SAP has rolled out a Web services offering that is being positioned as an alternative to rival offerings from both IBM and Microsoft.
The company announced a new architecture for Web services, Enterprise Services Architecture, along with NetWeaver, a technology stack that enables the architecture – and the integration of systems. Effectively the much vaunted mySAP Technology platform is now subsumed into the NetWeaver stack.
The NetWeaver stack combines the three areas marketed under the mySAP platform: Enterprise Portal, Exchange Infrastructure and its combined J2EE and proprietary ABAB programming language Web Application Server. Mobile Infrastructure and Business Information Warehouse components are also included in the NetWeaver stack.
In addition the company has added a Composite Application Framework - that allows customers to abstract from underlying applications and create a unified development and deployment environment - and a Master Data Management services component - that allows companies to harmonise and centrally manage master data to support collaboration.
SAP was quick to wheel out ESA and NetWeaver endorsements from partners IBM and Microsoft both of whom have pledged to provide integration points between SAP's solutions and any WebSphere or .Net application. The party line is that this means
NetWeaver is fully interoperable with .Net and WebSphere. In practice it also means SAP avoids having to pick sides in the Web Services wars and does not have to alienate one or other of the major vendors. Ori Inbar, SAP head of market strategy, said “ We are not going to compete in the infrastructure space.”
But there is no interface between .Net and J2EE on offer via SAP. The NetWeaver stack integrates with both, but separately.