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SAP Gateway, SAP Process Orchestration, OData, SAP Mobile Platform – how does all this fit together?

Overview

This year SAP released many product updates like SAP Fiori, SAP Mobile Platform or SAP UI5 aimed to improve the user and developer experience. All the mentioned product updates have one thing in common – they are based on the development principle of an open interface standard (OData) as the abstraction layer between the user interface and the backend.

A challenge here was on the one side to improve the support for even more user-groups or available combinations of already installed SAP software at our customers and – on the other side - still offering the advantages of a consistent developer experience and supportability for all the different scenarios.

For those who are not too familiar with all the new developments you can find here a condensed overview on all the already existing and new possibilities (in the context of OData):

  • ‘SAP Gateway’ 2.0: an ABAP-based framework to enable OData/REST based connectivity for all ABAP-based SAP products like SAP ERP, SAP SCM, … SAP Gateway consists of two major blocks:
    • the backend enablement (IW_BEP) which has to be deployed on the ABAP-based backend and is the basis for content development
    • The SAP Gateway Hub which takes over the connectivity to one or many SAP backend systems and the generation of OData.
  • ‘SAP Mobile Platform’ 3.0: the embedded Gateway Components (Java) are taking care of the integration of various data sources like JDBC, JPA, SAP Gateway based service definitions (IW_BEP) or SOAP. The output of the Gateway Components is OData – which is then the starting point for additional mobile specific services inside SMP like device specific push notifications.
  • ‘SAP Process Orchestration’: The embedded Gateway Java can connect to SAP Gateway based service definitions (via the backend enablement – IW_BEP) and transform them into OData without the need to have an SAP Gateway Hub (based on ABAP technology) installed.
  • ‘HCI OData Provisioning’: For cloud based scenarios this service is connecting to the SAP Gateway backend enablement (IW_BEP) and is making the OData available directly on the HANA Cloud Platform (trial version only).

Compared to two years ago – where only SAP Gateway (ABAP) could provide the required OData Services there are now many more options available. The only missing piece is now to identify the right technology for the required scenario…

Scenario Overview


The good message in the beginning – whatever OData Services get developed in an ABAP-based SAP backend systems (using IW_BEP) can be used directly in any scenario mentioned below. The OData Service could even be used by more than one technology at the same time. So if you develop for example in an ABAP-based System an OData Service for leave requests then you could use this via the SAP Mobile Platform in a mobile app and as well via Microsoft Outlook.


Of course first the OData Services have to be created in the ABAP-based backend systems via the Gateway Service Builder (transaction SEGW – being part of the IW_BEP Add-On). Once the services are implemented there are now various choices for the final transformation into OData.

SAP Gateway Hub


Customers having built up development and operations skills for the SAP Application Server ABAP can set-up and operate the SAP Gateway Hub which is then connecting to the various SAP Backend Systems. Also the SAP UI Add-On is typically installed on top of the SAP Gateway Hub System. Everything is based here on the same technology (the SAP NetWeaver Application Server ABAP) which makes it easy to embed SAP Gateway into already existing maintenance and operations procedures.

SAP Process Orchestration


Customers who are already using SAP Process Orchestration as a middleware solution can now activate the OData generation of ABAP-based SAP Systems directly inside PI. This has the advantages that no SAP Gateway hub system is required any more (which saves cost for hardware and operations) and also strengthens central governance.


This setup is providing roughly the same level of supported OData features as the SAP Gateway hub. But to set the expectations right – there are a few points that need to be considered with this scenario:

  • One feature of SAP Gateway is not yet supported in this context – the Task Gateway. This Task Gateway is a capability to connect to various backend systems (SAP ABAP Workflow, SAP BPM and non-SAP Systems) and aggregate the workflow items coming from the various sources into one single OData Service. This one OData Service is then used by the Unified Inbox, other mobile workflow apps or in Microsoft Outlook. So if a unified workflow inbox is required still the SAP Gateway Hub (ABAP) has to be installed.
  • Also there is no integration from the OData generation capability to the integration flows in PI. As a result, it is not yet possible to provision OData services from non-SAP systems e.g. via REST, JDBC or SOAP. The only source for OData exposure is currently the SAP Gateway backend enablement (IW_BEP).

SAP Mobile Platform


Organizations that want to provide online or offline mobile apps to their users often have the challenge to connect to ABAP-based SAP Systems and also to other technologies which can only be reached via e.g. SOAP, JPA or JDBC. SAP Mobile Platform 3.0 provides both the connectivity to the IW_BEP-based backend services from the SAP system but also the connectivity to non-SAP data sources.
Also here roughly the same level of OData features are supported than with the SAP Gateway Hub. And also in this scenario the Task Gateway is not supported.

SAP HANA Cloud Platform


With the increasing importance of cloud-based scenarios also the relevance of hybrid scenarios is becoming more important. At hybrid scenarios the SAP systems on premise are being used as systems of record where the relevant business data is managed in a central location. Enhancements to the backend system (like alternative user interfaces or an own application logic) could be realized via application development on the SAP HANA Cloud. Direct access to the relevant data from the backend system is required.

‘HCI OData Provisioning’ is a cloud based service to securely connect (via the SAP Cloud Connector) to the OData Service definitions located on the Gateway backend enablement (IW_BEP). As a result there is now an OData Service available in the SAP HANA Cloud Platform which is directly connected to the business logic from the SAP System on premise.

And similar to the other approaches also here more or less the same features are available
than with the SAP Gateway Hub. There is also no support for Task Gateway.

This functionality is currently only available in the trial environment of the SAP HANA Cloud Platform. Productive Usage is not supported.

Summary


All mentioned technologies have one thing in common – to best support our customers with OData support no matter which technology is being used. All the
OData-related topics like administration UIs or design time tools remain consistent (for the Java based applications). And – in addition – all the OData services which were defined in the SAP backend can be re-used across all the various technologies.

ProductPlatformGateway hub functionality (OData provisioning, multi-origin, multi-version support)Connectivity to SAP Gateway backend enablement (IW_BEP)Connectivity to JDBC, SOAP, JPAUnified Inbox/Task Gateway
SAP GatewayOn-PremiseNetWeaver AS ABAPYesYesNoYes
Process Orchestration (with Gateway Java)On-PremiseNetWeaver AS JavaYesYesNoNo

SAP Mobile Platform

On-Premise

Java

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

SAP HANA Cloud
Integration

On-Demand

SAP HANA Cloud  Platform

Yes

Yes

No

No

Links:

SAP Gateway

SAP Process Orchestration

SAP Mobile Platform

SAP HANA Cloud Platform - HCI OData Provisioning

SAP API Management

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