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028 – CPI SuccessFactor and Cloud Integration Patterns

I had a chance to meet  at #SITCPH two weeks ago. Vadim is an Integration Architect at ARM.  We got to talk a lot on integration and what was going one. I have been looking a lot on Vadim blogs on sap.com like the SAP PI adapter logging or the dark side of Groovy Scripting.

I talked with Vadim Klimov about how new tools have an influence on the way we work with cloud integration and how flows for different scenarios can help us understand the integration with SuccessFactors using SAP CPI and a prem PI. I’m currently involved in a project where we are using OData V2 to access SuccessFactors data. There are some challenges involved with it. We need some workaround to be able to see information about people starting in the future. In The Integration Center in SuccessFactors, their are many options, when you are looking for filed-based integration. The interface is web-based and allows business users to easily create files. Vadim is using the CPI and PI to move the file to their own landscape.

We also talked about how they do error handling in CPI and what makes sense in that perspective. The process works differently than in PI, so you must understand how it works best there.  At Figaf we are improving the capabilities to monitor, test and support your CPI systems, so you can get notifications about what is going on.

We also cover Groovy development, as I would like to understand Vadim thinking on the area.

It was a very interesting conversation which I hope, you will enjoy.

 

 

 

027 – The future of SAP Integration

Tuesday, November 13. 2018, I just hosted a webinar about the key takeaways from SAP Teched and how to implement things based on it. It thinks it was one of my own webinars with most viewers (40). So it is an important topic. I think I missed the Gartner quote that 50% of the development budget will be about integration or something in that line.

When we were starting to see some cloud applications I did not see so many integrations. Lately, I have seen quite a number of a project involving some cloud application. I had seen that SAP would be able to provide some of the content as pre-delivered, but there are going to be so much more than you will need to develop. I just got an email from an SAP customer that they got a tsunami of cloud integration, so it is other areas as well.

Understand where you are going

On the webinar, I do cover how you can understand your own integrations and try to plan what integration you should be doing. I recommend that you take a look at the Integration Solution Advisor – Methodology. It has been updated and I have talked with quite a few architects using it and it gave them a good understanding of what they should be doing.

Roadmap

Then I cover the current state of the SAP PI roadmap, which will affect your existing integration. I do see the CPI on your SAP PI system as a good option to run some of your content. You probably want to start a migration if you are on a dual stack system, I have some resources on how you can do an SAP PI migration project. If you have Seeburger and want to migrate to B2B Add-on I created a webinar on how you can automate the migration. I also recorded a podcast on how a customer did a migration of Seeburger to B2B Add-on.

After you have been going thru your ISA-M you will have some integration patterns that you need new tools for. I’m covering SAP Cloud offerings for integration and their full iPaaS product. I think it would be wise to use the SAP tools first to see if they suit your needs and if not then you can find a better vendor for the solution. SAP will be adding new functions to the Cloud Offering to address the customers needs.

Operations

There is a need to make more integration at a faster pace. And you are probably not able to get more people on your team. So it is about making them as effective as possible. At Figaf we have created solutions to enable the development process to be a little easier from development, documentation, testing and supporting. You can check our tool Figaf IRT that can support the full lifecycle. I think it will help you improve your development of new features, so you will be more flexible and develop things faster.

Next week I’m hosting a webinar where I’ll cover how you can use the Figaf IRT tool to optimize your SAP PI and CPI development process.

 

View the presentation

You can watch the full video here.

 

 

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

016 – Building a reliable SAP PI landscape

In this episode, I’ll share some of the different ideas and techniques that I have seen at customers locations.

Integration services are so important to the business that you must find a way to run SAP PI/PO all the time. It is one of the key things to consider how you can make a good distribution of your system and the workloads. And also be able to support the upgrades/patches as well as configuration as easy as possible.

In the podcast, I mention some different setups they can be combined with a different setup to suit what you want to achieve and how it is best for your organization.

  • One installation on multiple instances or server nodes. This is SAPs way of scaling the system. They are all linked but allow you to restart single servers or instances and distribute among the servers. You cannot specify where an integration should run.
  • Multi productive PI systems to handle the different flow. Then you can patch one while the others are running. It requires some extra maintenance
  • Decentral Adapter Engine. Where all systems are connected to one central system that allows you to distribute workload and just have one place for configuration.
  • Preprod failover. Where you are using your reproductive system as a way to have a hot-hot failover. It does require some extra configuration of the scenarios on the PreProd system but gives you some benefits if you want to switch to it.

If you have another idea please post a comment below then others can learn from it.

 

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.

Today we're going to return to the subject of testing and look at another case study. This time we're joined by Peter Atling who recently worked on the PI/PO and webMethods upgrade at AkzoNobel As the test manager Peter executed several kinds of testing including regression testing. At the beginning of the project Peter was asked to find a tool that could handle some automated testing. At AkzoNobel testing middleware is not that easy. Over the last couple of years many interfaces have been implemented. The company uses PI mainly for application to application interfaces. 500 interfaces are being run over the system. The company needed to implement automated testing in order to better improve the system. Peter downloaded one of the earliest versions of Figaf's IRT to implement regression testing. There was a serious discussion about the use of an automated tool for this kind of work. They tend to want to do some tests for themselves. It was the mapping function that won the day because it removes the need to check all the fields. Their users want see that the interface is running. But Peter thinks as the use of this tool becomes more commonplace there will be more confidence in it's use. Peter feels the tool is really useful for fast growing companies who depend on PI for their delivery process. Without a good regression testing tool problems with PI can become a bottleneck. Convincing the development team to use the IRT was fairly easy because of it's ease of use.

008 Testing SAP PI/PO at AkzoNobel

Today we’re going to return to the subject of testing and look at another case study. This time we’re joined by Pieter Atling who recently worked on the SAP PI/PO and webMethods upgrade at AkzoNobel As the test manager Pieter executed several kinds of testing including regression testing. At the beginning of the project, Pieter was asked to find a tool that could handle some automated testing.

Pieter Atling

SAP expert Pieter Atling

At AkzoNobel testing middleware is a huge task as this is for most of the companies. Over the last couple of years many interfaces have been implemented. The company uses SAP PI mainly for application to application A2A interfaces. 500 interfaces are being run over the system. The company needed to implement automated testing in order to better improve the system. Pieter downloaded one of the earliest versions of Figaf’s IRT to implement regression testing.

Besides regression testing with the IRT tooling also end-to-end testing is done to make sure the interface is working as it should work. The expectation is that with the help of the tool upgrades could be done more frequently so that only regression tests have to be done combined with some manual testing done by the technical teams and that the user is not involved  or just limited involved. But Pieter thinks as the use of this tool becomes more commonplace there will be more confident in it’s use.

The approach how regression testing is done with IRT, is more or less the same as the approach followed for regression the webMethods platform that is also used by AkzoNobel.

Pieter feels the tool is really useful for fast growing companies who depend on SAP PI for their delivery process. Without a good regression testing tool problems with SAP PI can become a bottleneck. Convincing the development team to use the IRT was fairly easy because of it’s ease of use.

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.