ALE Integration Technology

Purpose

The integration technology Application Link Enabling (ALE) is an important middleware tool in SAP's Business Framework Architecture (BFA). BFA is a component-based architecture enabling software components from SAP and from other software vendors to communicate and be integrated with each other.

ALE can integrate business processes between SAP systems and non-SAP systems as well as between SAP systems.

Data is exchanged between application systems in a controlled manner and consistency is maintained.

 

Company-wide applications such as accounting, human resource management and sales planning may be carried out in the company’s headquarters, whereas production and materials management may be carried out in decentralized plants.

The application systems of an ALE integrated system are loosely linked. Data is exchanged asynchronously, whereby the data arrives in the receiver system, even if the receiver system cannot be connected to at the time the data is sent. Synchronous connections are only used by ALE to read data.

ALE provides administration, development and testing tools.

To use the ALE tools choose Tools ® IDoc Interface/ALE.

ALE business processes are part of the standard SAP application system delivery. They are described in the application documentation (Library of ALE Business Processes).

For more information about the required system settings see the Implementation Guide (IMG):

Transaction SPRO ® SAP Reference IMG ® Application Server -> IDoc Interface/ALE

(or the transaction SALE).

For information on programming see the ALE Programming Guide.

To make it easier to assign ALE functions to specific user types, the following user roles have been defined:

?     ALE administration                                         SAP_BC_MID_ALE_ADMIN 

?     ALE development                                            SAP_BC_MID_ALE_DEVELOPER

?     Master data distribution for logistics                       SAP_BC_MID_ALE_MD_LO

?     Master data distribution for financials          SAP_BC_MID_ALE_MD_FI

?     Master data distibution for HR                    SAP_BC_MID_ALE_MD_HR

Implementation Considerations

Decentralized business applications ensuring data consistency are used because:

?     The increasing globalization of markets has led to the physical division of organizational units.

?     Business processes are not restricted to one organization only and more and more customers and vendors are becoming involved.

?     SAP system performance can be improved by distributing the business applications.

For further information about ALE implementation, see:

ALE and the SAP Procedure Model

Features

ALE supports the configuration and operation of distributed applications. ALE controls Messaging across loosely coupled SAP systems, ensuring that data is always consistent.

Applications are integrated using a local database rather than a central one. Instead, the applications access a local database. There is no data retention. ALE guarantees the distribution and synchronization of master data, Customizing data and transaction data through asynchronous communication.

Synchronous communication is used in ALE to read data only.

ALE has many benefits:

?     Application data can be distributed between different releases of SAP systems

?     Data can continue to be exchanged after a release upgrade without requiring special maintenance

?     Customers can add their own enhancements

?     Communication interfaces enable connections to non-SAP systems.

?     More recent SAP and R/2 systems can communicate with each other.

ALE has functions for monitoring messages flows and handling communication problems.