Click here to close now.

Welcome!

SAP HANA Cloud Authors: Liz McMillan, Jayaram Krishnaswamy, Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski

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
SYS-CON Events announced today that Secure Infrastructure & Services will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Secure Infrastructure & Services (SIAS) is a managed services provider of cloud computing solutions for the IBM Power Systems market. The company helps mid-market firms built on IBM hardware platforms to deploy new levels of reliable and cost-effective computing and high availability solutions, leveraging the cloud and the benefits of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS...
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society-changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jason Mondanaro, Director, Product Management at Metanga, discussed how you can plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the world and it starts with business models and monetization strategies.
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context wi...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of robomq.io, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at robomq.io, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at the same time reduce Time to Market (TTM) by using plug and play capabilities offered by a robust IoT ...
"We have a tagline - "Power in the API Economy." What that means is everything that is built in applications and connected applications is done through APIs," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at Akana, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Internet of Things is moving from being a hype to a reality. Experts estimate that internet connected cars will grow to 152 million, while over 100 million internet connected wireless light bulbs and lamps will be operational by 2020. These and many other intriguing statistics highlight the importance of Internet powered devices and how market penetration is going to multiply many times over in the next few years.
To many people, IoT is a buzzword whose value is not understood. Many people think IoT is all about wearables and home automation. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed some incredible game-changing use cases and how they are transforming industries like agriculture, manufacturing, health care, and smart cities. He will discuss cool technologies like smart dust, robotics, smart labels, and much more. Prepare to be blown away with a glimpse of the future.
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...
There will be 150 billion connected devices by 2020. New digital businesses have already disrupted value chains across every industry. APIs are at the center of the digital business. You need to understand what assets you have that can be exposed digitally, what their digital value chain is, and how to create an effective business model around that value chain to compete in this economy. No enterprise can be complacent and not engage in the digital economy. Learn how to be the disruptor and not the disruptee.
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will addresses this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Business as usual for IT is evolving into a "Make or Buy" decision on a service-by-service conversation with input from the LOBs. How does your organization move forward with cloud? In his general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Paul Maravei, Regional Sales Manager, Hybrid Cloud and Managed Services at Cisco, discusses how Cisco and its partners offer a market-leading portfolio and ecosystem of cloud infrastructure and application services that allow you to uniquely and securely combine cloud business applications and services across multiple cloud delivery models.
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you'll have no problem fillin...
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! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...
Converging digital disruptions is creating a major sea change - Cisco calls this the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is the network connection of People, Process, Data and Things, fueled by Cloud, Mobile, Social, Analytics and Security, and it represents a $19Trillion value-at-stake over the next 10 years. In her keynote at @ThingsExpo, Manjula Talreja, VP of Cisco Consulting Services, discussed IoE and the enormous opportunities it provides to public and private firms alike. She will share what businesses must do to thrive in the IoE economy, citing examples from several industry sectors.
In his keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Rodney Rogers, CEO of Virtustream, discussed the evolution of the company from inception to its recent acquisition by EMC – including personal insights, lessons learned (and some WTF moments) along the way. Learn how Virtustream’s unique approach of combining the economics and elasticity of the consumer cloud model with proper performance, application automation and security into a platform became a breakout success with enterprise customers and a natural fit for the EMC Federation.