A recent press release describes some new developments in the relationship between SAP and Microsoft (for example, Business Suite on Azure, etc). In her analysis of the announcement, ASUG blogger Courtney Bjorlin included one sentence that I found especially intriguing.
Not only will SAP support running its apps (Business Suite, ASE, All-in-One and HANA Developer Edition) on Azure, it’s in the process of developing integrations that will allow users to surface SAP data directly into Office 365.
I started to think about the potential of this combination and I considered the various ways that such integrations might take place. Being curious, I started doing some digging and found an interesting diagram that describes the involved architecture – of special interest is the lower right corner.
Usually, such integrations focus on OData sources that are located OnPremise (normally NetWeaver Gateway) (Indeed, the blog from which this diagram is taken provides a rather detailed technical description of such an integration) but here was a comment about OData sources located in the Cloud.
Note: The associated architecture is still changing and it looks like there might be a “SAP GWPAM Services for Azure” offering coming at some point soon.
Continuing to dig, I found another reference:
Cloud Business App template in Visual Studio speeds time to develop an app for Office 365.
Support for SAP Netweaver Gateway for SAP data connections, including integration with Cloud Business Apps. [SOURCE]
Thus, it was evident that others had also considered such scenarios but I wanted to explore such use cases in more detail.
Options for Office 365 / SAP cloud-based integration
My first thought when I read Courtney’s blog and the sentence about Office 365 was about the HANA Cloud Platform-based Gateway as a Service.
Using the HCI OData Provisioning offering, what might be some possible scenarios?
Yes, I know that it might be possible to connect Azure directly to the involved Business Suite environments but HCI OData Provisioning provides important functionality: “Customers using HCI OData Provisioning do not need to install a SAP NetWeaver Gateway hub system on-premise anymore. The installation of the non-modifying backend-enablement components of SAP NetWeaver Gateway are sufficient”. [SOURCE]
Of the two possible scenarios I suggest, I find the combination of the Business Suite on HANA running in the HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC) combined with Office 365 the most interesting in that customers could exploit the advantages when two of their core / fundamental software environments are hosted in the cloud. The use cases present in Duet haven’t disappeared from the enterprise and such scenarios in might find greater acceptance when they could be implemented without any or greatly reduced OnPremise implementation costs.