Event-driven architectures are one of the hottest trends these days. EDAs offer so many advantages over synchronous, more traditional approaches that lots of customers have started looking into how they can put these architectures to use.
Most customers look for the real time benefits first - an event occurring in an SAP backend system and consumers across the customer landscape getting notified of this significant change in real time. There are more advantages though that are often overlooked: loose coupling, incremental development, handling of peak loads to name a few. And easily and efficiently crossing vendor boundaries using events - we will get back to this major advantage later.
Just a beginning
Overall, I strongly believe that we are just at the beginning of the rise of Event-Driven Architectures. What you see below is my favourite analogy these days: a lodge, a village and a bigger city.
Most customers currently look at event-driven scenarios that resemble the lodge on the left. Their events aren't too many and the scenarios are very specific to individual use cases. What significant changes could occur for this small building? The lights getting switched on or off. The Jacuzzi being ready for you to get in.
Few customers have made it to the next level: they have already reached the village level. A lot more events occur and get distributed, connecting different and more sophisticated buildings in that village. Transferring this to the SAP world, these customers already use a lot of different event sources (like SAP backends) and event consumers (like extension applications on the SAP BTP) that are connected in more sophisticated ways. You need more advanced operations and you specifically need a well planned and scalable infrastructure connecting your event sources and your consumers.
What lies ahead of us is the equivalent of the big city on the right. Think of all the potential events that can occur in a single one of these high rise buildings. How many lights can get switched on or off? Think of the peak load in the morning when everybody comes into office or in the evening when everybody leaves. Think about the number of events all the buildings in this city would fire every day. And then consider that the city in the picture is just Frankfurt, a city of 764104 people. Now think of New York, think of Shanghai or think of Tokyo.
Large Scale Eventing Infrastructure
When you think about large scale eventing infrastructures - and you might even still do this in the context of the big city example above because the conclusions would be the same - a few things are obvious:
do it yourself solutions won't work on this scale
infrastructure has to be highly professional and reliable
open standards are key to make things work
at the same time you want focused sub-meshes that support your business best
you need the right mix of openness and control (monitoring and tracing that is) to allow for a separation of concerns and efficient operations
Microsoft's and SAP's joint vision
EDAs are an open approach across vendor boundaries to bring IT worlds together. These event meshes will bring eventing infrastructure, software and services from a lot of vendors together, not only SAP and Microsoft. The CloudEvents initiative already addresses the topic of a common format to describe events, and both SAP and Microsoft take part in this initiative.
The situation for SAP and Microsoft is even more special though: the two companies have a great working relationship and a lot of SAP's customers are as well Microsoft customers.
Our joint vision is that our customers can consume SAP (backend) events on Azure, and that they can consume Microsoft events on the SAP Business Technology Platform or directly in an SAP backend. This is where we want to go.
And we want to go there in a way that will allow to support the future large scale event-driven architectures of our customers.
New event connector from SAP Event Mesh to Azure Event Grid
With the new connector from SAP Event Mesh to Azure Event Grid, SAP and Microsoft will offer a real time, event-driven integrationbetween the SAP and the Microsoft world. This will allow for a worry free event exposure in respect to standard event sources and data security
Important for enterprise customers: the connector is implemented and supported jointly by both SAP and Microsoft, avoiding the pitfalls of DIY or non-standard solutions.
It offers a clearly defined handover point allowing for:
Event handover between SAP and Microsoft sub-meshes allowing for separation of concerns and improved monitoring and tracing
Openness and Control over events at the same time by connecting structured meshes using an event gateway concept
Opinionated, vendor-optimized sub-meshes offering additional technical and business value
From a business perspective, this new connector allows for a tighter coupling of SAP and Microsoft business applications and technology based on loose, event-driven coupling. This will allow for new real time end-to-end business scenarios in numerous areas.
Vision of SAP to Azure Event Connector
From a technical perspective, this connector is aimed at allowing to:
Send events from Event Mesh to a partner topic in Azure Event Grid. Other applications can subscribe to and consume those events from Azure Event Grid.
Send events from Azure Event Grid to a destination topic in SAP Even Mesh. Applications connected to Event Mesh can access these events.
SAP Event Mesh Connector for Azure Beta
Starting from October 11th 2022, the new SAP Event Mesh Connector for Azure will be available as part of an SAP Beta program. This connector will allow to flow SAP events to Azure Event Grid. Registration will be open until November 30th and the Beta us currently planned to be ongoing until January 31st.
Please note: this Beta program is an invitation only program on the SAP side - you will have to apply to participate.
If you participate you can test the new product with your own data and landscape before the official release. On top, this provides you with an opportunity to provide early feedback.
SAP Beta programs provide you with early access to SAP software to test and see how it fits your business requirements. Beta shipments are provided under a Test and Evaluation Agreement (TEA) and can be used for testing purposes only.
Productive usage is not allowed and is not supported under the maintenance and support agreement.
Scope and supported backends
The scope of the Beta program obviously includes the SAP Event Mesh to Azure connectivity on both the SAP and Microsoft side. The event flow as part of the Beta program is currently limited to SAP S/4HANA via SAP Event Mesh to Azure Event Grid. The other direction is not supported yet, might get added to the Beta program while it is ongoing.
From an event source perspective, you do require an SAP S/4HANA system (release 2020 or newer) as an event source, if you would like to try out the end to end flow. Around 220 events from SAP S/4 have currently been tested and can be used during the Beta.
Events supported include events related to:
and many more.
Event details for SAP S/4HANA events supported as part of the Beta program can be found on the API Business Hub following this direct link.
How to participate in the Beta program
In case that you are interested in participating in the Beta program, please follow this link.
Additional Blog by Microsoft
Microsoft has published a blog as well. Find it here.