Written by Marc Janssen, Enterprise Integration Consultant at Rojo Consultancy.
Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) embodies a culture, set of operating principles, and collection of practices that enable integration development teams to deliver changes more frequently and reliably. With regards to SAP Cloud Integrations, CI/CD bridges the gaps between development and operation activities by enforcing automation in building, testing, and deployment of iFlows.
In order to automate processes to a high degree, different tools can be used. These tools can be code repository/version control, quality control (code check, naming conventions) and automated testing, and notifications.
Although the initial set up of this process can be complicated and time consuming, the benefits are plenty. With CI/CD;
- Release cycles are shorter, ensuring ongoing improvements for end-users.
- Quality control is ensured, reducing the risk of defects or aftercare issues.
- Smaller code changes are simpler and have fewer unintended consequences (less disruptive).
- Fault isolation is simpler and quicker.
- End-user involvement and feedback during continuous development lead to usability improvements (New requirements can be specified daily).
Challenges of CI/CD
Implementing a CI/CD cycle leads to many benefits for your organisation. However, the process, unfortunately comes with some challenges to manage:
- As for Development, Acceptance and Production multiple environments are used, getting an overview of all your integrations can become difficult.
- You need to navigate through SAP Cloud Integration to retrieve all relevant information (name, ID, version, last commit, vendor and deployment version/status) related to the iFlows.
- The CI/CD cycle automates most processes, but these processes still need to be triggered. Depending on the operation, this needs to be done in different environments, and overwhelming for the development team, as they might not be familiar with all processes and applications. Therefore, clear instructions and processes need to be in place.
In short, managing the CI/CD processes of your SAP Cloud Integrations and making it user-friendly can be a challenge.
To tackle these challenges, we have developed a solution that brings together all the important information of your Cloud Integration packages and iFlows, and allows developers to initiate the different CI/CD processes from one central application.
The solution is built with a combination of tools that are often included in Office 365 subscriptions: SharePoint, and the Microsoft Power Platform (PowerApps and Power Automate).
A SharePoint Online List is used to store all the relevant data regarding the Cloud Integration Packages and iFlows. This includes information like IDs, names, version, last commit, but also deployment statuses and versions for all environments. The data is updated every night using Power Automate to retrieve data from the SAP Cloud Integration Platform. On top of the SharePoint List, a Power App is built to initiate the different CI/CD processes. With this SharePoint List and the Power App, the developers have a complete overview of their packages and iFlows, and are able to initiate the CI/CD operations directly from the application.
The solution includes the following features:
- One location to initiate all development processes: Commit to the source repository, Move to Test, Move to Production.
- The ability to refresh data from the source, both directly from the Power App and on scheduled intervals: Changes in development will be reflected without delay.
- Quality checks on code, naming conventions and checks for prerequisite activities are set up in the solution.
- Approval-flows are set up, to ensure that movements to higher environments are validated and approved.
Curious to explore how this solution can benefit your organisation? Get in touch with us now!