SAP Drills Down on NetWeaver

At SAP's TechEd, keynotes address upgrades to the company's NetWeaver integration platform.

LAS VEGAS—Although not traditionally known for having stellar integration capabilities, SAP AG is out to change that with its NetWeaver integration platform.

Announced last year at TechEd, NetWeaver is SAPs answer to infrastructure, application and business process integration. Its also whats going to propel SAP into the next decade, according to company executives.

During keynote addresses at SAP TechEd here Tuesday, SAP executive board members Shai Agassi and Peter Zencke detailed the companys pragmatic approach to NetWeaver.

"This year is critical for education [regarding] NetWeaver," said Agassi during his keynote address. "This is a new wave of technology. We announced it last year; [this year] we will deliver on that promise, answering the what, how and why of NetWeaver."

Agassi also detailed the next iteration of NetWeaver that will come in the form of phased rollouts throughout the end of 2003 and into 2004.

SAPs Enterprise Portal Version 6.0 upgrade will include support for Unix and Windows servers, as well as WebSphere and .Net SDKs, and localization for more than 20 languages.

Business Warehouse, upgraded to Version 3.5, will include real-time business intelligence capabilities, information broadcasting and streamlined alert messaging.

At the same time, NetWeavers Exchange Infrastructure will include improved support for business-to-business, integrated business process management and extended versioning support for metadata.

While Agassi drilled down on whats next for the short term with NetWeaver, Zencke gave more of a long vision view.

"I am very much convinced the future has just begun," said Zencke. "Integration is about information integration. Process integration using a database is not available if youre talking about networking. [NetWeaver] is about a revolution of how to manage business processes."

What was left out of Tuesdays address is SAPs plans for a new developer environment. Scheduled for release at SAPs European conference at the end of the month, the NetWeaver Development Studio is a visual development platform similar to Microsofts Visual Studio .Net in that it provides the ability to graphically build applications.

Because Development Studio is based on NetWeaver, developers can take advantage of the back-end connectivity thats part of NetWeaver to achieve integration with SAP and non-SAP applications.

The NetWeaver technology stack, part of SAPs Enterprise Service Architecture for Web services, has a grocery list of components, including SAPs Enterprise Portal, Exchange Infrastructure, the combined J2EE and ABAP Web application server, Business Information Warehouse, Mobile Infrastructure, the Composite Application Framework, and the Master Data Management module.