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SAP Application Interface Framework – Licensing

Begin of 2018 we have changed the license metric of SAP Application Interface Framework (AIF) from a named user based to a transaction based pricing model. I think that transaction based metric pretty much makes sense because it best reflects the value of the solution to our customers. The more messages monitored and processed through SAP AIF, the more valuable the solution for our customers.

Since then I have received many questions from customers and partners about the new license model. Also the fact that SAP AIF has become an integral part of the SAP S/4HANA technology both for on-premise and for cloud, led to some uncertainties around licensing.

So, let’s try to shed some light into the license topic hopefully addressing most of your questions asked.

How is the metric defined?

The metric is Transactions. The number of transactions is counted per year.

What is a transaction?

A transaction corresponds to a message that is processed or monitored in SAP AIF.
In principle, a transaction corresponds to a single entry that is displayed in the SAP AIF monitor.
Technically speaking, the audit report counts all entries within all single index tables of SAP AIF. Note that for each interface a single index table exists, and each AIF message is recorded in the same.

Examples

  • Flat file (csv) for uploading business partner information with 1000 rows are split up into 1000 single entries, so this ends up at 1000 transactions.
  • IDoc package for stock transfer with 500 individual IDocs enters SAP AIF, so this ends up at 500 transactions.
  • A single sales order with 20 line items is processed via ABAP proxies, order is not split up into individual line items, so this ends up at 1 transaction.

How is SAP AIF sold?

SAP AIF is sold in blocks of one million transactions. There are three tiers defined whereas price per block goes down the higher the yearly transactional volume.

  • Material ID 7019672: SAP Application Interface Framework, up to 50 Million (transactions) – if you need up to 50 blocks
  • Material ID 7019673: SAP Application Interface Framework, 51 to 100 Million (transactions) – between 51 and 100 blocks
  • Material ID 7019674: SAP Application Interface Framework, over 100 Million (transactions) – all above 100 blocks

In addition, as of March 2nd 2020, AIF is also available as SAP S/4HANA Cloud for Application Interface Framework, extended edition (fka Single Tenant Edition). This is a cloud offering for any medium and large customer covering the full scope of functionalities necessary to build a holistic system in the cloud with focus on S/4HANA innovation. The functionality is available in modular packages, which can be combined. Each package has a subscription price, which included licenses, enterprise support, infrastructure, and application management service. All packages follow the same commercial terms and have been created along the same commercialization model. It is licensed by the same transaction based metric and blocks of 1 Million transactions per year (license material ID 8008257).

For a concrete price tag per block and overall costs, please reach out to your account representative.

How do I know how many blocks are required?

You need to determine the number of transactions per year based on business transactions from past years or expected volume in future. Either you know roughly the number of business documents that you exchange during a specific time frame such as number of orders in your system generated per year. Or you may look into the respective message monitors. This depends on the technology used.

What about existing customers?

Although the old SAP AIF material codes have been removed from the price list, existing customers can buy under the “more of the same” principle.

This however does not apply to customers that have converted to the SAP S/4HANA Enterprise Management license as the user based licensing is obsolete in this scenario. Here, you need to buy under the new transaction based model. Usually, a conversion credit for your past purchase can be issued. In this case, please reach out to your account representative.

How is SAP AIF licensed in SAP Business Suite?

SAP AIF as stand-alone product for developing, processing and monitoring your interfaces:

  • SAP AIF is shipped as separate software components (AIF and AIFX)
  • For this usage, you need to purchase the full SAP AIF license
  • Starting from the following releases, a license check is carried out and eventually restricts the usage of AIF
    • AIF 3.0 SP04
    • AIF 4.0 SP00
  • In order to enable full AIF usage rights, the product SAP Application Interface Framework 1.0, extended edition (technical name: APPLIC INTERFACE FW EXT 01) needs to be installed in addition to the AIF component(s); contains AIFGEN software component

How is SAP AIF licensed in SAP S/4HANA?

SAP AIF as integral part of SAP S/4HANA:

  • AIF is shipped as part of the SAP S/4HANA core component (S4CORE/SAPSCORE)
  • Usage of SAP AIF as a supporting component for only processing and monitoring the AIF interfaces shipped with other SAP products is included in the respective product license, e.g., SAP Advanced Track and Trace for Pharmaceuticals, SAP S/4HANA Finance (fka SAP Simple Finance), SAP Document Compliance (aka eDocument framework), etc.
  • Beyond this scope, i.e., if customers develop, configure, or monitor interfaces in their own AIF namespace, they need to have an AIF license, and have the additional product SAP Application Interface Framework 1.0, extended edition with the software component AIFGEN installed

What about SAP S/4HANA Cloud?

In SAP S/4HANA Cloud, customers cannot maintain or develop their own AIF interfaces. The applications within SAP S/4HANA Cloud ship pre-delivered AIF interfaces. In the Fiori launchpad, the AIF monitoring can be accessed via the message dashboard. Hence, the usage of SAP AIF in SAP S/4HANA Cloud is included in the SAP S/4HANA Cloud product license.

How is AIF audited for licensing?

On an SAP S/4HANA system, we have transactions going through AIF from applications where SAP ships AIF interfaces such as Central Finance for instance which is included in the respective product license and we have additional transactions going through AIF from AIF interfaces that customers have maintained on their own. The challenge is how are the volumes separated with respect to license auditing? All AIF interfaces that SAP ships are actually shipped within namespaces starting with a /. If you create your own custom AIF interfaces, you can only do so within your own custom namespace, / is not allowed here. So, it’s simple, the audit report only counts the number of transactions within custom namespaces, i.e., those not starting with a /.

I would also like to point you to the SAP note 2293938 – License Check for SAP Application Interface Framework. This note explains very well the licensing for the different usage of SAP AIF.

3 Comments
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  • “…Note that for each interface a single index table exists, and each AIF message is recorded in the same…”

    …provided, that there is a SIDX-table. Using ‘structured persistence’ (AIF on ECC) and not XML-persistence, a SIDX-table seems not obligatory for an interface.

    This is a bit confusing:

    • ‘structured persistence’ is the recommended persistence towards S4/HANA
    • those interfaces can be implemented without a single index table
    • how works the auditing then?

    Or is the recommendation of structured persistence outdated?

    Thx for your answer in advance.

    Jörn

  • Hi Jörn,

    regardless of the persistency, a single index table is always updated, if you haven’t defined your own custom index table, the standard index table /AIF/STD_IDX_TBL is used and hence taken into account for the licensing auditing.

    Alex

  • Hi Alexander

     

    In case of the initial load of data, let’s say a customer just did a migration from ERP to S/4 and would like to fill his system with data from MDG system. In order to transfer the data one would have to use of course an interface, which will run over AIF. In this case, where the customer isnt’ actually using the interface in a productive manner but rather for an initial load for data is the nr. of transactions still counted? I personally find it not that plausible as you don’t actually benefit of the monitoring and pro-active alerting system of the AIF as the customer is already on the task of uploading the data. If one customer would habe, let’s say 500K records, to see them as AIF transactions just because of an initial load, is a bit too much from my perspective.

    What would be an alternative, could one use a custom Z Index Table for the initial load?

     

    Also in general is actually typical that a customer uses a custom Index Table for an interface. Are those transactions also taken into account for licensing or only what is in /AIF/STD_IDX_TBL?

     

    Thank you and best,

    Ionut