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SAP NetWeaver is SAP's integrated technology computing platform and is the technical foundation for many SAP applications since the SAP Business Suite. SAP NetWeaver is marketed as a service-oriented application and integration platform. SAP NetWeaver provides the development and runtime environment for SAP applications and can be used for custom development and integration with other applications and systems. SAP NetWeaver is built using primarily the ABAP programming language, but also uses C (programming language), C++, and Java EE. It also employs open standards and industry de facto standards and can be extended with, and interoperate with, technologies such as Microsoft .NET, Java EE, and IBM WebSphere.
SAP NetWeaver's release is considered as a strategic move by SAP for driving enterprises to run their business on a single, integrated platform that includes both applications and technology. Industry analysts refer to this type of integrated platform offering as an "applistructure" (applications + infrastructure). According to SAP, this approach is driven by industry's need to lower IT costs through an enterprise architecture that is at once (1) more flexible; (2) better integrated with applications; (3) built on open standards to ensure future interoperability and broad integration; and, (4) provided by a vendor that is financially viable for the long term.
SAP is fostering relationships with system integrators and independent software vendors, many of the latter becoming "Powered by SAP NetWeaver".
SAP NetWeaver is part of SAP's plan to transition to a more open, service-oriented architecture and to deliver the technical foundation of its applications on a single, integrated platform and common release cycle.
The origins of the NetWeaver platform are a portal technology developed by Israeli software company TopTier Software (that was founded in 1997), and which SAP acquired in 2001. The founder of TopTier Software Shai Agassi joined SAP and was given the responsibility for the company's overall technology strategy and execution. He initiated the development of the integration and application platform that became NetWeaver platform.
NetWeaver is essentially the integrated stack of SAP technology products. The SAP Web Application Server (sometimes referred to as WebAS) is the runtime environment for the SAP applications—all of the mySAP Business Suite solutions (SRM, CRM, SCM, PLM, ERP) run on SAP WebAS.
The core products that make up SAP NetWeaver include:
SAP has also teamed with hardware vendors like HP, IBM, Fujitsu, and Sun (in the meantime acquired by Oracle) to deliver appliances (i.e., hardware + software) to simplify and enhance the deployment of NetWeaver components. Examples of these appliances include:
Specifically, ERP is being extended by Business Process Management Systems (BPMs) and, as BPMs takes hold as the pre-dominant technical platform for new applications, expect to see radical changes to ERP architecture in the years ahead. The technology has been applied to a wide range of industries and applications.
SAP's NetWeaver platform is still backwards-compatible with ABAP, SAP's custom development language.