Figaf IRT 2.12 release, Secure SAP PI Testing, Dual stack and more

In this release, we have added two quite interesting approaches for testing SAP PI/PO. 

Dual stack

If you have SAP PI dual-stack with Classical Scearnios and want to test your migration. Now we can fetch messages from the dual-stack, and want to create test cases. This is perfect for migration projects, where you want to test if everything works as expected. We have developed on our 7.4 dual-stack system, and successfully fetched data from clients 7.1 system. There will be some issues with older systems, but you can create test cases.  You can read more about the dual stack option here.

Secure messages

This is the big challenge with Record Replay scenarios. Where you take production data and rerun it on your development system. 

We created Figaf based on the assumption that real production data is what needs to be used for testing because it contains the difference in the data. Unforntaly most of it is sensitive and it could have implications of SOX and GDPR. 

That means everybody with access to Figaf can get access to the messages, so it creates a loophole in the SAP security. This means that ie externals may be able to get access to sensitive data. 

We already have an approach for handling the anonymization of data. It does require the developer to understand what is sensitive and it can be multiple values, and it will not work to test migration.
For potential clients with many confidential data that wanted to perform a migration, but it would be difficult to anonymize all interfaces. They wanted a solution to ensure end to end anonymization without external developers would have access to the payload. 

If you create test data on your productive system, Figaf IRT will ensure that all developers will only see the data scrambled data. This way they are able to see if there is something wrong with a specific field. They can see what field is affected and may be able to drive some information. They will not be able to see the specific data. If there is something they don’t understand they can ask an admin to view the difference. 
We are adding some functions over the next few weeks to 

  • Handle synchronize testing so data is not sent to the real system. 
  • Enable the user to access other SAP PI message payloads in the monitor. 
  • Enable same testing option on SAP CPI

I think this security will make it a lot easier to outsource regression testing because you don’t have the challenge if they get access to some secret data.
Improved Synchronization process

For customers with a lof of SAP standard components, our synchronization did not work. The simple query API we used timed out when listing datatypes etc. We are now only syncronizing the SAP objects that are referenced from any other objects. That way you only synchronize the real used objects. 

You can read more and see the demo here.

Improved comparison of SAP CPI iflows

We have improved the algorithm to show what objects were used in an SAP CPI iflow. You can now see which artifacts have been modified between two versions. 

Java 11 /OpenJDK

If you don’t want to use the Oracle Java license, we now also support Open JDK 11. You, therefore, don’t have to use a Java License. We will support Oracle Java for some time, it is really useful for PoC to test the Figaf tool because all SAP PI developers have it. 

Try it now

You can signup to try the Figaf IRT here.


Fetching SAP PI Test messages from Dual-stack system

If you are planning an SAP PI/PO migration from a Dual-Stack system to a Single stack then this update is for you.

We have seen a lot of customers wanting to migrate from a 7.1 system to a 7.5 system. The biggest hurdle is how do you get test data for it?

We have solved the problem now. So we can fetch messages from a 7.1-7.4 SAP PI dual-stack system and convert them to a test case you can use for your ICOs. If you have a pre 7.31 system some functionality of the Figaf tool will not work, but you will be able to create test cases for your migration.

We have tested with

  • BE / Sync messages
  • Async messages that are split
  • Async messages

You can view a short demo of it here. It will take data from a dual-stack system and run the test on our new SAP PI7.5 ICO/IFlow based system.

You don’t need to install anything on the SAP PI system. You just need to ensure that you are logging both in and output messages for the flows. Then Figaf will just connect and find the messages that you have selected. In most cases, you can also use your normal SAP PI user.

You only need to add the JCO files into the libs folder where you run Figaf IRT.

We know that you may have confidential data in your SAP PI system, so we have added options to mask the test data in this release also. That way you can let contractors handle your testing, without giving them access to view your salary information.

Try it your self

You can signup to try the Figaf tool. It takes a few minutes to get started and connect to a dual-stack system.

You can signup and try it out at Figaf IRT.

Secure your SAP PI/PO and CPI test cases

Testing is important for your interfaces. For migration and bug fixes it is important to be able to perform regression tests.

The place you can create the best test data from is from your productive systems, where customers are creating orders with 100 lines with 10 different product types. It is not only from the clinical approach from a user test. You need both.

The bad thing about the production data is, it often contains confidential data. Social security number, payroll data or customer information. It can, therefore, lead to problems if you want to test with it. You may often have externals working on your systems and don’t give them access to confidential data.

Scrambled comparison, user can see there is something wrong but not content

We had to solve this problem with the new innovation. You simply select any of your SAP PI/CPI systems you have connected to and specify that they are confidential. Then all test cases created from that system will be marked as confidential. Then it will only be possible for users with the role IRTSensitivePayloadViewer, to view the original data. Otherwise, you can only see the scrambled version as seen in the image.

