Migration to Cloud Integration: Is now the moment?
Almost two and a half years ago, I was sitting in front of a blank page to write a blog about whether it was the right moment to start the migration to the Cloud Integration; at that time it was Cloud Platform integration (CPI).
When I re-read that article, I realized a lot of things have changed but also some problems identified back then were not addressed properly. (Check the article here)
Back in the days, I was excited to undertake Cloud Integration projects because I had mixed feelings with my experiences with SAP Cloud Integration. I missed lot of things I had in SAP PI/PO, but I saw other possibilities for orchestrated integrations that we don’t have with SAP PI/PO. I was keen to say, “hey it’s time to move to the cloud!!” But it was not…
Back in January 2021, in the middle of a seemingly never-ending COVID pandemic, I had lots of expectations for the evolution of the SAP Cloud Integration tool, some of them are now a reality and some of them are not yet possible… For me, as a senior integration consultant, always focused on customer’s needs, I find it difficult to understand why it’s taking so long to release SAP Neuron Edge and why there is not a clear statement on how the pricing model for the messages will be when processed in a local (or hyperscale) infrastructure…
SAP needs to understand that to send one message, from one on-premise system to another, we don’t need to go to the cloud, despite all the disadvantages it carries. Competitors like Boomi understood this, and for a long time now, we’ve had atoms running on local Kubernetes.
Does it mean that Cloud Integration is a failure? Not at all!!
Honestly, it’s a great platform to do integrations with but it requires experience to use it effectively.
By saying it requires experience, I don’t mean that you need to be a genius to create an integration in CI. On the contrary, it’s straightforward, but the challenge arises when you want to build a solid architecture as the foundation for the next 20 years of integration.
SAP CI is no longer a point-to-point integration tool, for me it’s an empty canvas on which to design your integration patterns, retrigger mechanisms, error handling, etc…
In our case, after more than 20 implementations of different projects of SAP CI, we agreed that this led it to a 4-tier structure for asynchronous messages, based on JMS queues, we implement error handling procedures and integration with the most renown ITLT tools, all these packaged in what we proudly call Code10 CI Accelerator, but honestly this is not why I am writing now, almost at midnight while the kids are sleeping.
Code10 Accelerator Benefits
The real reason for this blog is to express that I really feel that now is the moment to start the journey to the Cloud and I will explain why I see it like that.
As I wrote before, I see CI as an empty canvas where we need to design the future of your company integration for the next 20 years or more, and this requires time to digest…
I remember when I started my professional journey I was doing File-to-File integrations all the time. The companies were not ready for HTTP/SOAP protocols even though the technology was there. It took time to digest it and use it. The same applies with all that is around SAP BTP, the industry needs time to learn it and digest it.
Also, the market expectations are that we need to migrate the existing interfaces to the cloud… This is exactly what we should NOT do!!!
When we are talking about the S/4 migrations we all agree that it is a great opportunity to rebuild some of the company processes, some of the old ABAP codes here and there, etc… Nobody wants to have an R/3 running in a brand-new S/4 HANA, isn’t it? But unfortunately, a lot of companies will have it, due to time and money constraints.
The same case applies to the migration of the middleware, if you want to just run the migration tool and have everything ready, good luck!! Please let me know how you will reprocess the messages and how you will check the payload when you have errors.
Few months ago I was doing an assessment to do an SAP PI/PO migration for one of our customers, whose systems I know very well, they have around 150 interfaces (fortunately only 150 and not 1000s like other customers we have) and I was thinking how to proceed:
- Lets install our Code10 CI Accelerator and in 1 or 2 weeks we do have a system with all the basics to start migrating at the speed of light (my initial thoughts)
- Lets check what we have in SAP PI/PO:
- 50 sync interfaces: We can move them to the cloud easily with small adjustments.
- Another 50 Async interfaces that with the migration tool + some manual rework we will easily adjust to Code10 4 tier design.
- And another 50 interfaces that I don’t want to migrate!!!
Don’t you want to migrate 33% of the interfaces???
Yes, migrating these interfaces as they are, will be very difficult (impossible is nothing but…) and it will be the same as if we install the old seats of a Fiat 127 in a brand-new Tesla.
My advice to this customer is very honest, don’t expect that SAP will come and solve your problems with these 50 interfaces because they will not do it, most of these interfaces are 15 years old and following bad practices, so it is time to reimplement them.
If I were you, what I would do is start moving to the cloud the other 100, test them, now we do have nice testing tools like INT4 Shield to make this process less painful. And when you have these 100 interfaces you can decide if you want to run them in the Cloud or in your SAP PI until 2027.
And about the other 50 interfaces, please use the chance to redesign them, no more lookups (nor RFC, nor JDBC), no more hundreds of UDFs, no more avoidable JAVA mappings (or ABAP mappings in some cases), it will take time now, but it will be for another 20 years, so yes, it’s worth it.
Unfortunately, “the rule of one third”: 1/3 Sync ready to migrate, 1/3 Async easy to migrate and 1/3 Async (or Sync) that I don’t want to migrate, is the general rule for all the customers that have SAP PI/PO, so if you feel that you are one of them, please start as soon as possible, so that you are not in a hurry, and you have the time to digest it. And if possible, relay on a partner that has experience, not just one with a name.
Code 10 IT Managing Partner and Senior SAP Integration consultant.
Experienced SAP Integration consultant in projects in 3 different continents.