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As you might have already seen the Announcement: B2B adapters for SAP NetWeaver PI that SAP plans to release some B2B adapters for SAP NetWeaver Process Integration. It is time for sharing some further details: These B2B adapters will be provided as comprehensive B2B Add-On allowing to run B2B processes as part of an existing SAP NetWeaver PI based integration hub or as dedicated B2B integration hub. It comes with a set of B2B protocol adapters, converter modules and B2B infrastructure services for serving the B2B/EDI integration needs of most industries.

 B2B Add-On for SAP NetWeaver Process Integration

Just FYI: In addition to the B2B add-on SAP intends to deliver an SFTP adapter and adapter module for PGP encryption, too.

Technical architecture

The B2B Add-On runs on the SAP NetWeaver Process Integration Adapter Framework, based on the Java Connector Architecture (JCA). Accordingly its capabilities are being used for enabling the common message delivery options (best-effort, exactly-once, exactly-once-in-order), an automatic retry mechanism and information logging. The configuration of B2B adapters, monitoring and operations is done in the same way as for other adapters of SAP NetWeaver PI. The B2B Add-On runs fully in the Java stack and supports all valid deployment options of SAP NetWeaver PI (ABAP + Java, Java only).

Product availability and supported releases

The B2B Add-On will be released for SAP Enhancement Package 1 for SAP NetWeaver PI 7.1 and SAP NetWeaver PI 7.3 at the beginning of Q2 2012 (date is subject to change). A version for SAP Enhancement Package 1 of SAP NetWeaver PI 7.3 will follow at a later point in time.

Product components

Now, let’s take a closer look at the scope of the B2B Add-On for SAP NetWeaver Process Integration. The B2B Add-On comprises of three building blocks:

B2B protocol adapters

The B2B Add-On comes with three adapters supporting specific B2B/EDI messaging protocols:

  • AS2 adapter
  • OFTP adapter
  • X.400 adapter

AS2 adapter

AS2 enables companies to exchange business documents securely and reliably over the Internet as defined by RFC 4130. AS2 is based on HTTP and S/MIME.

  • Transport Protocols: HTTP and HTTPS (w/o proxies)
  • Message level security: Message de- and encryption, signing and verification
  • Authentication of partners: Via URL, AS2 sender, AS2 recipient, message subject, message ID, signature and encryption via, X.509 certificates and RSA private keys 
  • Acknowledgements: Message disposition notifications synchronous and asynchronous for inbound and outbound communication
  • Character set conversion
  • Support of dynamic attributes

 

OFTP adapter

OFTP was introduced by the Odette organization to enable secure, reliable electronic message exchange (point-to-point or indirectly via a VAN). OFTP2 is a specification for secure document exchange over the Internet, ISDN and X.25 networks.

  • Supported OFTP versions: OFTP1.x and OFTP2, certified by Odette
  • Transport protocols: TCP/IP,  ISDN (X.25) for transport via RCAPI & Funkwerk ISDN Routers
  • Authentication: Via cryptographic handshake or against the Odette trusted services list
  • Encryption: SSL encryption of the transport layer with client authentication. CMS encryption, signing and compression of the messages
  • Acknowledgements: End to end responses (optionally signed)
  • Automatic exchange of certificates with partners
  • Character set conversion
  • Support of dynamic attributes

X.400 adapter

The X.400 adapter is used for VAN based communication using the P7 Protocol to connect to X.400 mailboxes.

  • Transport protocols: TCP/IP (w/o SSL), support of SOCKS5 proxy
  • Authentication: Content-based sender determination as multiple partners and message types might share one mailbox
  • Document content: IA5 text, binary and bilaterally defined body parts, general text extended body parts
  • Acknowledgements: Delivery, non delivery report, submission reports
  • Configurable poll schedule (per weekday, time-dependent)
  • Configurable maximum number of messages per poll
  • Support of dynamic attributes

Converter modules

The B2B Add-On contains a set of adapter modules allowing to convert native EDI messages into EDI XML messages and the other way around. In addition to that a plain text module is being provided for handling custom B2B message formats in the same way. This content conversion is beneficial as SAP NetWeaver PI is optimized for processing XML messages.

