SAP NetWeaver and Service Oriented Architecture

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					About the                          talent and attitude

                            SAP NetWeaver and Service Oriented
Craig Bennett has 12
years     experience
working with SAP cus-
tomers, 10 of those as
a    consultant  with       Introduction
Soltius.                    In recent years many industry experts and vendors have promoted the use and product capabilities
                            related to Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). In SAP’s case they have encapsulated their offering
His focus has primarily     as Enterprise Service Oriented Architecture (ESOA). For people not involved in this space on a day-
been in the areas of
                            to-day basis it can be difficult to cut through the technology barrier and understand what SOA is
SAP logistics, EAI and
B2B integration and         about, what advantages it can bring to an organisation and what SAP offers its customers.
project management.
                            This paper discusses SOA in the context of business and the SAP environment in an attempt to
More recently Craig         assist our clients in gaining a fundamental understanding not just about SOA as a concept but a
has become a member         summary of how the various components of SAP’s NetWeaver technology support its use. This pa-
of the Soltius Futures      per is not intended to provide a detailed theoretical discourse on SOA. There are many web sites
Team in an Enterprise
                            and books that can provide this where additional depth of knowledge is required, including those
Architect role and
with a focus on Tech-       listed in the Reference section at the end of this document.
                            What is SOA?
                            Like many aspects of IT there are many ideas around what theoretically constitutes Service Oriented
                            Architecture. What can add to the confusion is vendor specific branding, terminology and method-
                            ology - like SAP’s ESOA.

                            Wikipedia describes SOA as a computer systems architectural style for creating and using business
                            processes, packaged as services, throughout their lifecycle. SOA also defines and provisions the IT
                            infrastructure to allow different applications to exchange data and participate in business proc-
                            esses. These functions are loosely coupled with the operating systems and programming languages
                            underlying the applications.

                            A service is a logical representation of a repeatable business activity that has a specified outcome,
                            such as ‘check customer credit’ or ‘create purchase order’. It is self-contained, may be composed of
                            other services, and is a ‘black box’ to the systems that consume it. In a white paper on SOA the
                            Open Group comments that SOA architectural style has the following distinctive features:

                            •      It is based on the design of the services – which mirror real-world business activities – com-
                                   prising the enterprise (or inter-enterprise) business processes
                            •      Service representation utilizes business descriptions to provide context (i.e., business proc-
                                   ess, goal, rule, policy, service interface, and service component) and implements services
Contact details                    using service orchestration
                            •      It places unique requirements on the infrastructure – it is recommended that implementa-
Auckland office                    tions use open standards to realize interoperability and location transparency
                            •      Implementations are environment-specific – they are constrained or enabled by context and
Level 1, 49 Main                   must be described within that context
Highway, Ellerslie                 It requires strong governance of service representation and implementation
PO Box 11731
Auckland                    •      It requires a ‘Litmus Test’, which determines a ‘good service’.

                            In the past SAP and other software vendors made use of various technologies to offer integration
Ph (09) 571 7100
                            with other systems. In SAP’s case primarily supported by IDOC’s, BAPI’s and RFC’s. Many specialist
                            third party software providers used these standard integration points or used the underlying tech-           nology as a basis for their own integration developments. However, unlike services exposed under
                            SOA which are loosely coupled to software and hardware, standards like IDOC’s and BAPI’s are
                            proprietary and tightly coupled with the system.

