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What is SAP PI:-

            SAP PI provides technical infrastructure for XML based message exchange to enable the integration of business processes.

    It is an Integration technology & platform

  • For integrating SAP systems with Non-SAP systems.
  • For integrating A2A & B2B applications.
  • For synchronous & asynchronous exchange of messages.
  • For cross component Business Process Management.

What is SAP BODS:-

                Data Service is the primary tool to extract, transform & load data from one or more source systems into one or more target systems.

Data Services can access data from a wide variety of applications and file sources and can consume almost every type of data—structured, semi-structured, and unstructured—from those sources.

Types of Integration:-

There are different ways of integrating business applications.

  • Service Integration
  • Message Integration
  • Business Process Integration
  • Data Integration

Different approaches to handle the integration types.

  • Service Integration.
  • ® Establishment of a service –oriented architecture.
  • Message Integration & Business Process Integration.
  • ® Enterprise Application Integration or B2B integration.
  • Data Integration.
  • ® Extract, Transform & Load utilities.

Service oriented Architecture

  • All functionality is published as a services in platform independent manner.
  • Services can be consumed by other applications.

Enterprise Application Integration.

  • Process of linking different applications within a single organization together in order to simplify and automate business processes to the greatest extent possible.

Extract Transform & Load

  • Extracting data from different sources.
  • Transforming it to fit the operational & analytical needs.
  • Loading it into end targets.

Out of these SOA & EAI can be managed by SAP PI & ETL can be managed by BODS.

There is overlap between SAP PI & BODS about the functionalities they offer.

Deciding factors about the choice between the PI & BODS are

  • Technical & functional capabilities of both
  • Organizational environment
  • The type of integration to be done.
  • Technical environment(hardware size)
  • Other factors.


Process Integration  v/s Data Services

We will discuss the capabilities in detail

Data Volume:-

  • If large no of messages are per second with less or medium amt of data need to be delivered then SAP PI is the very good choice.
  • If the data volumes are very large & frequency of data to be transferred is less than SAP BODS is the choice.


                Suppose the requirement is that the data is sent to a business partner twice a month & the file size is 4 GB. Then in such a case sending the data      to BODS is good option.


Processing Mode:-

  • Scheduled / Batch Based:-

                Data services processing is typically scheduled. You can schedule the Batch jobs in BODS or specifically run it.  Pi jobs can also be scheduled but                 generally they are not scheduled.

  • Event / Trigger Based:-

BODS has the capability to receive events via web services or other means & process these events.

PI is typically triggered by incoming data.

  • Real Time(synchronous/ asynchronous):-

Data latency for DS is larger( minutes rather than seconds).

PI offers mechanisms for real-time synchronous transactions.


  • Data has to be moved from the database to BW system once in a week or once in a day then BODS is the goods option.
  • File has to be picked from the sender system after every 10minutes then SAP PI is the good option.

Data Processing Level:-

  • PI is used to exchange messages between systems while data service is used to exchange data set.

Data Transformation:-

  • Both data services & PI do well in applying basic transformations. Basic functions required for transformations are available on both the platforms. eg. String functions, mathematical functions etc are found in both.
  • Data service has much fore functionalities related to data cleansing activity. eg. Validate, Table Comparison, Map_operations etc.

Business Process Management:-

  • Pi provides full workflow capabilities. System centric & Human centric workflows are possible in PI.
  • Data service focus on system centric workflows only. In DS workflows are simple deals with process sequencing & error handling.

Reliable Messaging:-

  • Data service doesn’t support guaranteed delivery.
  • PI supports guaranteed delivery with 2 options, Exactly One(EO) &Exactly Once In Order(EOIO).
  • Asynchronous messaging (EO & EOIO) is based on WS standard.


  • Both PI & BODS are capable of handling connectivity between SAP & non-SAP systems.
  1. File Handling, SAP Applications(RFC, IDOCs, Proxy), Legacy protocols(JMS), Databases.
  • Database handling is the core functionality of BODS. It is able to extract tables in the complex manner.
  • For EDI connectivity according industry standards PI is most suitable as EDI adapters are available in SAP PI.


  • PI is positioned as a SOA middleware. It is the basis of SOA. You can create a web service from the interfaces used in PI.
  • In PI you can publish your web services in service registry which is based on UDDI 3.0, where you can search, manage & consume the web services.
  • BODS acts as service provider or consumer, but doesn’t offer further SOA functionality.


  • The cost of using SAP PI as an integration tool is based on the overall processed message volume expressed in GB/month.  SAP PI is free to use for integration between SAP to SAP systems.
  • In BODS with one application we can cover multiple data management processes so it lowers TCO.


  • So for SAP to SAP integration SAP PI is most suitable.
  • And for data migration, cleansing & validation of data from source to target system BODS is most suitable.


Type of Integration:-

  • For Service, Enterprise Application Integration  & Business-Business(B2B) integration SAP PI is the best choice.
  • For Data integration SAP BODS is the best choice.


  • If user need to know the details about the number of materials created in an working unit then creating the web service for this purpose & consuming it across anywhere is the right choice & for this SAP Pi is the best option.
  • Data service is the best option for data integration with SAP Netweaver  BW, SAP HANA & entire Business Objects BI Platform. Data Services is the preferred tool for loading non-SAP data into SAP HANA. In fact, the data integration capabilities of Data Services are included with SAP HANA. Additionally, SAP is making major improvements for a seamless user interface between Data Services and SAP HANA.

