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Start with enterprise SOA already today

Few weeks ago in Sapphire Orlando and Paris, SAP introduced a new server called “SAP Discovery System for enterprise SOA”. I thought I’d give the SDN’ers a quick overview of what it is and how customers and partners can understand and start with their enterprise SOA vision already today. Most important!!! – No need in installation, configuration and optimization since everything is preinstalled and preconfigured in ONE box. The server is already available from http://www.hp.com/go/server/sap Here is a short overview of what is inside the SAP Discovery System :

  • SAP ECC 5.0 configured with SAP Best Practices tool suite , SAP NetWeaver 2004 SP 14
    • Portal (SAP NW Portal) + KM
    • Process Integration (SAP NW XI)
    • Master Data Management (SAP NW MDM)
    • Business Intelligence (SAP BW)
  • Operating System & Database
    • Microsoft Windows 2003
    • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Sample Scenario
  • Extensively documented configuration
    • Documented prototype and development environment with a working example
    • Complete example composite application code provided, including guidance on how to redeploy key scenarios and content in your own environment

I think that the general overview of the server is covered pretty good on SAP Discovery System for Enterprise SOA on SDN so in this article I will describe more the scenario which built in the Discovery System.

Why the scenario?

Customer and partners can say: “OK I got a preinstalled and preconfigured environment , so what can I do with it and how all this related to enterprise SOA at all ?” This is exactly why SAP Discovery System delivered with sample scenario which not only uses all of the components in the box but also developed by using different development tools (presenting different UIs) for different use cases and all the steps in the scenario using underlying Web Services. The Discovery System demo scenario walks through a common business scenario – Procurement scenario. What is most important is to understand and focus more on the implementation and UI of the scenario but not the business scenario itself. The new technology and UI are the main differentiators of enterprise SOA from previous technologies and you can really see in SAP Discovery System how common business scenario looks much simpler, more attractive and can be redeployed much quicker comparing to the previous product generations.

Scenario Overview

There are 3 roles in the Procurement scenario: Sales person,Procurement Manager and Warehouse Manager. image

  1. First a sales person places an order using Adobe Interactive forms.
  2. When the procurement manager logs into his portal he notices he uses an analytics application to analyze the current stock situation and notices there is a shortage on several parts, one of them holding up significant revenue at the end of the quarter.  He launches a Web Dynpro application to initiate a request for quotation from several of his suppliers, receives their quotes, and selects the number of parts from each supplier he wants to purchase. 
  3. Finally, the warehouse manager logs into her portal to receive the goods and enter them into the ERP system.

There are 3 types of UIs that are used in the demo, and the 3 ways you will see a user interact with the Discovery System: SAP Analytics (developed with Visual Composer model), WebDynpro and Adobe Interactive Forms. image

Additional Info

  • You can find updated material/info on SDN
  • Check out TechTour page on SDN for TechTour stops that also have SAP Discovery System Workshops
  • You can hear more about the Discovery System and talk to the experts at TechEd events
  • Stay tuned,complete doc set will be posted on SAP Discovery System for enterprise SOA page on SDN soon!

In the second part of the article I will describe the architecture of SAP Discovery System and the roles of all NetWeaver components in the scenario described above. Stay tuned!!!

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32 Comments

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  1. Anton Wenzelhuemer
    To me this link to the HP site, http://www.hp.com/go/server/sap, pretty much looks like a joke.

    Is anyone paying 9k USDs for a server with no exact specs given (e.g. RAM, disc space, etc…) and a software on it with no hint for which type of license is granted to it?

    Unbelievable business model though, Netweaver-ToGo. You could sell it at starbucks that way.

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    1. Oleg Figlin Post author
      Dear Anton

      SAP Discovery system will be made available through various SAP technology partners. HP is the first one to deliver it. It looks strange for me as well that they are not publishing the basic spec details. I am not aware of their business model but I will try to get the exact spec of the HW for you.

      Regarding licenses , in case you already have Netweaver licenses, you will not have to pay for the Netweaver licenses in the server.

      Best Regards.
      Oleg.

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      1. Anton Wenzelhuemer
        Oleg,

        don’t you think that if someone ‘bundles’ your product, it should be a fair practice to state on that product page that a (not so cheap) license for Netweaver is not included in that offer?

        Indeed, I did definitely assume that some kind of cost free (sneak preview like) license were included into this bundled offer.

        just my 2 cents,
        anton

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        1. Oleg Figlin Post author
          Hi Anton

          Actually , the product is “bundled” by SAP , HW partners are the ones who making the life easies since customer can buy the box with software on it .

          As you understand , this server is not dedicated for the home user 🙂 and the ones who are buying it ,knows exactly what they are getting (HW , software and licenses).

          The fact that customers and partners can buy preinstalled and preconfigured environment online , makes their life much easier .

          Think what customers had to do at the past to get such a server : Buy the server from HW vendor, get the software , installation and configuration (different skills required) ….. .

          Regards.
          Oleg.

