This is an extension to my earlier blog TechEd Berlin 2010 & What’s in store for PI? where I had promised to brief about the upcoming PI 7.3 and whats in store.
Before I continue, let me tell you what I felt whenever PI 7.3 was being mentioned by the various speakers including Sindhu Gangadharan and Udo Platzer from the product development team focused on SAP PI. There was a clear and evident emphasis on the fact that SAP is continuously looking forward to invest in SAP PI as a strategic product in the Netweaver suite and that they will continue to upgrade PI in terms of SP, EHPs or even a new release itself.
So that does sound music to ears or do we need more convincing? Well that will be decided as the roadmap evolves. But there are signs, good signs I mean and as of now its been a positive verdict on PI from TechEd 2010.
So now what is really new in PI? What the buzz around PI 7.3?
In a nutshell, to summarize the three main pitch from SAP are the below;
1. Centralized Monitoring
2. Single Stack ESB
3. Reduced TCO
With 7.3 (and 7.11 SP06 partially), along with Solution Manager 7.1, monitoring in PI will take a new shape. SAP has worked hard to deliver a cool new good morning page, a single screen overview of your PI system that will inform system administrators to check the health of the system and interface flows.There is a cool new ping functionality for communication channels (eg. you can now ping a File adapter and it will give you a detailed report of the ping confirming the accessibility fo the directory, filename etc)
There is a focus on incident management wherein you can have context sensitive operations that will help navigate to the issue, troubleshoot it, manage it and even escalate it via an incident ticket in Sol. Man and even raise a notification via email or SMS to users.
You can even add multiple PI domains which means that from a single page you can monitor and analyze root causes for N number of Pi systems.
Integration with external tools like Tivoli will now become much more easier.
My verdict: Awesome!!! This has been missing for years and this is definitely a much awaited feature many customer will want to utilize.
Single Stack ESB
This is something new to the PI world. A single stack, Java only deployment option for PI. This will look towards utilizing the AAE (SAP calls it Advanced Adapter Engine Extended [AEX]. This is the initial step from SAP to move to a single stack based PI which means that we will see the ABAP stack disappear in the coming years.
The single stack deployment allows customers to leverage on a low energy footprint, reduced HW and minimal downtime during restarts.
This also means that the adapters on the ABAP stack have now moved on to the Java stack (yes…. a Java based IDoc and HTTP adapter).
Eclipse now gets introduced to the ESR. So you will find NWDS-based editors for creating and editing service interface and data types. More details, refer this PI/XI: PI 7.3 – accessing PI with NWDS – teaser
There is significant improvement to performance and high volume data transfer, context sensitive view in ESR, support for multi mapping in AAE, Pub Sub for JMS adapters etc.
My verdict: There are some exciting changes that has addressed most of the pain points. The ESR – Eclipse integration is in its adolescent stage. Unless we see capabilities for maintaining java mappings etc being featured, I wouldn’t be that keen on it.
There has been major enhancements and efforts to reduce TCO for customers by SAP. The fault handling has been improved drastically. The buzz words here is Stability, Performance and SLA.
There are features like message blacklisting that will help enable automatic control on problematic messages that can cause system downtime. Advanced garbage collection and improved JVM instability detections.
There are now CTC templates provided by SAP which should simplify system installation and configuration. OOM handling and safe restart are other features.
SAP has also invested in queue handling (EOIO messages) , optimizing cache refresh.
A new protocol XI 3.1 has been introduced to increase performance.
An error queue feature stands out in the latest enhancements which will ensure that a message (EO) that goes to an error in a queue will not affect the other messages in the same queue. The error message will be automatically moved to n error queue so that other messages can continue to be processed.
There is also queue balancing that will ensure that messages will be distributed automatically to various queues which are free in terms of resources.
SAP looks to guarantee a Near Zero Down Time with the AEX.
My Verdict: The Reduced TCO was something that brought out a smile on my face. This I believe is one of the best features from a SAP PI 7.3 perspective which will enable PI to be a much more stabler product than it is today in a productive environment.
Well there are many more feature apart from the above in 7.3 but what I have mentioned here are what stood out and gained my attention. (Not to forget the ‘User defined Message Payload Search’ feature which is now productive from 7.3)
So what do you think about PI 7.3? Is it a story worth buying into?