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Edge Integration Cell – What we learned so far

Oguzhan Serin, 15 november 2023

We are excited about the general availability of the Edge Integration Cell, a new addition to the SAP Integration Suite. This highly anticipated tool supports the integration of business processes, APIs, and events, serving as a vital instrument for your hybrid landscape applications.

Introduction to Edge Integration Cell in SAP Integration Suite

The Edge Integration Cell is a deployment option within the SAP Integration Suite. As outlined in the documentation, the SAP Integration Suite Edge Integration Cell (or simply Edge Integration Cell) is an optional hybrid integration runtime that enables you to manage APIs and run integration scenarios within your private landscape.

This hybrid deployment model allows you to:

eic design & runtime

The Edge Integration Cell utilises over 3,400 pre-packaged integration contents from the SAP Integration Suite, including scenarios and mappings, providing the foundational support needed to streamline your business processes and IT landscape. It supports both API and event-driven integration scenarios, making it valuable for hybrid deployment. This means all pre-packaged content, published on the SAP Business Technology Platform Accelerator Hub, can be utilised not only in cloud integrations but also for on-premise scenarios—a significant advantage in today’s complex IT environments.

The Edge Integration Cell prioritises security by offering deployment in private clouds or directly within a customer’s on-premise landscape. This is crucial for scenarios where sensitive data, such as electronic documents, must remain on-site rather than stored in the cloud. The Edge Integration Cell also supports encryption and decryption, adding an extra layer of security to your communications and data transfers, thus ensuring secure and well-governed integrations.

Technical Deep-Dive: Architecture, Deployment, and Security Features

new single product

A unique feature of the Edge Integration Cell is SAP’s unified runtime environment for API management and cloud integration. This unification offers the flexibility to design APIs within a consistent framework, enabling the direct application of API policies to integration flows. It also supports event routing, with tools like the AMQP adapter, and caters to event-driven integrations. An SAP Integration Suite tenant can manage multiple Edge Integration Cells, with each Cell dedicated to a single tenant. These Cells are designed to operate in an offline mode for up to four hours, although this feature is still under development. Currently, a continuous cloud connection is necessary. For customers using SAP Process Integration, the Edge Integration Cell is essential for transitioning on-premise integration scenarios to the SAP Integration Suite.

As a customer, you manage the Edge Integration Cell within your own infrastructure, meaning the Cell operates as a customer-managed service. It is essential to maintain an active Kubernetes environment, currently supported by Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Suse Rancher. SAP plans to extend support to IBM Red Hat OpenShift next year. As an admin, you are responsible for the installation and software updates. Therefore, you must set up, maintain, and decommission the Kubernetes environment, install the integration service, activate the integration cell as a tenant admin, and manage edge nodes and upgrades. The admins should also incorporate a database storage – currently only Postgres and Redis is supported -, which they will manage within their own edge integration unit.

eic detailed architecture

A crucial component is the connection to the repository based distribution channel, which serves as the primary method for distributing container images for Kubernetes workloads. This solution is divided into various container images that are dispatched through this channel. Edge lifecycle management then takes these images and installs them into the Kubernetes cluster, utilising Helm to construct the necessary Kubernetes resources. Helm functions as a package manager specifically for Kubernetes, and thus, the solutions are bundled as Helm charts. These are subsequently employed by the orchestrating system to deploy the requisite resources within Kubernetes.

The Cloud Connector is deployed alongside the Edge Integration Cell to enable secure communication from the cloud to the on-premises environment. The Edge Integration Cell also includes a traditional worker node for business process integration, a policy engine for API applications, and various controllers, such as the edge deployment controller, edge security artifact controller, and edge event controller.

Concerning the licensing terms, each edition standard SAP Integration Suite  is allocated one Edge Integration Cell, meaning this single Cell can be deployed without incurring additional costs. However, it’s possible to link several integration cells to a single tenant within the SAP Integration Suite. The setup ensures a one-to-one correspondence where each edge integration cell is exclusively connected to a single tenant. Conversely, a single tenant has the capacity to oversee numerous edge integration cells. Should there be a need for more edge integration cells, they can be acquired through a separate SKU, allowing for the licensing of extra cells.

Roadmap for the EIC

The future of the Edge Integration Cell looks promising. Though it doesn’t support offline mode yet, this feature is planned for development. Partner and OEM adapters, such as Salesforce and ServiceNow, will soon be part of the offering. Additionally, features like flow simulation and tracing, which allow for monitoring changes in an integration flow during execution, are on the roadmap. Hyperscaler support will also be provided to on-premise landscapes.

For those keen to explore Edge Integration Cell further, I’ve compiled a collection of useful links below that offer a wealth of information and insights:

SAP Integration Suite Help Portal – What Is Edge Integration Cell

Blog – Edge Integration Cell Setup Highlights

Administration Guide for Edge Lifecycle Management

SAP Note 3247839 – Prerequisites for installing SAP Integration Suite Edge Integration Cell

Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to explore the capabilities of the Edge Integration Cell and further integrate it into the SAP ecosystem. We believe this deployment option will be a game-changer, enabling more versatile, dynamic, and secure integrations within your SAP and non-SAP landscape. Should you wish to delve deeper into this topic, feel free to reach out to Acorel for more detailed insights.

Oguzhan Serin

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