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

  1. A fully functional cloud infrastructure, supporting features like multi-tenancy, automated fail-over and subscription based usage
  2. Zero downtime for  software upgrades
  3. Core message processing engine, for message transformation and routing
  4. Centralized monitoring framework
  5. 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
  6. SAP maintained operational management infrastructure
  7. 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.

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5 Comments

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    1. Abhishek Vinayaka Post author

      Hi Rahul

      It run on the a HANA database, but as we understand, core HANA capabilities are evident while doing complex data base operations or computation.  Since an integration tool does not require doing the same, the benefits of HANA will not be that evident

      Regards,

      Abhishek

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      1. Anoop Garg

        Hi Abhishek,

        SAP HCI is one of components available on HANA Cloud platform & it is only available as application edition right now. With my understanding, it doesn’t runs on SAP HANA yet. It’s on roadmap but could be available in coming year with latest release.

        Do you see it documented anywhere that current SAP HCI runs on SAP HANA as of now?

        Regards,

        Anoop

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        1. Abhishek Vinayaka Post author

          Hi Anoop,

          That is correct.  Currently SAP HANA does not support a JAVA VM.  Based on my discussion with Product Management this should be available in the next release.

          SAP PI 7.4 SP04 will be enabled to run on HANA.

          Also there is a Data Service component on HCI, which will use HANA DB for Data Quality Management.

          The following sessions POP100/POP104 address this specific questions

          Regards,

          Abhishek

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      2. Rahul Thunoli

        Abishek ,

        Sorry about the delayed reply . When i raised this question to one of the product managers at the tech’ed his answer was that HCI would be on Sybase Database . The whole thing sits on the cloud but the backend would be sybase for now . Your guess is as good as mine what SAP will plan to do with the product in the future .

        The confusing thing is, if there is no HANA involved why would they name the product HCI .

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