Difference between ALE and EDI
ALE vs EDI:
When speaking of interfacing that are used in SAP integration, ALE and EDI are two names that one cannot avoid speaking about. Although they are two applications that are widely used on a similar platform, the differences between them ensue, thereby assigning each of them very unique role that are worthy of exploring individually. Therefore, this article seeks to provide a brief introduction regarding these two terms at the same time, emphasizing the facts that make each of them unique.
What is ALE?
Application Link Enabling or more popularly known as ALE incorporates controlled exchange of data messages which in turn ensures data consistency across loosely coupled applications. That is to say ALE is responsible for supporting the distribution of the business functions and processes across loosely coupled SAP R/3 systems. It is made up of three layers which can be listed as application Services Distribution Services Communication Services. While each application is self sufficient, this indicates a certain amount of data redundancy which requires the data to be both distributed and synchronized. ALE supports the distribution of applications between different releases of R/3 Systems and is quite capable of continuing to exchange data after a release upgrade without requiring special maintenance. ALE is also responsible for creating customer specific extensions and communication interfaces that allow connections to non-SAP systems at the same time being able to couple R/3 and R/2 Systems effectively.
What is EDI?
EDI or Electronic Data Interchange is an application which is utilized in exchanging the information between computer systems of different companies and organizations such as purchase orders, invoices, inquiries, planning, acknowledgements, pricing, order status, scheduling and etc. EDI bears the benefits of data accuracy, lowering of personnel costs and also, reducing of technical complexity related to data interchange. Data accuracy is gained through avoiding entering data from paper documents and thus avoiding errors, lowering of personal costs in avoiding the costs that need to be dispensed for orders and accounting processing and also speeding up the information exchange process. EDI is a standard means of communicating which allows better business processing, reduced inventories and better planning and as a result, a competitive advantage over all other companies as well.
What is the difference between EDI and ALE?
While EDI is used to transfer data to an external partner, ALE is considered as being able to reliably replicate data between trusting systems and to store a redundant copy of the IDoc data. This implies that while ALE is only used within an organization, EDI is quite capable of being used across many organizations. Also, ALE is used to transfer IDoc within the R/3 distributed system whereas EDI is used to transfer IDoc from R3system to non sap system which allows a larger scope of operation for EDI users.
Also, while ALE is only able to transfer data or business documents from one SAP to another SAP system, EDI is able to send data or business documents from SAP to SAP or SAP to non-SAP systems which gives EDI the advantage of being versatile enough to adapt according to the relevant system. And also, while ALE utilizes a memory to memory transfer system, EDI’s preferred form of transferring of data is from IDoc’s( Intermediate documents) to a flat file.
Also, ALE utilizes R/3 connection and uses IDoc to transfer data. And yet, EDI uses TCP/IP connections and uses EDI subsystems (middleware systems) like makator, mq-series to transfer data.
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