TALENT AND ATTITUDE        TO DELIVER THE RIGHT BUSINESS SOLUTIONS WHATEVER IT TAKES                                                   1
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                            They are not supported by more universally accepted and consistent applied communication meth-
                            ods, standards and formats. SOA, or rather that component of it related to service delivery, is not
 SOA defined
                            tied to a single underlying development language. Any of the modern development languages like
                            C+, Java, ABAP/4, .Net, etc can be used to develop functionality that can be exposed as a service.
 • A computer sys-
 tems architectural         A major enabler for SOA has been the evolution/ dominance of the internets hypertext transfer
                            protocol (HTTP) as a communication protocol combined with the self describing data formats of
                            XML (extensible mark-up language). The rapid update of fast speed internet connectivity makes
 • Packages business
                            http, or more often https, the default protocol for business to business communication. This does
 processes as services
                            not imply that SOA is limited to or defined as XML over HTTP – this would mark it as a web service
 • Services can be          which is only one aspect of SOA.
 any    repeatable
 business    activity       SOA and Business Drivers
 with specified out-
                            When considering SOA in conjunction with an ERP system a reasonable question to ask is ‘why
                            does SOA matter – why is it even necessary?’ After all with ERP systems, like R/3 or ECC, SAP cus-
                            tomers already have an integrated system. The accepted value of an ERP (Enterprise Resource and
                            Planning) is that it’s a self contained integrated solution that covers all major business processes –
                            without the requirement for extensive inter model/ system communication. Put another way this is
                            the prime value of the ERP model – real time integration whose components and processes natively

                            The short answer is there may be no compelling need – so long as an organisation can exist in iso-
                            lation and already derives enough business advantage from the pre-delivered ERP solution. Even
                            with SAP’s assistance in providing a platform and extensive pre-delivered content the cost benefit
                            may not stack up. For some organisations this is not the case, the reasons have been summarised
                            into the following three broad categories:

                            Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) or A2A
                            For some organisations the concept of an all encompassing ERP does not apply. The diversity of
                            their landscape requires that they have the ability to communicate in a managed, structured and
                            repeatable manner. This could be because the organisation has adopted a best of breed approach
                            for part of it’s operation – i.e. part of the organisations business processes are on other systems
                            (HR/ Payroll, Production Planning, etc); or it could be that they have multiple systems as a result of
                            mergers and acquisitions.

                            Business Process Improvement
                            For some business processes the use of a single technology UI (user interface) tightly coupled to a
                            single application constrains the potential for leverage. Different processes and roles demand a mix
                            of presentation options supported by an underlying common communication method and format.
                            The use of SOA with this mix of delivery methods also offers the chance to morph or blend several
                            systems and information sources or to modify the standard process to invoke/ involve other sys-
Contact details             tems, processes and or roles to best advantage. These are sometimes called Composite Applica-
Wellington office
                            It would be inaccurate however to limit Business Process Improvements to the development of
Level 20, 105 The           Composite Apps. The toolsets in the ‘SOA’ marketplace also offer business process modelling and
Terrace                     monitoring capabilities to drive business effectiveness and improvements. See the section SOA and
PO Box 10878                Business Process Management for more discussion on this topic.
                            Business to Business Integration (B2B)
Ph (04) 472 1897            Finally for many organisations the case for SOA rests with their need to extend their business proc-
                            ess chains beyond their organisational boundaries (Business to Business or B2B) – to their suppliers,           customers or other business partners.

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                                                                                                                  talent and attitude
                            More and more the lines between organisations within the context of business operations are blur-
Who can                     ring. For example interaction in the procurement process with suppliers may not be limited to pur-
                            chase order details but may also involve availability to promise (ATP) checks earlier in the procure-
benefit from                ment or even production planning cycle. Suppliers for their own part may actively interrogate cus-
SOA?                        tomers planning data in order to manage their own demand forecast and production planning.

• Organisations             Web Services and SAP’s Enterprise Services
with a diverse
range of business
                            Functions within SAP have been callable using a variety of proprietary standards for years. Some
applications requir-
                            years ago SAP provided Business Connector to facilitate a more open exposure of these services
ing EAI
                            and more latterly this has been replaced by their Exchange Infrastructure (XI) and now Process Inte-
• Those needing                                                                                       gration (PI) products.
Business to Business
integration                                                                                                           Since SAP R/3 4.7 and the
                                                                                                                      release of NetWeaver SAP
• Those seeking                                                                                                       has the inbuilt ability to
process improve-                                                                                                      directly expose RFC’s and
ments                                                                                                                 BAPI’s as web services.
                                                                                                                      Web service enabled lan-
                                                                                                                      guages such as Java
                                                                                                                      and .Net can communi-
                                                                                                                      cate directly with a SAP
                                                                                                                      application in a non-
                                                                                                                      proprietary manner using
                                                                                                                      Web Service Definition
                                                                                                                      Language (WSDL’s) and

                            The provision of web services alone does not constitute SOA – they just contribute in the context of
                            defined and properly managed Enterprise Services.

