SAP AG announced the Enterprise Services Architecture (ESA), the blueprint for complete, services-based business solutions, allowing companies to drive additional business value from existing technology investments – enabling, for the first time, enterprise-scale usage of Web services. By combining SAP's business process and industry solution expertise with the openness of Web services and other technology standards, SAP's new enterprise architecture provides companies with a template for the creation of fully integrated IT environments built entirely on services-based business solutions that extend across systems and beyond business boundaries. Going forward, all SAP solutions will be developed using the ESA blueprint and are expected to set new standards in usability, scalability, adaptability and extensibility. Today, the company also launched SAP NetWeaver, the next evolution of mySAP Technology – SAP's industry-leading integration and application platform, which provides the technology foundation to enable an ESA.

An ESA outlines how an integration and application platform is used to orchestrate business processes by means of packaged composite applications across existing systems leveraging Web services. An ESA introduces a new layer of flexibility to manage all aspects of a given business process, including people (all roles participating across the value chain), systems (be they SAP or non-SAP), and information (structured or unstructured). Services-based architectures are universally recognized as the way to solve the growing integration challenge. An ESA enables the design of a complete, services-based solution for a given business process/problem that uses existing systems and applications while accelerating the deployment of new functionality. To drive new levels of flexibility and innovation, SAP NetWeaver, which enables an ESA, provides tools, frameworks, patterns, rules, and methodologies that allow SAP and partners to efficiently develop cross-functional business processes.

SAP's 3-tier client/server architecture quickly became the industry “de facto standard,” providing the fundamental structure upon which client/server systems enabled information and process integration at the user, application, and data levels. The 3-tier client/server architecture is a highly scalable framework which provides the foundation for SAP business solutions that drive success today for more than 19,000 companies worldwide.

While the 3- tier client/server architecture replaced existing mainframe based systems, the ESA allows companies to add important new levels of flexibility while allowing customers to maintain and build upon their existing solutions investments through Web services. The ESA blueprint makes heterogeneous application integration a reality by creating a services-based, enterprise-scale business architecture that treats applications as services that can be accessed seamlessly by users, leveraging open, standards-driven, Web-based technologies.

"Web services today are largely used to 'wrap' existing systems," said Yvonne Genovese, research director, Gartner. "To deliver on the promise of the real-time enterprise, companies need to define and deploy complete business processes built upon a services-based infrastructure that enables the weaving of Web services into packaged composite applications."

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