2014 – Take-away from SAP Integration World!

29.12.2014

2014 – Take-away from SAP Integration World!

As I stated in my previous blog, SAP HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) is the successful way for simplified & innovative Business solutions. In SAP TechEd && d-code Berlin 2014 Keynote, Bernd Leukert, member of the Executive Board, SAP Products & Innovation, launched the S-Innovation rocket to drive the simplicity by standing on Hana cloud Platform. SAP CEO, Bill McDermott, has posted a Roadmap for Simple, Simple SAP.

 

If we look towards next year with best take-away from 2014, simplification, disruptive innovation via HCP should stand ahead. The essence of simplification & innovation in complex Business process possible only because of SAP’s seamless integration strategies which overcome all the boundaries of firewall, on-premises layers, cloud, Vendor systems etc. At end of 2014, I can see two main pillars of SAP integration, HANA Cloud Integration (HCI) and SAP PO (Process Orchestration). HCI, integration-as-service, provides integration across cloud and on-premises applications, one of the solid contenders to support PAAS (Platform-As-A-Service). SAP PO, software-as-service, gives stable & secure solution for complex business scenarios. SAP PO has strong history of XI 3.0 (eXchange Infrastructure)–PI 7.0, 7.1, 7.3 (Process Integration).

 

In my opinion, these middleware contenders may not be the best of the breed in generic integration world, but have strong footprints in SAP world. At same time, Gartner’s first ever Enterprise Integration Platform-as-a-service (iPAAS) Magic Quadrant positions SAP’s first release of HANA Cloud Integration Platform in the visionaries quadrant. (Overall SAP is in Leader Quadrant) Ref (Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Integration Platform as a Service, Massimo Pezzini, Yefim V. Natis, Paolo Malinverno, Kimihiko Iijima, Jess Thompson, Eric Thoo, January, 2014). Throughout the year 2014, SAP made this iPAAS available for customers and partners to focus on on-demand, on-premises to cloud integration scenarios. For New Year-2015, SAP has two strategic lines in integration; SAP PO (Process Orchestration) and HCI (Hana Cloud Integration) – on-premises Vs Cloud.

 

I believe, the below main 4 pillars of Integration framework would help us to clear some dark clouds over HCI & PO.

 

Process integration: One of the main pillar of Integration Framework who ensures the Seamless process integration in business processes. He is the backbone of successful business flow.

The undisputed champion, SAP PO provides seamless integration for A2A, B2B scenarios, mobile, Odata services and many more. It also provides BPM & BRF+ tools to orchestrate the complex Business process and establish flawless integration. In PO, the development of Integration content includes, Build à Configure integration flows in Eclipse IDE à Set landscape based configurations à Save iFlows as user-defined templates and then deploy. This way PO not only supports secure integration with on-premises systems/applications but also On-cloud applications.

The HCI is still new in the ring, although its favorable for real-time & batch process integration with pre-packaged content provided by SAP. SAP HCI provides a set of tools and applications that allows end-to-end design, build, deploy and publishing for the Business scenarios on finger tips. We simply need to browse through the ready-to-eat integration packets (flows), download the packet & value mapping, if required. Tune it as per the customer specific scenarios, redeploy and just start using the integrated processes in real-life. HCI has provided plug-ins for standard eclipse as well as UI5 based Integration Designer to easily enhance these pre-packaged contents as per the actual business needs.

 

Data Integration: Data integration strategy defines the back and forth data synchronization, transformation, quality processing against the required frequency & volume. This transition may need the travel path across the firewalls.

SAP PO has the capability to handle the transformation of large volume of data across the landscape. It also supports OData services using OData Adapter through PI Connectivity Add-on 1.0 SP01.

HCI ensures the free flow of information (even huge volume data) between diversified applications (cloud /on-premises) and overcomes the challenges of different semantics, structures, cleansing of dirty data, i.e. Extract – Transform –Load (ETL). Yes, SAP has provided “HCI for data service (with OData adapter)” as an answer for data extraction across On-premise to Cloud, vice-versa.

 

Platform Integration: SAP PO is a single tenant on-premises solution. All the standard contents provided by SAP are hosted, configured, managed and monitored by Customers. This way Customers have more control over the data and the business processes. Well if all the major Business systems are on-premises then SAP PO is good choice instead of taking a long-turn from clouds. If you subscribe some On-demand applications on cloud these can be integrated easily with SAP PO.

Now-a-days, many customers are looking for cost reduction. Managing own hosted infrastructure, regular support (mostly 24 X 7), downtime activities, upgrade activities, freezing period etc. are a heavy burden on the annual budget.

In this situation, SAP HCI would be one of the better options. Ideally SAP Cloud servers are hosted by SAP and based on a multi tenancy with regular upgrades. It has near to zero down time. Although the On-premises systems are under the umbrella of firewall in the premises and still handled in the traditional way with down time, manual upgrades, patches etc. It uses SAP Data Services Agent, HTTPS and RFC connections. So even if the On-premises systems are down, the cloud solutions won’t have a major impact. HCI will allow the one side integration on cloud, will hold the messages in failed status and will send to target local systems, once up & running. So with Integration on HANA Cloud Platform, the TCO would be in control.

HCI offers an open adapter SDK that partners and customers can use to build specialized connectivity. Since, SAP HCI is developed on top of Apache Camel.

 

Identity & Security Integration: Security and governance plays vital role in integration world. SAP PO is on-premises system and completely controlled by customer.

If someone else is running customer computers and software, then there is a need for strategies to stay secure. It doesn’t mean that HCI is not secured. In HCI, security on authorization level is maintained with SSL(X.509 Certificates), same as PO. SAP HCI enables single-sign on, support principal propagation using SAP Assertion tickets to allow end uses to propagate with the message flow and maintains the ownership across cloud to on-premises transactions.

The security policies can be effective based on how much control you have in the complete architecture – the more you own, the more you control.

 

In Nutshell, for coming year 2015, SAP PO & HCI can firmly stand as convergence of SAP Hybrid World. SAP has provided these 2 integration players without any possibility to replace each other in near future. Although there are pros & cons of each player, for e.g. HCI gives lower TCO, but still some hesitance towards security aspects on cloud and PO is the proven platform for complex scenarios but then you have to pay some extra for the maintenance J. The strategic decision of SAP integration with either cloud i.e. HCI or on-premises i.e. PO is solely based on architectural assessment and the specific customer needs, objectives. Also, HCI needs some time to unleash the complete strength and expose the limitations, if any.

I’m sure, we foresee both the SAP integration choices available in 2015, instead of taking over either of the integration solutions. That’s all needed for Business integration to step on future via SAP Integration alternatives.

Wish you Happy New Year with HCI & PO as the best choices in SAP Integration!

 

Blogger Swarup, a Solution Architect in Bilot, has been working in SAP world for more than 10 years. He has experience on Pre-sales, project management, architectural solutions, integration, and application development. Swarup is extensively working on integration, HANA, Cloud, CRM & mobility solutions.

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