                            For SAP the release of Enterprise Services and supporting technology based on the principals of
                            SOA has been encapsulated as Enterprise Services Architecture or ESOA. It could be said that SAP’s
                            ESOA is about putting services in the context of business processes within a structured framework.

                            In SAP an Enterprise Service is:
                            •       A callable entity that provides
                                    business functionality
                            •       Is structured according to a
                                    harmonized enterprise model
                                    based on global data types
                                    (GDT’s), process components
                                    and business objects
                            •       Is published by SAP in the En-
                                    terprise Services Repository
                            •       Guarantees quality and stability

                            •       Is well documented

                            •       Is based on open standards

                            1. WSDL is an XML format for describing network services as a set of endpoints operating on messages containing either           document-oriented or procedure-oriented information.
                            2. SOAP is an internet-based lightweight protocol for exchanging XML messages in a distributed environment. It provides a
                            mechanism for packaging and un-packaging XML messages, and can potentially be used in combination with a variety of
                            transport protocols such as HTTP for message transfer.

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                            SOA and Business Process Management
                            SOA is intertwined with Business Process Management (BPM). The real value in SOA provides is
                            not limited to the technical interoperability that it enables, but also in terms of Business Process
• SAP incorporates
                            Management and Modelling it helps facilitate.
SOA methodology,
content and design,
                            Wikipedia describes Business Process Management (BPM) as a method of efficiently aligning an
delivery and moni-
toring technology           organization with the wants and needs of clients. It is a holistic management that promotes busi-
as ESOA                     ness effectiveness and efficiency while striving for innovation, flexibility and integration with tech-
                            nology. As organizations strive for attainment of their objectives, BPM attempts to continuously
                            improve processes - the process to define, measure and improve your processes – a ‘process optimi-
                            zation' process.

                            SAP encompasses elements of SOA and BPM within the tools and content it provides – design and
                            modelling facilitated by the ARIS components within the Process Integrator (PI) and Composition
                            Environments (CE); monitoring and optimisation via PI; Workflow and Business Intelligence (BI for-
                            merly Business Warehouse or BW). SOA and BPM as a concept and the tools and content provided
                            by SAP readily support methods for managing enterprise architecture – such as TOGAF (see refer-
                            ence 7).

                            SAP Enhancement Packages
                            Since the release of ERP 6.0 SAP have chosen to release new blocks of Enterprise Services within
                            Enhancement Packages (EhP). To begin with these EhP have been focused on the enablement of
                            the existing core functionality of the ERP suite, the focus for the 2008/ 09 years is on extending this
                            to other applications within the SAP suite. This they have termed Enterprise SOA by Evolution –
                            beyond this period they seek to extend the functionality - Enterprise SOA by Design.


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                                                                                                                 talent and attitude
                            Enterprise Services Workplace
Business                    An extensive range of the Enterprise Services available across the SAP platform can be accessed via
                            the Enterprise Services Workplace on SAP SDN.

• The Soltius
Futures team includes
industry experts

• The team is certified
to apply The Open
Group    Architecture
Framework (TOGAF)
and Soltius is a mem-
ber of the Supply
Chain Council

• Soltius offers a
range of business
consulting    services
around      Strategic
Planning,    Balanced
Enterprise Architec-
ture, the SCOR Supply
Chain model, and
Enterprise    Change


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                            SAP Enterprise SOA Building Blocks and NetWeaver
services                    A variety of components within the SAP landscape contribute towards the ESOA solution – as does
                            the content published by SAP and the growing community contributing directly via the SAP’s Enter-
• Soltius offers the        prise Services Wiki’s. In a very general sense there are two primary elements within NetWeaver fo-
full range of SAP           cused on the exposure and consumption of ESOA being the Process Integrator (PI) and Composi-
services, including         tion Environment (CE) – PI facilitating machine to machine communication, CE human to applica-
NetWeaver consulting
• Specialist skills
 - Portal
 - Enterprise
   Integration (EAI)
   and Business to
   Business (B2B)
 - Employee Self
   Service (ESS)
 - Business
   Intelligence (BI)

