I had created the below article long back and thought of sharing with all. It talks about
various trends that have been followed in the history of integration architecture.
Daryl Plummer, a managing vice president at Gartner had said,
“SOA is not something you chose to do. It will happen to you whether you chose it or not”
With this indication, SAP has provided a new dimension – E-SOA, with tremendous potential for customers and partners. Trends in SAP like ESOA, ESB, EDA (Event Driven Architecture), BPM have made the integration as backbone for the ideal architecture. This ground-breaking change leads to hold the attention of most of the CIOs and IT Managers.
Since mid-1990s, there are rebellious changes observed with the technologies used for various integrations starting from ALE-EDI-IDO, EAI and have still continued up to PI 7.1 EHP1 & 2.
To understand the future trends, it’s important to be familiar with the major integration approach that SAP had followed till date. There are numerous articles/papers available about the these integration models which had made my life simple and prohibited from going in depth with these models, Most of those articles have the similar attempt to define this transition as below
Point to Point –> Hub & spoke –> ESB
Well, how SAP can be exception for it? No of course not, SAP had followed similar line of attack. The SAP Integration trends are as below
- Point to Point Integration
- Hub & Spoke Integration
Service based Integration
PS Note : The trems mentioned in above diagram indicates several products & protocols. (For e.g. “SAP” indicates various SAP products such as SAP ERP, BW, EP etc.)
Point to Point Integration
Point-to-point integration is used when a sender has to send a message to a single receiver (that is, a 1:1 relationship). This kind of integration is straight forward way to integrate the A2A or B2B. The Point to Point roots are always preferable for lower budget. Unfortunately the enhancements/changes for these kinds of interfaces are not flexible-enough and may become the show stopper in modifying the Business processes. It is important to realize that point-to-point interactions themselves are not bad. Still the problem lies in the custom integration, created for point to point interactions because every new application with sender receiver point would need to create its own separate integration. For large scale integration this kind of architecture will be not supportive. Even it would be very difficult to support in future for those interfaces. Definitely I should agree as Point-to-point offers short-term savings, but long-term pain. ALE-EDI-IDOCs used the point to point connection in early days. Even the huge Data load across the SAP and non-SAP systems have followed the Point-to-point communication in many cases.
Hub & Spoke Integration
Hub-and-spoke architectures consist of a centralized hub which is integrated with the various applications via spokes i.e. with the use of various adapters or connectors. The integrations of various applications or Business processes are deployed on the top of existing systems with re-usability approach. As a hub, the middleware Integration tools like EAI, PI has stepped up to the task of providing a interaction point between applications. Middleware can provide generic interfaces with which all integrated applications pass messages to each other. Each interface defines a business process provided by an application. With this Hub & Spoke architecture it is easy to imply the various message transformations, conditional routings etc. across multiple applications based on the requirements.
Service based Integration
SAP NetWeaver had delivered an enterprise service bus (ESB) that enables service bus based integration between A2A & B2B. It is a distributed service architecture based on Web services standards which is based on Open Standards and provides various features like flexible security framework, intelligent routings, message transformations and many more. Service Based Integration could be compatible with all features provided by other traditional models. In this integration these features are spread over the distributed landscape. Like the various services could be hosted in separately deployable container i.e. in ESR and published via Service registry which can be used across various landscapes.
Thus one way or another, we will definitely agree that for those companies and organizations pursuing an SOA, the shift towards an ESB-based infrastructure is a major step in this evolvement.
SAP has nice efforts to give the ESOA as approach to make this revolutionary step successful with minimal risk
PS Note: There are still some different opinions about the SAP integration products being consider as complete ESB, but it’s not in the scope of this article. There are couple of discussions available in forum on this.