Why upgrade to SAP NetWeaver Process Integration 7.1 (PI 7.1)?
By Elena Doll, SAP NetWeaver Product Management – SOA Middleware
Service oriented architecture (SOA) as the future strategy for Business IT merges the business and IT strategy and therefore promises to provide higher ROI and lower TCO for businesses. SAP NetWeaver SOA Middleware – Process Integration (PI) is the central integration platform for managing A2A and B2B processes and provides the foundation for SOA. The latest version of SAP NetWeaver Process Integration – that is PI 7.1 is the evolved SOA infrastructure offered by SAP, which companies need to move their businesses and IT to SOA.
The older version SAPI 7.0 did not support SOA in all its aspects. With the latest release of PI, that is PI 7.1 we have the end-to-end SOA infrastructure for integration, management of SOA artifacts, provisioning of services as well as lean consumption by storing all assets as services etc. in one place, which is the Enterprise Services Repository (ESR). Therefore, PI 7.1 is adopted by more and more customers and an upgrade to PI 7.1 is possible from both PI 7.0 and XI 3.0.
Evolved from the Integration Repository of old releases of PI, the PI 7.1 version now includes the Enterprise Service Repository (ESR), which is the central place where you can store all the SOA artifacts. Improved design capabilities and a central modeling and design environment of ESR enable companies to easily create, compose, manage and update services and store them in one place. The usage of Services keeps companies flexible and these are adaptable to the companies needs. Processes and applications are created out of services with significantly reduced development effort. Moreover, the use of services keeps businesses independent from any provider as the services can be provisioned in SAP, non-SAP and legacy systems and applications as backend applications for their businesses.
In addition, the current PI 7.1 version offers the Services Registry to ease the consumption of services. In the Registry the user browse, discover and use services, therefore the endpoint of each service is published here. This ensures that services can easily be found and consumed.
SAP added additional WebService standards support in PI 7.1 like WS-RM (WebService Reliable Messaging), WS-Policy and WS-Security to increase the reliability and security of communication. The purpose of WS-Reliable Messaging is to create a generic and open model to ensure reliable message delivery for Web services.
SAP NetWeaver PI 7.1 improves security aspects through features like the Principal Propagation by SAML. It offers an authorization check in the receiving system based on the original user, who sent the message, by forwarding the user credentials from the sender to the receiver. With this, the user credentials don’t have to be configured in the receiver system.
PI 7.1 now provides high volume support by adding Advanced Adapter Engines (AAE) to the architecture. This means messages in addition to the central processing server in PI can be processed locally in the AAE. This increases the throughput and reduces the latency time often up to the factor 10. This gives the PI 7.1 an ESB architecture as shown in the figure above.
Packing messages and processing bigger bulks of them in one service call reduces context switches and enables mass operations on database. This feature increases the throughput by 1.5 – 3.0 times compared to non-packaging, which was in the earlier versions of PI.
SAP took the next steps towards central configuration and administration. It now offers a unified monitoring by integrating key monitoring functionalities into the SAP NetWeaver Administrator as part of the SOA Management capabilities of PI 7.1, where you can monitor all the SAP NetWeaver components including PI 7.1 from one central place. This is a web-based tool, which can be easily used by the administrator for managing end-to-end business process monitoring and support.
Therefore, PI 7.1 provides the necessary features for an efficient and optimized SOA based business. Companies can centrally manage their SOA assets in the ESR, leverage the SOA management capabilities for end to end business process management support, and use the WS-* standards which are needed to make their businesses more flexible, agile and help win in the changing market.