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.

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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Figaf 2.11 is out, enabling DevOps for SAP PI and CPI

Now we are able to deliver Figaf IRT 2.11, it will enable automation of SAP Integration never seen before. It contains 150 tasks or bugs and 55k new lines of code. So it is a massive improvement we have worked on. It contains two main areas.

  • Transport and governance system
  • Migration of SAP PI/PO if you are still missing to migrate to 7.5

Transport and governance process

When we have talked with clients of the Figaf tool and our integration with CTS+. It seems like only 50% of the customers were using it. I could configure it on our system without much knowledge in 4 hours. So it should be possible for all SAP users to use it.

My these on why CTS+ it has not been implemented as much is that it is not adding much value, and is just complicating the process. You cannot really see what is in the transports and once you have imported the directory you anyway needed to perform manual steps to configure it.

That is the reason I’m stoked we have created our own transport approach. It is really simple to configure and make it possible to improve the delivery of SAP Integration. This is the way transports are supposed to be handled in the modern world.

The process is as follows, in most cases:

  1. Create a Ticket that links to the business requirement or failure created
  2. Add the objects that you have changed
  3. Figaf will then know what objects need to be tested and can test the flows
  4. You can create transport with all the objects.
  5. You then configure what channels will be like on other systems in the landscape
  6. A user can then approve the transport and allow you to transport in the landscape
  7. You can import the transport in the landscape, and it will then configure the communication channel
  8. You can create an Excel report of the change and upload it to Jira, Service now

You can see how this enables DevOps for SAP PI/PO in this video.

Migration of SAP PI/PO

The new release also enables users to help optimize the migration process. A lot of users still need to perform migration projects. It is quite a labor-intensive process that you need to perform. That is why it would make sense to automate the process. If you are looking for a migration project, recommend to check out the migration option. I have created a video of the process

Roadmap

There are still areas that we would love to improve, depending on what customers see as most important. Like how to perform validations on the QA system. Does it require running the test on that platform, or are there other functions that could make sense. A lot of the configuration on how transport should be imported is now possible it just requires users to figure out what they need to be.

For the migration support of Classical scenarios is also on the which list, but will require we can work with a customer to enable it.

If requested we can incorporate it with CTS+ so it will still run your transports and Figaf would handle configuration and documentation.

Get Started now

You can start using the Figaf tool for free. Just go to Figaf.com/IRT and signup. Then you will get a free license key you can use for the migration.

Get assistance to help get your SAP PI/PO migration started

This week we are releasing our SAP PI/PO Migration tool as a service in the Figaf IRT. Quite a number of customers are looking for a way to migrate from their old 7.31-7.4 system to a 7.5. It is quite a labor-intensive process. That is why we think it would make sense for users to automate the full process, making it a lot easier for the customer to perform the migration.

Why is it different from the SAP Migration tool

The Figaf tool will help manage the full migration process. Not just a copy of directory objects like ICO or communication channel. You simply select the ICOs you want to migrate to a Wave or release. For the ICOs selected Figaf will then:

  • Reuse the Test case you ready have for it
  • Migrate the repository and directory content to the new environment. It is possible to set up the mappings of parameters. Password will in most cases be copied
  • Test the migrated objects to ensure everything work as expected.
  • Create a transport for the new environment
  • Run the transport thru the new environment and configure all channel including passwords
  • Manage the process for the ICO

So it is not the same, it is a tool that will help you perform the migration faster and ensure you are able to test the affected interfaces.

Currently, only ICOs are supported, but it can be expanded for Classical scenarios if requested.

Try it out

The migration tool is a part of the Figaf IRT application. So in it, there is the option to perform migrations.

You simply sign up on Figaf.com/IRT, and then can you get started and migrate 10 interfaces your self.

Requirements to get started

To get started you need the following.

  1. Go to Figaf.com/IRT and signup. Then you will get access to download the latest build, get a license key and view installation information
  2. Computer when Figaf can run. It comes with a build-in database so you can just start the application and run it on your laptop. This is the preferred way for Proof of Concepts or tests of it. If you want to deploy Figaf to a bigger group of developers there is a number of different options for it too servers.
  3. On the old SAP PI landscape you need a developer that has to assess to the Directory API, and then normal development configuration. It should be possible to perform file export from the development system
  4. On new SAP PI landscape SAP PI/PO 7.5 a user needs that can import, configure communication channels and use the write API. In most cases, a standard user can handle this.
  5. Access to get user management, so it is possible to adjust to create system users and add roles if possible.
  6. If you want the best test you must be able to deploy an SCA file with a module on all systems, configure it and create a user for it.

Getting started offer

We want to help you get started, so you can start planning your migration and use the Figaf tool. There is on 13 months to end of support of 7.1-7.4.

We offer a free 2-hour getting started session with one of our developers. We will help configure Figaf IRT on your laptop or a server if you have one, so you can see how the migration works in your landscape. We will help you with the first migrations. You will share your screen via Zoom and then we will help you set it up.

Register by sending an email to support@figaf.com, with information about your landscape, timezone, and availability. Then we will try to plan a meeting to help you get started on your migration. Limited sessions are available.

What is the idea with the migration tool

How fast a migration can be performed

In this video you will see the tool in action. It 17 minutes you will get introduced and will be able to see how it is possible to move multiple interfaces.

Figaf Automatic Migration Demo

Over the last 2 months, we have been working on making full automation of the migration tool. It is probably the longest we have worked on a release. I had expected it would be a lot faster but once we got into the different areas we could see there process we could improve.

There are still a large number of customers how are still not on 7.5 for all their integrations. They will need to be using a lot of effort in migrating. We want to be able to save them time.

The migration is handled in waves/releases that each can contain a number of interfaces/ICOs. Once you have assigned an ICO to a migration task then it will guide you through the process. There is two processes and you will get tickets to handle them both in the Figaf Tool.

  1. Migrate the content from old Dev system to new Dev system
  2. Development to move from new Dev system to production.

What is the goal with the tool

The Figaf tool will handle all transports, testing, and configuration from an easy to use approach. Check the video below to see how smooth it works for the process of migrating 3 interfaces at once time.

There are still some gaps that we need to solve for the process to be maximumly automated, but we are moving towards it. It is a great leap compared to what existed earlier. It also gives a much better view of what you have migrated for each process.

Signup now to get access to the first release once we are ready.

Join webinar

We have a webinar on the October 24 to share and show more of what the tool can do. We hope that you will join us to learn more.

Sign up here.