SAP Application Interface Framework ( AIF )

  • A powerful framework for interface implementation, monitoring  and error handling
  • A proven solution with more than six years of development and customer history
  • A cross-industry solution with customers from 22 industries

      Interface Implementation (Design Time)

  • Interface implementation mainly through Customizing menus
  • Easy access to relevant data or functions of underlying SAP application
  • Re-use of interface components (e.g. checks, mappings, actions)
  • Supports variants of interfaces (exceptions or additional steps)
  • Independent implementation and testing of interface components and interface variants

      Monitoring and Error-Handling (Runtime & Operations)

  • Business user monitoring (power user)
  • Customizable authorizations for interface access
  • Overview of interface status

                  AIF.png

      Application Interface Framework Benefits :

  • Fast implementation of Interfaces
  • Enforcement of implementation guidelines
  • Re-use of components in multiple interfaces
  • Allows versioning of interfaces
  • Unification of required skills
  • Test tool for automated testing
  • Tool-supported documentation of interfaces
  • Transparency of interfaces within area of responsibility
  • User-friendly Interface Information
  • Ability to correct errors within their system on User Friendly Screens
  • Capabilities for mass error handling
  • Highlighted Errors in Interface Documents which offer forward navigation to issue
  • User Alerts in case of Errors
  • Interfaces with significantly reduced implementation costs
  • Efficient Interface Monitoring leads to reduced monitoring costs
  • Secure compliance by providing a multi-layer authorization concept
  • Restrict changes of interface data down to field level
  • Central compliance report to track changes
  • Transparency and governance throughout complete interface development life cycle

SAP Process Integration / Process Orchestration

SAP Process Integration/  Process Orchestration provides an easy and flexible middleware platform to design, model, implement,execute and monitor business processes by ensuring seamless connectivity to multiple different business/ technical systems and applications (SAP and non-SAP).

  

     PO.png

  • Centralized governance, maintenance,mapping, routing and monitoring
  • De-coupled runtimes and distributed load
  • Separating pure messaging from process orchestration
  • Localization: Reduced message travel time and reduced network load in global networks
  • Localization: Local AAEs serve local business needs
  • Business continuity: Minimize planned downtime via switch over
  • Security: Secure deployment of AAE instances in DMZ enforcing network isolation for B2B scenarios
  • Standard based interoperability with SAP and Non-SAP apps – on premises and in the Cloud

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          “I already have PI, does it still make sense for me to use AIF?” – Yes

          “I want AIF, does it still make sense for me to use PI?” – Yes

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Joint usage of PI and AIF :  PI / PO is an integration platform,  AIF is an integration add-on for your business applications

         AIF and PO.png

As general recommendation IT landscape with both business applications and integration platforms/middlewares

  • No business logic into the integration platform!
  • No integration logic into the business applications!
  • Business logic into AIF, not PI ( Typical business logic patterns,Calculations,Validations,Checks )     
  • Integration logic into PI, not AIF ( Integration Logic – Typical patterns,Mapping of data structures from different sender formats to AIF
    format,Routing of messages,Connectivity to various protocols (FTP, RFC, ….)

As general recommendation IT landscape with both business applications and integration platforms/middleware,The typical AIF user is a business user and a functional user where as PO / PI user is a Technical User

Combined,PO / PI and AIF with both tools in one landscape, you can have two (field/structure) mappings in one integration scenario

      Example.png

Which Tool for which mapping

SAP PI / PO – (Structure) Mapping

  1. Technical Mapping
  2. Rather format conversions (Example: file structure to Web Service)
  3. No business logic in mapping
  4. Error Handling for Mapping Errors by Technical User

SAP AIF – Field Mapping

  1. Business Level Mapping
  2. Contains Business logic
    • Checks (Example: „is company code valid?“)
    • Validations and Derivations (Example: derive account number from document data)
  3. No technical format conversions
  4. Error Handling for Mapping Errors by Business User

I have PO / PI and AIF: where should I perform mappings?

The answer: typically in both ( Reason: aclean, future-proof integration architecture )

The data structures are the decision-making factor for whether to go for PO / PI or AIF. the questions like..
In which data structure does the data arrive in PI?  (All format conversions are typically performed in PI)

In which data structure is the data submitted into the backend system? (All business logic, validations as well as the final handover into BAPIs etc is done in AIF)

I have many old legacy applications. Can I connect them directly to AIF? NO, connectivity to different protocols (files, JMS, …) is a typical task of PO / PI

SAP PI – Value  Mapping  (If you want a landscape-wide value mapping mechanism: use PI)

  • Technical Level value Mapping
  • Focused on the complete landscape that is brokered by PI
  • Data Maintenance either directly in PI or via Consulting Solution “Value Mapping Tool”
  • Error Handling for Mapping Errors by Technical User (if Value Mapping Tool use: Business User)

  

SAP AIF – Value Mapping (If you want a business application-centric value mapping mechanism in one or more specific business application(s), use AIF )

  • Business Level Value Mapping
  • Focused on the business application it is deployed in
  • Data Maintenance performed by business user
  • Error Handling (missing values, …) by Business User

My sincere thanks to Markus Gille for sharing his knowledge for the above blog. For AIF product relate clarification reach Markus Gille

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14 Comments

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  1. Anoop Kumar

    Excellent blog Agasthuri..Thanks for sharing this!

    This is the one which is much needed now with AIF/PO to be evaluated together and much helpful for eco-system moving forward.

    Thanks,

    Anoop

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  2. Frank Meertens

    Excellent Blog, Agasthuri!  Thanks for putting the two integration environments in perspective. It is especially valuable as background for those customers who are planning to upgrade their PI/PO environment and have an opportunity to balance technical and business/application integration by introducing SAP AIF.

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  3. Prabhuraj Soliah

    Hi Agasthuri,

    Thanks for the information. One quick question with AIF 2.0, what are the other middle wares supported? Does IBM Integration Broker (previously Message Broker) supported by AIF?

    Thanks

    Prabhu

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    1. Jochen Bayer

      Hi Prabhu,

      As Agusthuri already pointed out it is a tool to build/enhance interfaces and monitor the ABAP side of an interface.  The nice thing about AIF is that it is middleware agnostic,

      AIF can be used with SAP’s solutions and non SAP solutions as long as the middleware layer used protocols supported by AIF. 

      Best regards

      Jochen

      (0) 

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