ODBC connection to SAP's Oracle data base

Does anyone use odbc connectivity to SAP's Oracle tables for reporting and bolt on application development?
George KerestesAsked:
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TwisteddkConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Depending on the data you want to transfer, SAP has some specific tools for this. If you need integration into other systems, it's always a good idea to use established APIs. For most systems you can register a program in the SAP gateway, and have it talk syncronously to your program, if async is ok, then simple CSV or EDI/IDOC format and a FTP transfer. This is normally a lot easier to handle than ODBC, also easier for the purposes of performance, security, traceability, monitoring and depending on the experience of your basis/interface guy, also debugging.

If the document you want to transfer is defined as an IDOC, this is pretty much as good as gold when it comes to external processing. but creating new outbound documents can be a pain, so for simple reporting purposes, a CSV file would likely be easier. An ODBC seems excessive, both in terms of cost (new Oracle license, monitoring on a remote subsystem etc.) and risk and is normally not needed. Keep in mind that if YOU develop the integration, then YOU have to support it, which makes buying a 3rd party piece of software a nice choice when it comes to vacation time, night calls, support, upgrades etc.

I'd suggest that you look at the BW/BI or even BO modules and ask if any of these cant be used to satisfy your output needs and/or customized to do so. Unless you need to export the entire database, I'd go with reporting or CSV output, and even in case of an entire database, I'd prefer a data dump over an ODBC. If what you're connecting to has the ability, then use IDOCS or registered server programmes, or if you have it already, then use your SAP XI/PI or Websphere MQ system to exchange (and convert) the data you need between the system(s). This is the "default" way to go, and I've yet to see it fail.

What you have to keep in mind is that a LOT of people before You have had to come to terms with getting data out of the database under the SAP system, and they've spent thousands if not millions of hours developing integration and tools for these purposes. So be "the lazy admin", dont develop that which You can buy (or even get for free in many cases) while also pawning off support on someone else ;)
TwisteddkConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Rarely. While it's tempting to do so, You have to remember that You've only got a two user license on that Oracle base if it's the one that came with SAP.
Also, for reasons of portability, it's normally more practical to develop your application in/for the application layer (SAP) than the database layer. And if you screw things up, SAP support will likely hit you with a "You screwed it up, You fix it" if something goes wrong, and you accidentally mess up things for the application, like dataloss, performance, licensing issues, connection problems, security etc.
Developing for the application also makes auditing a lot easier. And when it comes right down to it..... The ABAP language in SAP is frightningly similar to Open SQL, so I rarely find the need to do much development in unsupported tools.

What exactly were You considering doing/building ?
George KerestesAuthor Commented:
We have some very specific documents such as our production order shop packets, simplified production order shop floor reporting (which we would use the SAP SOA objects) and the like. We also may want to tap the database for information which we might want to feed to other non-SAP applications (read only from SAP). I also have learned more from the data base layer than I can normally get straight from the application layer. I have no desire to do anything other than read only.
George KerestesAuthor Commented:
I received an email saying it was still open. I also wanted to meake sure I acknowledge both experts  for their helpful responses.
Everything is fine thanx. And feel free to ask away in this or new threads.
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