Evolution of SAP Business Information Warehouse
A Quick Look at SAP R/3 Architecture and Technologies
Founded in 1972 in Mannheim, Germany, as Systemanalyse und Programmen-twicklung to produce and market standard software for integrated business solutions, today that company is known as SAP (Systems, Applications and Products in Data Processing), headquartered in Walldorf, Germany. SAP built packaged applications for mainframe computers, called SAP R/2. As the client/server technologies emerged in the early 1980s, SAP launched a major initiative to engineer powerful three-tiered integrated business applications under one framework. The SAP R/3 product is the outcome of that initiative.
Note Often, people ask what R/2 and R/3 mean. The letter R stands for real-time, and 2 and 3 represent two-tiered and three-tiered architectures, respectively. SAP R/2 is for mainframes only, whereas SAP R/3 is three-tiered implementation using client/server technology for a wide range of platforms-hardware and software. When implementing a Web front-end to an SAP R/3 implementation, the three-tiered architecture becomes multi-tiered depending on how the Web server is configured against the database server or how the Web server Itself distributes the transaction and presentation logic.
All SAP R/3 business applications use an active dictionary to store all business rules defined to run business. These business and workflow rules keep information flowing among application modules in a controlled and secured fashion. The "ABAP Workbench" is used to develop business programs using the Advanced Business Application Programming (ABAP) language. The Basis technology is responsible for managing R/3 infrastructure such as software installation, operations, and administration.
SAP R/3's multi-tiered architecture enables its customers to deploy R/3 with or without an application server. Common three-tiered architecture consists of the following three layers:
• Data Management • Application Logic • Presentation
The Data Management layer manages data storage, the Application layer performs business logic, and the Presentation layer presents information to the end user.
Most often, the Data Management and Application Logic layers are implemented on one machine, whereas workstations are used for presentation functions. This two-tiered application model is suited best for small business applications where transaction volumes are low and business logic is simple.
When the number of users or the volume of transactions increases, separate the application logic from database management functions by configuring one or more application servers against a database server. This three-tiered application model for SAP R/3 keeps operations functioning without performance degradation. Often, additional application servers are configured to process batch jobs or other long and intense resource-consuming tasks. This separation of the application server enables system operations staff to fine-tune individual application servers suited for specific data processing tasks.
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