What is SAP XI ?
SAP Exchange Infrastructure (SAP XI) is SAP’s enterprise application integration (EAI) software, a component of the NetWeaver product group used to facilitate the exchange of information among a company’s internal software and systems and those of external parties. Like other NetWeaver components, SAP XI is compatible with software products of other companies.
SAP calls XI an integration broker because it mediates between entities with varying requirements in terms of connectivity, format, and protocols. According to SAP, XI reduces integration costs by providing a common repository for interfaces. The central component of SAP XI is the SAP Integration Server, which facilitates interaction between diverse operating systems and applications across internal and external networked computer systems.
Need for Middleware – Common definition is that middleware is the “glue” between software components or between software and the network or it is the slash in Client/Server.
• This is about those forms of middleware that are used to connect applications to other applications. We generally refer to the use of this type of middleware as Enterprise Application Integration or EAI. EAI middleware mediates between applications in a number of ways, but most commonly we think in terms of the transformation and routing of data and the orchestration of business process flows.
• There is the implication here that these applications reside in a heterogeneous world–different operating platforms, disparate data models and data stores, and heterogeneous network and communications protocols.
Success of XI over Other Commercial EAI tools:
• Reduced maintenance costs: As the client replaced multiple integration technologies with SAP XI, it gained immediate cost savings by reducing associated maintenance costs. Additionally, the client gained the capability to utilize its manpower more effectively.
• Enhanced message monitoring functionality: As SAP XI provides auto handling of persistence of messages, it has enabled the client to monitor and restart failed messages. This has also eliminated the possibility of redundant/duplicate data into the system along with related efforts to identify the same. As all messaging is routed through one system, the client needs to monitor only SAP XI instead of having to monitor four systems: (Web Application system, XML parser application, VB based application) in the existing set up
• Enhanced flexibility: The ability to modify applications and add new functionalities without impacting other systems and businesses gave the client tremendous flexibility in reacting to dynamic changes in the market.
• Standardizes on the technology integration layer that would be used for connectivity between all systems
• Eliminate the need for “point-to-point” connectivity between systems
• Achieve a central monitoring of message flow, instead of having to monitor several systems
Components of SAP XI
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).
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