Benefit from the Tight Integration Between SAP NetWeaver BPM and AEX Without Configuration

  • by Dr. Volker Stiehl, Professor, Ingolstadt Technical University of Applied Sciences
  • April 5, 2012
SAP NetWeaver Process Orchestration is a solution for modeling, running, and monitoring human-centric processes as well as integration scenarios within one environment. It combines SAP NetWeaver Business Process Management and the Java-only installation option of SAP NetWeaver Process Integration for a reduced total cost of ownership. However, one key question remains unanswered: How can you benefit from this new combination without error-prone configuration steps after deploying your business processes and activating the SAP NetWeaver Process Integration development objects? Follow a seven-step process to optimally use business processes with integration needs to SAP and non-SAP systems.
Key Concept
SAP NetWeaver Business Process Management can only integrate out of the box with external systems via Web services (SAP systems in addition can be reached via Remote Function Call [RFC]). More and more business processes (especially end-to-end processes) require additional integration capabilities. Integration in general is only covered by SAP NetWeaver Process Integration. Hence, companies that need both (freestyle process modeling and execution as well as integration) had to install two products with all the increased overhead and costs such a landscape involves. SAP reacted to the changing demand for a combined solution by offering SAP NetWeaver Process Orchestration, the integrated installation of SAP NetWeaver BPM and the Java-only installation option of SAP NetWeaver Process Integration in one Java Virtual Machine.

With SAP NetWeaver Process Orchestration 7.31, users can build and run business processes using SAP NetWeaver Business Process Management (SAP NetWeaver BPM) and at the same time integrate them with a multitude of external SAP and non-SAP systems via the Advanced Adapter Engine Extended (AEX), the Java-only installation option of SAP NetWeaver Process Integration (SAP NetWeaver PI). Both SAP NetWeaver BPM and AEX are collocated in one Java Virtual Machine (JVM), as I explained in my previous article, “Solve Business Process Implementation and Integration Problems with SAP NetWeaver Process Orchestration.” This new combination allows you to build completely new scenarios significantly faster and with less effort compared with a dual-stack installation (i.e., with SAP NetWeaver BPM and SAP NetWeaver PI deployed on separate physical boxes): Human-centric processes requiring integration capabilities are possible as well as integration scenarios requesting stateful message processing via a process engine.

However, one key question still remains: What do you as a developer have to do to actually benefit from this tight integration of SAP NetWeaver BPM and SAP NetWeaver PI? I show you a seven-step process for deploying an SAP NetWeaver BPM process and an integrated configuration object that communicate with each other without the need to configure communication parameters in SAP NetWeaver Administrator, the central configuration and monitoring tool for the Java Web application server:

  1. Define an inbound interface for SAP NetWeaver BPM as stateless (XI 3.0 compatible)
  2. Define an outbound interface for SAP NetWeaver BPM as stateless
  3. Assign the inbound interface in your SAP NetWeaver BPM process to the message start event and intermediate message event
  4. Assign the outbound interface to an automated activity
  5. Configure the service reference for the outbound interface
  6. Configure the channel from AEX to SAP NetWeaver BPM
  7. Configure the channel from SAP NetWeaver BPM to AEX

These steps are in stark contrast to the scenario I explained in my articles “Combine SAP NetWeaver BPM and AEX to Implement Powerful Integration Scenarios” and “Configure, Run, and Monitor Integration Scenarios in a Pure Java World.” In those articles, I described an integration scenario in which SAP NetWeaver BPM and AEX communicate with each other. Unfortunately, many administrative and configuration steps were necessary to get the scenario running. In addition, the connectivity between SAP NetWeaver BPM and AEX only fulfilled the quality of service Best Effort; in other words, the successful message transfer between the two could not be guaranteed. This process has changed, however, with SAP NetWeaver Process Orchestration. The quality of service Exactly Once is now supported so that the message delivery can be guaranteed. In addition, no configuration steps for setting up the communication between the two systems are necessary. This significantly reduces the total cost of ownership as well as the total cost of development.

Dr. Volker Stiehl

Prof. Dr. Volker Stiehl studied computer science at the Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. After 12 years as a developer and senior system architect at Siemens, he joined SAP in 2004. As chief product expert, Volker was responsible for the success of the products SAP Process Orchestration, SAP Process Integration, and SAP HANA Cloud Integration (now SAP HANA Cloud Platform, integration service). He left SAP in 2016 and accepted a position as professor at the Ingolstadt Technical University of Applied Sciences where he is currently teaching business information systems. In September 2011, Volker received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Technology Darmstadt. His thesis was on the systematic design and implementation of applications using BPMN. Volker is also the author of Process-Driven Applications with BPMN as well as the co-author of SAP HANA Cloud Integration and a regular speaker at various national and international conferences.

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