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024 – SAP Integration and API

In this show I’m thrilled to have Harsh Jegadeesan, how is a product manager from SAP. He is responsible to for quite a few of the integration product as SAP and has a strong presence in SAP progress to API. It was a really interesting conversation where we covered a lot about what was going on with integration at SAPTeched and SAP in general.

This is the first time I do a live interview and in a bit noisy setting, but it should be possible to hear what we are talking about.

We do cover quite a few interesting things on the show.

  • Using API as a way to remove the complexity of your landscape, as the bedsheet you use to throw over your bed to cover the mesh.
  • Why is the API different than the Enterprise SOA. One of the differences Harsh mentioned was that E-SOA was a waterfall approach whereas the API is a lot more agile. SAP is using the same API for UI so they will do a better job understanding them.
  • We talk about API and how to implement them in a customer landscape and how SAP is thinking about API.
  • Open connectors: One interesting point I took away from it was that it was more a hub model. So you could have to multiply ie. CRM system and then you would just all the Open Connector with one standard interface, then Open Connector would ensure it is delivered to the correct CRM system if organizations use different settings.
  • We talk about the Cloud Integration Suite and where it fits into the customer’s journey.

If you found it interesting please share it.

 

021 – IFG Integration day with program

A few months ago I shared a little about the IFG survey and the big event that we have planned for SAP Integration. A two day about what is happening with all SAP Integration. It is arranged by the Swedish SAP user group SAPSA taking place 5 to 6 November in Stockholm. In this episode I’m talking with Pontus Borgstrom Integration Architect at SKF and board member of SAPSA.

One of the reasons that I think it will be cool is there is quite a number of presentations from partners and SAP customers about their projects. I think this is where you will learn what is going on in the market and your pears is doing. SAP will also be presenting a lot of what they have been doing and their roadmaps. There will also be plenty of time for networking get to talk with fellow integration developer or architects to hear what they are doing.

There will also be some hands-on sessions (with some cloud systems) or demos that show something of what is going on with the integration.

It is an event focused on SAP Integration, so if you are interested in integration this is the event to go to.

You can register at the link below. If you are a part of your user group the price is just 100 EUR per day.

 

I do hope to see you there. I’ll be presenting some sessions on how to speed up your development sessions.

020 – Status of Enterprise Integration SAPPHIRENOW 2018 recap

The cool thing about SAPPHIRENOW, which is SAP’s biggest event focusing on the business value of  SAP software. From an integration standpoint, there was a lot of interesting perspectives. So I created a webinar where I was covering some of the big change happening and what I believed people should start considering when working with SAP Integration.

Integration is going to be a lot more complicated over the next period of time, so you need to figure out how to position your SAP PI/PO system vs the Cloud Integration system.

For SAP to be successful they must enable customers integration. So there was a big focus on integration. Some of the topics covered in this podcast are S4 Integration, API management, SAP Cloud Platform, Open Connector, SAP Cloud Integration, prepackaged content.

You can also watch the slides here

Or watch the video

 

Check out our testing tool to improve your development speed at http://figaf.com/IRT

015 – Workflow in SAP Cloud Platform with DJ Adams

I’m excited to welcome DJ Adams to The Integration Podcast this week.  DJ has been working with SAP software for more than 30 years.  He was an SAP Mentor for many years but has since retired to become an SAP Mentor alumnus.  DJ has shared a lot on the SAP Cloud Platform Workflow.  He has also written a series of blog posts on the subject where he is using the platform to find which beers he needs to drink next.  With my background on the SAP PI systems and BPMs there now is a gradually transitioning to the cloud so DJ’s experience is hugely valuable for my work.

DJ first started working on R/2 on IBM mainframes in the 1980’s and has been working with SAP software ever since.  He has been fascinated by the cloud platform and has worked with systems outside of the SAP world including Google App Engine.  He never worked much with PI but the workflow service is very closely related to SAP BPM.

Getting started with Workflow is really easy.  It’s available as a trial account on the Cloud Platform.  Users can easily enable it along with the Portal Service and the full stack Web IDE.  You need to define your workflow definitions.  You need nothing other than a web browser to access those services.

The workflow service is about orchestrating services and tasks across applications but also across systems, organizations, and individuals.  There is a service task building block that effectively gives you the ability to make HTTP calls.  You also have script tasks that will let you mess around with the context of the data of the workflow instance.  There is also a mail task.  Then there is the most important step type in a workflow definition which is the user task.  Those let you send tasks to a user to let them be able to interact with that workflow instance.

