Then SAP and 3rd party vendors provided other solutions as e.g. CRM. SRM,.. These solutions and their respective systems needed to be integrated to the ERP environment (e.g. an R/3 backend system). This brought added complexity and the beginning of many individual point-to-point connections.
With the SAP Exchange Infrastructure and collaborative business, SAP approaches the integration challenge from a different angle. The basic idea is to provided a runtime infrastructure which allows heterogeneous systems to be tied together with fewer connections and at the same time, in order to connect those applications and let message flow from one application to the other, have a centralized storage of the integration knowledge.
Business drivers of Integration Projects:
New Systems haven’t replaced the existing legacy systems
Necessity to consolidate and globalize the business
Search for increased productivity
Raised expectations from Web applications/experiences
Types of Integration Solutions:
• Data Coordination
Mainly deals with transactional data between applications.
• Business Process Management/Orchestration
Mainly focuses on modeling and orchestrating the workflow between individual functions and applications.
• Business Activity Monitoring
Goal is to provide management with immediate awareness of changing business events across the enterprise.
• Composite Application Development
Combines the data and functionality of an enterprise’s existing ones with new business process logic, custom code and user -facing front ends.
XI is not a single component, but rather a collection of components that work together flexibly to implement integration scenarios.
Integration Builder: A client-server framework for accessing and editing two stores of Shared Collaboration knowledge. It has two parts, which are fat clients to SLD where we can import the objects and use them locally. The basic reason for separating Integration Repository from Integration Directory is because by separating design time activities from configuration time activities, SAP can ship content from the Integration Repository, which each customer can implement for their specific landscape in the Integration Directory.
Integration Repository: It is used for the design and development of interface, Process and Mapping objects that are used to implement Integration Scenarios. Usually they contain static objects, which can be used for different landscapes by defining the routing rules in Integration Directory.
Integration Directory: They contain dynamic objects where in we configure scenarios using the objects from Integration Repository and route the messages between systems.
Integration Server: This component provides run time for XI. This is central processing engine of XI.
Business Process Engine: Business Process Engine enables SAP Netweaver with BPM capability by processing integration processes at runtime. BPE uses functions of the workflow engine and generates workflow from integration process at runtime.
Integration Engine: Integration engine enables processing of XML messages that are exchanged between applications in heterogeneous system landscapes. Using adapters such as IDoc, http, it can process IDocs(Intermediate documents), http requests and Remote Function Calls. It is runtime environment of SAP Exchange Infrastructure, which has the task of receiving, processing and forwarding XML messages. Processing is done with the evaluation of Collaboration agreements, by determination of receivers and execution of mapping programs.
Adapter Engine: Adapter engine is used to connect Integration Engine to SAP systems and external systems. Various types of adapters are provided to convert XML and HTTP based messages to the specific message protocol and format required by the partner systems and vice-versa. It is based on adapter framework, in turn based on SAP J2EE Engine (as part of the SAP Web Application Server) and J2EE Connector Architecture (JCA).