The converter modules can be used together with any transport protocol adapter for inbound and outbound communication. They support all common message type and versions of the following B2B/EDI standards:

  • ANSI X.12
  • EDIFACT
  • TRADACOM
  • Odette
  • VDA
  • Plain text

The conversion rules are maintained in tables. A maintenance tool is being provided allowing you to modify or create conversion rules as needed. Additional features are as follows:

  • Syntax check of inbound B2B/EDI messages (optionally)
  • Ability to generate XSD definitions which can be imported into the Enterprise Services Repository (for designing service interfaces, mappings)
  • Test features for validating EDI messages and generating sample EDI messages
  • Automatic detection of message type and conversion direction at runtime
  • Maintenance of number ranges for automatically inserting continuous counters into outgoing EDI messages

B2B infrastructure services

In addition to the technical connectivity, message handling and processing specific B2B/EDI related infrastructure services are being delivered ensuring a secure and professional integration B2B/EDI message exchange with your business partners, such as:

  • Security through key management: Digital certificates and keys are centrally managed in the key store views of the SAP Java application server.
  • EDI numbering: Generation of  transmission numbers to insert automatically continuous counters into outgoing EDI messages
  • Acknowledgement handling: Generation and handling of acknowledgements compliant with respective B2B/EDI protocol standard.
  • Archiving of B2B messages: Adapter module extending basic archiving functionality which is built into the AS2, X.400 and OFTP adapter. In and outgoing messages can be stored on the file system with more information (e.g. IDoc number in filename, archiving per business partner, etc.).
  • B2B mapping functions: A library of specific mapping functions needed for EDI/B2B communication. Besides, some basic mapping templates (EDI <-> IDoc) are being provided for testing purposes.
  • EDI splitting of inbound messages: This service requires a bit more explanation than the ones above: The EDI separator is an adapter is used for splitting inbound Electronic Data Interchanges comprising of multiple messages. Depending on the EDI standard splitting is done on the following segments:
    • EDIFACT – split per service string advice (UNA,) interchange header (UNB), message header (UNH) segment
    • ANSI X.12 – split per interchange control header (ISA), functional group header (GS), transaction set header (ST) segment
    • VDA – split per start segment

In addition to that the messages can be filtered by parameters like message type, version, sender, and receiver. Character set conversion is supported, too.

You might wonder how the EDI Splitter Adapter is used and how it works? Let’s take a look at the single steps performed in SAP NetWeaver PI:

  1. Electronic Data Interchange comprising of multiple B2B messages received by any technical adapter of SAP NetWeaver Process Orchestration
  2. Outbound EDI Separator Adapter splitting Electronic Data Interchange into single B2B messages
  3. Single B2B messages received by SAP NetWeaver Process Orchestration and mapped to corresponding internal message format (IDoc, Enterprise Service)
  4. Optionally acknowledgement generated and sent to business partner
  5. IDoc/Enterprise Service sent to receiving application

EDI Separator Adapter

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54 Comments

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    1. Katrin von Ahsen Post author

      Hello Shabarish,

       

      existing SEEBURGER B2B adapter customers can continue using the SEEBURGER adapters. Our partnership with SEEBURGER is still in place.

       

      Best regards,

       

      Katrin

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  1. Santhosh Kumar Vellingiri
    A most important add-on that many SAP PI implementing customers needs.

    I am also interested to know, which solution will SAP recommend and focus for B2B Integration. SAP Information Interchange on demand by Crossgate ? or B2B Add-on for SAP PI? Crossgate EDI managed service on SAP PI.

    ~SaNv…

    (0) 
    1. Katrin von Ahsen Post author

      Hello Santhosh,

       

      this finally depends on the customer’s requirements and preferences. The B2B integration strategy paper might help you to identify the right solution for your needs – SAP NetWeaver PI/PO with B2B add-on (on premise), SAP Information Interchange OnDemand (managed service) or the combination of the two. For details see

      http://scn.sap.com/community/b2b-integration/blog/2012/09/17/b2b-integration-strategy-onpremise-ondemand-and-hybrid).

