SAP HANA system migration: 3 common integration approaches
As one of the most popular integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions on the market, SAP enables organizations to optimize essential business functions in finance, human capital management, enterprise performance management, and supplier relationship management.
In 2025, SAP is ending its SAP ERP system support in an effort to unify SAP systems on a single database, SAP HANA. Historically, SAP’s ERP system worked with multiple databases, such as Oracle. The new ERP suite will run exclusively on SAP’s database, HANA. Enterprises that want support from SAP will need to migrate to SAP’s ERP system, S/4HANA.
Many senior IT decision makers see the mandatory SAP S/4HANA upgrade as an opportunity to make broader changes, such as adopting the public cloud, to enable their businesses to become more agile and innovative. With the right integration solution, enterprises can use this SAP upgrade as an opportunity to not only maximize value from their legacy SAP middleware (PI/PO) as they adopt more cloud-native, non-SAP systems, but also accelerate their broader organization-wide digital transformation.
SAP HANA database integration options
There are several integration approaches that will enable you to update to SAP HANA: point-to-point direct integration with SAP interfaces, Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) stacks, and API-led connectivity.
Point-to-point integration with SAP interfaces
The key interfaces of IDocs, BAPIs and JCo can be directly accessed by software applications. In an effort for expediency, many developers looking for quick solutions to integrate with SAP directly wire their applications to SAP. The primary advantage of doing so is the initial time to write a single application against SAP.
In point-to-point architectures, applications are tightly coupled with SAP systems. While this is a good solution to address immediate needs, a more flexible solution is being adopted by top enterprises: API-led connectivity.
Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) stacks
The next alternatives for SAP integration are Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) stacks. SOA stacks are comprised of multiple products including application servers, enterprise services busses, orchestration engines, management tools, and development tools. Very often these include half a dozen or more products.
The primary advantage of utilizing a SOA stack is that it creates a more flexible architecture than point-to-point. Applications are loosely coupled so when changes are needed they can be quickly addressed. Application maintenance costs are lower than in point-to-point approaches, and the overall platform is more reliable. Furthermore, because these stacks can service-enable SAP systems, once implemented, the cost and complexity of further applications to support new business processes is considerably less than in point-to-point or hub-and-spoke approaches.
SOA stacks involve multiple products which all must be deployed and configured. A full SOA implementation utilizing one of these stacks can take multiple years and extraordinary up front costs. In the interim, new application development can grind to a halt. Finally, all developers must be trained on the proprietary tools of these vendors.
While connectivity demands have changed, the central tenets of SOA have not, that is, the distillation of software into services that are well-defined, reusable, and discoverable. API-led connectivity builds on the central tenets of SOA, yet redefines the speed and agility of implementations for today’s unique challenges. API-led connectivity is a methodical way to connect data to applications through reusable and purposeful APIs. These APIs are developed to play a specific role: unlocking data from systems, composing data into processes, and delivering an experience.
API-led connectivity is an important integration strategy because the technologies that enterprises are using to engage with their customers, employees, and partners have changed dramatically. The convergence of enterprise technologies like IoT, SaaS, big data, social, mobile, and APIs are providing powerful new tools to allow businesses to do more, unlock new revenue streams, understand their customers better, and innovate faster than ever before.
MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform: simplify your SAP HANA update with a flexible solution
MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform accelerates your SAP upgrade and the broader transformation. Anypoint Platform’s flexibility allows you to keep using your legacy SAP middleware for SAP systems while supporting innovative use cases that require APIs and hybrid deployment on-premises and in the cloud.
Maximize the value of legacy SAP investment throughout the modernization process
- Leverage SAP-certified connectors to integrate new and legacy SAP systems such as Concur, SuccessFactors, ERP, Business Objects, Hybris, R3, S/4HANA, as well as existing integrations built in SAP PI/PO.
- Easily build APIs to make legacy middleware and systems work with cloud-native apps.
Deliver integrations faster between SAP and third-party systems
- MuleSoft is easy to learn, with one platform combining APIs, integrations, monitoring, for both on-prem and cloud so your developers don’t need to learn several products and make them work together.
- MuleSoft has a large ecosystem of non-SAP connectors, examples, and templates out of the box, accelerating integrations to third-party systems.
Build an architecture that simplifies your migration to the cloud
- Use APIs as brokers between your backend systems and frontend experiences, enabling you to migrate backend systems to the cloud by running old and new systems in parallel during the transition, reducing the risk of downtime.
- Once developers build a MuleSoft integration, your enterprise can deploy it anywhere, enabling hybrid flexibility between on-prem and in the cloud.
- MuleSoft has one runtime for on-prem, in the cloud, APIs, or integrations. Other solutions require you to maintain many different types of runtimes depending on the product and deployment model.
To learn more about SAP integration solutions, check out the whitepaper Best practices for SAP application integration projects.