SAP Work manager and SAP Inventory Manager are part of SAP’s Mobile EAM and Field Service Solution offerings. These are fully featured, workflow driven mobile applications for Asset Management and Inventory Management respectively. Both products run on Agentry, which is a mobile framework consisting of client, server, editor and SAP Framework Foundation (mobile add-on) components. Traditionally these products have been deployed on premise to the SAP Mobile Platform (SMP).
SAP has recently added a new deployment option to Agentry that allows the server component to be deployed to SAP HANA Cloud Platform, mobile services (HCPms). Running from the cloud will give these powerful applications all the benefits of HANA Cloud Platform, such as:
- Decreased Capital investment in hardware and maintenance
- Flexibility and Scaling
- Security and device management
- Manage and work from anywhere
- And much more…
Initially, only Work Manager 6.4.1+ and SAP Inventory Manager 4.3.1+ are supported for HCPms deployment (custom built applications are not supported.) The product functionality for Work Manager and Inventory Manager are exactly the same on-premise as in the cloud, however, the deployment, framework architecture and management vary slightly. In this blog, I will discuss the SAP HCPms, Agentry Component architecture and landscape as well as give you details regarding the differences between the two deployment options.
The Agentry application definitions (SAP Work Manager, SAP Inventory Manager) are developed with the Agentry Editor, and are deployed to the framework. Although the application definitions are the same for on-premise and cloud deployment, the framework architecture varies slightly. Let’s look at each component individually.
The Agentry client is found in the Agentry SDK, and the exact same software is used for both on-premise implementations and HCPms implementations. There are client installers available for Windows (WPF), iOS and Android and the clients communicate to the Agentry server via Web Sockets. The minimum Client version that can be used for HCPms is SDK SP14.
The SAP HCPms, Agentry component runs on HCP virtual machines instead of on customer hardware on-premise. As opposed to the SMP version which supports multiple back-ends, Agentry running on HCPms will only support the Java Backend.
Initially Agentry running on HCPms will only support one application per server, however, multi-application support is on the roadmap. (SMP deployments currently support multiple applications).
If you need to run both Inventory Manager and Work Manager running on HCPms, you will need separate Agentry environments on HCP.
Development tools – Editor
The application configuration is done in the Agentry Editor (an add-on to Eclipse available in the Agentry SDK). The on-premise deployments and HCPms deployments will use the exact same editor software.
The editor has been upgraded from previous versions to add a deployment option for HCP (all deployments, even Agentry development deployments, are now done through a zip file). The minimum SDK that can be used for HCP deployments is SMP 3 SDK SP14.
For both the on-premise and HCPms deployments, the customer’s data will reside in the customer’s on-premise ERP system. For HCPms deployments, the server will utilize SAP Cloud Connector to provide a secure channel to their on-premise SAP back end backend system.
The cloud connector runs on-premise in a secured network and acts as a reverse invoke proxy between the on-premise network and SAP HANA Cloud Platform. The cloud connector provides fine-grained control over:
- On-premise Systems and resources that are accessible by cloud applications;
- Cloud applications that make use of the cloud connector.
The tool takes care to automatically re-establish broken connections, provides audit logging of the inbound traffic and configuration changes, and can be run in a high-availability setup.
The Agentry component is utilizing the cloud connector’s RFC connection functionality.
More information on SAP Cloud Connector can be found here.
SAP Framework Foundation (SAP Mobile Add-on)
Agentry SAP Framework Foundation is implemented as an ABAP Add-On and is installed to the SAP ERP backend. The Integration Framework provides the integration point to the SAP system for the Agentry Server. This allows the Agentry Server to synchronize data with the SAP system for the mobile application (i.e. it provides change detection layer, business logic layer and integration layer.) The Add-on remains the same for both deployment methods.
For HCP deployments, customers need to be running 620_700 SP03 of the ABAP Add-On.
Customer Tenant Accounts
When a customer purchases SAP Work Manager, cloud edition, SAP provisions an account on HCP that consists of 4 Environments:
- Production (HCP/HCPms Production Landscape)
- Test (HCP/HCPms Production Landscape)
- Test-Preview (HCP/HCPms Preview Landscape)
- Development (HCP/HCPms Preview Landscape)
The below diagram illustrates these environments:
The environments are single tenant accounts – Each of environments has an Agentry server component attached to it (this is a dedicated JVM) and each server has only one application. Clustering is internal and the Ops team will scale the system if needed.
The Development and Test- Preview environments are connected to HCPms preview, where the newest HCP code is deployed for about two weeks before it is moved to production. Test and Production point to production accounts.
The Development environment account provides an Agentry server component deployed as a Java application. This allows developers to stop and start the server as well as debug their Java during development. For the other three environments, the server is running in the HCP provider account and the account is subscribed to it. (Since the user is subscribed to the service, they do not have direct access to it).
Each environment can connect to a separate ERP system on-premise or they can all connect to the same backend. The on-premise connections are managed through the cloud connector. One cloud connector can service all 4 tenant accounts provided (note: a tenant account can only have one cloud connector).
All accounts have access to the HCPms Admin UI, which allows allows administrators to deploy, manage and monitor their applications. This tool provides the same functionality as the SMP cockpit that is used for on-premise systems.
The admin UI is exposed through the Mobile Services Development & Operations or Development & Operations Preview card.
There are multiple data centers that can host the SAP HCPms, Agentry component, you will want to choose the data center closest to your backend system. For information on the available data centers please see SCN
Migration Path for On-premise Users
A cloud subscription license is required to run SAP Work Manager, cloud edition and SAP Inventory Manager, cloud edition on HCPms. For licensing details, please contact your SAP Account Executive.
A full license to SAP HCPms is included as part of the SAP Work Manager, cloud edition and SAP Inventory Manager, cloud edition applications
SAP HCPms, Agentry Component is supported by Work Manager 6.4.1 or greater and Inventory Manager 4.3.1 or greater. If you are currently running either product on-premise, you will need to upgrade to the minimum supported version of the relevant product. The backend systems will remain unchanged and will remain on premise. If you are on a recent version, this should be a relatively minor upgrade.
When initially installing the applications, a new option “Deploy to HCP” has been added to the server component installer. This will create a zip file that is uploaded to the server via the Admin UI, much like the SMP cockpit functionality on the on-premise version.
Development and Deployment
The application development process remains unchanged. The developer will configure the SAP Work Manager / SAP Inventory Manager applications in the Agentry Editor on-premise. When they are ready to deploy and test, they will perform a development publish from the editor to the Development Staging directory which will create a zip file that is then uploaded to HCP via the admin UI, much like a production publish is deployed through the SMP cockpit for an on-premise installation.