Datavard Glue – new exciting use cases
Over the years, Datavard Glue has become a trusted and well known solution supporting customers to integrate their SAP data with the most modern platforms. As we have seen in other blog posts of this series, Datavard Glue breaks down data silos and opens SAP up to data scientists, enabling multiple new use cases based on enterprise SAP data.
As time passes, the competitiveness of the modern market pushes customers to find ways to exploit all the advantages of cloud solutions. This sometimes requires going beyond the “standard” data replication scenarios and using Datavard Glue to implement real-time architectures, where the data and events that are created in SAP would be available and integrated with other applications in the enterprise.
We already looked at a possible architecture for one of the aforementioned use cases, in a previous blog post where we presented a real-time data integration architecture that would enable a cloud application to send real-time data to the user based on specific events.
In this post, we will reiterate the same concept, and, utilizing new features recently released, we will show how Datavard Glue can take a step forward and enable a fully event driven architecture between on-premise SAP systems and cloud applications, making it the first solution to offer both data integration and event driven integration scenarios within SAP.
A true event driven architecture
An event driven architecture uses events to trigger and communicate between decoupled services and is common in modern applications built with microservices. An event is a change in state, “what has happened”, like an item being placed in a shopping cart on an e-commerce website. Events can either carry the state (the item purchased, its price, and a delivery address) or events can be identifiers (a notification that an order was shipped).
Event driven architectures have three key components: event producers, event routers, and event consumers. A producer publishes an event to the router, which filters and pushes the events to consumers. Producer services and consumer services are decoupled, which allows them to be scaled, updated, and deployed independently.
Below we can see an example of how an event driven architecture serves the familiar use case of a construction company streaming the events of their products being sent to the customer sites, in order to notify their business users through a mobile application.
Now that we have some more clarity on what “event driven” means, let’s look at how Datavard Glue can help us to include an SAP system into this modern architecture pattern.
This time around, we will not stream data from SAP tables but we will be listening to the events raised by the SAP Business Object framework. Datavard Glue will then publish the specific messages to a message broker together with their data payload.
This approach is particularly suited for customers that:
- Are looking to creating a system that would allow different applications from different platforms to integrate
- do not want to invest in recreating a data model on top of table data replicated from SAP
- are looking to implement a flexible architecture that could offer real-time insights and scale independently
- are interested in capturing specific business events and don’t need to record all changes that happen to the data in SAP
Capturing SAP Business Objects
The first new feature we are introducing is the capability to integrate data replication with the Business Objects Layer (aka SAP BO). You might say, that’s wonderful and all, but what is SAP BO exactly? Let’s look into it.
Within the SAP Business Workflow, a Business Object is defined as a collection of methods or events built around a business process (or entity). A few common Business Objects in an SAP system include: Customer, Material, Vendors, Purchase orders etc. This enables customers and other parties to access an interface of executable methods and events and interact with SAP business processes.
We created an “event driven process”. This means that, instead of being manually executed or periodically scheduled, this data replication process can be linked to SAP Business Objects events and it will be executed every time an event of the chosen type occurs in the SAP system.
The picture below shows how easy it is to bind Datavard Glue data replication to a specific SAP BO event, through the following steps:
- Define the data you want so send as the body of your message, for example the sales order information related to a newly created sales order
- Link this execution to the specific business object event
- Activate the process. This will create the necessary bindings in the background and messages will start flowing from your system!
Multiple targets for maximum flexibility
There are a lot of different platforms and services enterprises can choose from to build their event driven architecture. The most notable are Apache Kafka, Confluent, Amazon Kinesis, Microsoft Events Hub or Google Cloud Dataflow. They can be grouped into two main categories: Messaging (Publisher/Subscriber) and streaming services. Which one to choose strongly depends on the specific requirements and preferences. Web resources such as Gartner can offer valuable insights.
The majority of the services we mentioned offer an HTTP based interface for receiving messages and events. Datavard Glue can now leverage these interfaces and integrate with event routers thanks to the multipurpose HTTP connector we have just released. The connector can be customized easily and can support many different formats and targets. You can also implement industry standards such as the CloudEvents specification:
In this post we presented the advantages that an event driven architecture can bring to an enterprise and the benefits that integrating SAP systems into the picture can bring.
We described how Datavard Glue can now capture the events generated by standard SAP workflows and route them to enterprise events brokers, together with a data payload.
Thanks to its new capabilities, Datavard Glue can now expand the standard data replication use cases to create hybrid or full real-time, event driven integration scenarios. This can drastically increase the capability of a company to respond to the ever-growing requirements of integration, flexibility and speed necessary to the modern enterprise.