SAP NetWeaver, SAP’s application and integration platform, is
the technology stack for all SAP applications and solutions. Think of
it as a superset of the former mySAP Technology.1
It encompasses SAP Enterprise Portal, SAP Exchange Infrastructure, Mobile
Infrastructure, SAP Business Information Warehouse, Master Data Management,
and a lot more.
These building blocks of the SAP NetWeaver
application and integration platform run on SAP Web Application Server.
So does R/3 Enterprise, so do SAP solutions such as mySAP CRM and suites
like mySAP Business Suite — and so will our future offerings. Since
SAP Web Application Server forms the application layer for all these SAP
offerings, most of you already have SAP Web Application Server or soon
will. In fact, more and more customers are adopting SAP Web Application
Server (starting with release 6.10) as a standalone component for their
custom development activities.
As an integral part of all these SAP components, and capable of operation
as a standalone component as well, SAP Web Application Server forms a
unifying technology layer that offers no less than eight ways to save
time, money, and IT resources:
- With a unified application layer, your higher-level application components
(such as XI or CRM) do not interact directly with the particulars of
your DBMS or operating system. This platform abstraction is not only
a TCO benefit when running your SAP applications, it’s clearly
a benefit when running your custom applications, too. It makes for a
far more adaptable upgrade environment, a necessity nowadays when the
latest generation of hardware can require entirely new operating systems.
What’s more, it is also a business imperative, with mergers, acquisitions,
and changing marketing conditions that can thrust dramatic IT infrastructure
changes on an IT department.
- You’ll find greater support for multiple operating systems
and database ystems compared to R/3 and SAP Basis. With the SAP Web
AS, you have broad freedom of choice when combining operating systems
and DBMSs, and you can run all SAP NetWeaver application components
and services on your choice of infrastructure.
- Often customers find that their applications and solutions
have a much longer life than the underlying technical infrastructure.
But with a unified application platform layer, you have the freedom
to move to another OS or DBMS without expensive and time-consuming
migration efforts for the applications and solutions residing
on top of these systems. Many SAP customers have already
experienced this during upgrades or migration of their R/3 systems
— and now they have the same freedom and choice for the
whole SAP NetWeaver platform.
- If you have worked on a native HTML and server-page level, you’ve
likely found yourself in tricky browser (or even browser release) dependencies.
Web Dynpro technology, available as part of the SAP Web AS, provides
for easy and powerful definition of user interfaces and a “unified
rendering” layer above the physical HTML data stream — which
brings similar benefits for a host of browsers and devices. As long
as applications and portal services use the Web Dynpro abstraction layer,
they can be run on a variety of browsers and browser releases, without
- This application platform provides common services for system
installation, upgrade, management, and monitoring. It also provides
corresponding system management tools that are unified
(or will be unified in the very near future), so your whole SAP
NetWeaver platform will benefit from these innovations and advances.
- For some enterprises, high availability is business-critical; the
costs of unplanned downtime of a particular application can even threaten
the bottom line. A common application platform makes establishing high
availability for an entire solution much easier. All essential parts
of the application platform can be configured so there is no single
point of failure; whenever one technical component breaks down, another
can take over. High availability also requires support from the hardware
and operating system layer, and the appropriate best-practice operating
procedures. SAP helps here by providing such guidelines.
- This common application platform provides the basic Web services
technology used heavily throughout the SAP NetWeaver stack for
open integration with Java and Microsoft .NET. Compared to earlier
integration approaches like EDI and specialized Enterprise Application
Integration (EAI) packages, Web services technology is much simpler,
costs less, and is easier to learn and use. The business intelligence,
Exchange Infrastructure, portal, and collaboration layers in SAP
NetWeaver all make significant use of Web services technology
- The SAP Web Application Server provides complementary ABAP and Java
execution environments. The ABAP runtime environment provides what has
been long-regarded as the industry’s highest levels of robustness,
stability, reliability, and performance for production environments,
while the Java/J2EE environment provides openness, full standards compliance,
and all the opportunities that come with this dynamically evolving technology.
In particular, Java skills, which are broadly taught these days, can
be leveraged. Existing Java standards-compliant applications can be
brought onto the SAP Web Application Server without porting efforts,
which can help to simplify the system landscape and reduce the number
of server types.
Of course, the full value of the SAP NetWeaver application and integration
platform comes when you exercise all the components in the stack (shown
in Figure 1) — not just SAP Web Application Server.
If you want to achieve interoperability among SAP solutions and IBM WebSphere
or Microsoft .NET solutions, or tap into the new breed of applications
known as “xApps,” you would traverse the length of the SAP
NetWeaver platform. Rest assured, SAP is rapidly moving toward a synchronized
delivery and installation for all SAP NetWeaver components.
||SAP Web Application Server Creates a Unified Application Platform
and System Landscape
1 Whereas mySAP
Technology, which was announced in
2001, covered the application platform
(SAP Web AS), people integration (Portal
Infrastructure) and process integration
(Exchange Infrastructure), SAP NetWeaver
goes beyond that to comprise information
integration with business intelligence,
knowledge management, and master data
management capabilities. SAP NetWeaver
not only supports SAP solutions, it
is also ready to support custom application
and integration needs.
J. Fritz has a Ph.D. in mathematics and
30 years of experience in all areas of
IT. Workflow and business process management
have been particular areas of interest
for much of his life. He has worked for
SAP since 1993 as Program Director and
Vice President with responsibility for
the Business Process Technology and Internet-Business
Framework departments. Recently, he took
over the responsibility for technology
architecture and technology product management
within SAP AG.