Using the SAP HCI Trial

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I recently had the great opportunity of using the SAP HANA Cloud Integration (HCI) platform through the trial program offered by SAP. It is a really nice tool, which is paving the way for the cloud system’s users. It makes it easier for companies to use cloud-based integration. There are some obvious use cases, so if you don’t already have an integration tool, but you’d like to invest in a new one, then it makes sense to use HCI. If you are already internally using Process Orchestration (PO), or the Process Integration (PI) system, this might not be a good fit for you, unless you wish to get rid of those systems. If you only have a few small integrations, then moving to the cloud-based platform makes sense.

 

The trial period lasted 30 days. Unfortunately, the program is not yet available for everybody, which is a shame because SAP really created an amazing product. It is taking up some resouces at SAP at the moment, and that is why it is not in wider use. 

 

SAP HANA Cloud integration overviewI would like to give you some insight into the HANA Cloud Integration platform. HANA is SAP’s cloud-based integration platform, which was designed to help companies evolve using cloud-based solutions, while doing a lot of the integration work using cloud scenarios.

 

When you sign up for the service, you can see an overview. From that page, you can select the pre-delivered content you need. You just need to copy the content, and you’ll be ready to use it. You can edit the content and change the Integration Flow according to your own wishes, e.g. you can add a mapping between data structures. The mapping is the same as in PI/PO. You can also add functionalities with user defined functions.   

 

You are basically using the same tool as in regular message mapping. It is similar to handling mapping in BPMN, but you are able to use multiple different mappings and changes in a message process, unlike in PI. HANA gives you more flexibility in mapping and saving your projects. When you are done, you need to press ‘Deploy’ in order to deploy your project into the system.

 

You can see what types of scenarios are available on your system. If you want, you can also see what processes are running – you will get a list of everything that has been running for a certain period of time. If you wish to see the data that has been sent through the system, you can receive all the details in the Message Processing Log. This is a quite a nice tool that lets you see all the processing times and other details. You will probably work most using this web-based tool.

 

Let’s take a look at the Eclipse-based tool as well. This tool is designed for more complicated tasks. It basically works the same way: you can add and edit mappings; however, you still need to be very precise when choosing the location of the different elements you are working with. The good thing is that you can easily import PI content (message mappings and interfaces). If you use Import ES Repository Interfaces, you can download everything here. The use of define functions is not yet supported – if your mapping contains some of those, you might have some issues.

You can also work with XSLT and Groovy Scripts. Most of it works the same way as user-defined Java mapping, but XML handling is easier using Groovy. If you want a programming language specifically developed for XML, Groovy should be a top choice. It is a scripting language, you can tap down your content instead of using getChild.

 

All in all, I really like this platform. I can find many use cases for it. You will see some similarity to Business Connector (BC), which was an older SAP Integration tool. Then there’s the Cloud Integration – if you are integrating through a cloud application, this is a good way of doing it, because you are basically doing it in the cloud-based system.

 

I really like the product. It gives you a lot of flexibility as a developer. There are a few bugs, but I am sure these will be sorted out in the following releases. The Eclipse tooling has already been updated, so you will see that it works just fine.

 

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