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Implementation Considerations for Geographically Distributed Portals


Reasons for Geographically Distributed Portals
SAP NetWeaver Portal Deployment Options
Portal Flavors
Information Portal Deployment Considerations
References for Geographically Distributed Portals

In complex environments there could be the need to operate more than one portal for different reasons. In the TechEd 2007 session “Best Practices for Building a Portal Infrastructure” Thomas Hensel and Sven Kannengiesser distinguish business driven and technology driven reasons.

Business driven

  • Business Autonomy
    • Organizational units want to have their own portal (e.g. for testing, sensitivity)
    • Organizational / legal requirements (e.g. portal per org unit, department, project)
    • Sharing a portal across multiple customers (service providers)
  • Geographical Distribution
  • Service Level Agreements
    • Performance: expected response times
    • Availability: 24×7
    • Risk: critical vs. non-critical applications
    • Tracking and Reporting
  • Corporate Governance and Guidelines

Technology Driven

  • Platform & Release
  • Release version & lifecycle (SP Update)
  • Hardware, operating system
  • System landscape (dev, test, prod)
  • Connections between systems
  • Security & Policies
    • Storage of data and user information
    • Access permissions
    • Administration: Configuration, Operations, Monitoring
  • Technical dependencies Release dependencies between applications and portal (e.g. BI, xApps, CE, XRPM, Collaboration Portal, etc.) NetWeaver Portal Deployment Options

Depending on your specific requirements there are several ways you can go about deploying a geographically distributed portal. Central Portal


Single Central Portal

Integrating all applications, services and information into one central portal


  • Centrally governed and administrated portal
  • Simple landscape setup


Federated Portal Network


Federated Portal Network

Using FPN mechanism for sharing certain content between multiple portals


  • Central access to content via consumer portal
  • Autonomous sub-portals
  • Independent administration (e.g. release version)


Separate Portals


Separate Portals

Installation of autonomous portals for dedicated scenarios


  • Full flexibility in administration (e.g. release version)
  • Avoid any dependencies or impacts (security aspects) Flavors

The deployment option you choose for your SAP NetWeaver portal will be influenced by a number of constraints such as business demands, technology constrains and also the main intended usage type for your portal.

The SAP NetWeaver Portal has evolved over the years from a plain information and application portal to a real process portal. Some of the key aspects of the different portal flavors are pointed out below:

  • Information Portal (Managed / Collaborative)
    Supports governed content management and publication of information
    Empowers team work, collaborative content authoring & communities
  • Application Portal
    Provides a central and secure access point to business applications
  • Process Portal
    Increases people productivity through contextual information and services Portal Deployment Considerations

Even though portals have evolved to process portals, most portals today are still also being used as information portals.

For an information portal that heavily relies on the Knowledge Management and Collaboration components of the SAP NetWeaver Portal it has significant advantages to implement it as a Single Central Portal. Main advantage of the central portal approach over federated or separated portals being the fact that content distribution is not required (since everything is located centrally).

Usually performance is a concern in geographically distributed Portal installations. From a performance point of view SAP Application Delivery over WAN (ADoW) or third party services such as Akamai, CacheFly, etc can be used to improve application performance in a central portal deployment.

If you are not implementing a central portal ICE or with SPS13 CTS+ can help you distributing Knowledge Management Content between the different portal nodes.

For geographically distributed Portals that make a lot of use of the Knowledge Management and Collaboration components of the SAP NetWeaver Portal the effort for content synchronization can be minimized by choosing a central deployment option. Performance can be enhanced by using external content distribution network services or deploying caching services like SAP Application Delivery over WAN (ADoW).

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