Introduction: Since the introduction of the cloud computing technology, there has been a shift in the level of investments by organizations in software licenses. Organizations are rapidly moving from the concept of software ownership to software rental. Sequel to this, SAP has released the offering of HANA Cloud Integration (HCI) as its latest integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS) for enterprise and B2B integration solutions.
SAP HANA Cloud Integration (HCI) is not PI on the cloud, but it is a platform that supports full integration capabilities and combines certain functionalities of SAP PI and Data Services. It involves the creation of iFlows from eclipse-based development environment for end-2-end messaging and connectivity between on-premise and cloud solutions. This is an on-demand solution with prepackaged integration content and the possibilities of enhancing these delivered content and this can be integrated with other solutions. The cloud infrastructure is managed by SAP with fixed pricing for services consumed by each customer. Highlighted below are the current features of SAP HANA Cloud Integration Platform and those that will become available before the end of 2013. It is however important to note that HCI is currently available for integration of applications and business processes within the financial sector, and it is been released within SAP Financial Services Network (SFSN), 7 banks already supported around the world.
FEATURES OF SAP HANA CLOUD INTEGRATION PLATFORM
Ø Security and performance are key issues why people are skeptical in putting information on the cloud; HCI handles these concerns by supporting signing, encryption and decryption of data that passes through the modeled flows from end-2-end.
Ø SAP HANA Cloud is released as Application Edition (Sales OD-CRM OP), (SFSF BizX OD-HCM OP), (SFSF EC OD-ERP OP).
Ø SAP HCI has a multi-tenant architecture (separated firewall rules, separated system config, security, etc..)
Ø Eclipse is the IDE to modify iFlows, and is the developers’ workbench.
Ø Availability of UI access to modify integration flows and prepackaged iFlows can also be downloaded to eclipse and modified, iFlows are deployed on the server (SAP Java AS), but it can be deployed to iFlowMAP, but only on test environment for testing purpose.
Ø All the functions of graphical mapping are supported; XSLT mapping can also be used.
Ø Existing PI content is supported and can be imported into HCI; ServiceInterface, OperationMapping, MessageMappings rep. objects.
Ø Connectivity Options: IDOC, SOAP, SFTP between backend systems. Additional connectivity options will become available in future releases.
Ø Certificates can also be browsed and supported on Eclipsed based environment
Ø Only SOAP-based web services are currently supported. REST-based services are not yet supported.
Ø Re-use UDFs, there is a high backward compatibility (all PI versions from XI 3.0 can be used for importing service interfaces in iFlow.
Ø Two environments will be provided to HCI customers to test and deploy their integration solutions on the Cloud; these include a Development, and Production.
Ø HCI currently runs on top of Sybase as database and not on HANA in memory DB, however, future plans is to make it HANA powered.
Ø Softwares are upgraded every month on SAP Side for maintenance of the cloud infrastructure
Ø Message monitoring functionalities are available on the server on which they are deployed to and also the artifacts are visible. There are different possibilities with deploying that is on different node types (IFLMAP or the AS Java Server), downloading iFlows (as zip or jar files).
Ø HCI will run as an alternative to PI, small companies that do not have the capacity can cheaply use it.
Ø Prefilled with contents of different sector, lots bank require this solution, so SAP banking is a driver of this solution.
Ø SAP takes care of all integration; including first mile integration, partners are invited to build connectors or adapters. Partners and customers can create HCI solutions (reusable connectors and other integration logic) of their own and deploy them into the cloud. Additional Eclipse SDK will be provided for this purpose. These custom solutions can be certified by SAP as well, this is planned for future releases in the road map.
Ø Message Processing Pattern: It supports both Synchronous and Asynchronous processes.
SAP HANA Cloud Integration (HCI) provides a new opportunity for small, medium-size and big corporations to integrate their enterprise applications and integrate with partners at reduced costs and without investing heavily on software licenses.
NB: HCI does not support SAP BPM functionalities or integration with SAP BPM for now.
This blog has been written with contributions from Roberto Viana-Blanco and John Mutumba Bilay of Rojo Consultancy BV, The Netherlands