Alloy by IBM and SAP: Best practices and tips for deployment
System Software Engineer
IBM Software Group
Principal Software Engineer
IBM Software Group
how to deploy Alloy™ by IBM® and SAP® in your organization, including hardware/software requirements, administrative tasks, and best practices and tips for planning your deployment.
3 Skill set required for deploying Alloy
4 SAP and Domino admin tasks
7 About the authors
Alloy by IBM and SAP (hereafter called “Alloy”) is a joint product from IBM and SAP that provides integration between business decision applications in the SAP Business Suite and IBM Lotus® Notes® and IBM Lotus Domino®. Alloy is designed for enterprises that have successfully deployed a SAP server environment supporting business processes and the Notes and Domino environment.
Alloy presents employees and managers with the familiar Lotus Notes UI to access their SAP business processes. On the client, Alloy capabilities are fully integrated into the Notes mail and calendar. Users can also access Alloy from a Notes sidebar panel.
Alloy users, based on SAP-assigned access, send requests and approvals to—and receive feedback from—a fully configured SAP Business Workflow system. While Alloy users typically perform their workflow tasks in Lotus Notes, their data records are managed and maintained in SAP.
Alloy currently supports the following supplied business-decision workflow applications:
· Leave Management
· Travel Management
· Reports Management
· Workflow Decision Management
Alloy 1.0 is available in the following languages:
· English (en)
· German (de)
· Japanese (ja)
· French (fr)
· Italian (it)
Here we cover the software and hardware requirements for Alloy.
Domino 8.0.2 a
SAP ERP 6.0 or higher
SAP BI 3.5 or 7
English, German, French, Japanese, Italian
Lotus Notes Client
Microsoft® Windows® XP (Professional editions) or Windows Vista (Business, Enterprise editions)
Windows 2003 Server (32 bit)
with Domino Server installed
SAP Alloy Add-On
All NetWeaver 7.0 Java™ stack platform constellations; for example:
AIX® with MaxDB or
IBM zLinux with IBM DB2® or
MS Windows X86_64 with MS SQL or
MS Windows X86_64 with MaxDB or
AIX with Oracle 9.2
The standard hardware requirements necessary for a Domino and Notes deployment would apply for Alloy 1.0 as well.
3 Skill set required for deploying Alloy
Below are the skills required for Alloy deployment.
Performs the Alloy configurations on top of the Notes client and Domino server.
SAP ERP Administrator
Performs regular administration tasks like role assignments.
SAP J2EE Administrator
The SAP Alloy Add-On requires the typical administration tasks as well as installation of the Add-On.
SAP Reporting–Customization (optional)
Alloy allows reports to be requested from Lotus Notes; therefore, some customization and administration tasks are required to expose a report as a report template to Notes business users.
SAP Workflow Customization (optional).
The generic workflow pattern of Alloy is able to handle any SAP decision workflow in Lotus Notes. To expose a workflow in Lotus Notes, a set of configuration and optional customization steps are required.
summarizes how the admin tasks are divided between the SAP and Domino Admin administrators.
4 SAP and Domino admin tasks
Below are descriptions of the SAP and Domino admin tasks.
Configure Alloy scenarios in the SAP software
This is a SAP-admin-only task. The SAP admin needs to do the necessary configurations to enable Alloy. This topic is not covered in this article. For more details, refer to http://Service.sap.com/instguides
, specifically the section SAP Business Suite Applications > Alloy > Alloy 1.0.
Install Alloy server on a different Domino server
For Enterprise deployments, customers can install Alloy on their existing Domino environment. However, it is recommended to have Alloy deployed on a Domino server installation different from the Domino server. This separates the administration of Alloy from t he regular Mail server administration.
The server hosting Lotus Domino Alloy Add-On can be registered in the same or on a different Domino environment as the mail server, but it should be able to route/receive mail to/from the other mail servers on which Alloy users have their mail files.
Keep the Alloy Mail template different from the regular master template
Alloy 1.0 needs to merge some Alloy design elements (stored in NDERPMAIL.NTF) into the user’s master mail template (MAIL8.NTF). There can be users on the same Domino server who might not be Alloy users, so it would not be appropriate to merge the Alloy design elements into MAIL8.NTF.
The best practice is to make a copy of the master template (STDR8MAIL) and change the template name (for example, to ALLOYR8MAIL). The Alloy elements should now be merged into ALLOYR8MAIL, and this should be used to replace the design of the Alloy users.
Map a Notes user name to a SAP user ID.
Alloy by IBM and SAP requires that each user’s Notes user name in the Domino Directory be mapped to a SAP user ID name as resident in the SAP system. Alloy provides two ways to do this:
· Option 1
. Add a SAP= entry in the Username field of every user’s Person document in the Domino Directory application (Names.nsf).
· Option 2
. Configure Alloy to use the current entry in a particular field in the Person document as the SAPID.
