Complete Understanding of SAP PI

SAP Process Integration or SAP PI is the On-Premise Integration Tool that is released by SAP Company. The main purpose of SAP Process Integration Tool is to integrate Applications within the company landscape or with external partner applications.

SAP Process Integration is one of the component of SAP Process Orchestration Product.

Process Orchestration:

SAP Process Orchestration is a combo product that has 3 components:

  • SAP Process Integration.
  • Business Process Management.
  • Business Rules Management.

Exchange Infrastructure (XI):

SAP introduced its integration platform in 2003 and it was named as Exchange Infrastructure XI. The first version was 2.0 and then it was moved to 3.0.

Once PI was released with better features, SAP has stopped the support for XI.

The main purpose of XI was to connect with SAP System and Non-SAP Systems.

Types of Integration:

There are two types of Integration Scenarios:

  • Application to Application (A2A)
  • Business to Business (B2B)


When message is exchanged between Application within the company landscape then it is called as A2A.

Similarly, If a message is exchanged with a Partner System in the internet then it is called as B2B.

If the Integrated system is companies application then it is A2A or if one of the integrated system belongs to partner then it is B2B Scenario.

SAP Process Integration is a Tool that helps to build A2A and B2B Integration Scenarios.

It can be used to exchange message within the company application or with the partner application.

What can we do with SAP PI Tool?

With this tool we can do following things:

  • Connect to Application via Different Protocol.
  • Convert Data from One Format to Another.
  • Route Message to Different Systems.
  • Transfer Data Securely¬†with Certificate based Authentication.
  • Simplify Integration with Single Point of Integration.
  • Track all the Message Transmission Logs for Audit Purpose.
  • Monitoring of Message Transmission in the Company.

File Transfer using SAP PI Tool:

Purpose of SAP Process Integration Tool is to connect to the system, transform the message and transfer the message.

file transfer scenario

File Transfer Scenario with SAP Process Integration Tool:

  • Tool will poll and pick the file from the Source SAP ERP System.
  • AEX / PI Tool will convert the file format.
  • Then AEX / PI will transfer the file to Target Location.

This is a sample integration scenario that we build in PI system.

How SAP PI Simplify Integration:

Every company has the need to integrate the application and exchange of Information.

Without the central integration tool it is difficult to maintain the message transmission.

integration without pi

With a proper Integration tool in place, it is easy to manage the transmission of message with the systems.

AEX is another name for SAP Process Integration.

integration with pi

Architecture of SAP PI:

This is the architecture of SAP Process Integration.

SAP PI Architecture

Key Points to Note:

  • SAP Process Integration is also called as Advanced Adapter Engine Extended.
  • Advanced Adapter Engine Extended short form is AEX.
  • AEX runs on AS Java.
  • Eclipse and Java Swing Tools are the development tools to build Interface.
  • ES Builder and Integration Builder are the Java Swing Tools.
  • Non-Central Advanced Adapter Engine is also called as AAE.
  • You can have one Central AEX and multiple instance of AAE.
  • Dual Stack means ABAP Stack + Java Stack, Single Stack means only Java Stack.
  • SAP Process Integration is a Single Stack.

Read more about SAP PI PO Architecture here.

Components of SAP Process Integration:

Here are the various components of SAP Process Integration:

sap pi tools

System Landscape Directory:

System Landscape Directory or SLD in short is the place where you store information about the system landscape.

If there are ERP, HR System and Legacy system then you define them first in the SLD.

Once you define them in SLD then you use the meta data information in building the interface.

This way SLD helps to manage the system landscape information in a central location.

Meta Data that are defined in SLD can be imported in the ESR  as Software Component and as Business Component in ID.

Enterprise Service Repository:

Enterprise Service Repository or ESR is the Java Swing Tool that is used to Design the parts of the Interface.

