OData Provisioning: Introduction, Usage and Benefits
As name itself says, Odata provisioning is a service available in SAP HCP to publish business data and business logic as odata services from SAP backend in the cloud which enables customers to run their applications on SAP HANA Cloud. Its main target towards an admin persona is to register, activate, maintain and troubleshoot odata services. Odata has become SAP’s technology of choice to expose business data from backend systems to power all new age UX solutions like SAP FIORI, S/4 HANA, SAP Mobile Platform 3.0, HCP mobile services and you name it you have it. With odata provisioning in cloud customers can transit to a cloud company by building their cloud apps on top of them. This means new UI extensions or UI5 based applications can be built on top of SAP backend data without modifying the backend code.
As it’s a service hosted in HCP it leverages all the platform capabilities like security, monitoring, supportability etc and it connects to SAP on premise systems using HCP cloud connector. The main advantage is that if customers are transitioning to cloud then they can get rid of installing and maintaining a central gateway hub server by themselves, so by this service TCO is drastically reduced. Being a cloud based service SAP provides monthly ruling software updates and all other cloud qualities like horizontal scalability etc, so you have service in cloud or public cloud which is SAP HCP to really publish and maintain your odata services from SAP backend.
This service will not replace SAP gateway on premise completely but it’s just partial replacement. As SAP gateway has two components,
1. Backend provisioning component (IWBEP) is installed in SAP backend system and this is where actual data provisioning happens i.e., services are created.
For customers who are based on netweaver 731 or below upto 7.0 versions this component has to be installed separately.
For customers who are on netweaver 740 or higher it comes pre-installed under the name SAP GWFND.
So this component needs to be installed in backend.
2. Gateway hub frontend component is replaced by odata provisioning, earlier admin activities use to happen in this the component and this layer transforms the BEP services into odata protocol.
As far as feature parity is concerned almost all the important features of SAP Gateway hub are covered in odata provisioning only some very advanced features like listed in SAP note 1830712 are not included.
Below are the details listed in SAP note number 1830712.
$link and custom query options, concurrency control using ETags not supported only for properties of type TIMESTAMPL. Push notifications scenarios, Soft state feature, Rule based routing are not supported if-modified-since header is supported as part of $metadata request, however, it works as only for the service metadata URLs provided with prefix /sap/opu/odata.
Following scenario is not supported in the runtime - the SAP Gateway Service is developed in SAP Gateway hub system but it makes remote RFC calls to another ABAP system for fetching or updating data (in the DPC class) - this is usually the case when the service is developed on hub system using "RFC" as data source in TA /nSEGW. Remote RFC destination is stored in the hub system and this information is not available to the OData provisioning component while registering the service. The destination configured in the OData Provisioning Administration UI corresponds to the system where the service is implemented. Workaround is to hard-code the system-alias/RFC destination name in the generated DPC class of the service.
Multi-composition services created using "Include Odata Service" option in the SAP Gateway Service Builder (TA /nSEGW) are supported but with following constraints - External association with cardinality 1:1 from the entity of the “main” service to the entity of the included service does not work.
Create on associated external entity via navigation path and expand of navigation property does not work The names of the oData artifacts of all the included services and the “main” service should be unique There shouldn’t be two services registered corresponding to an included service with two different Namespaces, but same Name and Version.
Licensing and provisioning
SAP odata provisioning is not available as a standard pricelist item but it is available as part of various license bundles. Initially it was launched with FIORI cloud edition both standard and premium versions NQ12016. But recently it is also made available with HCP integration services enterprise edition or HCI enterprise edition. In addition to this it’s also available in some of HCP bundles for building extensions, app extension premium, custom app premium and custom app professional. Now this is a subscription based usage so if customer wants to setup a system for development, testing and production they would need one productive subscription and one non-productive subscription i.e., two subscriptions or two licenses are required.
Some insights on roadmap
One of the main item in the agenda is the feature parity, looking at closing the gap by Q4 2017 whatever is remaining apart from that focusing on a lot on cloud quality like horizontal scalability and also lot on performance improvement. Later sometime this year we are also planning to start our investments for odata V4, for those of you who know odata, it has 2 versions – V2 and V4. V2 is what our products support right now and V4 is where we will start our journey next year.