After enduring much criticism related to its NetWeaver offering over the years, SAP is looking for some middleware respect.
The company today released version 7.3 of NetWeaver that simplifies the management and deployment of SAP middleware on several levels. For the first time in recent memory, SAP is releasing all the components of a NetWeaver upgrade at the same time. In addition, the company has fine-tuned the software's ability to be deployed in-memory as well as on public cloud infrastructure managed by SAP.
According to Shane Pearson, senior vice president of solution management for SAP NetWeaver, SAP's middleware needs to be viewed in the context of the applications it supports. To that end, SAP has included a lot of process-integration work that makes it easier to deploy and faster to run SAP applications and third-party applications that integrate with them.
In contrast, many rival middleware platforms require extensive customization work to achieve those same levels of process integration.
Longer term, Pearson said SAP will focus next on optimizing the performance of NetWeaver in private cloud computing scenarios where application performance on shared IT infrastructure is a critical issue.
While rival vendors such as Oracle and IBM have frequently criticized SAP middleware, Pearson says that customers are discovering that the later editions of SAP middleware provide comparable performance, they add more value by better enabling the end-to-end management of SAP application-centric environments than any other offering.
Clearly, SAP has heard the criticism about NetWeaver over the years and appears to be making a concerted response focusing on both performance and simplifying the deployment of NetWeaver on-premise and in the cloud.