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          1. Andre Truong
            While i agree that preinstallation and configuration are in absolute a good thing, I’m not sure if here it really applies.

            First like you say the customers know what they’re getting into (and SAP knows that very well too). Just think couple of months back when you had to deal with such environment. I’m quite doubtful it was that rosy and heavenly. Yes indeed, SAP products and technologies are not for amateurs. So simplification yes but for what. If in this instance it’s to address the learning curve issue, then let me suggest something: makes this first version hosted and accessible for free and for the next version, get in there as much as possible from the new SAP product and technology for the world to discover

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            1. Andre Truong
              by the way in the past I don’t know of anybody (customer, partner or SAP) who tried to put so much in one box, so your reference to the past in this context is not really valid as far as i’m concerned. But your point about simplification is well taken.
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              1. Anton Wenzelhuemer
                that’s why immediately the question for hardware specs sprung to my mind, everything on one box, never seen that…

                as for the ‘the one’s who are buying it, knows exactly what they are getting’ … what a poor argument. Can’t you state things clearly if you want to sell something? Do I have to call the whole of SAP and HP together to find put what this offer is about? And if that’s what you want me to do why sell it online then?

                For me this whole thing is very dubious (though i generally kind of like the idea to package pre-configured systems for partners/implementors).

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                1. Paul Taylor
                  Anton

                  I was at Saphhire and talked to the HP guy who put the box together. Since I still have the spec sheet I have copied the details below, his comment was that it would support around 10-15 developers doing prototype work

                  Flexibly Packaged on an HP DL380G4 , 2 – 3.4Ghz / 2MB single Core CPUs,  4GB RAM, GigaBit Dual Port NIC, Raid 1, 2 – 72.8GB 15K Drives, 2- 146GB 15K Drives, 1.44 MB Floppy, 1X 4Hr 13×5 Proliant Support

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                      1. Oleg Figlin Post author
                        Hi

                        Please refer to HP site to get the cost of the box (it was 8,999$ the last time that I checked it).
                        If you have already Netweaver licences , you do not have to pay anything for the software , otherwise please contact your account team .

                        Best Regards.
                        Oleg.

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                2. Oleg Figlin Post author
                  Hi Anton

                  I will try to answer to your 3 comments above :

                  * The SAP Discovery System for ESA is a preconfigured, preinstalled software system which can be used to test, evaluate, demo, experience, touch, play with (anything but deploy) what ESA is all about.

                  * The system is not dedicated for production (however , there are no restrictions from the technical point of view ) hence you do not care about Sizing , HA … .
                  One of the main advantages – you have everything in ONE box, you do not have to buy 5 servers (for XI , MDM, WAS , ECC …) but you can do you development , PoCs .. in one box , and performance is very good. There are a number of partners already who are developing their scenarios on top of ESA DS .

                  * I think Paul have alreafy answered the question regarding the HW spec. Feel free to send you feedback to HP (I will do it as well) to include the spec in their online page . You can also check about the exact spec by chatting online with HP representative in their site .

                  Best Regards.
                  Oleg.

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  2. Guido Brune
    Hello Oleg,

    can you provide some concepts and implementation details on the SOA-based procurement scenario?
    e. g.
    + Which service has been used?
    + Which modelling tool/enviroment has been used?
    + Which web standards are used to implement the SOA scenario?

    Regards & Regards & All the best,

    Guido

    P. S. I personally think SOA goes beyond GUI. I truly hope you prove me right!

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    1. Oleg Figlin Post author
      Hi Guido

      I am planning to answer your questions in my next article (Architecture , tools, list of web services that were implemented and used …).

      SOA defenitly goes beyond GUI and you will se it shortly

      Stay tuned!!

      Best Regards.
      Oleg.

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  3. Erwin Schuster
    Is it possible to get the Discovery System without HW? We already have a SAP-environment up and running (components). Only the ‘business content – scenarios’ are needed.

    Best regards,

    Erwin

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    1. Andre Truong
      believe me! you don’t want only “business content – scenarios”. there’s some serious meat packing in this instance. even if your environment is like what’s described ECC5, nw04 sp14, xi, mdm…, there would be so many differences in configuration switches that you’d probably get an anxiety attack before successfully setting up a basic scenario like “order to goods receipt” using all the mentioned components.

      so imagine what the effort would be if you don’t have the environment ready. Gigantic!

      I guess it took some serious effort from SAP ( senior level professionals, technical and functional, abap and java, several months projects) to produce that all-in-one box system.

      While I applaude the effort to always simplify SAP complexity, I look at the title as read “Discovery” and can’t really figure out the value proposition. I read Discovery and i think no guarantee. For the adventurious ones, the potential has to be substantial enough to make the investment or take the risks. I for one would have preferred an SAP/Partner hosted kind of solution where SAP would have assumed the operation cost due to the fact that SAP is the one that needs to promote it and the ultimate goal which is about Netweaver as the Business Process Platform is in its infancy. On top of all this, I’m not really motivated to discover something new (Enterprise SOA) on something old (NW04 SP14???). I would and I thind a lot more people if I can read in the Discovery system things like BPP, ESI, ESF, ESR, NW04s, …

      Anyway that’s a good start. Keep the good stuff coming.

