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SAPPHIRENOW from a Integration perspective

The Sapphire Now + ASUG annual SAP conference was held last week. I want to discuss the conference from an integration perspective, since this is the aspect I am most interested in the integration part.

Obviously, there were many announcements regarding HANA, which was presented as one of the big alternatives. The focus was mainly on cloud technologies – their nature and their functionalities were explained. for integration, I think that the most important topic was API management, with a focus on whitelabelling and Apigee’s solution, which is an API platform. Basically, it is a portal that allows developers to access what is going on. Developers are able to use the tools provided. They can expose APIs, so that anyone can easily develop applications on top of these; furthermore, the API management platform allows you to run this in a controlled manner. It also makes sure that all the security controls are allowed, so no one can make denial of service (DoS) attacks on your internal services. It can run on the HANA Cloud platform, if you are using HANA Cloud Integration (HCI). If your system is cloud-based, there will be some advantages. It is not limiting the load on your Internet connection, therefore a DoS attack wouldn’t work. It would render such an attack useless. Apigee is useful for mobile connectivity, and for getting partners aboard your system.

An important discussion was led on the topic of HANA Cloud Integration (HCI). SAP sees a great opportunity in HCI. For a lot of customers who aren’t already using SAP HANA Cloud Integration or PI (Process Integration), HCI will come across as a great tool. It seems that more B2B functions will be built into HCI in the near future. The system will be open for partners- they will be able to develop adapters and integrations. The great thing is that you can browse all the different existing components on either the SAP HANA Integration store (I’m not sure how it will work). For example, if a mapping made by someone catches your eye, you can just download it and continue developing. You can download a mapping that is 70%-80% complete, and add your ideas to it. This will give developers a lot of flexibility, making it easy to get started, because the main architecture is provided (otherwise, it would take a lot of time to create).

Regarding Process Orchestration (PO), I found out that SAP now abbreviates this as PRO, not PO, as most people call it. This could cause some confusion because when searching on the Internet, people use keyword such as XI (Exchange Infrastructure), PI or PO – and that’s also what they get results for. The new abbreviation will probably just confuse people (I’m not sure whether people are familiar with it). Some enhancements were presented, but they didn’t announce many new things. Most of it has already been in the roadmaps, so I have seen the highlights before. Process Orchestration wasn’t a big focus area this year, but the numbers spoke for themselves, as SAP PRO now has more than 8,300 customers, and the 2nd biggest ESB (enterprise service bus) after BizTalk. No roadmap has been laid out – but roadmaps have been presented in various user group meetings already.

The AIF (Application Interface Framework) has also been discussed. A few AIF sessions were held, but I unfortunately missed these. AIF seems to be an interesting and useful tool.

SAP Gateway for REST/ODATA enablement of the SAP backend wasn’t left out, either. Many people wanted to know whether this product will continue to be of interest, since it can be replaced. When you have the REST adapter on the PI system, you do not need Gateway.

Since the Internet of Things (IoT) seems to be a big area, it will have a great impact on integration architecture. If there are a billion sensors that need to transmit data to a system, some integration needs to happen. I am uncertain as to how they will proceed with this. There are some tools that can help with this and it will be interesting to see how this integration will be done; the impact on the integration landscape as a whole is also something I am eager to see.

What are your thoughts on the Sapphire Now + ASUG Conference? Did you ever attend this event? Do you consider doing so in the future?

Cross posted to my SAP PI Information site

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  • Thanks for the summary, Daniel! Even while being at the event it’s very hard to cover even most areas of interest. So it’s very helpful to get an overview of the things missed. Also good to know I’m not the only one with uncertainties. 🙂

    Not sure PRO renaming will really catch on. People still use XI/PI and we still say “Basis’ that hasn’t existed for a while. I think frequent renaming is just confusing and adds no value for the customers.