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Moving Away from Center – SAP’s Life on the IoT Edge over the years. 

When many people think of IoT, they think of sensors pumping information up to the cloud to be analyzed and processed.

This is often a scenario that we see with many of our customers and partners.  They have devices and they may be looking for SAP to help them out with the connectivity to the devices, or help with transporting the data up to the cloud to store and process the data. SAP has the solution to cover this off with its SAP Cloud Platform IoT service. (more information is available here).

But more and more we are seeing customers and partners that are looking to move a lot of the processing out to the sensors or out to the edge. There has been a rise in edge computing for the past few years, and even the analysts such as IDC are seeing the trend:

 

What Is Edge Computing? 

Edge computing optimizes cloud computing systems by processing data at the edge of the network to reduce the bandwidth needed between sensors and the central datacenter. This new method of computing is driving an industry change. An industry change that SAP is leading with highly innovative technology.

What has SAP been doing in this area?

SAP has had Edge-based technologies before it was even called Edge.   SAP has had products, such as:

  • SQL Anywhere . A unique low touch black box database that is perfect for handling persistence needs on the Edge.
  • Plant Connectivity. A framework, set of services and management tools, that enables the exchange of data between an SAP system and the industry-specific standard data sources of different manufacturers, such as process control systems, control devices, plant historian systems, SPC systems, TCP Sockets, and SAP Manufacturing Solutions.
  • SAP Event Stream Processor lite: Complex event processing (CEP) platform delivers real-time stream processing and analytics.

In 2016, SAP released a solution called Dynamic Edge Processing. This is a solution that included the solutions listed above but also allows for the running of certain SAP workloads out on the edge. The key for this was the RESTful APIs to enable Plant Maintenance (PM), Materials Management (MM), Inventory Management (IM) data access and business functionality at the edge.

This solution is available and is considered our on-premise edge solution.

SAP IoT Edge 2017/2018.

As technology and IoT use cases have evolved, SAP has progressed with it. In early 2017, SAP launched SAP Leonardo as its system of innovation that includes our IoT solutions under its portfolio.  This includes both the core IoT solutions as well as the Edge solutions.

There was also the integration of an acquisition that SAP had made (PlatONE) into its portfolio. The PlatONE technology delivered some great capabilities to the SAP IoT product family.   A couple that stand out in the Edge cases are the connectivity and the Edge Processing capabilities. This was the beginning of SAP Cloud Platform IoT service , which is a complete IoT device management solution available on our SAP Cloud Platform on the Cloud Foundry stack.

As part of the IoT service, there are both core and an edge capabilities.

There is also a key IoT Gateway component which can be run on the edge or in the cloud.  It is enabled through the IoT service on the SAP Cloud Platform and falls under the license for the SAP Cloud Platform IoT service for the Cloud Foundry environment. One of the largest benefits of having this administered via the SAP Cloud Platform is that new capabilities can be pushed out to the devices without having to (on premise style) install them on the devices.

There are many new and planned innovations that can also happen out on the edge as well.  Below is a high level diagram of the capabilities that can be run on the Edge.

 

As you can see, as Edge processing and technology have evolved so have SAP’s solution offerings.

For a deeper dive on SAP IoT 4.0 please see this great blog by Srivatsanv.

There is additional information on SAP Edge Services that can also be found here:

Video : explaining the IoT services running on cloud foundry

https://help.sap.com/viewer/product/SAP_CP_IOT_CF/Cloud/en-US

https://cloudplatform.sap.com/capabilities/iot/iot-service.html

Thank you for taking the time to read through this.

Tony

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