Let’s take a closer look at the components of SAP Integration Suite and other tools for integration.
In January 2021, SAP revised and restructured its product offering with RISE with SAP. At the same time, SAP Integration Suite was revised. As a result, SAP now separates data integration and process integration more clearly.
The figure below shows the structure of SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP). While SAP Integration Suite and also SAP Process Orchestration are classified in the application, development, and integration area, you’ll find tools for data integration in the database and data management area.
SAP Cloud Integration
SAP Integration Suite is made up of various components. The central component of SAP Integration Suite is SAP Cloud Integration. This middleware platform is offered as a cloud-based service. For several years, the focus for functional development at SAP has been on the cloud-based SAP Cloud Integration. Other middleware platforms in SAP’s product portfolio are no longer the focus of further development.
SAP API Management
The SAP API Management component is also part of SAP Integration Suite and offers the ability to centrally plan, develop, and manage interfaces for your applications. In principle, you can also use application interfaces without SAP API Management. However, as soon as you want to implement comprehensive security policies, monitor data traffic, handle errors, or monetize calls to application interfaces, SAP API Management supports you in these tasks.
SAP Integration Advisor
With the Integration Advisor component, SAP provides a function to accelerate the development of integration content. Currently, the Integration Advisor includes functionality to create Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) mappings. When creating new mappings, knowledge from all mappings previously created with SAP Integration Advisor is used, so that many mappings can be generated automatically. You can then export mappings for use in SAP Cloud Integration or SAP Process Orchestration.
SAP Event Mesh
SAP Event Mesh is a component for handling event-driven communication. In event-driven communication, applications send small messages to an event broker whenever a specific event occurs in the application. The event broker makes the event available so that other applications can decide which events are of interest.
With Open connectors, SAP provides a component that allows you to integrate cloud-based applications rather easily. Every cloud-based application has an API defined by the provider. As a rule, the APIs of various applications differ greatly. For example, different authentication methods are used, or different technologies are supported. With Open Connectors, you can make APIs of different cloud-based applications available uniformly in your company.
SAP Process Orchestration
SAP Process Orchestration is SAP’s on-premise middleware platform and part of SAP BTP. However, SAP Process Orchestration is not part of SAP Integration Suite but a standalone product. SAP Process Orchestration has been offered with process integration functionalities since 2004, although under different product names over the years. SAP is focusing on SAP Cloud Integration rather than SAP Process Orchestration for further development. Maintenance of SAP Process Orchestration will end in 2030, and no further versions are planned.
Since the discontinuation of SAP Process Orchestration means that no on-premise middleware platform will be offered by SAP in the future, SAP has announced work on the “integration cell,” an on-premise runtime of SAP Integration Suite. However, the release date has not yet been set.
In addition to the process integration tools presented so far, which are usually part of the license bundle of SAP Integration Suite, the SAP portfolio offers various other tools for data integration. Although, these services are not part of the license bundle they still belong to the integration services offered on SAP BTP.
SAP Data Intelligence
SAP Data Intelligence focuses on data integration and data orchestration. This component has been available as a service on SAP BTP since 2019 and represents a further development of SAP Data Hub. However, in contrast to SAP Data Hub, the integration of machine learning capabilities enable a stronger focus on the operationalization of data science and machine learning.
Data Integration Tools
SAP also provides other applications for data integration. Most of these applications are on-premise products designed to support integration at the data level, which often involves transferring larger volumes of data than process-based integrations.
In hybrid landscapes, the connection between on-premise and cloud landscapes can present unique challenges. The Cloud Connector (part of the SAP Connectivity service) is a tiny on-premise software component that allows you to establish a secure connection between SAP BTP and your on-premise landscape. The figure below shows you the architecture of a simple system landscape with Cloud Connector.
Typical Implementation of the Cloud Connector
Typically, you install Cloud Connector in your demilitarized zone. The Cloud Connector’s task is to establish a secure connection between your network and your SAP BTP accounts. However, this secure connection is used only unidirectionally, for communication from SAP BTP to your on-premise network. You must set up connections from your on-premise network to SAP BTP using, for example, a reverse proxy. However, once the connection between your Cloud Connector and your account on SAP BTP is established, any connection from your SAP BTP account to your local network can use this secure connection.
SAP API Business Hub
SAP API Business Hub is another component of SAP’s hybrid integration platform. This central repository for APIs, integration, events, and core data services (CDS) views provides a general introduction to available standard interfaces within the SAP world.
SAP Graph is still a very new offering. So far, SAP Graph is only available as a beta version, which you must take into account if you want to use SAP Graph. We consider SAP Graph to be an important part of SAP’s hybrid integration platform in the long term.
Interaction of Components
Most components we’ve discussed in SAP’s hybrid integration platform can be used and licensed individually. However, hybrid integration platforms develop their greatest strengths through combinations of different components. One example of such a combination is the digital integration hub.
Editor’s note: This post has been adapted from a section of the book SAP Interface Management Guide by Adam Kiwon, Mark Lehmann, Manuel Männle, and Martin Tieves.