SAP HANA Cloud Integration (HCI) is a relatively new SAP cloud product. HCI is marketed primarily as Software-as-a-service. Standard integration content is delivered by SAP to integrate SuccessFactors, Ariba, SAP Financial Services and SAP Cloud for Customer with on-premise systems such as SAP ECC and SAP CRM. Within short notice, the HCI platform will also be released for development of custom integration scenarios (expected Q1 2014). The release of the platform for developments immediately raises the comparison with SAP Process Orchestration(PO). How does HCI compare with SAP PO?

Software-as-a-service

HCI is not the first product for which SAP provides standard integration content. The integration content offered by SAP for HCI can be viewed at www.saphanacloudintegration.com. SAP offers a lot of standard integration capabilities and content for e.g. SAP PO. For HCI however, not only standard content but also the management and monitoring of this integration content is offered by SAP. SAP is therefore responsible for the hosting, configuration and monitoring of integration scenarios. This involves a new service offering for which interaction with SAP customers is very important. It relieves the customer of hosting, configuration and monitoring of the integration environment. A huge difference with SAP PO where standard content offered must be hosted, configured, managed and monitored by the customer themselves.

Platform-as-a-service

The HCI platform will be released soon for custom integration developments. The HCI platform does not need to be managed and maintained. The monitoring of integration scenarios which are developed on HCI are though the responsibility of the customer. HCI offers a multi-tenant platform, making the separation between business units over separate tenants possible, a frequent struggle among customers within SAP PO because of the single-tenancy. Software updates will take place continuously, this is called a “rolling software update”. The business down-time with upgrades and releases is near-zero with HCI. Within SAP PO upgrades and releases of the software means downtime for the business. With the latest releases this down-time is also reduced to near zero.

HCI currently offers a few connectivity options: SOAP, sFTP and IDOC. Authentication methods within HCI are certificate based. The capabilities are limited compared to SAP PO. HCI is a cloud product, therefore the vast majority of possible scenarios will be covered with the current capabilities of HCI. HCI is still undergoig strong developments and on short notice there will be a lot of new functionalities. HCI will become more mature and a broader integration product. The roadmap of HCI can be found here: SAP HANA Cloud Integration – Overview

Migration

There is no migration path from SAP PO to HCI. HCI is not natural growth path of an SAP PI server. HCI must be seen as a complete new product and not as the successor of SAP PO. It is though possible to reuse objects from SAP PI HCI. This concerns the java message service definitions and mappings.

Integration Scenarios

The integration capabilities of SAP PO are extensive, almost all scenarios can be supported. SAP PO supports A2A, B2B, mobile and many other scenarios and SAP PO has proven itself in these areas. As well fast user interaction as bulk processing scenarios can be implemented with ease within SAP PO. However, HCI is a new product with( still ) limited capabilities. HCI will be favourable for scenarios where volumes are not too large and no business logic or business rules are concerned. When Business Process logic is needed, SAP PO will be favourable.

With HCI implementation times of integration scenarios will be very low because of the cloud structure HCI. There are no initial installation guides and server configurations when HCI will be implemented. One just requests a server access by SAP and developments can start immediately. This is one af the advantages of a cloud product. The development of scenarios for HCI within Eclipse is very easy and is template based. This saves the developer a lot of time and will prevent a lot of common mistakes. An overview of HCI functionalities and how to develop your first scenario, take a look at SAP HANA Cloud Integration – SAP Help Portal Page.

For a quick overview of the differences between SAP PO and SAP HCI, I have taken a comparison from the roadmap slides which were presented at the TechEd by Udo Paltzer. This will give you a quick overview of the differences between SAP PO and SAP HCI.

SAP HCI or SAP PO?

Having made the comparison between SAP PO and SAP HCI we can try to answer the question; which product to use and when? Therefore I will try to answer the next few questions. These answers cannot be generalized or used without knowing the context of each integration scenario and must therefore be interpreted with care.

  • You are not using PO, implementing a SAP Cloud Product and want to integrate with on-premise SAP systems?
    Try to use the standard content of SAP HCI when available.
  • You are already using SAP PO, implementing a SAP Cloud Product and want to integrate with on-premise SAP systems?
    Try to use the standard content of SAP HCI when available.
  • You are using non-SAP middleware and implementing a SAP Cloud Product and want to integrate with on-premise SAP systems?
    Try to use the standard content of SAP HCI when available.
  • You need to develop custom integration scenarios?
    Consider SAP HCI. Evaluate the pros and cons of SAP HCI versus SAP PO.

What do you think of the comparison between SAP PO and SAP HCI. Please let me know by responding to this blog.

Best regards,

Fons



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15 Comments

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  1. Praveen Varriam

    Good notes Fons. I enjoyed reading the details.

    Few queries to you…..

    How about HCI security features? Customers are always sceptical about security when they hear about cloud integration [S-a-aS].

    Whether HCI capable to add client certificates for secure connections just like PO handles?

    Is HCI inclined towards CRM applications just like Salesforce?

