Just back from SAP Tech Ed Las Vegas!, have to say it was an exciting experience. I will start with a word of appreciation for the organizing team, specially being a speaker this time, for organizing a well orchestrated event.
The focus this year on the POP ( Process orchestration ) track, was mainly on SAP HCI or HANA Cloud Integration. This being complimented with thought provoking sessions from SAP Product Management including Udo and Sindhu.
Here are my thoughts around the same.
So what is HCI?
SAP HCI or HANA Cloud Integration is an additional integration offering from SAP. This is a cloud based integration tool strategically positioned by SAP to enable On Demand to On Demand as well as On Premise to On Demand application Integration. This is a complimentary offering from SAP in addition to SAP Process Orchestration.
What are the key selling points and features of HCI?
The following are the key features of HCI
- A fully functional cloud infrastructure, supporting features like multi-tenancy, automated fail-over and subscription based usage
- Zero downtime for software upgrades
- Core message processing engine, for message transformation and routing
- Centralized monitoring framework
- Pre-delivered integration for On Premise to On Demand application like SAP HCM –> SuccessFactors or SAP CRM with Sales on Demand etc. via Integration Flow ( IFLOW) objects
- SAP maintained operational management infrastructure
- Pre-build A2A and B2B adapters
So how do we position HCI?
In my opinion, the positioning of HCI can be segmented into the following categories:
1. Customer with no On Premise Integration Capabilities
- As a Pros – HCI can really be a great tool for customers with no existing middle ware set up. This can provide them an option of a well controlled and monitored infrastructure to integrate with cloud based application. Pre-delivered integration content can accelerate deployment. This reduces the total cost of ownership or TCO at the customer. This can be a go to solution in this case.
- As a Con – At this point in time there is limited integration content available on the HCI, mainly pertaining to SuccessFactors, Business By Design and Financial services. In case the customer has integration needs beyond what is delivered, additional development activities have to be executed.
2. Customers with On Premise Integration Capabilities like SAP PI
- As a Con – As customers already have an On premise middle ware set-up most On-Premise to On-Demand integration can be supported out that infrastructure. Using an additional cloud based integration option, might lead to lack of harmonization within the integration landscape.
- As a Pros – Customers might still have requirements for On Demand to On Demand Integration e.g. SuccessFactors BizX with KRONOS etc. In order to use a house middle ware for such integration, the cloud to cloud traffic needs to be routed into the customer firewall. This might require additional firewall rules to be implemented. With HCI, customers can avoid such an integration model.
What’s in for the Partners?
Since SAP is responsible for maintaining the cloud infrastructure, as well as providing the Integration content, there is not much required out of an Integration partner. There are discussions around a partner eco-system to build custom content and adapters for customers in later releases. At this point there is no such option.
A few things to look out for?
The following could be a few things to look out for
1. A possible orchestration engine, if required by the customer. At this point there is no such provision
2. Scaling for high volume message integration.
3. Partner Eco-system
The above are my opinion on HCI. In case you are attending Tech Ed Sessions at Amsterdam or Bangalore, please attend the following core POP Sessions
POP100, POP101, POP104, POP201, POP202 from SAP Product Management.