I recently watched a TechEd Las Vegas session entitled “Integration of Cloud Solutions from SAP” in which details were provided on the upcoming NetWeaver Cloud-based Integration as a Service (IntaaS). In this presentation, there were some interesting details not only about the IntaaS but also about more general NetWeaver Cloud-related topics.
There is a list of personas or roles that will be involved in this new offering:
- Tenant admin: configure backend systems (e. g. install and configure FSN Corporate Agent, configure sFTP connectivity, upload and download of communication information, such as WSDLs, certificates, directory and file name, polling interval)
- LOB user: trigger updates in business scenarios (e. g. payment requests, business partner updates etc.) -> which in turn triggers a message exchange to SAP NetWeaver Cloud Integration
- SAP Cloud Professional Services aka Developer: support customer extension scenarios i.e. create integration flows, build mappings, generate configuration bundles
- SAP Cloud Managed Services aka SaaS admin: create tenants, start nodes, deploy right configuration bundle and certificates to corresponding node, react on alerts on SPC (Service Provider Cockpit), drive software updates, message monitoring
- SAP Application Content developer: create standard integration content which includes creation of APIs and mappings, e. g. from SoD to CRM 7.0
Since integration plays a critical role in hybrid (OnPremise/OnDemand integrations), these roles are very important.
- Missing is any indicators of partners in these roles. There is an interesting reference to security elsewhere in the presentation: “Only registered users via SAP Cloud Professional Services can leverage the service”. If such individuals can only come from SAP, does this mean that other developers can’t use the environment? I assume that partners will also be able to create such integration flows. Perhaps, this presentation only refers to standard integrations.
- The division of labor between Customer Tenant Admins and SAP Cloud Managed Services staff isn’t really clear (for example, hand-overs between the two groups are missing) but I’m hoping that more details will provided in future.
- I like the idea of personas – they remind me of design thinking. It would be great to see other NetWeaver Cloud-related offers (for example NetWeaver Cloud Portal) also provide such personas so that common tooling and role descriptions might be achieved. For example, is the Application Content developer in IntaaS different from that of individuals who create NetWeaver Cloud Portal content?
Tenant Management UIs
The ability of SaaS solutions to support multi-tenancy is critical. NetWeaver Cloud supports this functionality and applications which run on this platform could also support it as well. The efficient administration of multi-tenancy is also very important and increases in significance as the number of tenants supported by a particular application starts to rise.
NetWeaver Cloud provides various tools to provide this functionality.
Note: I know that the NetWeaver Cloud tools dealing with tenant support are still in their early stages and that changes in their design are to be expected in the future.
It is important that such tenant-related tools are harmonized on UI and platform.
I’ve used the current set of web-based NetWeaver Cloud tenant administration tools during the configuration of custom Identity Providers and I find the tools quite good.
I was therefore a bit surprised when I was looking at the IntaaS presentation and saw that their tenant-based tools are Eclipse-based.
I have no idea what functionality is provided by these IntaaS tenant administration tools or if there is an overlap between the existing web-based tools. It is important, however, to assure that administrators don’t have a multiple environments – or even worse centralized vs. decentralized tools – to deal with tenant administration.
There is still other important tenant-related functionality that is missing in NetWeaver Cloud. For example, the ability to set tenant-specific HTTP destinations – as used by the Cloud Connectivity Service – comfortably via UI is still unavailable. Currently, destinations are set in Eclipse or via command line without any association with tenants. Another example of this gap concerns schema.
Although these gaps currently exist, SAP is hopefully aware of the critical importance of multi-tenant support. If we are lucky, the current bi-monthly releases will hopefully soon be bringing improvements in this area.