                            SAP Process Integrator
                            SAP’s Process Integration (PI) was previously known as Exchange Infrastructure (XI). Prior to XI appli-
                            cation integration was supported by SAP’s Business Connector (BC) tool – but this was not SOA
                            focused. The purpose of PI is to act as a message broker in Enterprise Application Integration (EAI)
                            or Business to Business (B2B) scenarios. It does this by brokering information, in a business process
                            context, by connecting with systems or other middleware and invoking services directly or indirectly
                            via web services, DB connections, file systems or other specialist adaptors in a synchronous or asyn-
                            chronous manner.

                            So if ERP is web service enabled when do we need PI – why can’t we just go direct? Point to point
                            connection with SAP systems from other systems is both technically possible and logical in some
                            circumstances. Where PI can add value is in the context of data mapping and transformation, com-
                            munication management, security and load management.

                            SAP Composite Environment
                            Business seeking improvements in their processes are increasing looking for ‘blended’ solutions
                            beyond the standard functionality delivered in back-end systems. These improvements can be deliv-
                            ered through the use of composite applications – in SAP these are developed via the Composition
                            Environment (CE).

                            Composite applications are package applications that sit on top of the back-end solutions and
                            other data sources. They make use of data and functions provided as (SOA) services by platforms
Email    and applications, combining these into user-centric processes and views, supported by own busi-           ness logic and specific user interfaces.

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                            Following the strategy of SOA, composite applica-
                            tions are loosely coupled with the services that
                            they consume. The business logic can be modified
                            within the composite application – but the inter-
                            face with the applications can’t be changed. This is
                            an important consideration – we want to change
                            the business logic (for example screen/ process
                            order) but ensure that the ‘rules’ of the underlying
                            application are not compromised. Well developed
                            services help ensure that this integrity is protected
                            – by not providing services at a level of granularity
                            that threatens core rules.

                            SAP Enterprise Services Registry and Repository
                            This element of SAP solution provides two key functions:
                            ES Repository – holds the definition of processes and services. Holds service meta-data and provides
                            the central modelling environment using the Eclipse based tool.

                                Objects in the ES Repository include:

                                     •      Integration Scenarios
                                     •      Process Component Models
                                     •      Service Interfaces (Enterprise Services)
                                     •      Global Data Types (CCTS based)
                                     •      Interface Mappings
                                     •      Executable Integration processes (BPEL)

                            Services Registry – acts as a Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI). A yellow pages
                            of services which can include those not contained/ defined in the ES Repository such as those in
                            other UDDI’s. The Service Registry is comprised of 2 major components:

                                     •      UDDI v3.0 server (OASIS standard)
                                     •      Classification Service (SAP standard)

                            SAP System Landscape Directory
                            The System Landscape Directory (SLD) is a register of component information, landscape descrip-
                            tion and name reservation. The SLD is part of SAP NetWeaver. This information is accessible for
                            interrogation via HTTP and uses non-proprietary standards. Non SAP third party components can
                            be added.

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                            The system landscape description represents the exact model of an actual system landscape. It’s the
                            as-is model.

                            The component information describes the building blocks of solutions and their possible combina-
                            tions and dependencies. It describes the world of installable landscape elements. For example, it
                            contains all software components available by SAP, including versions and patch levels.

                            SAP Visual Composer
                            Visual Composer is the modelling tool that enables code-free composition of UI elements, Enter-
                            prise Services, and reusable components to rapidly create and adapt rich user interfaces. Visual
                            Composer provides:
                            •      A code-free, freestyle modelling environment
                            •      Enables creating Composite Views that can be used as standalone applications or as part of
                                   larger composite applications
                            •      Enables users without specialized software development skills such as Business Process Ex-
                                   perts to easily model business applications.


