ALE (Application Link Enabling) is a means in which to transfer data between logical systems in SAP. This tool is used across many modules for sending master data and is especially common within the Variant Configuration world for transferring model dependencies, classification, user interfaces, and more. Over the years, I’ve seen a few customers shy away from ALE - in favor of LSMW (Legacy System Migration Workbench) or manual entry - and the impact to time spent on data migration was significant.
In this multi-part series I’ll explain how to set up ALE from start to finish with a few recommendations along the way. To proceed with this setup guide, your user account will need the appropriate authorizations for transactions SU01, SALE, SM59, BD64, WE20 and WE21. The goal here is to facilitate the setup process and encourage customers to use ALE to their benefit.
Required action items for ALE configuration:
- Define user accounts for ALE (SU01) – Part 1
- Set up Logical Systems in SAP (SALE) – Part 1
- Define RFC Connections (SM59) – Part 1
- Create the Distribution Model (BD64) – Part 2
- Check Receiver Ports (WE21) – Part 2
- Create Partner Profiles (BD64/WE20) – Part 2
- Configure Inbound/Outbound Parameters (WE20) – Part 2
In this first part of the series, I’ll step through the preliminary setup tasks that allow ALE to function. Important highlights about the setup process will be marked in bold. Henceforth, I’ll indicate the SAP environments as either a sender or receiver for clarification. It is also possible to have one system be both the sender and receiver depending on the path you’re configuring.
Step 1: Define user accounts for ALE
The transfer of IDOCs (Intermediate Documents) will be done via RFC (Remote Function Call) and this user will be tied to that communication process.
a.) In the receiver client(s), create a user account in SU01 (e.g. “ALEUSER”).
b.) This user should be assigned the User Type “C Communication Data”.
c.) I won’t go into detail about authorizations and roles, but the ALE user account should have access to the VC transactions a modeler would have for each object type you intend to transfer. If you discover a few are missing, you can always go back and add more authorizations later.
Step 2: Define Logical Systems in your SAP Environment
Logical Systems represent the various client/system combinations within your SAP environment.
a.) Login to the sender SAP system under your username and go to transaction SALE.
b.) Under Basic Settings -> Logical Systems, select Define Logical System.
c.) If they don’t already exist, create a separate New Entry for the sender and receiver logical systems and give them a name. (Even if this system only intends to send IDOCS, you’ll still need both logical systems to define the distribution models later.)
In this example, the sender System ID is SOL and the client is 800, so I’ve named it “SOLCLNT800”. The same naming convention applies to the receiver: “SOLCLNT810”.
d.) If this system will contain a receiver client (such as a bi-directional ALE setup or between clients within the same SAP system), select Assign Logical System to Client and double click the receiver client. Assign the logical system in the appropriate field and save.
e.) Login to the receiver SAP system (if it’s a different system) and go to transaction SALE.
f.) Repeat items b through d above.
Step 3: Create RFC Connections
This step allows us to establish an RFC connection between two clients on the same or different server.
a.) Login to the sender system, go to transaction SM59.
b.) In ABAP Connections, create a new RFC entry and name it the same as your receiver logical system (e.g. TSTCLNT100).
c.) Set Connection Type to 3 and Language to EN.
d.) Specify target Host, System Number, and IP Address / Hostname under Technical Settings.
e.) Provide logon credentials for ALEUSER for connection to the receiver system in the Logon & Security tab.
f.) Enable Unicode settings for multi-language support. This is very important for localization if you use Japanese or Chinese characters in any descriptions of VC objects. Any conversion errors will be displayed as # symbols in the target system.
g.) Test the RFC with the Remote Logon Button.
It should display results similar to what you see here:
h.) Repeat steps above for each sender environment in your ALE landscape.
That concludes part 1 of ALE Configuration. We’ve set up an ALE User account, defined the Client/System combinations (logical systems) and established a working RFC connection with the target system. With luck, some of the steps above may already have been completed in your SAP environment by your Basis team for transferring other objects or RFC processes. We now have the necessary building blocks to tie everything together in part 2!