Exchange Infrastructure or Process Integration which now falls under SAP’s ESOA Middleware is SAP’s Integration Solution. It not only enables Application Integration (A2A) but also Business Integration (B2B). In fact it is much more than a plain message broker. It supports Cross-Component Business Process Management (ccBPM), which helps to streamline the business processes in the organizations.
Who should learn XI?
Are you aspiring to become XI Professional? It’s fairly easy! If you are an ABAP Professional, Java Professional or an EAI Professional you can easily acquire XI skills. Don’t worry even if you are not. If you are willing to learn a new technology, then you can become skilled at XI. A background of SAP and Knowledge of ALE/EDI, IDocs would certainly be an advantage.
What is XI?
Exchange Infrastructure or Process Integration as it is now called is an Integration Platform which helps different systems to communicate with each other across landscape. It acts as a message broker. Different systems in the landscape communicate with each other via XI Server, thus forming a bus topology with XI at the center. This helps avoid peer-to-peer communication (as in star-topology) thus providing a central mechanism to route and monitor the message flows.
SAP XI Architecture contains an Integration Builder, System Landscape Directory (SLD), Integration Server (IS) and Runtime Workbench (RWB). Integration builder has a Integration Repository (IR) which is a design time environment and Integration Directory (ID) which is configuration environment. Integration Server has Integration Engine (IE) which routes all the messages and Adapter Engine which helps in XML transformation. It also has a Business Process Engine which helps in execution of BPM flows. System Landscape Directory (SLD) stores information about the different systems involved in the landscape. This information is used by IE at runtime for message routing. More detailed information on the XI Architecture can be found here.
All the communication is via SOAP/XML messages. XI provides adapters to convert messages from and to XML format. XI thus provides interoperability between different heterogeneous landscapes due to its foundation on open standards. XI has its interpretation of SOAP protocol. Understanding of SOAP protocol and XML is absolutely essential to master XI. SOAP is an XML-based protocol for exchange of messages in a decentralized, distributed environment. A SOAP message is composed of three elements – (1) SOAP Envelop, which is a mandatory element and wraps the entire message (2) SOAP Header, which is an optional element which contains header information like sender and receiver, ports etc and (3) SOAP Body, which is again a mandatory element. It carries the actual message or the payload. In the coming blog posts, we shall discuss the XI concepts in more detail.
In the next part of this article series, we shall understand how to create your first XI scenario.