I thought I’d post a quick response to Chromatic about his experience installing SAP NetWeaver 7.1 Composition Environment, known to its friends as CE. On the whole, I thought the article was positive and many of the pain points had nothing to do with CE. Despite that, one reader commented that “[t]hat sounds like a real hassle just to get an environment installed.” I think that depends on what your expectations are.
My personal experience working with CE is that it’s quite good at what it does, and the system is easy enough to get up and running quickly, especially considering the features it has. Would I like it to be as easy to install as Tomcat? Sure. Would I prefer using Tomcat instead of CE for an important business application because of its ease of installation ? Probably not.
One reason I expect CE to be a bit more involved to install is that there’s a certain irreducible complexity inherent in enterprise software. From the article: “Enterprise-wide software must be reliable and fault-tolerant. That’s not simple or easy or even fun to build.” I agree with this. I can tolerate some up front complexity when building enterprise systems if I believe it will reduce my long term pain.
Your typical enterprise customer wants to have a stable core that runs their business. In the modern enterprise, ESOA is the stable core that customers can rapidly extend with composites that are key business differentiators. Those composites, sometimes called “edge applications”, are built on SAP NetWeaver Composition Environment. It’s architected from the ground up for rapid business innovation. I’ll be watching with great interest to see whether CE will open up new business opportunities for the small systems integrators who might not have a lot of experience with SAP technologies.
If you want to try out CE, you can get it here.