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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.

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.

001 – Welcome to the Integration Podcast!

In this first episode on The Integration Podcast I explain why I wanted to create the show and what you can expect on future episodes.  I’ve been thinking about starting this podcast for some time.  It seemed especially important now because of the increasing complexity of integration software.  That complexity has been creating a growing number of problems for IT professionals.  There are so many tools and potential solutions it’s almost impossible to navigate.  My goal is to help you through that maze.

Each week I want to host a question and answer session along with interviews with some of the top minds in the industry.  We’re going to focus mostly on SAP tools but not exclusively.  I’m very open to hearing some of your ideas about what I should be covering on future episodes.  Please share the podcast and rate and comment on iTunes!