Note that the option selected applies to all users on the Domino server. If a particular field in the Domino Person document does match the SAPID for most of the users, then Option 2 would be the best practice since that will make the Domino Admin’s job easier.
Figure 1 shows a Person document that has one SAP ID mapped. As this mapping is done in order to maintain the uniqueness, make sure that it has only one entry. Also we need to check that the same SAP ID is not used in more than one Person document, to avoid any data discrepancy.
. Domino Person doc with one SAP ID mapped
The synchronization between the SAP directory and the Domino directory can be readily performed by use of IBM Tivoli® Directory Integrator, which is included with the Domino server software.
Alloy 1.0 does not work in a Domino cluster environment
Ensure that the Domino server is a standalone server.
The Domino Admin can set the following mandatory/optional entries in the server’s Notes.ini file for better performance:
a) To force the agent manager to run at a set interval, for example, every 10 minutes, add the following statement:
NOTE: This setting specifies an interval, in minutes, for the agent manager to check for mail and to update the Application manager view in the Web services application (NDERPws.nsf). (Also, note that this setting is expected to be obsolete in later releases of Alloy.)
b) To enable the server's request handler process, add the following statement:
c) To increase the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) heap size to avoid OutOfMemory errors, add the following statement:
Note that, if your heap size is set to 256MB, increase the size by 512MB, to specify JavaMaxHeapSize=768MB.
d) Optional: To enable users to accept large report attachments, and specify how to render large report attachments, add the following statements:
NOTE: If the HTML data size is greater than the $NDERPHTMLDataToAttachmentThreshold value, the attachment is created. If it is less than the value specified, the $NDERPHTMLTableToAttachment setting is checked.
If the $NDERPHTMLTableToAttachment is 1, the no of rows in the HTML table is checked. If it exceeds 255 the data is rendered as an attachment. If the $NDERPHTMLTableToAttachment is 0, the data is rendered in the document itself.
SAML with SSL.
One of the basic capabilities of Alloy is single sign-on (SSO) between Lotus Notes and SAP software. The solution is based on an open standard called Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), which allows systems to interact and exchange credentials.
When Alloy is installed on a Domino server, SAML is active by default. When the user issues a request to SAP, the work item travels as an email signed by the user. The IBM Lotus Domino Alloy Add-On server validates the signature and requests a SAP log-on ticket on behalf of the user with a SAML request.
The SAP server receives this request and calls back to the Domino Alloy Add-On server to validate the request. On a positive response the SAP server returns a SAP log-on ticket to the Domino server, which is then used to authenticate the user who initiated the call to the SAP system. This SAP log-on ticket remains active for a specified period.
For further information, refer to the topic, "Enabling SSL and Client Certificates on the SAP J2EE Engine"
on the SAP NetWeaver 7.0 Web page and the
Alloy by IBM and SAP in Notes and Domino 8.0.2 Information Center
Single system for one user; no location switches
Alloy 1.0 does not support location switches or Multiuser Notes clients, and it’s recommended to have a Notes Client set up for a single Alloy user. Location switches during client startup does work, but we have seen issues while switching locations during the same Notes session.
Ensure Metadata is crea ted properly
Alloy Metadata is the backbone of the Alloy product. It contains all the business data that is configured for the user in the SAP backend. Ensuring that this Metadata database is created properly will help ensure a smooth user experience.
Here are some best practices to confirm the Metadata creation process is correct:
1. Verify that all the views are present in the Metadata database. Figure 2 shows all the business data views are present for that particular user.
. Business data views
2. Once the Metadata is fetched, you should be able to open all the related forms from the Notes client (see figure 3).
. Forms listed in Notes client Create menu
3. When you select the Leave Request item from the Create menu, the Leave Request form should displays as shown in figure 4.
. Leave Request form
Similarly you can confirm the other menu items as well.
You should now have a good idea of what’s involved in deploying Alloy 1.0 in your environment, including the hardware/software requirements, the skill set necessary, and the various Domino and SAP administrative tasks to perform.
·Alloy content in the Notes and Domino Information Center:
· Alloy product page:
· Basic troubleshooting guidelines for Alloy software by IBM and SAP 1.0
· IBM Support Technote, “Domino 8.0.2 and Notes 8.0.2 system requirements for Alloy v.1.0”:
· developerWorks article, “Performance report: Alloy by IBM and SAP 1.0”:
· Browse and search all Alloy Technotes:
· Alloy articles in the Notes and Domino wiki:
· Alloy content in the Notes and Domino information center:
· Alloy demo, “Optimizing decision making and improving productivity”:
7.About the authors
is a Systems Software Engineer with IBM in Pune, India, currently working on the joint Alloy by IBM and SAP project.
is a Principal Software Engineer with IBM’s India Software Labs, Pune, India, and is currently a senior developer in the Alloy Software by IBM and SAP project. Since joining IBM in Sept 1999, he has worked in various support and development projects including OS2, IBM Workplace and IBM Lotus. You can reach Girish at email@example.com.