It is only possible to run the test on the system marked as secured. With secured systems is meant that it is systems is configured so users cannot view the payloads being processed. We are working on ways to block confidential messages only. It will be a component to filter out the messages and using the web dispatcher.

You can see a video about the testing functionality here.

Over the next patches, we will enable some more functionality like

  • Blocking viewing messages of SAP PI, so you can view your normal test messages
  • Testing SAP CPI with the same approach, where you have a lot of SuccessFactors integration
  • Testing synchronize messages, where the Figaf Tool will work as a proxy to give the results back

This function is really useful for SAP PI/PO migrations where you just want to get a lot of messages from your productive system and let contractors handle the configuration. With this approach, they can test all interfaces.

Try it for your self

You can signup for Figaf IRT and get a free trial. You can get started in 20 minutes.

Webinar: Automate your SAP PI/PO, CPI, and API management

On January 30 I hosted two webinars on the topic of how you can speed you your SAP PI and SAP CPI development processes.

From my conversations with people there seems to be a lot of new integration projects going on. And most integration developers have a way to much work they need to work on. We also see trends towards Agile or DevOps where users need to be able to release code much easier, this is what the webinar is about.

That is why I think automation is the way to go. There is a lot of places where it is possible to automate your SAP Integration processes. I normally see the following 5 areas where it makes sense to automate as much as possible.

  • Development
  • Testing
  • Governance
  • Monitoring/Support
  • Migration  (in another replay see video)

In my webinar, I covered the 3 middle parts where the Figaf tool can help you automate the process.

See how to get started

I want to demystify how difficult it is to get started. So in 15 minutes, I’m able to install and connect to both a PI and a CPI system and setup testing on them. You can see this part after 1:07 hour. 

You can get started at https://figaf.com/IRT 

Biggest challenges for SAP Integration in 2020

This blog contains some of the biggest trends in SAP Integration in 2020. Hopefully, you have already progressed with some of the areas, so you will have more time to focus on the other topics.

The topics covered are:

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Migration

Ever since the dawn of software age, there has always been a task to perform migrations. They just happen to ensure customers has the newest software and are able to achieve a lower TCO for their integration, and have support for their tools. The same is true for the SAP Integration portfolio it also undergoes changes. 2020 is the last year that 7.11, 7.3, 7.31 and 7.4 is supported, so in 2021 all customers must be on SAP PI/PO 7.5.

There will still be customers that have not managed to upgrade before then, but they must then accept their system is out of support. So if something bad happens they can move the interfaces to a newer platform.

In some cases, you can go for an upgrade to PI 7.5  with a stack split and then delete the ABAP stack. It is a bit risky and you will need to have good testing in place. It requires that you have ICO’s only.

Migration projects are a technical exercise that adds little value to the business, except they must be able to process it. The business therefore seldom cares about it, it is just some technical thing that must be completed. A migration project can take many months for you to perform, so you need to plan it. It is probably one of the tasks that you want outside help to perform because it will not be a core competency of your team to run migration projects. 

At Figaf we have created a set of tools that allow you to automate your SAP PI/CPI process, and they can also be used for migration. Here they can help you test everything is correct and identical to what was seen before. That way you know everything works as seen before.

We have also the only tool on the market that allows you to manage your migration process. You will be able to see how fast your migration is progressing and it does help with configuration and transports. I have a recording of the migration tool here.

If you a large investment in Seeburger Message Maps then the tool will enable you to automate the migration. In 2 minutes you can take the old message mapping and update it to a B2B Add-on structure with the Figaf Seeburger Migration Tool. That is a lot less than the 4-8 hours others have reported for migration of on message mapping.

The migration is not a straight path and can be challenging, but depending on your scenario there can cost savings in the operations aspect. 

I have created a list of my best resources for an SAP PI/PO migration here.

SAP Cloud Platform Integration CPI

SAP CPI has already been mainstream and the goto tool for creating new cloud-based integration. For customers using cloud services, it is the best tool compared to SAP PI/PO. 

It makes it much easier to create integrations because everything can be managed in just one iflow and modularity.

The amount of redelivered content is growing and it becomes a lot easier to make modifications to it. So you can create your own special processes that can be reused in other places. 

There is also the Cloud Foundry process that is going on. Currently, there is a large gap between NEO and CF. I would expect this gap to close since CPI is available on AWS, Azure, and Alicloud and Google is not on the road map. This should mean there are more resources to close the gaps. Once it is done I would expect a CF would be the main place SAP is delivering new functions on SAP CPI, to get customers to move to the platform. 

Regarding SAP PI/PO there are still some scenarios that are much better to perform on CPI with regards to handling point to point messages, restarting and design simplifications. 

I do see there is a need in the platform for automation to make the processing easier of managing SAP CPI and I believe the Figaf tools can help you in the process. It will handle testing, governance, transports, documentation, and support. It will also allow you to develop faster with Git integration, so you can develop Groovy scripts easier. 