       

      Best regards,

       

      Katrin

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  2. Prateek Raj Srivastava
    Hi Katrin,
    Thanks for sharing this information.
    A very big relief is that the SFTP adapter is free. 🙂
    After the annoucement in blog by Piyush, I asked a few questions and few of them got answered. A few remains:
    1. Are there any new monitoring capabilities provided specifically for EDI communication (like Seeburger Workbench)?
    2. Under the Converter Module section, you mentioned about “maintenance tool”. Will this tool be capable enough to edit standard mappings based on customer requirements (like Seeburger BIC MD)? Would there be direct deployment option from that tool on PI server?
    3. Are these adapters being built by SAP or bought from partners like Seeburger?
    Regards,
    Prateek Raj Srivastava
    (0) 
    1. Katrin von Ahsen Post author

      Hello Prateek,

       

      at 1.) You can monitor the message exchange with your partners using the standard monitoring solutions. In addition to that we plan to deliver a B2B monitoring solution allowing to monitor B2B processes end-to-end taking into account EDI specifics (e.g. acknowledgements).

      at 2.) The B2B add-on comes with predefined conversion rules for the most common EDI standards, messages and versions. If there is a need for modifying the standard rules or defining custom ones you can do this using a webbased maintenance solution. So no additional mapping tool will be needed.

       

      Best regards,

       

      Katrin

       

      Best regards,

      Katrin

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  3. Chandrasekhar Kotni
    It’s Fantastic news and raising the spirits to work on SAP NW PI new features. Long waiting Business solutions on the reach.

    Probably It’s high time most of the SAP PI customers should plan for migrating from their Legacy B2B middleware to SAP PI.

    Eager to see more info. Any Beta version available?

    (0) 
  4. Shantha Bandara
    Great news. This definitely helps PI to compete in middleware market.  No need to depend on third party adapters like Seeburger AS2 adapter. I would like to know details about licensing if it is possible. Will this be a part of PI or should customers buy  this Separately.

    Thanks
    Shantha

    (0) 
    1. Katrin von Ahsen Post author

      Hello Shanta,

       

      the Secure Connectivity Add-On (SFTP adapter, PGP adapter module) is for free. However, for using the B2B add-on you require an additional license.

       

      Best regards,

      Katrin

      (0) 
  5. Fred Verheul
    Hi Katrin,

    Thanks for the announcement and clear and in-depth description of the capabilities of this B2B Add-On.
    Some questions pop up though:
    1. What happened to the SAP strategy of letting partners come up with the so-called third-party adapters? Is SAP now killing/cannibalizing its ecosystem?
    2. How does this new offering compare to for instance the proven Seeburger product (no, I don’t have any shares)?
    3. What is the advice for customers? Third-party, B2B Add-On, or Crossgate B2B services?
    4. What is the cost of this B2B Add-On?
    5. In the past we’ve used Itemfield/Informatica Conversion Agent for plain text conversion of EDI-messages. Will the new functionality replace the need for this separately licensed tool?
    6. … (can’t think of more at the moment)

    Thanks for any clarification you can (and are allowed to) offer on these questions.

    Best regards, Fred

    (0) 
    1. Bhavesh Kantilal
      Great Questions. In addition – how easy would it be to say migrate mapping built from EDI to IDoc and vice versa from Seeburger / IWay to this offering from SAP? How do customers know what is the best solution to go to? Why this change of strategy from SAP?
      (0) 
      1. Bhavesh Kantilal
        Additional Question on Monitoring-
        Seeburger offers a Level 3 dashboard that enables you to use Interchange Numbers, ISA ID’s, etc to look for messages. Would SAP be offering such a monitoring tool built in or would customers have to use the Payload Search / TREX Option? A demo of this with how monitoring would be done would be great!
        (0) 
        1. Katrin von Ahsen Post author

          Hello Bhavesh,

           

          an end-to-end monitoring solution allowing to monitor B2B processes is currently being developed. This solution is supposed to become available by mid of next year.

