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Extending SAP NW DSM/BRFplus capabilities to non-SAP landscapes

Decision Service Accelerator (DSA) is an add-on that extends SAP NW DSM/BRFplus into a multi-purpose, multi-platform, and multi-language business rule management and execution platform to suit the entire organization. It allows for central creation and distribution of SAP business rules and decision services as executable packages onto non-SAP servers, devices, and platforms. DSA is based on mature SAP technologies (NW DSM/BRFplus) and developed in close collaboration with SAP’s development team in Germany.

Reasons for development:

While working on SAP BRFplus implementation projects with customers, we came across scenarios where the rules created by SAP NW DSM/BRFplus need to be used across multiple platforms and multiple systems in the enterprise. Although it is technically feasible to do remote calls to the ABAP server for rules execution, in several situations local execution is preferable:

  • High performance

Service call overhead can be prohibitive in mass scenarios, where remote communication overhead takes more time than the execution of the rules (up to 10x).

  • Network Reliability

Local execution is ideal when bandwidth is limited or when the network is unstable.  For example, in mobile scenarios network reliability is an important aspect.

  • Security

By having the rules executed locally, enterprises can avoid sending critical data over the network, which may also provide better regulatory compliance (PCI, SOX).

  • Loose coupling

Removes dependency on other systems, thus avoids a single point of failure. e.g. maintenance of the SAP back-end should not take down the e-commerce platform.

Examples where DSA provides an excellent complement to NW DSM/BRFplus:

  • Offline account origination on mobile devices
  • Applying validation rules for new data before it hits the SAP system
  • Pricing rules which are executed on vending machines
  • Discount and shipment rules in web applications
  • Phased migration of legacy system logic into SAP standard

Technical Details:

In the above mentioned situations, the current implementation lacks the flexibility to deploy those rules to non-SAP platforms. This is where DSA gives the end user the flexibility of central authoring and local execution of the same rules, allowing availability, best performance and security. The basic idea here is to build once, run everywhere, on both SAP and non-SAP platforms utilizing mature SAP NW DSM/BRFplus infrastructure.


As a business partner of SAP, we collaborated with the NW DSM/BRFplus team in the implementation of DSA. The goal is to provide perfect integration with NW DSM/BRFplus, so customers can leverage existing investments and keep known processes and tools (existing rules, administration, education, etc). The Roadmap of NW DSM as outlined by SAP (slides 26 and 27) gives an idea for integration:


Below is the high level architecture for generating rules in Java with a brief overview of different processing steps. The process shown is generic and works the same way for both SAP NW DSM and standalone BRFplus. Service ID (aka Function ID in BRFplus) is the driving component for generating the rules.

                                           /wp-content/uploads/2013/10/dsa_flow_297121.png

The following steps are done in sequence to create the executable package for the specified service:

1. Metadata is extracted for specified decision service

2. Metadata is then used to create Java file with the right methods/statements. The same meta data is also used to create property files specific to the service (validity information, currencies, units etc.,)

3. Generated Java file is compiled using DSA Java API, which contains all the necessary supporting classes

4. Java archive is then created and can be deployed to server, either manually or automatically from SAP NW DSM

DSA supports usage of SAP NW DSM and standalone BRFplus scenarios. It is an add-on that can be installed on NW 7.3 Enhancement Package 1 or higherIn BRFplus only scenarios, a transaction code is provided to generate and download the resulting Java archive. There are “exits” in the standard transactions DSM and BRFplus so that DSA can integrate perfectly with existing tools and capabilities of the standard (deployment, template code generation, simulation…).

Code Snippet:

Java clients can see the simplicity of the implementation (as few as four steps)

1. Get decision service instance

2. Set the context values

3. Execute the service

4. Get the result

/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/dsa_codesnippet_297120.png

Summary of Advantages:

DSA simplifies system architecture, reduces hardware requirements, and allows for more homogeneous, integrated business rules and decision service management:

  • Provides lowest total cost of ownership and immediate ROI
  • Makes SAP NW DSM/BRFplus the single Business Rule Management System for the entire organization (on SAP or other platforms such as JBOSS, Tomcat, WebLogic etc.,)
  • Best performance (factor of 1000 compared to remote execution)
  • Best security (no need to send critical data across the network)
  • No tight system coupling
  • Smaller machine and less network throughput

Outlook:
Currently, DSA is being implemented to generate Java code but, we are working to extend this approach to other languages like C/C++, C#.  One other area DSA is currently being optimized for is SAP SUP mobile platform and we are looking at extending this capability to SAP HANA (XS engine) as well.

References:

Listed below are some of the relevant video(s) and blog(s) related to DSA.

DSA – Demo video – link coming …..


SAP NW Decision Service Management (DSM)

    http://www.sap.com/decision-service-management

    http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-29158

    List of SAP NW DSM Features

Business Rule Framework plus (BRFplus)

    http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-8824

    Replacing custom code with SAP NW DSM/BRFplus

About MOURI Tech:
Established in 2005, today MOURI Tech LLC is a leading provider of information technology services specializing in global SAP solutions with consulting presence not only in North America but also worldwide. We are both solution and service partner with SAP and provide expertise in the following areas to public and private sector customers in USA, Canada, Europe, South America, South Africa and India.

  • SAP Enterprise Resource Planning
  • SAP Customer Relationship Management
  • SAP NetWeaver Components (BW, XI, MDM, E-portals, CAF)
  • Web Technologies (Java, HTML)
  • Microsoft Technologies (BizTalk) and their integration with SAP

MOURI Tech is also a SAP consulting partner focused on NW DSM/BRFplus and is the front-runner holding responsibility for several live SAP NW DSM and BRFplus projects. We participate in a co-innovation program for the DSA (Java generator) and therefore closely collaborate with SAP (Carsten Ziegler – DSM Product Owner/Architect).  

Visit us at http://www.mouritech.com for more information regarding MOURI Tech.

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3 Comments

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  1. Carsten Ziegler

    Thanks for this nice blog, Kishore.

    It was always nice working with you guys from MOURI Tech. Hopefully, we will have a lot of more projects and your new tool will prosper. Makes me proud to see how partners extend the capabilities of NW DSM/BRFplus.

    🙂

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  2. Phillip Parkinson

    Great blog Kishore, thanks.

    Im looking forward to details on DSA integration to the SAP Mobile Platform as i have some across a number of use cases where this would be beneficial.

    Cheers

    Phillip

    (0) 

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