The SAP HANA & Cloud Platform Symbiosis
Some things are just meant to be together and when they get united, the result is more than just the sum of its parts. The SAP HANA Cloud Platform is a perfect example for such a symbiosis: it combines the power of SAP HANA with the ease of use of a cloud platform, lowering the entry barrier to experience SAP HANA. As a whole, it acts as the catalyst to turn HANA into a mass movement by enabling developers world-wide to instantly create cloud applications that leverage in-memory technology.
I assume most of you are already familiar with SAP HANA and hence today’s blog post will focus on the cloud platform and the possibilities it brings to table. In a nutshell, the SAP HANA Cloud Platform is a Platform as a Service offering (PaaS) that provides both a development and runtime environment for cloud applications. While there are no limitations in regards to the type of applications that can be developed using the platform, we identified three main scenarios:
- Extending existing SAP solutions running in the cloud with custom extensions also running in the cloud (e.g. SuccessFactors)
- Extending existing SAP solutions running in your data center with custom extensions running in the cloud (e.g. SAP Business Suite)
- Building new custom solutions running in the cloud
Whether you are a startup intending to build a new cloud solution leveraging SAP HANA, a partner wanting to develop an extension scenario or a customer in need for a custom solution that integrates with existing SAP applications, SAP HANA Cloud Platform is the recommended platform to achieve these goals. Let’s have a closer look at the architecture of the platform and its capabilities:
SAP HANA DBServices
Starting bottom up, the foundation of the SAP HANA Cloud Platform is SAP HANA, which we all know is more than just an in-memory database, but a full-fledged application platform in its own right. Besides the possibility to persist data in both row and column stores, SAP HANA also provides numerous libraries to query or manipulate data such as predictive analysis, fuzzy search and text mining, geospatial and graph functionality and so on.
Many of these capabilities have been accessible through the SAP HANA Cloud Platform for a while now. Yet, we are far from being done! Last week, we released support for SAP HANA native applications (XS) as a BETA feature, which means that developers can now build XS applications directly on the platform and without any additional costs!
SAP HANA AppServices
On top of these DBServices the platform provides additional capabilities (AppServices) referred to as Enablement Services and Application Services respectively.
To facilitate the rapid development of cloud applications the platform provides a vast set of enablement services for the most common pattern in software engineering such as persistence, connectivity, identity and document management and so forth. Addressing the needs it requires to develop first-class business applications these application management services are complemented by profiling and monitoring tools, logging capabilities and remote debugging of cloud applications.
Beyond the technical services, the platform also addresses the business needs related to cloud applications. Via the SAP Store (SAP HANA Marketplace) solution providers can market and sell their applications. Customers can easily discover interesting solutions and buy/subscribe (to) them. It is planned to roll-out additional services such as metering and billing soon to further streamline these processes.
All of the services mentioned above are provided out-of-the box with the core platform. In addition, SAP also offers a set of higher-level services called application services, which provide specialized capabilities as needed for specific scenarios such as:
- (Mobile) SAP Mobile Platform Enterprise Edition cloud version
- (Portal) SAP HANA Cloud Portal
- (Analytics) SAP Lumira Cloud
- (Connectivity) Gateway as a Service (GWaaS)
- (Integration) SAP HANA Cloud Integration
Developing enterprise applications with a consumer-grade user experience is far from being trivial and given the competitive level of today’s economy developers are being faced with ambitious goals and hard timelines. In order to be successful they require a platform that effectively supports them in getting the job done and one that allows them to concentrate on business logic instead of lower-level technical complexity. Instead of having to learn a new framework or programming model, they want to re-use their existing know-how.
This was the guiding principle for the SAP HANA Cloud Platform resulting in the decision to use Eclipse as our primary development environment. So, whether you want to develop native SAP HANA applications based on XS or use Java (or any other JVM-based programming language), our development tools seamlessly integrate with Eclipse. For a Java developer, all interfaces to our application enablement services are based on the respective standards resulting in instant productivity.
Given the detailed online documentation and samples it’s easy to get started as demonstrated by last year’s DemoJam runner-up SAPDroids, a group of middle-school boys ranging from 11 – 13 years of age. During a follow-up interview with JD-OD one of them (Nikola Bura) stated that “he was able to teach himself how to program on that platform largely based on the documentation SAP provided.” [Reference]
If you are interested to hear a real-world enterprise testimonial please watch the video of Ralf Steinbach, Director Global Software Architecture of Danone Group below:
The SAP HANA Cloud Platform is not just another PaaS solution, but has been designed and developed from scratch with enterprise readiness in mind. As such, it provides built-in application lifecycle management that allows solution providers to update their applications without downtime. To accommodate to the service levels and support requirements of our customers SAP provides global 24×7 support and 99.9% availability. The platform is operated in certified data centers in Europe and North America (with more to come!)
If this post piqued your interest you may want to consider enrolling for our upcoming openSAP course called Introduction to SAP HANA Cloud Platform starting on the 28th of October. This is the easiest way to get hands-on experience and my colleagues have gone the extra-mile to provide a comprehensive and complete online training that teaches you all you need to learn to develop great enterprise cloud applications.
For those of you coming to SAP TechEd can choose from a variety of lectures and hands-on sessions ranging from basic to advanced skills. Please note that prior to SAP TechEd in Vegas there’s also the opportunity to participate in a full-day pre-conference session we are hosting in cooperation with ASUG: SAP HANA Cloud Platform – A guided tour.
Last, but not least… the ultimate resource for developers interested to get started with the SAP HANA Cloud Platform is the corresponding Developer Center on SCN: http://scn.sap.com/community/developer-center/cloud-platform. Those interested to give it a try may want to sign-up for a free developer account – it takes no more than 5 minutes to do so, so what are you waiting for!