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April 29, 2013
SAP Netweaver and Process Integration
SAP Netweaver is an application and integration platform that unifies ‘people’, ‘information’ and ‘business processes’. It has been built as the new technical foundation for all future SAP applications. This platform is based on Enterprise Service Architecture (ESA), keeping in mind SAP’s strategy of offering future products in compliance with ESA. ESA is built on the benefits of web service, which is an interface implementing the industry standards of SOAP and WSDL to expose different functionalities to a web service consumer. The use of web service allows direct integration between applications and ERP system or more specifically SAP, without involving a middleware for integration.
SAP Netweaver is not a replacement for SAP R/3, but has been explained as a marketing strategy. One important part of Netweaver is integration of processes. This is done through SAP’s own middleware called SAP PI (Process integration, previously known as SAP XI). SAP PI is used for integrating both SAP and non-SAP applications. It is used for both internal and external integration. i.e. for both application to application and business to business. It runs on SAP WAS (Web application Server), which is the common platform for all SAP applications. The integration builder, which is the middleware, comprises of two main parts-
- ESR (Enterprise Service Repository)
- ID ( Integration directory)
These two are used for designing and configuration of objects within the middleware respectively. The integration builder is built on two stacks- ABAP and Java. The best part about SAP PI is that all definitions use open technologies like BPEL (Business Process Execution Language), WSDL,XML and XSD. Java based graphical tools are also deployed in this middleware.
Process Integration is an important part of the framework, and critical for successful implementation of SAP. For this reason, most SAP implementation projects involve the use of SAP Netweaver and SAP PI.