NetWeaver Strategy Key Highlight of SAP TechEd Conference

The company wants to differentiate its integration strategy from that of Oracle's Fusion Middleware.

At its annual TechEd 05 conference in Boston this week SAP AG will work to differentiate its NetWeaver integration strategy from Oracles Fusion Middleware strategy—a rare tact at this technology-focused event.

The distinguishing factor SAP is seeking to establish is its partner-focused approach to building a community around NetWeaver, the underlying technology stack for its Enterprise Services Architecture. To this end SAP announced Tuesday its Enterprise Services Community Process, a developers forum focused on defining enterprise services and their underlying processes.

The ESCP forum is modeled on Sun Microsystemss Java Community Process, a tremendous open-developer community built around Java.

The similarity to JCP is no accident. George Paolini, a former Sun executive who founded JCP, was hired by SAP last March to head its Platform Ecosystem Development team—and lead the ESCP charge.

In a March 23, 2005 interview with eWeek, Paolini admitted he will face a few more challenges in building out ESCP than he did with JCP. Dispelling the concept that SAP is proprietary "is a big piece of it," said Paolini, in Palo Alto, Calif.

"SAP was built on proprietary technology. Obviously the world has changed, and SAP has done a good job of changing with it," said Paolini. "The goal here is really to take the rich heritage of the company, which is all built on ABAP language, and extend that through a set of WSDL interfaces as a set of services that can be incorporated into a set of applications."

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Paolinis first steps were to define how SAP will publish services. Now the goal is to determine the specific service interfaces for the community—a task SAP will undertake with partners.

The ESCP forum is geared toward developers in two distinct communities—ISVs that build applications to sit on top of NetWeaver, and technology vendors that build technology that NetWeaver sits on top of. To this end, SAP announced Tuesday six new technology partners that have agreed to license SAPs ESA and certify their products for NetWeaver: Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Network Appliance, Research in Motion, and RSA Security.

During its Sapphire user conference last May, SAP announced its first round of ESA supporters: Microsoft, Adobe, Cisco Systems, Computer Associates, EMC, Intel, Macromedia, Mercury Interactive, Symantec and Veritas.

The big deal behind the ESA license agreements is that these vendors will certify products around SAPs services architecture—and add credibility to SAPs technology direction. In return, the licensees will get early access to SAPs services catalog, along with the tools to develop data schemas, user interfaces, application models and security features, SAP officials said.

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