           

          Best regards,

           

          Katrin

          (0) 
    2. Katrin von Ahsen Post author

      Hello Bhavesh,

       

      At 1.) Our startegy in regards of partners is unaffected. We welcome our partners to deliver adapters and predefined integration for specific implementation use cases. However, there was a strong request from existing customers to deliver a SAP solution for EDI integration.

      At 2.) On a high level the solution scope of the B2B Add-On and the Secure Connectivity Add-On is identical with the adapters from SEEBURGER. However, the SAP solution provides for instance the following benefits:

      • Easier to deploy and configure
      • Deeper integration in PI product (e.g. logging, monitoring, tracing)
      • No additional tooling is needed
      • Superior functionality is supposed to be delivered according to the roadmap (e.g. end-to-end message monitoring for B2B)

      3.) This finally depends on the customer needs. Third party adapters could be an option if only few B2B capabilities are needed. For determining whether the B2B add-on with SAP NetWeaver PI (on premise solution) or a managed service provided by SAP Information Interchange OnDemand or even a combination of both is the right choice for your B2B integration needs please take a look at this B2B integration strategy paper (http://scn.sap.com/community/b2b-integration/blog/2012/09/17/b2b-integration-strategy-onpremise-ondemand-and-hybrid).

      4.) Please consult your SAP sales representative regarding the costs of the B2B add-on.

      5.) The B2B add-on is no successor of SAP Conversion Agent but you can implement some of the CA use cases using the B2B add-on.

       

      Best regards,

      Katrin

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  6. Aamir Suhail
    Katrin,
    First of all, i would like to thank you for explaining the B2B offering of SAP PI, this will definitely help us in positioning PI at our clients location.
    I have one question on the “Separator” Adapter/Module. In the past, i have used the “Splitter” module of SeeBurger, it does pretty much the same task as Separator does but the splitting is done in the sender communication channel itself (by specifying splitter module in sender communication channel). So if we get an EDI 850 and 855 in a single message, the sender communication channel will split them hence we have to configure a single interface.
    In case of “Separator”, it looks like the splitting happens in the receiver communication channel so we have to configure atleast 2 interfaces. First interface is to split the EDI message and the second one to pick 850 and 855 individually.
    Please let me know if my understanding is correct or can we use Separator as a module in sender communication channel itself so that we can avoid creating multiple interfaces?

    Thanks
    Aamir

    (0) 
    1. Katrin von Ahsen Post author

      Hello Aamir,

       

      the EDI Separator is no adapter module but an adapter. You need to create an outbound EDI Separator communication channel for splitting the big EDI message into single messages comprising of one business document each. These are then sent to an inbound EDI Separator communication channel for the “real” processing. You can find further details on how to use this adapter at the Leaning Series about the B2B add-on: EDI Separator (see http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-28948).

       

      Best regards,

       

      Katrin

      (0) 
  7. Daniel Graversen
    Hi
    Nice to hear that the offering is not that fair into the future. I look forward to work with a little more integrated solution, that has been build up around what is required for working with SAP PI.

    daniel graversen

    (0) 
  8. Marcos Sola Bayarri

    hi,

     

    from my point of view there is no clear motivation for migrating from the Seeburger to the SAP adapters at this time:

    • since both require an additional license, I do not know if there is a cost saving
    • when it comes to EDI invoicing, there are many country specific requirements, for example, EDIFACT digital signatures in several european countries. Is SAP going to address these issues?

    the SFTP adapter is however a great new feature since it requires no additional license

     

    Marcos Solá

    (0) 
    1. Katrin von Ahsen Post author

      Hello Marcos,

       

      yes, additional costs apply for using the B2B add-on. As the pricing is different as for SEEBURGER B2B adapters you cannot say per default that one or the other will always cost less. I would be interested in getting to know what kind of digital signatures are missing as of today. Please drop me a private message ideally with further details about the implementation use case.

       

      Best regards,

       

      Katrin

      (0) 
  9. R-jay Galbizo

    Started Deploying and created some POCs all the B2B add-on in our sandbox. Let’s see how these add-ons be a big leverage over Seeburger.

     

    What’s good about these add-ons are the configuration guides included. We’ll see how these goes if I present this to existing and new clients. Great Job!

