Give me more power the XML acceleration card for SAP PI
Another very successful SAPPHIRE goes by in Orlando, Florida; it was wonderful to see the customers and partners show up in big numbers to support this event and to network with fellow community members. The official figures showed 10000 attendees and 8000 virtually registered, making this the biggest SAPPHIRE till date. Restricted business travel not withstanding, it was impressive to see such huge number of customers show up, really reinforcing the confidences the community has on brand SAP.
Strolling through the stalls you could see partners educating the community on everything from new collaborative products, to new service offerings and customers looking for the right solutions for their business needs.
Economics of the market is grim, but this provided an opportunity for some of the partners to showcase solutions which maximized customer value on existing SAP investments.
Having spent many years designing solutions using integration tools on multiple platforms including SAP PI, this is one space which always piqued my interest. When working on many heavy duty business process integration scenarios, I have often wondered, how things would have been different, if only I had more processing power, if only I could push messages a little faster. Am sure most of you working in the integration space have had the same feeling, when customer scenarios demanded more message processing power than the software layer could afford and adding more processors and RAM simply wasn’t enough.
In one quiet corner in SAPPHIRE this is exactly what HP was trying to solve; with the launch of a product called “The HP XML Accelerator for SAP Netweaver PI“. Before I realized it, we were having an interesting conversation on the product. To begin with it’s a hardware acceleration solution for the SAP landscape, especially focused on mid to large size XML processing. This solution receives, transforms, and transmits the SAP XML messages in hardware rather than in software.
I needed more convincing, marketing one liners weren’t going to wet my appetite. So I dug deeper wanting to know more and continued probing…
We all know that software has its inherent limitation on how fast it can process messages, so the idea is to offload the messages especially messages which required complex processing on to a hardware platform. This appliance was specially built for the SAP platform could do the complex, time consuming processing in the Appliance hardware layer and then push back the result into the SAP layer. The messages then continue with the rest of the steps in the SAP pipeline.
The card is built to work especially with the SAP PI middleware platform and since PI uses XML for message handling it became an ideal candidate. The interesting point is, it can be used with existing PI installation with minimal installation / configuration effort. It also gives the user the choice to decide which scenarios have to be pushed to the hardware and which will not be.
Customers have in the past asked me, if hardware acceleration was possible for PI, several of the competing middlewares do offer non application specific hard ware accelerators. Now I could say YES. Did they do any benchmarking I asked…7x times in latency and 4x times in throughput, they said.
Hmm interesting….next time I am faced with a demanding customer scenario I like to put the card to test. If it performs like it did in the benchmarking tests, the possibilities are endless…