Some of the things you build using ESR Tool:

  • Define Structure of your Message using XSD.
  • Define the Service Interface which holds you Message Structure.
  • Define the Interface Name that is used in the Configuring the Interface.
  • Do the Mapping Logic in Message Mapping that converts the XML from one format to another format.
  • Upload Custom Java Program that can used during the interface.
  • Design many other parts of the Interface.

Integration Directory:

Integration Directory or ID is the Java Swing Tool that is used to Configure the part of the Interface.

With ID Tool, You config the following things:

  • Communication Channel to communicate with Source and Target.
  • Choose Source and Target to pick and send the message to.
  • Route the message to multiple target based on condition.
  • Add Security to message transmission with certificate.
  • Track the number of the calls.

Configuration and Monitoring:

This is the Runtime of SAP Process Integration where you can monitor the message transaction.

It is called as Runtime Workbench where you can track the system runtime and what is going on in the system.

Once you have developed and deployed the interface, you can monitor how many message are processed, fail or success messages, check the details of the message and etc.

This is the system runtime where the message processing is monitored.

There are tools available to check the No. of Messages, Size of the Message, Message Transmission start and end time etc.

Advanced Adapter Engine Extended:

Advanced Adapter Engine Extended or AEX is same as SAP Process Integration it is just the interchangeable naming convention.

AEX is a Standalone Java Server on which SAP Runtime is installed.

AEX has Integration Engine and Adapter Engine.

Purpose of Integration Engine is to execute the mapping program.

Adapter Engine is used to connect and route the message.

AEX has the following components:

  • Enterprise Service Repository.
  • Integration Directory.
  • Advanced Adapter Engine.
  • Runtime.

AEX is a independent tool using which you can build the interface and execute it in the runtime.

If you have two AEX in the landscape then every AEX has its own components and runtime.

So, it is recommended to have one AEX which is the central repository to manage the development and runtime.

You cannot build Integration Process inside the AEX, for that you need NW BPM.

Advanced Adapter Engine:

Advanced Adapter Engine (AAE) is the part of AEX which main purpose is to manage connectivity and security.

You can have multiple instance of AAE with just one AEX.

AEX plays the role of central adapter engine and AAE plays the role of de-central adapter engine.

In AAE, you typically store channels which helps to connect to source and target system.

Once AAE, get the message it forwards to AEX for further processing of the message like transforming the message.

In a landscape, you have multiple instance of AAE which are placed in the DMZ zone and single instance of AEX which is placed inside the internal firewall.

AAE is used to connect with the external parties which are sitting in the internet and AEX plays a central adapter engine plus connectivity to internal system as well.

PI Tools (Eclipse):

You can build interface in PI using two ways:

  • Java Swing Tools
  • Eclipse

There are two tools available in Java Swing – ESR and ID.

Using the ESR Java Swing Tool, you can design the interface and using ID you can configure the interface.

Eclipse tool is a Java IDE using which you can build the interface using iFlow and deploy in the AEX.

You can choose to work with any of the one tool to build the interface.

Any interface developed are stored in the AEX repository and system runtime use those information during executing of the interface.


AEX has a underlying database that you can choose during the installation.

AEX supports:

  • MaxDB
  • Oracle
  • IBM and others.

Database is provided by the SAP recommendation which is can change in future.

AEX depends on this database to store all the interface objects and configuration.

SAP Netweaver Process Integration:

Process Integration tool is a part of the SAP Netweaver installation. It is also called as SAP Netweaver Process Integration.

if you like to install Process Integration then you need to install SAP Netweaver.

sap netweaver

SAP Netweaver has different version and based on each version of SAP Netweaver PI version will also change.

Read more about SAP Netweaver here.

SAP Process Integration Use Case:

SAP Process Integration is a Integration tool that is used to:

  • Connect to Source and Target Applications.
  • Supports Different Connectivity Options.
  • Convert Data from One Format to Another.
  • Manage Security and Routing.

Here is the complete Picture of How SAP Process Integration is used in a company.

sap process integration


About the author

Srini - is an IT Architect who enjoys sharing knowledge on Computer Programming and Digital Marketing. Take a look at the Courses and Books.

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