     

    Cheers,

    R-jay Galbizo

    (0) 
  10. Roberto Viana

    Hi there,

     

    Could you please confirm whether the B2B addon will support AS2 in combination with SHA-2?

     

    Many thanks,

     

    Roberto Viana

    (0) 
    1. Katrin von Ahsen Post author

      Hello Roberto,

       

      1)    SHA-2 algorithm support for AS2 is planned to be delivered with support package 1. Release to customer is scheduled for Q1 next year.

       

      Best regards,

       

      Katrin

      (0) 
  11. Sachi Patabendige

    Hi Katrin,

     

    We are in the process of introducing PO for B2B integration in our organisation. I saw some webinars have been done on this subject previously. I am searching for additional information to make my case on this. Is it possible to access those webinar contents to gain more information on PO. Appreciate if you can help.

     

    regards,

    Sachi Patabendige

    Enterprise Architect

    (0) 
  12. Patrick Weber

    Hi Katrin,

    Thanks for introducing the key features of the new B2B addon to us. We would especially be interested in the AS2 Adapter as we are leveraging an external – i.e. outside PI – AS2 solution today. I have one question regarding this adapter: Will it be Drummond certified? Checking the Drummond Group website, I was unable to spot it unless what you are using is the “Advantco AS2 Adapter for SAP Netweaver PI, Version 1.0”

     

    Many thanks,

    Patrick Weber

    (0) 
    1. Katrin von Ahsen Post author

      Hello Patrick,

       

      we plan to sign up for the Drummond certification next year. However, internal test and customer implementations didn’t show any interoperability issues with other AS2 solutions so far.

       

      Best regards,

      Katrin

      (0) 
  13. Maria Stock

    Bit of a daft question, but where is the add-on located in the software download catalogue? Note 1695520 points in the direction of a missing link. The PAM only tells me that PI SFTP PGP Addon 1.0 is also required.

     

    Many thanks for any info/links

    (0) 
    1. Katrin von Ahsen Post author

      Hello Maria,

       

      you require an additional license for downloading the B2B add-on. If the license key is not assigned to you/your company the download link for the B2B add-on will not be shown. If you are interested in evaluating the B2B add-on you can request a 90 days trial license from your SAP sales representative. Besides, PI and the B2B add-on is included in many SAP demo and test packages allowing partners to evaluate the solution.

       

      Best regards,

      Katrin

      (0) 
  14. Patrick Weber

    Thanks for taking the time to answer all our questions. One more from my side if you don’t mind.

    Will the XML structures generated from the EDI to XML converter be compatible with what the Seeburger BIC adapter module produces today, thus enabling reuse of already developed Message Mappings in case a customer was deciding to move from Seeburger to the new SAP product?

     

    Many thanks,

    Patrick

    (0) 
    1. Katrin von Ahsen Post author

      Hello Patrick,

       

      no, the XSDs of SEEBURGER B2B adapters and SAP B2B add-on are not compatible. The most obvious difference are the namespaces. The same applies to Message Mappings. Even though some parts of mappings for SEEBURGER B2B adapters or SAP B2B add-on might be identical on field level there are some functional differences (e.g. user defined functions) between both solutions.

       

      Best regards,

      Katrin

      (0) 
          1. Anand Shankar

            I don’t have the documents and thats why all the problem. the seeburger implementation was done long back.

            Basically I want to have a clear understanding of seeburger work bench and looking for those documents. kindly share if someone have.

             

            Thanks

            Anand

            (0) 
            1. Patrick Weber

               

              Hi Anand,
              Seeburger clearly state in their documentation that “No part of this document may be reproduced, copied, or transmitted in

               

              any form or purpose without the express prior written permission of SEEBURGER AG”. Nobody on this forum who is not directly affiliated with Seeburger is hence going to e-mail you these documents. If you have a valid license for their product, I’m certain you can easily obtain a new copy by contacting Seeburger support.

              Other than that, I can only echo what Dimitri has already recommended to you twice.