You don’t need to code very much in the UI when you’re first getting started.  But if you are going to do any meaningful workflows you will need to do some coding to create user task interfaces for the SAP Fiori My Inbox app, which is a master-detail style app. The user task components you build are injected into the component container in the My Inbox app when tasks are selected for processing.  You need to know some SAPUI5 in order to do that, but the team plans to release a forms-based facility to create user task interfaces in the future.

 

 

 

 

13 – The how-to guide to SAP Cloud Connector with Morten Wittrock

I’m really pleased to welcome, for the first time, one of my old colleagues in the SAP world onto the show. We’ve covered a lot of ground over the last 12 episodes but today I want to discuss the SAP Cloud Connector. To that end I’m joined by Morten Wittrock an SAP technologist based from KMD in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Morten and I started working together back in 2005. His focus has gradually shifted towards SAP Cloud Platform so he is the perfect person to talk about the Cloud Connector.

Morten is one of the top experts on the Cloud Connector. He’s literally written the book on the subject titled Cloud Connector for SAP Cloud Platform: How-to Guide. Cloud Connector exists to solve a problem created when a company combines their on-site SAP system with the Cloud Platform. Accessing the Cloud Platform from the on-site system is not a problem. But the reverse is more difficult. The on-site system sits behind several firewalls and is not supposed to be accessible from the internet.

You can win Morten’s book, share the podcast with Hashtag #Integrationpodcast on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, then I’ll draw two winners of the limited edition of the Cloud Connector book in paper format.  

The benefit of Cloud Connector is that you don’t have to allow any incoming traffic. The software is installed in the DMZ between your innermost and outermost firewalls. Cloud connector will open a TLS encrypted tunnel to the SAP Cloud Platform. From that point on whenever the Cloud Platform needs to access the on-site system, it will utilize that tunnel.

Cloud Platform continues to add new features. The most recent 2.11 has increased the number of APIs dramatically. There is also created a proof-of-concept command line tool for Cloud Connector which uses some of the functionality of the APIs.

Morten will be hosting an SAP Inside Track event Saturday May 5th, 2018. The event is full of cutting edge presentations on all things SAP. Tickets are still available

Morten really likes Cloud Connector. It’s a very useful tool despite being only a small part of the SAP system.

012 – Navigating the SAP community with Gayathri Narayana

Today on the show I’m happy to welcome Gayathri Narayana onto the show.  Gayathri Narayana is a product manager for SAP Cloud Platform Integration and IoT. She focuses on digital engagement, partner ecosystem, product roll out, cloud integration community and product definition. She has 10 years of experience in SAP integration technology and has led customer engagement initiatives, moderated MOOC courses like openSAP and is a regular speaker at conferences such as SAP TechEd.

On the show, we cover the following things.

Community page. This is a pretty good overview of what is happening with cloud integration topic. It is a pretty good place where you can find some of the highlighted resources for SAP Cloud Integration

 https://www.sap.com/community/topic/cloud-integration.html

Blueprint is proven guide from SAP for solving real-life business problems leveraging the cloud platform and its various services. They give a pretty good overview of the components involved to do a specific objective that covers multiple services. Like the Automating Employee Onboarding Processes document, that covers SuccessFactor, S4 HANA and the SAP Cloud Platform for Integration and Workflow. There is also a number of interesting ones for the security with the cloud platform.

 https://www.sap.com/developer/blueprints.html

Learning journeys is a place to view all the service offerings that SAP has for a given area, so it collects all relevant information and resources to take into account. It is both Open SAP courses, class room training and other guides to follow, so they will be a good place to figure out what areas are interesting to understand. One journey for Cloud Integration has just been published. You can find it here https://help.sap.com/doc/0c3db190da2c4866a1f2906763d4f59a/Cloud/en-US/f4a390d6ee7147aa89ba587102702677.html 

All learning journeys: https://help.sap.com/doc/221f8f84afef43d29ad37ef2af0c4adf/HP_2.0/en-US/317030086f83418a94dfe94173b46584.html

Road map for SAP Integration. We cover the roadmap for SAP integration a little. This covers some focus on self-service of users, moving to a cloud only development and then the new Cloud Integration Content Advisor. I’m sure that we will cover the areas in more details in a future episode. You can find the SAP roadmaps at the SAP RoadMap site

 

