At this year’s annual congress of DSAG – the German-speaking SAP users’ group – it was easy to gain the impression that S/4 Hana has arrived, among the bulk of the SAP community, as the business-suite successor.
Yet the customer figures and installation figures issued by SAP do not wholly confirm this view. Rather, the impression gained at DSAG emerges because there is a noticeably more acute awareness of the benefit of switching-over to S/4 sooner rather than later.
Perhaps it is also because a realisation has matured, namely that digitalisation projects without new technological IT foundations are built on an unstable base. SAP application users’ awareness has also increased with regard to Hana Cloud Platform (HCP) as a PaaS (platform as a service) cloud solution, including in-memory technology.
HCP makes a platform available that enables (web) applications and solutions to be developed, produced and provided to customers simply, cost-efficiently and quickly.
In this context, it can be a case of extension solutions or additional solutions, right through to customer-specific add-ons or add-ons specific to a given business sector; it can also be a case of wholly new solutions for digitalisation/business transformation or for IoT use, including Big Data (involving Hadoop use).
Hana Cloud Platform and Integration
At the same time, HCP stands for the integration of applications and data, e.g. of cloud apps and on-premise apps. As the technological basic elements, open-source solutions or respectively open standards for SAP play a formidable role: Linux in conjunction with Hana-use generally, OpenStack in the cloud IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) environment, and Cloud Foundry in the case of PaaS or of HCP.
Hadoop is added to this when the subject is Big Data scenarios. By the way, this is also why SAP took over the company Altiscale for the cloud-based provision of Hadoop services via HCP. In particular Cloud-Foundry, as a quasi-foundation for an open-source use of PaaS, is experiencing a boost, as the Cloud Foundry Summit in Frankfurt made clear.
Now the foundation’s membership numbers have risen to 65 (alongside user groups, contributors and core committers). But that’s not all. Eminent companies such as VW, Allianz or Bosch are using Cloud Foundry for their own development or as a basis for PaaS cloud.
The OpenStack Foundation certifies the various PaaS solutions of the Cloud Foundry members. This ensures that cloud platforms based on a uniform and open standard are mutually compatible and are consistent.
Suse is actively involved in practically all well-known open-source foundations. In the context of Linux and also that of OpenStack and Cloud Foundry, Suse and SAP are closely partnered.
The focus is on use of the OpenStack Cloud Provider Interface – BOSH OpenStack CPI. This secures the communication between Cloud Foundry and the open-stack infrastructure beneath it. This is done simply and in an automated way.
Cloud Foundry Dojo
In the new SAP training centre ‘Cloud Foundry Dojo’ in Walldorf, opened in September, Suse and SAP are collaborating. Dojo serves as a competence centre for the exchange of knowledge among developers and is also a program for developers.
For example, the program also includes instructions for changed ways of working, in the case of developers, in order to gain fast access to open-source projects. At the same time, it provides active support to developers, in order either to have a shared involvement in Cloud Foundry projects, as a so-called ‘committer’, or to be able to implement such projects.
This also specifically includes projects that were produced with the Hana Cloud Platform Starter Edition for Cloud Foundry Services, for example. Dojo has been available since the ‘Sapphire Now’ customer event in May.
The guiding principle for HCP and Cloud Foundry is clear: for apps to be developed, tested, rolled out and used, according to business needs, flexibly and above all quickly, as cloud solutions or on-premise solutions – also against, or particularly against, the background of digitalisation.