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The Q&A session after my ‘Introduction to SAP NetWeaver  CE  7.1’ lecture at the  SAP NetWeaver BI/Portal Conference in Orlando was very informative because it showed where there was some confusion and misunderstanding. In this blog I will revisit the topics that came up since SDN members may have similar questions.

SAP NetWeaver Composition Environment 7.1  (referred to as CE from here on) is an innovation platform. It delivers the latest Java EE 5 stack and a host of SAP tools (CAF, VC, GP, Web Dynpro) to enable you to build composite applications. CE is on its own release cycle for that very reason – SAP wants to continuously provide you with the ‘latest and greatest’ without impacting your core ERP or other SAP systems. CE is deployed and runs alongside your other SAP systems – also referred to as a ‘sidecar’, to borrow a term from motorcycling. This allows you to update and upgrade CE separately from ERP, for example.

In conjunction, since CE will be another instance in your SAP landscape, the same design considerations as for any other SAP system apply – i.e. you will in all likelihood have at least a DEV, QA, and PROD CE system to mirror your other SAP systems.

   The intention and design of CE is for it to run in a heterogeneous landscape. That’s all well and good, but you may ask yourself, how do I actually make the applications that I develop on CE available to the business users?  Can I deploy CE applications into a SAP NetWeaver 7.0 portal? The answer is ‘no’ – anything developed on CE also requires the CE runtime! Hence, the primary mechanism to make CE applications available is portal federation via SAP’s federated portal network (FPN).  I will not go into FPN details here since you can read more about it in the excellent Content Sharing in SAP NetWeaver Portal on SDN 

  In the following section I will discuss three scenarios that you may encounter at your company when using CE. These are not mutually exclusive and there is a high probability that multiple scenarios will exist at larger companies.

Scenario I: Your corporate portal is running on SAP NetWeaver 7.0 with SP9 or higher and thus meets the minimum requirements for FPN. Configured as a consumer, it can integrate content from other portals.  Since CE comes with its own light weight portal (no KM or collaboration), it would be the producer portal, hosting the composite applications you develop. Your users would continue to use the corporate portal as their central entry point. From an end-user perspective it all looks the same, they don’t know (or care) where the new CE applications are running. More information is available here.

Scenario II:  You don’t have a corporate portal or it doesn’t meet the minimum release requirements. Not a problem, you can still use CE to innovate and build composite apps for your end user because…CE comes with its own portal which means you can use it to provide access to your end-users. The CE portal is a full-fledged portal sans Knowledge Management and Collaboration. The standard portal functionality you expect — authentication, roles, pages, iViews are all there.

Scenario III: This is a hybrid of scenario I and II. If you do some reading on FPN you will notice that a portal can be both a producer and a consumer of content. Confused yet? It’s actually pretty simple – your CE system can provide content to the corporate portal while at the same time allow users to log on directly to the CE portal.

Hopefully, this short blog helped to answer some questions on how to integrate and deploy CE in your company. If you have additional question, feel free to ask them in the comments section.

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6 Comments

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  1. Richard Hirsch
    Hi Oliver,

    I’ve been sort of reluctant to see CE acting as the front-end portal. Besides its lack of certain functionality, are there any other considerations that one should be aware of? What about sizing considerations for productive use?

    Thanks.

    Dick

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    1. Oliver Mayer Post author
      Hi Dick,

        Unelss you need KM or collaboration there’s nothing that prevents you from running the CE portal as your front-end portal since it is a full-fledged portal. If you decide to go that route, you do loose the flexibility that FPN buys you. I’m not a system expert, but it’s my understanding  CE sizing as it relates to the portal follows the same rules as a standard 7.0 portal – see http://service.sap.com/quicksizer for more info.
      Sizing a system with custom applications gets a bit trickier since you have to do your own loadtest in order to determine the applications resource consumption and scalability.

      Regards,

      Oliver

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  2. H. Alakhramsing
    Hello Oliver,

    Your blog clarifies a lot.
    Still I have one question.
    There seems to be no upgradepath form NW 70 to NW CE 7.1. A new installation of CE 7.1 and migrate the NW 7.0 content to the new system.
    Is there really no information how you can perform an upgrade?
    Thanks.

    Harris.

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    1. Oliver Mayer Post author
      Hi Harris,

        It’s not a lack of infromation. It is technically not possible to upgrade a SAP NetWeaver 7.0 system to CE 7.11.

      Oliver

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    1. Oliver Mayer Post author
      Hi Birla,

         In theory this should be possible, though I have not tried it. Since CE comes with its own full fledged portal (sans KM and collaboration) I don’t see why CE couldn’t be a consumer portal. You may want to check out some additional resources here Content Sharing in SAP NetWeaver Portal and also post a question in the portal forum to see if anyone has implemented this scenario.

      Oliver

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