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R/3 users get good news

SAP announces several development-related initiatives intended to make it easier to customize R/3 installations.

Users of SAP's R/3 business application software got some good news on several fronts today.

First, the company announced several development-related initiatives intended to make it easier to customize R/3 installations.

Also, a new program being floated by systems giant Hewlett-Packard will allow corporations using R/3 to consolidate the applications across fewer server computers.

SAP said it is adding new interfaces to its Business Application Programming Interfaces (BAPIs) to link R/3 to groupware, telephony, and mobile computing applications. SAP is also planning to support Extensible Markup Language (XML) within its BAPIs beginning next year. XML support could make it easier for R/3 users to exchange information with other companies, for instance.

The company is also linking R/3 to popular development tools, including IBM's Visual Age for Java and Microsoft's Visual Studio 6.0.

SAP said both tools will be enabled to recognize BAPIs.

The new HP offering, for companies running SAP software on top of HP's Unix-based operating system, is part of an ongoing movement within the industry to provide specific enhancements for popular software.

The consolidation techniques being offered can be implemented due to operating system tweaks. A new feature called "memory windows" in HP UX 11.0 increases the performance of memory intensive applications without touching SAP's code. It is targeted at HP's 9000 line of RISC-based server systems.

HP claims it can reduce the number of SAP-crunching servers from ten to one, in some cases.

HP also said its Process Resource Manager software for managing application delivery service levels can be used to get a better handle on SAP growth within an organization.

The new "memory windows" capability is available now in version 11.0 of HP-UX and is available via CD-ROM for older versions of the operating system. The service-level software is available now.