SAP promotes ESA ecosystem

Enterprise Services Architecture can be used to craft business processes across heterogeneous applications

Customers, software developers and other partners attending SAP AG's TechEd workshop in Vienna are being urged to embrace the company's new Enterprise Services Architecture (ESA), which has moved out of the lab and into the enterprise.

"It's all about execution now," said Shai Agassi, SAP board member and president of the company's product and technology group, in a webcast news conference on Wednesday.

SAP used TechEd to introduce TRW Airbag Systems GmbH and VEKA AG as early adopters of ESA technology.

Announced in 2003, ESA uses Web services protocols and SAP's own NetWeaver middleware platform to enable the crafting of business processes over heterogeneous applications. The ESA Adoption Program is designed for users looking to evolve their IT infrastructure without completely taking down their existing installations.

"This isn't about assembling Lego blocks but rather about building a backbone that can scale and that can allow others to build on top of it," said Agassi.

In particular, SAP is reaching out to ISVs (independent software vendors) to develop ESA-ready products and create an application ecosystem, according to Agassi. More than 450 ISVs attended a recent developer forum. "This level of attendance showed there's plenty of interest in ESA," he said.

Agassi added that around 2,500 ESA consultants are available to help customers with their "ESA road maps."

SAP expects more than 32 percent of its customers base to be on NetWeaver by the end of the year, according to Agassi.

In Vienna, the Walldorf, Germany, business applications vendor made a few other announcements, including a combined software and hardware package deal with IBM Corp. The package bundles the analytics capability of SAP's NetWeaver platform with IBM's BladeCenter and TotalStorage systems.

Earlier in the year, SAP announced a similar analytics package deal with Hewlett-Packard Co.

"We want users to be able to choose their own hardware and software platforms," said SAP spokesman Bill Wohl. "If they want to use IBM, they can. If they prefer HP, they can too."

In a move to help customers lower their computing costs, SAP also announced new adaptive computing capabilities in its NetWeaver platform. For instance, a new task planner allows administrators to schedule shifts in hardware allocation based on usage patterns.

"Companies need to be able to allocate hardware resources to handle peak times, such as early mornings when employees fetch their e-mail, but without having to spend tons of money on to bulk up these resources to master this task," Wohl said. "The new task planner capability in NetWeaver responds to this need."

In addition, SAP said it has extended its partnership with Siemens AG to deliver a new identity management system. Delivered via NetWeaver, the HiPath SIcurity DirX Identity is designed to help companies automatically centralize and manage their employees' access rights to IT systems across the enterprise.

SAP's TechEd event in Vienna is running from Wednesday to Friday. The event will also take place in three other cities: Boston from Sept. 27 to Sept. 30; Bangalore, India, from Oct. 5 to Oct. 7; and Tokyo from Oct. 26 to Oct. 27.