Explaining Distributed Architecture and Their Challenges


After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Describe the distributed architecture.
  • Describe the whole scenario.

Distributed Architectures and Their Challenges

In this lesson, the following topics are discussed:

  • What is a distributed architecture?
  • What challenges have to be solved?

What is a Distributed Architecture?

A distributed IT system is an architectural paradigm and according to the Encyclopedia of Business Informatics Online Dictionary is defined as follows:


A distributed IT system comprises subsystems (components in the broadest sense) that are coupled together within the framework of a specific architecture and handle tasks cooperatively.


In contrast, in a monolithic IT system, the functions of a system are bundled (centralized). The logical distribution of system functions among components can be accompanied by a coordinated physical decentralization in a computer network.

We understand all IT installations and services as components. For example ERP On-Prem, SAP S/4HANA On-Prem and/or SaaS applications.

An Example of a Distributed Architecture

Below is an example of a customer landscape. You can see that many different technical systems communicate with each other with all their technical peculiarities.

What Challenges Have to be Solved?

Due to heterogeneity, expensive and complex solutions to the following challenges must be sought, found, and implemented:

  • Many different transport and message protocols
  • Release management
  • Monitoring
  • Error identification and correction
  • Latency
  • Quality of service
  • Security
  • Availability of implementations
  • Observability
  • Documentation

One way to overcome these challenges is to use an API first approach, which we look at later.


For the automated processing of technical processes, a large number of different software components, different installations, technology and spatial availability are often coupled via networks with different protocols. The functionalities of these implementations are called services. The interface is provided via APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). The type, location, and implementation of the APIs are irrelevant for now. These APIs are language agnostic. That's why we also speak of an API first architecture or approach. Cloud native architectures are based on APIs. This is accompanied by new challenges.

Describe the Whole Exercise Scenario

Business Example

A company sells goods to end customers. Due to global delivery problems, some products cannot be delivered on time. The customers who ordered these products should be informed about the delay.

Message Flow


The entire process should be automated.

First, the responsible department creates a list of non-deliverable ProductIDs (1). Then, the business process (2) gets started with this list. In the next step (3) – which is the initial step of the actual business process –, the database is queried (4) to see whether there is an entry for each ProductID on the list.

If the current ProductID in the list does not contain an entry from the database, the next entry is checked. The loop (5) ensures that all ProductID entries in the list are checked one after the other. If the check is successful and the ProductID is available in the database (6), the orders data for this ProductID is read out from the database (7).

For each ProductID there is a variety of order information with different orderers. Therefore, in the next step (8), the orderers are read out for each order information, also in a loop (9).

The orderer data are stored in a data store in the business process (10). Once all ProductIDs from the list have been processed and the order data has been saved, the process is ended (11).

In a subsequent business process, the orderer's data could be retrieved from the data store and the orderers informed by e-mail about the late delivery. However, this process is not the subject of the exercise.

The Solution Architecture

In a previous phase, the corresponding solution architecture was defined with the help of ISAM. The entire process is to be realized with the tools and concepts of the SAP Integration Suite.

The list of products that cannot be delivered on time is created by the specialist department (1). The iFlow in Cloud Integration (2) is started via a request. API management (3) encapsulates the API of the actual order database (4).

The complete solution architecture is already fully administered and ready for implementation and configuration.

Task Flow of the Exercise

The entire exercise is divided into the following parts:

  • Part 1: Create an interface (API) on the API Business Hub Enterprise Portal based on the order database.
  • Part 2: Consume the list of productIDs and process the data with the cloud integration.
  • Part 3: Study selected sample integration flows within the Cloud Integration to overcome business and technical challenges.

Part 1 and Part 2 build on each other. Part 3 is independent and can also be performed separately.


You do not need any previous knowledge. However, knowledge in design, development, and operation of APIs is helpful. Also structure of an OData interface.

From a technical point of view, you need an SAP BTP sub account and free access to the SAP Gateway Demo System. We will set both up in the first steps.

Log in to Your SAP Integration Suite

Business Scenario

An integration developer should create new API proxies in API Management and these should then be used in an iFlow with the Cloud Integration Runtime.

Task Flow

In this exercise, you will perform the following tasks:

  1. Log in to the Integration Suite.
  2. Check out the provisioned capabilities.


You can create a trial account and use it for the exercises. The creation of a subaccount is described in this tutorial: Get a Free Account on SAP BTP Trial

Another option is to use a factory account, either as part of a training course or in a company environment.

The Factory subaccount and the Integration Suite were set up by the Integration Administrator.

Setting up an Integration Suite is described in detail in another module. This module deals exclusively with the role of the Integration Developer. An Integration Developer user was set up with the following role collections.

  • AuthGroup.API.ApplicationDeveloper
  • APIManagement.SelfService.Administrator
  • APIPortal.Administrator
  • APIPortal.Service.CatalogIntegration
  • PI_Integration_Developer
  • Subaccount Viewer

As user you use your registered SAP user or a training user.

Outcome After This Exercise

You are logged in with an User and Password to your subaccount tenant and in Integration Suite.

Only API Management and Cloud Integration capabilities are required for the exercises.

Task 1: Log in to the SAP Integration Suite


  1. Log in to the SAP Integration Suite.

    1. Open your Browser and enter https://emea.cockpit.btp.cloud.sap/.

    2. Log in with user and password when prompted.

    3. Choose the name of your subaccount.

      In this case, it is your Integration Suite. Your subaccount has a different name. You only see the subaccounts in which your user is registered.

    4. Once you have successfully logged in to your subaccount, the cockpit of your subaccount will open.

Task 2: Log in to Your Integration Suite


  1. Log in to your Integration Suite.

    1. Navigate to ServicesInstances and Subscriptions. Choose the link Integration Suite.

    2. If everything works as expected, the SAP Integration Suite Start page will open.


      The screenshot shown may be different to the screen, which displays.

    3. Scroll down until you see the Capabilities section.

      At least the Build Integration Scenarios and Manage APIs tiles must be present.

    4. Check, that at least the Build Integration Scenarios and Manage APIs tiles display.

Task 3: Check out the Available Capabilities


  1. Check out the available Capabilities.

    1. Choose the navigation entry DesignIntegrations and APIs.

    2. The cloud Integration Design view opens.


      The screenshot shown may be different to the screen, which displays.

    3. Navigate back to Configure and choose APIs.

      If everything works as expected the Configure API Management view are open.


    4. If everything works as expected, the Configure API Management view opens.

      This means that API management and cloud integration are set up correctly and the logged-in user has the authorization to access them.


      In the event of an error

      If you do not see the described areas of the Integration Suite or if you have problems dialing in, contact your administrator of your system landscape or your trainer.

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