SAP embraces .net and Java with NetWeaver

SAP has launched NetWeaver, the next generation of its mySAP platform, which promises to allow companies to integrate people,...

SAP has launched NetWeaver, the next generation of its mySAP platform, which promises to allow companies to integrate people, information and business processes across multiple technologies and organisations.

Netweaver, which is shipping now, is fully interoperable with Microsoft's .net architecture and IBM 's WebSphere systems.

Josh Greenbaum, a principal at Enterprise Applications Consulting welcomed a product that will run on both Microsoft's .net and Sun Microsystems's J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition).

"It's hugely important that SAP continues to acknowledge the heterogeneity in the market and not force its customers to make infrastructure decisions."

Enterprise IT infrastructure is, increasingly, made up of commodity products. "Commodity functionality should not be forced on the customer," Greenbaum said.

NteWeaver will be the platform for SAP's e-business applications, its cross-applications (xApps), and its enterprise resource planning applications. It is also the blueprint for the way the software giant plans to deliver Web services to enterprises.

It will feature SAP's existing application server, portal technology, business warehouse and exchange infrastructure, plus new Master Data Management functionality and a new composite applications framework, said Peter Graf, SAP's vice-president of marketing strategy.

"The Enterprise Services Architecture is our commitment to use Web services as a fundamental technology to all the solutions we bring to the market," Graf said.

"NetWeaver describes the complete landscape that you need to drive a specific business process. It's an architecture that allows companies to leverage investments they have made in the past. We're deploying that concept of being able to add functionality without touching a specific system, and deploy it across SAP."

SAP will offer a portal development kit for WebSphere as well as integrating with IBM's content manager. The company will also offer a portal development kit for .net, while supporting integration with Microsoft's Visual Studio .net and its SQL Server and BizTalk.

"We need to be able to support the platforms just like we support different databases," Graf said. "If you only have one silo, you have a very hard time understanding and defining cross-functional business processes."

SAP's move further validates the shift of enterprise IT spending from core business operational processes to processes at the edge of the enterprise, such as those for linking with customers and suppliers, said Jon Derome, an analyst with the Yankee Group.

"At the edge of the enterprise customisation costs are high, integration costs are high, and you're typically dealing with custom processes. To meet those needs and keep customisation and integration costs down, you can take advantage of Java and XML technology."

The support for both .net and J2EE could reduce the cost of ownership for SAP applications.

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