If you are new to SAP CPI the process of developing in SAP CPI is different than you are used to in SAP PI/PO. With greater power comes great responsibility. It is therefore recommended to learn how the tool works and how to leverage it. I have created a list of different concepts that you must master before creating your first SAP CPI iflow

Migration to CPI

Some SAP PI/PO customers have already migrated to SAP CPI and achieved some great savings in regards to operations. I do see that there will be a lot more customers moving to CPI. 

Some have already completed the migration and are seeing big returns in cost savings because the cloud platform is cheaper to run and manage. 

There are some tools that allow you to reuse message mappings but there is still some limitation for the process. I hope that we at Figaf can take our current migration tool from SAP PI/PO and leverage the same process for a CPI migration. We still have some steps to be completed before it is possible. 

Automate the delivery process for SAP Integration

The way SAP PI/PO has been transported and configured has not changed the last 10-15 years. It is basically happening in the same way. You will need to create some CTS+ transports and once they have been applied on target systems users must configure things manually. Testing was also done manually.

This is much different than the rest of the world now is thinking of delivering software much different. Where ideas as DevOps is the new norm most rapid development projects. It allows developers to release code much faster because the processes can be automated. 

I do see customers talking about how they are able to automate the delivery process of SAP PI or SAP CPI, so they can live up to a requirement to deliver integration faster.

There are a few aspects that the automation gives. It makes it easier to get other people to take over the code and manage it, this means you will not be as reliant on the same developers, so they can change jobs without affecting you. 

Figaf has a solution that allows you to automate the full delivery process so you don’t need to spend months creating your own tool for it. 

API Strategy

I have talked with a number of organizations. Most of them have some projects about exposing APIs either from the SAP systems or from other business systems, so their customers would be able to use it. 

It is quite a fascinating journey to start on. Just as when people started with an SOA journey in 2005. I guess the API is even more critical now and will help you build more applications. The business may also be more interested in exposing services, so the process may be faster. 

I guess you can get a lot of good ideas and inspiration for it and plan it well. In the development process, you probably have to be more agile and experiment. You need to understand that you cannot make correct APIs the first time. 

I do like the SAP API mgt platform, it is pretty easy to get started with. The great benefit is that you can expose your first Odata service on the internet really easy from your SAP backend systems. 

It may have some limitations to other better platforms. It may be a good place to get started and understand what APIs you have and how to expose them. If you find some great need or challenge you can migrate away from SAP API mgt or combine 2 platforms. 

I do think that it is something you will need to learn how to work on in your organization. There are some good books on the market that will make sense to read up on. 

I will recommend going through some training or material on the topics, so you will be able to judge how you want to start out. I would start with the SAP API mgt book but will probably also find a vendor neutral book. can

Citizen integration

Citizen integration is a hot topic. It is about allowing the business to self make new integration without having to contact IT for it. It will make it a lot easier to create the correct integrations, but also add a lot of complexity to the landscape. 

A good Citizen integration will require

  • A good way to govern access business users only see the data they are allowed to
  • Monitor so users can see what is going on
  • Scalable to more users can use it
  • The flexibility that users can find different ways to enrich or modify the content
  • Move from Business to IT without re-engineer everything

For BI reporting there already have been some tools like PowerBI alike. Here users can create their own reports one some predefined reports. It does require a good management process because the report can consume a lot of CPU and memory. I did read a good blog on the topic for BI where it has been possible for some time. I would assume that much of the same learning can apply to Integration. 

In SAP SuccessFactors there is a place where business experts can create their own reports and files based on some data. I’m not sure where they can send the files and share them. I do like the approach because nobody understands the data better than the business users do. 

As a normal user, I do like Zapier and use it for some of my integrations. It is pretty simple to distribute data between systems and map fields, so it would be something that many users will be able to configure. They do have some enterprise accounts but I’m not really sure it will scale to Fortune 500 companies with regards to simplicity, governance, and flexibility. 

In the SAP world, there are Open Connectors/Cloud Elements which also could provide some option to make it easier for businesses to exchange data in predefined formats. 

I’m looking forward to seeing what will be used and how tools will work in that perspective.

S/4 HANA migration and integration projects

Many SAP customers are considering how and if they want to upgrade to S4/HANA. Some have already upgraded, but most still have that journey ahead. Though some are considering if they want to or not. Let’s see how the support changes. 

If you “just” perform an upgrade you can mostly still use all your current integrations. You will need to test to see if everything still works. Some tables have been moved and some programs bay need to be changed.

If you start from scratch there are a lot of new interfaces, so no more need for using IDOCs. So it will instead be SOAP messages or events.

There is also the option to use AIF (Application Interface Framework) to manage . 

It will be something that you will be learning from so good luck on that process.

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