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      1. Oleg Figlin Post author
        Hi Andre

        You are right , it is quite difficult to package this scenario . It is possible but it was not in our priority list (may be in the future ).

        The SAP Discovery System for ESA is a preconfigured, preinstalled software system which can be used to test, evaluate, demo, experience, touch, play with (anything but deploy) what ESA is all about. We have presented it in defferent workshops (including handsons with VC,creating Adobe forms connecting to the web services , MDM) and all the participants were really excited.

        I definitly share your interest in BPP, ESI, ESF, ESR, NW04s, … !!!! and we will try to make it happen on the next versions of ESA DS !

        Best Regards.
        Oleg.

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  4. Paul Taylor
    Oleg,

    Thanks for the blog, I saw this at Sapphire and wanted to take it home with me. I now have 23MB of detailed configuration information and documentation on the ESA discovery server thanks to SDN. This in itself is almost worth paying for (B84: BW Connectivity for example).

    The organisation I work for is a mature SAP shop with a significant number of users in the EMEA region, we are now taking our production (just upgraded to ECC 5.0) model and launching a new programme in the USA. While we have a separate Netweaver project deploying capability (EP + analytics, MDM & XI)  as a means of having an out of the box SAP Solution with all of the bells & whistles this gives us a definite head start as a business client engagement tool.

    As a follow up, might a blog on implementing additional baseline best practice scenarios within the ESA discovery box be a starter ?

    Cheers
    Paul

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  5. Andre Truong
    what did you use to control the process flow, context, role assignments,…? That’s typically the role of a workflow or business process technology like Guided Procedures or BPM (XI).
    did you use Aris to model the process? Basically, how much process composition do you do (excluding the analytics with Visual Composer)? The reasons why I’m asking all these questions is that I don’t understand why so little marketing or exposure a technology like the Guides Procedures or CAF gets from SAP compared to let’s say Visual Composer. If ESA or Enterprise SOA emphasizes on composition, shouldn’t SAP promote its entire array of composition technologies. Any ideas why? Thanks, Andre
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  6. Vaibhav Bhandari
    Hello Oleg,
    A very informative blog.

    As a SAP consulting company , we are looking at having a sandbox / demo system which has all of these cool technologies. Looks like this may be the most direct answer to that.
    Is there any catch in there , or can it be used as Playpen / Demo SAp system ? (ofcourse we will need licences ).

    Thanks again,

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  7. Anonymous
    Hi,

    it would be nice when you make this scenario as Virtual machine aviable. With VMWare Server i it is much easier for me to make this run.

    You can also made a version aviable that are runnable with vmware player.

    Best regards,
    Patrick

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    1. Oleg Figlin Post author
      Hi Patrick

      We have the server available as VMWare image but this is for internal distribution inside SAP only , we can not release it outside of some legal issue but we are working on it.

      Best Regards.
      Oleg.

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  8. Edward Diehl
    According to the HP salesman I talked to, the HP DL380G4 is a rack-mounted server.  This is kind of hard to take on customer site demos – don’t you think?

    The Discovery System is the very thing I have been looking for from SAP, but I need it in a more useable form.

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    1. Oleg Figlin Post author
      Hi

      I agree , it is quite difficult to take the whole server to the customer and do the demo . What we usually do in these cases is doing the demo remotely by connecting to SAP Discovery System in SAP Network .

      It is quite difficult to put such a monster (XI , Portal , WAS , BW ..) in a smaller cage 🙂

      Best Regards.
      Oleg.

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  9. Anonymous
    I did find some literature and try to activate but am running into a few small errors. Please give feedback or pointers on the same.
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  10. Shekhar Shende
    Is SAP releasing the Software Only configuration that was referred elsewhere in this weblog?  Alternatively, are other Technology partners offering the same package on their platform(s)?
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  11. Subhadip Das Sarma
    Hi Oleg,

           My organization recently purchased the ESA Discovery systems based on Netweaver 2004S and we are in the process of setting it up.

    Though we have got the server from HP we haven’t received any Installation number (not even a installation guide) which I think is required for generating the License Key. Moreover since no landscape is defined in our OSS portal for the newly purchased discovery system while we are trying to generate license via SMP it’s showing some Platform conflict with the existing R/3 landscape which is on AIX/Oracle and Discovery is on NT/ SQL server.

    Can you please provide me the information / steps to overcome this license issue. Do we need to create a landscape first in the OSS portal to generate the License key? Where from we can get the Installation number for the Discovery system?

    Further do we need to purchase any user license for the discovery system? Can we create users in the discovery systems or preexisting users created by default has to be used?

    Thanks for your patience in dealing this query.

    Regards,
    Subhadip

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