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Quiz: ESA, XI and the new era of integration

Need to get up to speed with ESA and SAP XI? These days it's important for all SAP professionals to understand SOA, the ESA initiative and also how SAP XI can work for you. NetWeaver guru Axel Angeli and Lynton Grice have joined forces to test your knowledge with this new quiz exclusively for

Navigating the SAP jungle can be especially daunting these days, with the ESA initiative paving the road for your SAP future and XI being spotted everywhere you turn. As an SAP professional, it's important to have at least a working knowledge of SAP's Enterprise Service Architecture (ESA) plan and how the SAP Exchange Infrastructure (XI) works in this new era of integration.

Luckily for you, the Blue Elephant team -- NetWeaver gurus Axel Angeli and Lynton Grice -- created a brand new quiz for that will challenge your ESA knowledge and your XI expertise. The quiz is designed to help you find your weaknesses but also help you learn more about SAP's ESA initiative and the mystifying SAP Exchange Infrastructure.

Take the quiz today. Then let us know what you think, or send any ideas for future quizzes to Good luck!

How to take the quiz:
- After reading the question, note the letter of your answer.
NOTE: Some questions may have more than one appropriate answer!
- Check your answers by clicking the link to the answer key at the end of the quiz.
- Send us an e-mail telling us how you scored to participate in our book giveaway. The prize drawing is random - your score will not affect your chances of winning.
- To learn more about a topic and the correct response to the question, open the link that follows the question.

So, are you ready for the ESA safari? Here's Blue Elephant quiz: ESA, XI and the new era of integration

1. What is SOA?

The term service-oriented architecture (SOA) is being heard everywhere in IT circles these days. SOA is promising new and better computing for the future. But what does that really mean? In other words, what is SOA?

a) A platform that can be purchased from big ERP vendors like IBM, Oracle and Microsoft.
b) SOA is not a technology or a methodology, but rather, a design philosophy.
c) CORBA and DCOM are early examples of SOA.
d) Building applications with Web services will always result in SOA.

2. Elements of EAI

The Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) is a long-kept dream in the world of computing. Getting everything everywhere connected is the goal -- the production line should report to ERP just as well as the stock meter reports when it is time to reorder material. Which of the following is not necessarily part of a modern EAI technology?

a) Message Queue
b) Java Run Time
c) Workflow processor
d) HTTP server

3. The ESA paradigm

At SAPPHIRE 2005 in Boston, SAP CEO Henning Kagermann proclaimed the new era of ESA as the future paradigm of SAP. What integration paradigms does ESA support?

a) Service-orientated architecture (SOA)
b) Message-driven architecture
c) Event-driven architecture
d) Model-driven architecture

4. Event-driven architecture

The event-driven architecture is another term often heard in ESA and EAI circles. Event-driven architecture (EDA) …

a) Is a new approach to integration that makes use of peer-to-peer communications to handle events throughout the extended enterprise.
b) Uses a higher-level business process management application that enables applications to be monitored and inter-connected using a mixture of pre-defined Web service endpoints and events.
c) Is a relatively new approach to integration that uses a mixture of open standards, loose coupling and dynamic discovery features of Web services to implement complex EAI scenarios.
d) Is an enterprise software infrastructure model in which events trigger the real-time exchange of messages between independent software applications.

5. Topology of the ESA/SOA

ESA and SOA have catapulted themselves into the integration arena and are remolding the way business will be conducted in the future. Choreographing how the different components, services and systems within your enterprise will fit together within the new SOA can be a very daunting task, but one that you will need to face head on. What is the typical topology of a modern service-oriented architecture (SOA)?

a) One central application server connected via remote desktops like CITRIX or Microsoft Terminal Server.
b) One central application server with intelligent clients, like the SAPGUI
c) One central application server with Web browser front-end applications
d) Many independently-operating application servers for dedicated applications that send their data in a front-end independent format like XML

6. The Enterprise Server Bus

The Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) is a technology offered by a number of SAP's competitors. What makes the ESB so intriguing? Or is it just marketing babble? The Enterprise Service Bus is:

a) Another word for Middleware
b) A commercial product sold by IBM
c) An event-driven approach to handle messages and workflows
d) More proficient in possibilities than a classical middleware

