaS and Cloud applications are rapidly redefining traditional integration approaches and their reliance on proprietary connectors. ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BMC delivers software solutions that help IT transform digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive business advantage. BMC has worked with thousands of leading companies to create and deliver powerful IT management services. From mainframe to cloud to mobile, BMC pairs high-speed digital innovation with robust IT industrialization – allowing customers to provide amazing user experiences with optimized IT per...
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it!
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "First Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. The “Second Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place November 3-5, 2015, at Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
“Connect2Me is basically a game changer in the IoT industry. We have created IoT connecter middleware that can enable a connection to any kind of device," explained Yasser Khan, CTO of Connect2Me, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo New York is offering a limited time FREE "Expo Plus" registration option in New York. On site registration price of $1,95 will be set to 'free' for delegates who register during special offer. To take advantage of this opportunity, attendees can use the coupon code, and secure their registration to attend all keynotes, @DevOpsSummit sessions at Cloud Expo, expo floor, and SYS-CON.tv power panels. Special FREE registration givess access to all Containers and Microservices sessions. Registration page is located at the DevOps Summit site. Your DevOps Summit registratio...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MediaTek Labs will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MediaTek Labs is a global ecosystem initiative supporting Wearables and Internet of Things device creation, application development, and services based around MediaTek chipset offerings. Developers can use the MediaTek LinkIt™ ONE development platform and the LinkIt ONE HDK to easily access the features and functions of the MediaTek MT2502 System on a Chip (SoC), with the goal of creating the next generation of MediaTek p...
Imagine a world where targeting, attribution, and analytics are just as intrinsic to the physical world as they currently are to display advertising. Advances in technologies and changes in consumer behavior have opened the door to a whole new category of personalized marketing experience based on direct interactions with products. The products themselves now have a voice. What will they say? Who will control it? And what does it take for brands to win in this new world? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zack Bennett, Vice President of Customer Success at EVRYTHNG, will answer these questions a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that O'Reilly Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participa...
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.