               

              Have a good weekend,

              Patrick

              (0) 
            2. Stefan Hilpp

              Dear Anand,

               

              the Seeburger Workbench is just an Interface to store/display information around the Seeburger EDI-Adapters in an easy overview. There is no “specific” Workbench documentation as each part of the Workbench is explained in the relevant documentation of the corresponding adapter that uses parts of the Workbench.

               

               

               

              Some examples:

              – if you are using the Seeburger PGP-Adapter, the Documentation of this Adapter explains how to use the “Key Center” to export, import or create keys that are then stored in the NWA-KEystore and can be used/accessed during encryption/decryption

               

              – if you are using the X400P7-Adapter, then the documentation of this Adapter explains how your partner-adresses can be maintained in the “Addressbook” of the Workbench

               

              if you use the “MessageSplitter” to split and process all kinds of incoming EDI data/formats, then the corresponding documentation explains how the entries need to be made in the “Message Splitter” part within the Seeburger Workbench

               

               

              So the SeeWorkbench is jus tone consolidated area that is used by many adapters and holds a lot of different features which are explained in the corresponding adapter-documentation

               

              Hope this clarifies the question

               

              Kind Regards

              Stefan

               

              Btw…usually it´s better if such questions are created in an own thread instead of an existing thread which refers to a different topic…

              (0) 
  15. Heiko Nolte

    Hello,

     

    I have two questions regarding the SAP PI/PO B2B add on:

     

    1) Is there an overview of EDI formats supported by the standard content mappings? I’m especially interested in formats of the German utility sector.

    2) Where can I find details regarding the licensing costs?

     

    Kind regards,

     

    Heiko

    (0) 
    1. Dimitri Sannen

      Hi Heiko,

       

      1) All EDI formats (UTILMD, UTILTS & CONTRL) are shipped with the software. I already used them.

       

      2) Please do contact your SAP account manager. He/she should be able to provide all the details.

       

      Kind regards,

      Dimitri

      (0) 
      1. Hareesh Gampa

        Hi Dimitri ,Ruchir

         

        Can’t we install B2B add-on on PI system? i.e. do we need a PO licencing to install it?

         

        We are currently running on 7.31 and we don’t use BPM/BRM but we are interested in B2B add-on.

         

        When we can install it on 7.11 system, i thought we should be able to get it without PO licencing.

         

        But i got a different message. Can you please confirm?

         

        Thanks for your time.

        (0) 
        1. Dimitri Sannen

          Hi Hareesh,

           

          You need a separate license for the B2B add-on, no matter on what system you install it. Please do contact your account manager for more details.

           

          You can also install it on a SAP PI 7.11 system, but please be aware that not all features will be available for you.

           

          Kind regards,

          Dimitri

          (0) 
          1. Heiko Nolte

            Hello Dimitri,

             

            thank’s for your response. A pity that SAP doesn’t provide an option to evaluate the B2B package since it contains quite a bit of features that would be worth being evaluated.

             

            Kind regards,

             

            Heiko

            (0) 
  16. M J

    Hi Dimitri,

     

    I hope you could help me with my EDI Scenario..

     

    Got a X12 EDI Document with 4 ISA Segments … EDI Separator is splitting only the first 3 but ignoring the last 1.

     

    First 3 are having the segment separator as “~” and the last ISA is having the LINE FEED “\n”

     

    When i tested by moving the last ISA segment before the other 3 segments. then it is working fine.

     

    Could you let me know if i’m missing anything in the configuration

     

    Thanks in Advance

    (0) 
  17. Mohd Tauseef Ibrahim

    SAP II Crossgate now paving way for Ariba Network .

     

    Will crossgate be antiquated after 2017?

     

    Is IAH adapter (integration adapter for healthcare using HL7) be a part of the B2B in future? no mention of this in the exisiting B2B documentation

     

    We have a few processes in parallel here , Ariba , B2B add on , existing Iway/ Seeburger /Advantco adapter/Conversion Agent.

     

    Will this be ease/choice/cost driven for new PI developments

    (0) 
    1. Dimitri Sannen

      HI,

       

      As far as I know, the IAH adapter will not be part of the B2B add-on in the future.

       

      Try to go for 1 product/technology to accelerate integration and to facilitate monitoring

      (0) 

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