SAP Unveils New Web Services Offering

The software giant's Enterprise Services Architecture and NetWeaver technology stack gets IBM, Microsoft endorsements.

Enterprise software maker SAP AG is reformulating its application integration offerings and adding a Web services component.

The Walldorf, Germany, company in November of 2001 made a big-splash with the unveiling of its mySAP Technology platform that, at the time, was billed as finally opening up SAPs monolithic, proprietary R3 enterprise application architecture. mySAP Technology combined the open Java 2 Enterprise Edition programming language with ABAP, SAPs proprietary language.

This morning SAP announced a new architecture for Web services, Enterprise Services Architecture, along with NetWeaver, the technology stack that enables the architecture – and the integration of systems. With the introduction of ESA and NetWeaver, SAP is essentially scrapping the mySAP Technology platform – at least in the marketing sense – and including that as part of the NetWeaver stack.

ESA is SAPs effort to make Web services feasible for the enterprise by providing a blueprint that brings in three main components: existing systems, an integration platform and Cross Application, or xApp, functionality. The integration platform is tantamount to mySAP Technologys Exchange platform. The xApp functionality is a capability announced by SAP last year that enables companies to build composite applications from heterogeneous applications, based on a specific business process.

The NetWeaver stack combines the three areas marketed under the mySAP Technology platform: SAPs Enterprise Portal, Exchange Infrastructure and its combined J2EE and proprietary ABAB programming language Web Application Server. Mobile Infrastructure and Business Information Warehouse components were later added under the mySAP Technology umbrella, and are included in the NetWeaver stack.

New to NetWeaver has two components: a Composite Application Framework and a Master Data Management module, officials said. The Composite Application Framework is suspiciously like the xApps framework, but adds an object access layer that allows customers to abstract from underlying applications and create a unified development and deployment environment.

The Master Data Management services component allows companies to harmonize and centrally manage master data to support collaboration.

In addition, NetWeaver is comprised of components for collaboration, business intelligence, knowledge management, internal and internal business process integration and management and lifecycle management, officials said.

SAP also announced today ESA and NetWeaver endorsements from partners IBM and Microsoft Corp. Both IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., and Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., will support the NetWeaver stack by providing integration points between SAPs solutions and any WebSphere or .Net application, officials said.

The idea is that because NetWeaver is fully interoperable with .Net and WebSphere, customers are provided with the flexibility to maintain heterogeneous infrastructures.