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The future of IDocs?

It is not the first decade of IDocs being used in most of integration scenarios involving SAP Core. They provide obvious benefits like robust transactional data exchange, queueing, transparent status monitoring and error handling. They are well known and bring no unexpected issues when used.
When thinking about issues, the only thing comes to my mind is performance. However, I personally haven’t encountered in my career.
Henceforth, from the practical point of view, they are perfect for integration scenarios where data should be exchanged in the exact order of events and with the content state on the moment of exchange.
For example, integration between planning system and MES must be asynchronous considering possible networking issues and allowing to post all operations in their exact sequence so nothing would be missed, clearly see errors and being able to handle them without major tricks.

Web services is another well known approach but in SAP Core it comes with limited monitoring and about to zero error handling. In addition they require synchronous communication. Hard to say about performance; have anyone done any comparison?

SAP has taken us to its new ecosystem with all the cloud services, API hub and so on. But what are the options if you require a robust transactional exchange between two systems and keeping data consistent? I don’t see any other answers than IDocs. Do you?

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1 Answer

  • Feb 05 at 05:54 AM

    My 2 cents, Sky is the limit now, with coming of API's and all. N number of integration options exists right from Open Connectors, CPI, XI, Web services,Proxies,idoc,ftp, API's etc.The integration options depends to go for actually depends on your architecture. What is in scope? whether we are talking about two on premise system, on cloud system, or something else depending on what we have different options exist. For example in your case you have two onpremise system(assuming) what level are they.. do we have gateway also existing( intergation via API's becomes a possibility)? So just to conclude the options can be discussed with what do we have as of now in detail and what plan you have for future.

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    • Most of the options you've listed are about how to handle integration outside of SAP Core (or let's call it S/4 to avoid ambiguity). They are modern, powerful and just cool but all the magic they enable, happens outside the core system where IDocs are still the only choice to get proper queueing, monitoring and error handling. True, Enterprise services are available but monitoring is poor and error handling barely exists.

      Let's think of a typical scenario.

      On-prem S/4 in central data center and MES located on site. While data flow from S/4 and MES is straight forward, reporting production results back to S/4 can be demanding. For example, production process may involve: dependent operations handling the same resources, produced units moved between machines, scrapping, reversals and so on. Therefore, the ability of the interface to keep processing sequence is vital. Reference objects can also be locked by another process or user so posting would fail and cause inconsistency between two systems. It means another requirement would be a possibility to easily find and handle errors happened in-between.

      I might be missing something, but again, what would be a better (or even just a reasonable alternative) solution on S/4 side instead of twenty years old IDocs?