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One of my recent tasks was to list down the advantages of PI over BC.i.e. A customer wanted to know whether its productive to phase out SAP BC and install PI instead. Though there was quite some information on the internet over the SAP Business Connector and SAP Process Integration , it was distributed and not complete. Having worked on developing interfaces both in SAP BC and SAP PI, here are some of my thoughts on “Downsides”” of BC over PI along with the advantages of Installing PI.


Please be noted that all these points are based on my perspective and understanding.


According to SAP notes “1094412- Release and Support Strategy of SAP Business Connector 4.8”, SAP Business Connector 4.6 and 4.7 has already gone out SAP support due to the fact that both the supported Java run time and most of the operating systems have gone out of maintenance. End of maintenance for SAP BC 4.8 will be December 31st, 2020. SAP Customer and SAP Partner who has purchased a SAP License is entitled to receive the SAP BC.


More information on what SAP BC is, could be found here

SAP BC Downsides:

  • End of Maintenance.
  • No new releases of BC to support growing needs of the customers like BPM, Workflows and cannot integrate readily with evolving technologies like Odata Web services.
  • Observed that BC is not stable when it comes to handling large volume of data.
  • Monitoring and Logging in BC is limited.
  • Synchronous Messages using BAPI’s cannot be readily monitored.
  • Guaranteed delivery can only be emulated with lot of development effort.
  • Persistence of messages with relevant message status within the pipeline configuration is missing. A critical message might be lost, if the server is not available.
  • Enterprise Services which are delivered are being delivered by SAP in new releases are not available in BC.
  • No pre-configured scenarios and ready to use solutions.
  • Local Queuing of Message not possible and Alert Mechanisms limited.
  • Services based on Point to Point Scenarios and do not use collaborative approach .i.e. Design and Run time cannot be accessed and called centrally.
  • mySAP solutions SRM and CRM has very limited connectivity with BC.
  • Integration tool acquired by SAP. Not of its own.

SAP PI

PI is belongs to the SAP Netweaver Technology and based on spoke-hub model. For customers who are already using other modules in the SAP NetWeaver stack, PI is often available for little additional cost. However, there are additional costs for Licenses , CPU usage and data traffic. Following are some of the benefits/key points for considering SAP PI as middle ware.


  • Supports synchronous and Asynchronous communication based on almost all the protocols available and transport mechanism in the market. I.e. HTTP/s, FTP/SFTP, IDOC, RFC/BAPI , JAVA & ABAP Proxy, Odata, JDBC/ODBC, FILE ,XML , SMTP , EDI , Industry Specific Protocols ( RosettaNet , EDIFACT , AS2, CIDX ..).
  • Predefined content and Services which are readily usable.
  • B2B and A2A support.
  • Service and Operational reporting along with Automated Alert Operations.
  • Integrates seamlessly with all SAP solutions including the newest onDemand solutions.
  • Transformations using graphical, JAVA, XSLT and ABAP Mapping are possible along with and cross-component integration processes.
  • Local Queues for individual scenarios.
  • Guaranteed Delivery of a message and NO message is never lost. Also, messages that fail due to delivery errors can be configured to re-submit to the target system.

  · Persistence of Message at various stages.

  • Central monitoring as well as Error Monitoring for message flow out of SAP ECC thru SAP PI.
  • Validating the messages, cleansing (archiving & Deleting) and common format.
  • Centralized and standardized flow management leading to better security and reliability.
  • Change real-time messages received from source system to batch processing to be delivered to the target system
  • User management, security and Transport Protocol. i.e. SNC, SSL/TLS.
  • For automated business process, scalability, archiving, admin, audit and orchestration using Business Process management (similar to SAP workflow) BPM and BRM.
  • Supports complex system landscape.
  • Enterprise Service Repository enables usage of SAP all Enterprise services readily.


SAP PI Downsides Over SAP BC:

  • More infrastructure and Installation effort required. While BC can be installed and brought to LIVE in days.
  • Regular Maintenance required. Upgrade is associated with additional costs.
  • More TOC associated with SAP PI


Conclusion:

  • For simple and fewer scenarios and basically point to point communication, SAP BC is cost effective over PI.
  • For complex landscapes , B2B communications, high & critical transactions , SOA based integration which is independent of Vendor, Technology and Product  with “almost any” non-sap, SAP PI is right and complete ESB.



Now that you have inclination towards installing SAP PI. Next challenge is which version to choose from. Below details sheds some light on choosing the appropriate version


SAP PI 7.4 is latest version available in market with below installation options

  • Dual-stack installation: Based on both AS ABAP and AS Java.
  • Advanced Adapter Engine Extended (AAEX): Based on AS Java only.

Considering that SAP PI is a fresh installation, a Dual-stack installation is not necessary. ABAP Stack is only necessary for the already PI installations, where a lot of dependent ABAP proxies and ABAP mappings are involved along with complex CCBPM scenarios which need to be re-designed to migrate to JAVA only.

Advantages of SAP PI 7.4 AS JAVA Only (Single Stack) are:

  • Hardware requirement reduced by 50% compare to dual stack installation.
  • Up to 60% less in energy conceptions and easy maintenance.
  • Higher volume scenarios can be handled effectively and processing time is optimum.
  • SAP Strategy and development effort is targeted at the Java-only installation options. New features, functionalities, and further enhancements will mainly go into the Java-only options.
  • Faster installation and Restart.
  • Eclipse-based design time for service provisioning.
  • Increased productivity & richer connectivity on AAE.
  • Improved upgrade and fault tolerance.
  • Loose Coupling and content based routing.
  • AAE with local ES Repository and Integration Directory
  • Reliable connectivity between messaging and process layer via proven Java Proxy Runtime.
  • Model-driven development environment based on BPMN standard
  • Leverage SAP NetWeaver BRM for business rules.
  • Reduced TCO.


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