 TALENT AND ATTITUDE       TO DELIVER THE RIGHT BUSINESS SOLUTIONS WHATEVER IT TAKES                                                 8
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                            Competitive Products and SAP
                            SAP is not alone in its drive for SOA within its product range. Other big name competitors include
                            but are not limited to TIBCO, webMethods, IBM, Oracle and BEA (acquired by Oracle). Reference 3
                            provides some interesting analysis on this topic - though this is now somewhat dated.

                            Market analysis might legitimately suggest that SAP does not have the ‘best of breed’. However in
                            the authors opinion and for the majority of existing SAP accounts, the use of SAP SOA components
                            is pretty compelling. It’s true that now that SAP is open and in the context of SOA other third party
                            products can integrate with SAP as easily as any other. But this dismisses the following key points:

                            •      Just because vendors/ system subscribe to using SOA and SOA standards does not necessar-
                                   ily guarantee direct interoperability – due to data alignment and the subtleties of each offer-
                                   ing. The benefit of using SAP in your SOA landscape is that at least standards across this
                                   product set will be consistent

                            •      SAP’s offering is designed to integrate not just in a technology sense but also in a method-
                                   ology sense – its one part of a synchronised vision. Out of the box you get content that
                                   works with your existing infrastructure and can connect to SAP and non-SAP products alike

                            •      For the majority of usage cases licensing and perhaps more importantly support costs cost
                                   will be lower than investing in a standalone best of breed solution

                            •      SAP’s existing and signalled investment in this area is massive – this is a key part of their
                                   future roadmap

                            SOA is not a solution to a specific business problem – rather its capability delivered via a methodol-
                            ogy, technology and content that offers options for process and process management improve-
                            ment. For this reason this paper has not attempted to isolate specific business value that organisa-
                            tions might gain from the pursuit of SOA. This can only be assessed in the context of each organi-
                            sation’s own unique requirements and not in isolation of non-SAP products and traditional organ-
                            isational boundaries.

                            There’s no doubt that SOA and the Business Process Management closely associated with it will
                            change the way we do business – or at least change the way we view and initiate improvements in
                            our business. The extent of the change in the short to medium term ultimately depends on the
                            hard and soft ROI gains organisations can exploit from it.

                            What is clear is that SOA is not a passing fad – businesses have demanded the inter-operability that
                            SOA seeks to deliver. Given the breadth of the community involved with SOA, it’s little wonder that
                            conflicting standards and methodology exists and will continue to do so into the future. For SAP
                            the commitment to ESOA is enormous and signals more than just an evolving series of products
                            but a paradigm change in the way that they do business.


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                             Reference and Further Information
                             Soltius acknowledges the content of various SAP provided material, both presentations and web
                             content, in the construction of this document.

                                      Description                                      Site

                                1     Explore SAP’s Enterprise Services                esworkplace

                                2     SAP ESOA Methodology handbook                    enterprisesoa-methodology

                                      Forrester white paper on Business Proc-          ForresterWave-Integration-
                                      ess Centric Suites                               BPM_Suites-Q4_2006.pdf

                                      Soltius White Paper on Getting Started           uploads/2008/03/soa-getting-
                                      with SOA                                         started.pdf

                                      Great site with information on SOA and 
                                      many links to other sites

                                      Range of SOA related standards and re- 
                                      lated reference sites                  

                                      TOGAF, The Open Group Architecture
                                      Framework, is an industry standard ar-
                                      chitecture framework that may be used  
                                      freely by any organization wishing to
                                      develop an information systems architec-
                                      ture for use within that organisation

                             Legal Disclaimer
                             This paper is provided by Soltius (NZ) Limited to provide introductory assistance to our clients in
                             their understanding of SOA in the context of SAP NetWeaver. It incorporates content from various
                             web sites and vendor presentations including those provided by SAP. The views expressed in this
                             document do not purport to represent those of SAP nor any other organisation. While reasonable
                             care has been taken in authoring this document, Soltius accepts no liability or responsibility for any
                             errors or omissions it might contain. This document’s content should not be relied upon to make
                             purchasing decisions.


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