SAP makes big push on NetWeaver

As expected, SAP is revamping its NetWeaver middleware, application server and integration platform in a bid to ensure that all of the components synchronize.

The main goal behind the rollout of NetWeaver 4.0, first detailed last week, is to offer a single stack "without buying 17 different pieces and figuring out how to make them work," said SAP executive board member Shai Agassi.

The company unveiled more pieces of the new offering, announcing a host of other enhancements around the business intelligence, portal and enterprise application integration (EAI) portions of NetWeaver at the CeBIT 2004 conference in Hanover, Germany.

Among the updates is an enhanced business intelligence offering, which will allow users to easily integrate recorded data in planning processes and create future scenarios for supply chain or budgeting operations, said Agassi. There is also a new broadcast mechanism that allows information specialists to run cube scenarios for easy distribution to nonspecialist users in a company.

Another change allows SAP Enterprise Portal to be administered globally in a centralized way while letting a regional manager in another country set up the portal according to his own local business rules or requirements, said Agassi. The portal will also offer Unicode support, allowing text in one of 20 languages to be automatically translated as needed.

In addition, SAP has boosted its Exchange Infrastructure EAI hub to handle more than just basic messaging, enabling users to create ad hoc workflows and monitor their execution. There's also support for templates such as the industry-standard, XML-based Rosetta Net integration technology. If there's a glitch in a given process, an alert can be sent to the appropriate staff.

SAP Application Server will now have extensive integration capabilities between Java and its proprietary Advanced Business Application Programming language. This will allow Java developers to create applications that can expose existing ABAP capabilities as Web services and tap into the language's advanced core cluster and memory management features, said Agassi.

The company has also added new cockpits and dashboards to its Composite Application Framework integration technology to help guide developers through the process of creating seamless business processes that span multiple applications.

The NetWeaver components will be available by April 1.

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