For decades, SAP customers and the partners in the ecosystem have been building solutions that access SAP data. For a long time, such access was only possible via a number of proprietary technologies offered by SAP such as RFC, BAPI, IDocs and even Enterprise Services.
With the recent popularity of REST (Representational state transfer) against SOA (Service-oriented architecture) which is typically based on the SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), SAP is embracing OData (Open Data Protocol) as the protocol to provide standards based access to SAP data.
Concept Gateway is the vision for a harmonized integration layer by which all SAP solutions can be accessed via OData. To do that individual solutions provide design-time tools for exposing their data as OData services based on their native platforms. The concept also suggest that based on OData services coming from various SAP solutions, a consistent user-experience can be provided by leveraging standards like HTML5 and CSS3 – e.g. SAP UI5.
Following diagram depicts “Concept Gateway” inside SAP’s ever increasing solutions portfolio.
SAP NetWeaver Gateway
Built on the traditional ABAP technology, SAP NetWeaver Gateway is a technology solution that provides design-time and runtime features to expose SAP Business Suite data as OData services (i.e. RESTful APIs).
SAP NetWeaver Gateway became generally available in October 2011 and by the end of 2013, in about two years it was adopted by more than 7000 customers, productively.
With SAP NetWeaver Gateway, customers can build OData services based on existing SAP APIs such as RFC, BAPI, BOR, BOL, MDX, SAP HANA and others. Furthermore, SAP NetWeaver Gateway comes with design-time tools to allow modeling of OData services as well as provisioning of such services from scratch by custom coding, in ABAP.
While SAP NetWeaver Gateway is great for exposing SAP data from an ABAP based SAP system, it does not provide tools for exposing data from non-ABAP based SAP systems.
Over the last 40 years, SAP’s solutions portfolio has grown from traditional ERP to cover 10+ LoBs, 20+ industries in 100+ countries (i.e. localizations) through technology innovations and acquisitions. As a result, a harmonized design-time (as well as user experience) and a harmonized Integration Layer across the portfolio have become essential to bring the benefits that SAP NetWeaver Gateway offers SAP Business Suite customers.
Integration Gateway is a technology component that provides design-time tools and the associated run-time for modeling, composing and provisioning OData services based on one or more APIs from various SAP and non-SAP data sources. Among the data sources supported today are, SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), JPA (Java Persistence API) and JDBC (Java Database Connectivity) to access non-SAP data sources as well as OData Channel (ODC) for accessing OData services provisioned via SAP NetWeaver Gateway.
Integration Gateway has been first delivered inside SAP Mobile Platform 3.0 as an on-premise solution. In this version, Integration Gateway has been fully implemented in Java and it runs on SAP Lean Java Server, a lightweight OSGi (Open Services Gateway) based application server.
In the future, Integration Gateway will be included in other on-premise or cloud based SAP solutions in their native platforms. However, at this time there are no plans to deliver it as a standalone solution.
Integration Gateway and SAP NetWeaver Gateway – Two sides of a coin
SAP NetWeaver Gateway focuses on exposing SAP data from an ABAP based SAP solution as OData services. Hence, it has design-time tools that natively support creating OData services, based on existing SAP APIs (RFCs, BAPIs, etc.) as well as from scratch.
Integration Gateway however, takes SAP one step closer to realizing the vision of “Concept Gateway” by bringing OData provisioning beyond SAP Business Suite by supporting several integration protocols and technologies that are well accepted in the industry. Furthermore, when it comes to accessing an SAP Business Suite backed (ABAP based), it relies on the OData services provisioned by SAP NetWeaver Gateway as it supports the ODC (OData Channel) protocol.
Answers to frequently asked questions
Q: I need to build an app that will access both SAP and non-SAP data (legacy, solutions from other vendors). Which Gateway do I need?
A: You will need both SAP NetWeaver Gateway and Integration Gateway.
Q: I am building a mobile app and I don’t need to access SAP backend. Do I need SAP NetWeaver Gateway?
A: No. If you don’t need to access SAP Business Suite backend, you may only need Integration Gateway.
Q: Where can I download Integration Gateway?
A: Integration Gateway is not available as a standalone solution. Currently, it only comes with SAP Mobile Platform 3.0.
Q: Where can I download SAP NetWeaver Gateway?
A: SAP NetWeaver Gateway is included in SAP NetWeaver 7.40. For earlier versions (starting from SAP NetWeaver 7.0) you will need to download it as an Add-on from SAP Service Marketplace – http://service.sap.com/swdc (SAP Service Marketplace username password required).