Today we are going to discuss API management with Bram Keijers who works as an SAP Integration Consultant with Proxellence. Most of the company's clients are using integration middleware and so API management is just starting to be backed up by customers. It's still a relatively new feature having only been released by SAP three years ago. Bram tries to convince clients to use the API management feature for any services exposed to an SAP gateway. Suppose a customer has an SAP backend system like ECC that is providing employee data to third parties. If another third party needs to access the same data the old method was to create an entirely different interface and another integration flow. What you can do with API management is to create a central interface and there you can govern access to all third parties. That means it's going to be a lot cheaper and easier to get your end point exposed. The price is fairly affordable. There is a cloud platform pricing calculator that you can access here. € 180 per month will cover a million calls per month. Bram really likes the new consumption based pricing. It's cheap enough that new customers can try it out for a few months and experiment with it. SAP's strategy is to allow customers to try different parts of the platform at a low price. If you have any other questions about SAP API management you can contact Bram here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bram-keijers-proxcellence/

009 – API management using SAP with Bram Keijers

Today we are going to discuss API management with Bram Keijers who works as an SAP Integration Consultant with Proxellence. Most of the company’s clients are using integration middleware and so API management is just starting to be backed up by customers. It’s still a relatively new feature having only been released by SAP three years ago.

Bram tries to convince clients to use the API management feature for any services exposed to an SAP gateway. Suppose a customer has an SAP backend system like ECC that is providing employee data to third parties. If another third party needs to access the same data the old method was to create an entirely different interface and another integration flow. What you can do with API management is to create a central interface and there you can govern access to all third parties. That means it’s going to be a lot cheaper and easier to get your end point exposed.

The price is fairly affordable. There is a cloud platform pricing calculator that you can access here. 180 per month will cover a million calls per month. Bram really likes the new consumption based pricing. It’s cheap enough that new customers can try it out for a few months and experiment with it. SAP’s strategy is to allow customers to try different parts of the platform at a low price.

Recommended places to get started with SAP API management

API management overview:
https://blogs.sap.com/2016/03/03/sap-api-management-overview-getting-started/

Deep dive blog:
https://blogs.sap.com/2016/01/08/deep-dive-on-sap-api-management-powered-by-hcp-publish-consume-and-monitor-apis-in-secure-and-scalable-manner/

Building & Consuming API’s:
part 1, configuration and API portal: https://blogs.sap.com/2016/02/24/building-consuming-apis-using-sap-api-management-part-1/

part 2, Developer portal:  https://blogs.sap.com/2016/02/25/building-consuming-apis-using-sap-api-management-part-2/

OData services discovery in API Management:
https://blogs.sap.com/2016/02/10/how-to-use-sap-api-management-on-hcp-trial/

If you have any other questions about SAP API management you can contact Bram here:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/bram-keijers-proxcellence/

007 – Choosing between Boomi, Mulesoft and PI with Kishore Nanda

Kishore Nanda is an integration expert who has worked with SAP for many years. In this edition of the podcast, we discuss his experience with SAP PI and Cloud Integrationas well as Dell Boomi and Mulesoft. He has been working on various integration solutions using a variety of platforms. Too often professionals develop myopic focus on SAP without paying attention to other solutions like Boomi and Mulesoft. As a person coming from the SAP ecosystem, it is interesting to hear what is going on in the world outside.

Dell Boomi offers a cloud application that includes interfaces that can be deployed throughout the cloud. The can have instances running on servers that can use in multiple deployment options. Atom Cloud, for example, allows for the same instances running in multiple places which allows for load balancing and offers very high reliability. Boomi also offers predefined content very similar to SAP. My interpretation is that it depends on the supplied APIs and how they work.

Mulesoft have a full integration suite that supports the same things as SAP PI/PO with ESB, API management, and Workflow/BPM. It design approach is different for the integrations.

Kishore says the best reason that an SAP PI user should consider using Boomi or Mulesoft is licensing and how they integrate with a specific system. The key point is that Boomi allows you to deploy an optimized solution for those customers who don’t want to move all of their systems onto the cloud. On the downside, Boomi and Mule have a greater learning curve because of their reliance on more programmatic language.

006 – How to automate SAP PI/PO testing with Mark Oshifeso from Anadarko Petrolium

In this episode, we will talk about SAP PI/PO testing and how to automate it with Figaf IRT.

I’m very happy to have Mark Oshifeso on the show. Mark was one of the first people to use Figaf’s new Integration Regression Tool for SAP PI/PO. Mark works for a mid-size oil and gas producer based in Texas. He and his team upgrade the systems on a regular basis and have found the IRT especially useful on their PI systems.

Mark wanted to make it a lot easier to do upgrades of the SAP PI/PO system. The big challenge was that he used to upgrade the SAP PI/PO system only every 2-3 years because the testing requirement was really big. So the cost was too high it too a long time between upgrades.

“Fully automated testing in the SAP world is pretty rare.” He says.

Mark compares the IRT to other testing options on the market very favorably.