Integration Content:-

  • SAP delivers prepackaged integration content, which is created based on the SAP SOA design methodology. This business content includes global data types, service interfaces, and mapping definitions. IT professionals can use this predelivered content from SAP to jump-start their SOA implementations in SAP PI.
  • Third party adapters are also available in SAP PI to meet particular industry EDI adapters by Seeburger

Development Interface:-

  • In BODS all generation & data quality processes are developed & managed in a single interface i.e.” Data Service Designer”.
  • In PI creation of Design & Configuration objects are separated in “Integration Repository” & “Integration Directory” respectively.


                As we have seen the overlap between SAP PI & BODS we came to know that both are important tools & depending upon the business requirement, cost, available resources, connectivity options & data volume one would choose SAP PI or SAP BODS for their integration requirement.

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      Author's profile photo Arne Weitzel
      Arne Weitzel

      Good articel! If you need to replicate high volume of database transactions in real-time then Sybase repliaction server comes into play as well.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Arne,

           Thanks first of all for your comments.

      You are right, for high volume of database transactions in real time Sybase Replication Server is really very good option.

      Data Service is very good option for not just for transferring large amount of data but also for cleansing the data & not suitable for real time movements.

      It supports real time data movements for Idoc & web services but with idoc not too much data can be transferred at one time...

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hello Rahul,

        Excellent document which covers almost all the aspects of both PI & BODS in a comarative manner.

      Author's profile photo Vijayakumar Mukunthan
      Vijayakumar Mukunthan

      Hi Rahul

        I have few questions. We have lots of data migrations in our organizations. Mostly from sap to sap very few from non sap to sap. We do typical data migration using LSMW is tool to do both download and upload. For very huge volume of data this tool is not good support. Now management is deciding to go out of LSMW and trying to introduce new tools from market. They found ETL is the tool. Just how to go. These are my requirements

      1) we extract mostly from SAP and upload the data to SAP. Sometimes from Non SAP to SAP.

      2) We can do all sort of data validations, transformation and conversions is possible BODS but all the data once extracted user has to verify and confirm then only it will be uploaded in SAP. Is it possible with BODS?.

      3) If so to point 2. I checked in some forums uploads are happened by IDOCs. Is it possible to do by our custom program, Similar to any BDC, Batch Input programs,BAPI or any FM from SAP.

      4) If users has to verify the data how they can do? Do they need BODS license. We have more the 1 lakh users if license requires to everyone?.

      5) Which one will you suggest either BODS or ETL both cost wise is also important.

      Waiting for your reply.



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      HI Vijay,

          BODS is used for ETL operations.So all operations regarding Extract, Transform & Load are possible with BODS. You can use it for SAP-to-SAP & also for Non-SAP to SAP.

      There are lot of functions with which you can validate your data, you can prevent duplicate entries, you can filter out unwanted data, check for wrong entries, can preserve the old data & many more operations are possible.

      To integrate with SAP you can use idocs, bapi, extractors & tables.

      About your point 4 please elaborate more about it.

      As far as your requirement is concerned BODS is very good tool.


      Rahul More

      Author's profile photo Vijayakumar Mukunthan
      Vijayakumar Mukunthan

      Hi Rahul

        Thanks for your valuable information. Few more queries.

      • If user intervention is there. How to handle it?. Meaning after extraction of data the user has to verify the huge volume of data. Then user has to be versatile of the tool.
      • Say example extract data from SAP and upload to other SAP not only by IDOC or any custom program or any BDC program to upload the data to new SAP system
      • Say extract the data in the form of text file and need to upload in new SAP system via LSMW. Is it possible?.



      Author's profile photo Louis de Gouveia
      Louis de Gouveia

      Hi Vijay

      Have a look at

      The blog explains data migration, we make use of DS.

      Will give you a good idea of what is possible.

      Can load data into sap via IDOCS, BAPI and function modules when using data services.

      Have a look at this also.

      Author's profile photo durga venkatesh
      durga venkatesh

      Hi Louis,

      I am into SAP ABAP background of 4 years. But i am not all intrested in coding so i want to move to SAP PI or SAP BODS which is better for future to choose for me to learn.

      Please help me on this.



      Author's profile photo durga venkatesh
      durga venkatesh

      Hi Vijay,

      I am into SAP ABAP background of 4 years. But i am not all intrested in coding so i want to move to SAP PI or SAP BODS which is better for future to choose for me to learn.

      Please help me on this.



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      We have a scenario to receive data from SAP Data Services to SAP PI.

      So my question is how do we connect SAP Data Services to SAP PI.

      The landscape is  SAP DATA services -> SAP PI -> SAP BW (PIPE).

      I am aware of SAP PI - > SAP BW( PIPE). I am concerned about the

      SAP DATA services -> SAP PI.

      Your replies will be very helpful.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Souvi,

      Can you elaborate on what type of integration you are looking between PI & BODS.


      Rahul More

      Author's profile photo durga venkatesh
      durga venkatesh

      Hi Rahul,

      I am into SAP ABAP background of 4 years. But i am not all intrested in coding so i want to move to SAP PI or SAP BODS which is better for future to choose for me to learn.

      Please help me on this.