7. EAI best practices

Every project success is essentially based on applying best practices, or patterns and operations that have proven to be successful in the past. Many EAI projects fail to meet initial expectations because they are delivered late and/or over budget. In order to reduce the likelihood of failure, certain project management "best practices" can be followed. Which of the following can be considered "EAI best practices"?

a) Performance profile the solution early on
b) Make sure the solution is "traceable"
c) Value the "human factor" at the same level as technical decisions
d) Define clear and strict milestones and deliverables

8. Standards for Web service choreography

Language is the heart of communication and orderly collaboration. There are languages to describe an object, a state and data flow. Some languages are designed to talk to all Web services in order to avoid conflicts and give them right indication in which sequence they need to be executed. Which standard has emerged onto the integration scene to provide the "glue" required to orchestrate Web service scenarios?

a) XML
d) WML

9. SAP and Java

When talking about NetWeaver, an inevitable question always arises. Is SAP shifting from ABAP to Java technologies? If so, why would they want to do this? Why did SAP create a Java engine parallel to the ABAP engine?

a) Java is more stable and reliable
b) Java is a public standard in universities
c) Java language is much more powerful than ABAP
d) The SAP Java Engine will attract the Java developer to use SAP in parallel to the ABAP engine.

10. SOAP and WSDL

SOAP and WSDL are languages that allow proper remote program calls from one program to a disparate Web service. An ESB is an "architectural stack of technologies" that works together to enable developers and architects alike to create intelligent, adaptable applications that can automate business processes and interactions between multiple systems and organizations. One may argue that a combination of SOAP/HTTP and WSDL can be used as an "alternative ESB," but this is not the case. Which of the following could be considered valid arguments for why the combination of SOAP/HTTP and WSDL fall short of being a true ESB?

a) The scenario requires each participating application to be SOAP/HTTP enabled. An ESB, on the other hand, provides support for alternative integration techniques
b) Service addressing and routing is typically controlled in client code. Therefore the SOAP/HTTP style is more a "point-to-point" integration style
c) Both SOAP and WSDL carry semantic information, while an ESB should manage messages regardless of their contents
d) There is no way to substitute the implementation of one service provider over another without changing the service requesters (client) code. The code typically invokes the service/s over a specific protocol and aims at a specific address.

11. Mobile Infrastructure

The value proposition of mobile computing lies in the cost and freedom that mobile computing delivers. Remember the last time you returned a rental car and the agent scanned it back in and printed you an invoice right then and there? That is mobile computing. In order to connect a mobile scanner with WLAN capability to an existing R/3 installation you need:

a) To install SAP Mobile Infrastructure
b) Use an RFC-enabled software written for the mobile device
d) A wireless access point connected to the SAP Application Server

12. XML

XML became the "lingua franca" of Web services and business-to-business communication. In order to exchange data with SAP R/3 via XML you can use…

b) SAP Business Connector
c) A WebAS BSP Applications
d) Java Connector

13. Business Process Management

Business Process Management (BPM) is the ability to have end-to-end visibility and control over transactions/processes that span multiple applications and people in one or more companies. Which one of the following is capable of providing business modeling capabilities within the SAP NetWeaver BPM environment?

b) ARIS for SAP NetWeaver
c) SAP Solution Manager
d) WebDynpro

14. Business Activity Monitoring (BAM)

BAM is now a chic technology for managers to see the benefits of applications working seamlessly together. Which of the following is true for BAM?

a) A tight connection between BPM ("Business Process management") and BAM is the key to true business process optimization.
b) Accumulates real-time operational information to give managers (and users alike) the ability to make business process improvements that will inevitably impact business value.
c) BAM can be seen as part business intelligence, part network and part system management and monitoring.
d) EDA plays no real part in BAM

15. Is XI necessary to enable SAP for ESA?

One of the best-kept secrets in the SAP arena is the capability of XI. What is promise, what is reality and what are misunderstandings? In other words, which statement holds true for SAP XI?

a) XI will be needed to exchange data between R/3 and legacy systems
b) It can replace the SAP Business Connector
c) It will replace IDocs and ALE
d) It enables SAP for the Enterprise Service Bus


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