Are there any alternatives for OData in IFS Cloud?
The OData programming model enables extensive product integration and improved data exchange performance. When building OData in an IFS Cloud environment, users can accelerate the entire innovative approach to optimize performance. But OData might be not the only alternative for IFS Cloud.
In our previous article, we discussed several cases of how to replicate database transactions in OData. Now we will focus on finding an alternative to OData in IFS Cloud.
Novacura has been exploring the topic of OData for years and, as an experienced partner of IFS, has gained practical knowledge on how to create specific solutions for IFS Cloud. With the deep understanding of our experts, we are sharing our knowledge to increase awareness and confidence among our customers.
Novacura had the opportunity to speak with our expert Albin Lundberg, Novacura Manager Flow Solution and IFS Certified Practitioner – Supply Chain Consultant (IFS Cloud) – 2022. In this article we will generally present some cases that can be seen as an alternative to OData in IFS Cloud.
IFS Cloud and its functional resources
Is IFS Cloud is still based on its previous functional resources?
In a sense, yes. The Oracle database is still there underneath the FndODataProvider. So, the logical units, views and packages are still there, but in IFS Cloud, the business logic is instead accessed via the OData API.
IFS Aurena Architecture – The most important key components.
The PL/SQL API in IFS Cloud
Does the PL/SQL API that refers to the .NET access Provider still exist in IFS Cloud?
Novacura resources: OData API completely replaced PL/SQL API.
Third-party systems and access the IFS Cloud
Referring to the data shared on the official IFS Community forum, it is possible to write new reporting plug-ins to meet the needs of third-party system providers, and IFS also provides some standard options for customers. How can third-party systems continue to access the IFS Cloud and avoid the problems that can arise from the lack of functionality of the OData APIs?
The .NET Access Provider connectors won't work in the IFS cloud; they are deprecated. There are still options to use IFS connect, External File Interface, and Data Migration. The legacy integration options are most commonly used for "system of records" related data such as invoices, payment files, etc. Other than that, external BI tools, that have complex queries and handles large datasets, can fetch data directly from the database or via Information Sources in IFS. But that topic needs its own blog post
The Novacura and IFS customizations
Can official IFS Partners, such as Novacura, access APIs by implementing IFS customizations?
Yes, it is possible to expose any package or view via customization and custom OData protections. In custom utility packages, you can write your own PL/SQL packages and expose them via OData. However, you need to have the proper skills and certifications to develop and deploy customizations.
The IFS Cloud installed on-premises
When IFS Cloud is installed on-premises in the customer’s data center, the company can access all the objects also available as PL/SQL API. Is there any risk in using them?
In IFS cloud the end users doesn’t have Oracle accounts, they are maintained in the IFS IAM (Identity and Access Manager). It’s possible to configure a direct database connection (ODBC) for fetching data but that comes with security and permission challenges.
The company can’t use them because of licensing or can’t use them because it’s too risky?
I don’t have an answer on the licensing. As mentioned above; accessing the database directly comes with a higher risk, definitely.
Access to API
If the customer has the full enterprise license of the Oracle database, the company can access all objects stored in Oracle from a legal perspective. Can that also be previously in use PL/SQL APIs?
From my knowledge direct database access in IFS Cloud is only allowed for data harvest with BI tools. But I’m no expert on licensing agreements so I’m not completely sure.
Novacura resources: The official IFS Community forum shared information that the full enterprise license of the Oracle database complies with The ASFU restrictions, and if users are thinking of running a completely different application that uses Oracle as a backend, then it’s not allowed. The IFS license will only cover IFS installations, and users can get into serious trouble if, for some reason, Oracle decides to do a license audit.
There are several alternative approaches to OData in IFS Cloud. In using them, each developer should consider important factors that may affect the execution of the project. Nevertheless, any use of the API should follow IFS policy.
In the next article, we will look at authentication, authorization, and initialization methods in the OData API. To learn more about IFS Cloud, OData, and Novacura services, subscribe to our blog and see related posts.