Explaining SAP Architecture in Detail: A Comprehensive Guide by IQCode

SAP Architecture: Understanding the Layers and Components

SAP architecture encompasses the principles, patterns, and best practices that govern an organization’s SAP environment. It comprises three layers: Presentation, Application, and Database.

The Presentation layer is where users interact with SAP through a web browser. The Application layer processes business logic and communicates with the Database layer, which stores and retrieves data.

In addition to these layers, SAP architecture includes various components like servers and databases. Understanding how these components work together is essential to the effective functioning of SAP.

As a cloud-based software-as-a-service solution, SAP requires a different approach to architecture compared to traditional desktop applications. Organizations must structure their systems to ensure easy management, support, and updates over time while maintaining security and reliability.

In conclusion, a robust SAP architecture is vital for organizations looking to streamline business processes and improve efficiency. The resources provided can further enhance your understanding of SAP architecture.

What is SAP?

SAP is a leading global software solutions provider that helps organizations efficiently process data and communicate information. Founded in 1972, it has grown from a small firm with five employees to a multinational corporation with over 105,000 employees worldwide. SAP’s headquarters is in Walldorf, Germany.

SAP stands for Systems Application Program and refers to a range of applications that include accounting, inventory management, database management and web applications. SAP is a B2B platform that enables organizations to optimize their business processes, manage operations, and increase productivity and profitability. By providing access to real-time critical information such as financial data, customer profiles, and inventory records from multiple sources, organizations can streamline their processes and reduce operational costs, thus achieving greater growth and profitability.

SAP Architecture: Overview of SAP Layers

The SAP architecture comprises of three layers namely Presentation, Application, and Database layer. Unlike MiniSAP, all the three layers operate independently on separate machines or the same machine. If we desire to comprehend SAP architectural depth, we can deploy the database and application server on the same machine. Supplementary applications are run on different servers. Let’s have a closer look at each layer to better understand the SAP architecture.

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The Presentation Layer

The presentation layer is responsible for providing a good user experience in the SAP system. It ensures responsiveness and easy interaction with the system. Unlike the data layer, it has no knowledge of the underlying stored data. The data layer is where all the business rules and processes occur and is situated between the presentation layer and the application server. When you connect to the application server to begin work, the application server handles the logic but is unaware of the data layer.

Application Layer

The application layer receives and parses data, ensuring it’s in the correct format for each application, and secures it before passing it to the next layer. A registered user creates a work process in the database, which is used to create new records in the system. The SAP system allows the system administrator to set the user’s role, which creates a new user in the database that can create the work process and create new records when needed.


The SAP system architecture is determined by the type of business you want to start. For instance, a manufacturing company would benefit from a system architecture that focuses on production and inventory, while a hotel would perform better with a system architecture that concentrates on customer relations. The application and database layers receive information about actions performed by the presentation layer and then process the results. Thus, you can see the processing outcomes on the presentation layer.

SAP Architecture Components

The SAP R/3 3-tier Architecture is a widely used application server topology for developing large-scale enterprise applications. Although web-based applications are becoming more common, there are situations where using application servers is still necessary due to system size, compliance, or business reasons. The most common application server topology is the SAP R/3 3-tier Architecture.

Message Server: Handles communication between ABAP Dispatchers in the system.

Dispatcher Queue: Stores different types of process work.

Work Processes: Allocated by the Dispatcher.

Gateway: Provides access between SAP and external systems.

Icm Work Process: Communicates with an ABAP Work Process via memory-pipe.

Java Dispatcher and Server Processes: Managed by the Message Server for communication in the Java runtime environment.

Server Process: Configured by a Java application program to handle logical locks. Handled by the queue server.

Central Services: Used to manage locks and data transmission in Java clusters, which are cooperating processes that create a dependable system.

Dispatcher: Handles incoming client requests and dispatches them to the correct server process.

J2EE Components: Installed using SDM.

Java Server Process: Handles a high quantity of requests.

Threading: Processing multiple items at once in the background.

ICM: Used for communication to access SAP from a browser.

When using ABAP and Java systems, a JCO component is necessary to handle communication with abap dispatchers, while ABAP+Java uses Java dispatchers for communication.SAP Login process and SAP Process

SAP Login Process

The first step in the SAP authorization process is the SAP Logon process. To log in, enter the identification number assigned when you created your SAP account and your SAP password. After successful login, you will be sent a confirmation message and gain access to the main menu of SAP. It is recommended to practice logging in before conducting business-critical activities.


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SAP Process

The SAP process comprises several components, including the Dispatcher, Work Process, and shared memory. The Dispatcher receives requests and sends them to the server, while the Work process is responsible for putting work into the system and delegating it to other processes. It is essential to monitor shared memory to avoid stagnation. Proper consideration must be given to these factors while designing applications for SAP.

SAP Architecture: A Guide to Designing a Cohesive IT System

SAP architecture refers to an organization’s IT system structure, which includes the roles of each component and their relationship with one another. The goal is to create a stable foundation that supports future growth by implementing proper design patterns. Componentization is vital in creating replaceable and upgradeable components that work seamlessly together with clear interfaces. Always strive for cohesiveness that scales with business needs and delivers maximum value to customers and shareholders. Remember, SAP architecture is not only about technology but also about ensuring that all IT aspects work together in harmony.

Additional Resources

Here are some interview question resources for SAP:

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