    Thanks!

    Praveen.

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  2. Fons van Nuland Post author

    Hello Praveen,

    Security on authorization leven is done with SSL(X.509 certificates). Within short notice probably also username/password and SAML authentication will be available. Configuration of certificates is very easily done within Eclipse when configuring the Integration Flows.

    All related information can be found on SAP HANA Cloud Integration – SAP Help Portal Page.

    What do you mean with your last question? There is standard integration provided by HCI to integrate SAP CRM and SAP cloud products.

    Best regards,

    Fons

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  3. Paresh Mishra

    Great start Fons on this topic

    Comment on Point 2 and 4 comparison which is not always straight forward and clear “You are already using SAP PO, implementing a SAP Cloud Product and want to integrate with on-premise SAP systems?”

    This would depend on multiple factor as Integration content – mapping provided by SAP can also be used with SAP PI apart from HCI

    — Factors such as paying extra subscription cost for HCI as customer already has SAP PI On-Premise (OP) would come into picture

    — Data Centre location of HCI when Integrating Cloud –> OP scenario as if the location of HCI DC is important for both privacy and performance considerations and is dependent on individual customer strategy as well

    — Customer Integration Architecture strategy would also determine if introducing HCI apart from PI would make sense as they would like to see Cloud Integration as an seperate project with its own scenarios being implemented and thus keeping them seperated for performance / security and support considerations.

    — Thus in Cloud <–> On-Premise Integration scenarios it is clear when you don’t have SAP PI in your landscape then its simple to use HCI and leverage the standard Integration content, but when you have PI in some cases introducing HCI would make sense and in some cases may be not. The whole TCO / TCD discussion needs to be factored in apart from other principles.

    — Cloud <–> Cloud Scenario is straight forward and would always be recommended to use HCI here as opposed to SAP PI.

    Four scenarios which are relevant for Cloud Integration (iPaaS) but with different suitability rating. This being mentioned by Gartner in recent AADI summit as well.

    1. Cloud <–> On-Premise Integration (e.g. SuccessFactors, Cloud for Customer Integration)  – – High on suitability for iPaaS

    2. B2B / Network Integration (e.g. FSN) – High on suitability for iPaaS

    3. API Management / Publishing (e.g. Multi channel scenarios) – High on suitability of iPaaS

    4. On-Premise Integration (less suitable for iPaaS)

    Best Regards / Paresh Mishra

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  4. Fons van Nuland Post author

    Hello Paresh,

    Thank you for comments and I do agree with you. TCO and architectural decisions sure have to be taken into account.

    Integration content for HCI can be used in PI/PO but that is only for the message mappings and service definitions. Configuration has to be done by yourself.

    Best regards,

    Fons

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  5. Satish Kumar Darisi

    Thanks Fons for sharing very useful latest stuff,Waiting for next thread on Custom Integration Scenario’s. Can you please clarify below Query.

    SAP PO = PI+BPM+BRM Correct ?

    But BPM will not support SAP HCI .Am i correct ?

    If yes,when can we expect BPM will support HCI.

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    1. Fons van Nuland Post author

      Hello Satish,

      SAP Process Orchestration is a product which is a combination of the three products(PI, BPM and BRM) which are combined in one SystemID.

      HCI can connect with BPM via SOAP services but it is not as integrated as PI is with netweaver BPM. You could call your BPM services via SOAP calls through HCI. In future there probably will be BPM within HCI but that is not yet available or in near future roadmap.

      Best regards,

      Fons

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  6. Arijit Das

    Hi Fons, and All

    First of all thank you for blogging on this topic. This may be seen as one of those “either way you are right” topics. We will be using both SAP PO and SAP HCI at a client.

    Broadly speaking our integration strategy is (not set in stone) –

    • On-premise to On-premise – SAP PO
    • On-premise with Cloud – SAP PO or SAP HCI (use SAP HCI where standard integration content can be leveraged)
    • Cloud with Cloud – SAP HCI (instead of using an on-premise middleware to get data from cloud; and then send it back to cloud)

    And of course there is SAP NW Gateway too!

    Regards

    Arijit

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    1. Arijit Das

      Hi Muniyappan

      Broadly speaking the guiding principle is –

      • On-premise to On-premise – SAP PO
      • On-premise with Cloud – SAP PO or SAP HCI (use SAP HCI where standard integration content can be leveraged)
      • Cloud with Cloud – SAP HCI (instead of using an on-premise middleware to get data from cloud; and then send it back to cloud)

      Each client needs to evaluate these and a number of other factors before deciding what the overarching integration strategy should be.

      Regards

      Arijit

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  7. Anjan Chaudhuri

    Most corporations that implement SAP PO, use it for implementing their own internal service bus. It acts the backbone of integration between various applications used to support their entire gamut of business processes. In other words, most users of SAP PO implement it to support their on-premise integration needs. So, I don’t quite understand why the following is an issue “…a frequent struggle among customers within SAP PO because of the single-tenancy.”, unless the goal of such an implementation was to provide iPaas?

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