“It’s crazy easy to use.” He added.

The IRT doesn’t require you to learn a programming language and can be taught to someone in as little as an hour. Mark and his team decided to introduce the tool and create a test catalog by upgrading their PI system from one service tech level to a more recent version. They were able to complete their work quite quickly.

One of the big things that I’m grateful Mark helped with is the business side and share how the business could react to automated testing. And then give me the good difference between the normal workflow testing tools and the Record Replay tool.

With the help of Figaf IRT Mark and Anadarko was able to setup a testing of all 300 interfaces in 4 weeks, part of this was the 3 weeks to create the test catalog. Once this is there the overall testing time should go down to 1 week including manual tests. And at the time Figaf where also doing development to enable the recording of the scenarios Mark was using.

You can see the slides here

In the podcast Mark also cover one of the big aspects which are to get business buying of the project. In Anadarko’s case, the business and accounting is responsible for making sure that there is sign off on all interfaces being tested. So each business owner needs to approve the testing result.

The business really enjoyed the testing framework and a lot of their questions was regarding how automated testing worked.

We also cover the two different approaches for testing.

Workflow based in which you define a scenario for testing a message. So you program to place a file here, and then SAP PI will map the file. Next step is then to query the receiving system if everything is correct. Mark estimated that it takes up to 4 hours (when special data etc is required). An interface which doesn’t require any special things can be done in 30min.

The other approach that Figaf IRT user’s is the Record/Replay. Here you simply copy some message from production and run them on your test system. If messages are different then you must evaluate if it is okay or you need to do something with it. Here you don’t have any coding options, but just simple configuration. All of this was enough for Mark and Anadarko to setup the testing.

Mark was using the Rest API of IRT to integrate it with HP ALM which is used to track all testing performed.

If you are looking to do setup any testing of your SAP PI/PO system then have a look at figaf.com/irt. We do have a free plan that will allow you to test 10 interface.

 

I'm really happy to welcome Igor Mitrovic on to this week's episode. Igor is the Managing Director of Proxellence Netherlands and is also the company's SAP Integration Specialist. He has more than eight years working with customers on SAP integration. His focus has been all about integration and innovation. When a customer first approaches Igor and his team the first conversation is about cost-savings and the benefits of moving there systems onto the cloud. After that they begin a process of cataloguing the customers back-end systems to determine if they are going to be exposed to the cloud. Igor then determines what applications need to be exposed outside of the internal network. “That's the most important thing that you have to figure out preemptively.” He says. Proxellence then divides the different connections between those that require encryption and those that do not. One question that is often asked is whether there are latency issues when adopting HCI. Igor says that the system runs very smooth except in cases where there is a lot of logging. PO is a much more developed product but it is much more difficult to maintain. Deciding which to use very much depends on what the end goal is. The biggest change coming to the world of cloud integration is the increasing number of customers for this solution. It's not just big companies anymore. CPI is a simple and easy to understand tool that is great to begin building on. “From my point of view it's a really strong tool and they're really fast at developing it.” He says. The fact that the product started only four years ago and is already being used in a production environment speaks volumes, according to Igor. There are gaps and flaws but he has, nevertheless, had a really good experience.

005 – The future of cloud integration with Igor Mitrovic

I’m really happy to welcome Igor Mitrovic on to this week’s episode. Igor is the Managing Director of Proxcellence Netherlands and is also the company’s SAP Integration Specialist. He has more than eight years working with customers on SAP integration. His focus has been all about integration and innovation.

When a customer first approaches Igor and his team the first conversation is about cost-savings and the benefits of moving there systems onto the cloud. After that they begin a process of cataloging the customers back-end systems.  They determine if they are going to be exposed to the cloud. Igor then determines what applications need to be exposed outside of the internal network.

“That’s the most important thing that you have to figure out preemptively.” He says.

Proxellence then divides the different connections between those that require encryption and those that do not.

One question that is often asked is whether there are latency issues when adopting HCI. Igor says that the system runs very smooth except in cases where there is a lot of logging. PO is a much more developed product but it is much more difficult to maintain. Deciding which to use very much depends on what the end goal is.

The biggest change coming to the world of cloud integration is the increasing number of customers for this solution. It’s not just big companies anymore. CPI is a simple and easy to understand tool that is great to begin building on.

“From my point of view it’s a really strong tool and they’re really fast at developing it.” He says.

It speaks volumes that  the product started only four years ago and is already being used in a production environment.  There are gaps and flaws but he has, nevertheless, had a really good experience.

Connect

LinkedIn

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mitrovicigor/ 

Company website:

http://www.proxcellence.com