When you start planning development on SAP Cloud Platform, you face the general question about what kind of application your company is going to build:
Figure 1: Types of SAP Cloud Platform applications
Is it a native SAP Cloud Platform app that is intended to run standalone without any dependencies? Or the extension of an SAP Cloud solution (such as of SAP SuccessFactors) or of an on-premise application? The type of application you want to build leads to different requirements and tool offerings you have to consider for the management of the application’s lifecycle.
In this blog post, I want to outline the lifecycle of SAP Cloud Platform applications – what phases do exist, what aspects you should consider to manage it – and give a glimpse at how SAP is supporting you in accomplishing the relevant phases for a smooth and reliable operation of your cloud and hybrid applications.
Lifecycle of SAP Cloud Platform Apps
When we now look at the lifecycle of applications built on SAP Cloud Platform, we see the following typical phases:
Figure 2: Lifecycle of SAP Cloud Platform apps
In the center of this app lifecycle, there is the innovation cycle of the platform itself. SAP is operating, updating and enriching the platform on an ongoing basis (currently with a bi-weekly release cycle). For latest improvements, see the What’s New page of SAP Cloud Platform that is providing a searchable/filterable overview of new and changed features.
But now let’s go through the different phases of the lifecycle, so that you get a feeling about what they comprise and how the platform supports you in the corresponding tasks and activities.
Setup + Plan
Here, you plan your environment (in alignment with your existing landscapes) and set it up accordingly.
For the actual setup, you would for example have to structure your subaccounts and create them, perform an initial technical configuration (such as of resources and quotas), configure connectivity, and manage services inside SAP Cloud Platform. This is described in the SAP Cloud Platform Planning and Lifecycle-Management guide and the Get Started guide in SAP Help Portal.
Figure 3: SAP Cloud Platform account structure
Develop + Build
Now, you would use the created environment and start to develop own applications or extend existing ones.
After you have set up your application development environment (for example, using SAP Web IDE or Eclipse), you should consider adapting the concept of Multitarget Applications (description for Neo environment resp. Cloud Foundry environment) to enable a unified lifecycle of all development artifacts and interdependencies of your SAP Cloud Platform application, as described in this blog post from my colleague Lilyana Rangelova.
Figure 4: Multitarget Applications
If you want to run in DevOps mode, consider Continuous Integration Best Practices with SAP to enable the implementation of a highly automated agile development process in your SAP environment.
Deploy + Change
After you have developed and built your application, you would now deploy it to your relevant accounts and propagate it through your landscapes (such as from development via test to production).
On the basis of the Multitarget Application concept outlined above, you can deploy your application either manually (via SAP Cloud Platform cockpit or console client) or integrated into a central transport management process, which might already be in place for your on-premise applications.
Again, due to the contained description of the interdependencies, the actual deployment of all contained artifacts can be handled automated and therefore transparently on involved runtimes inside the SAP Cloud Platform.
Figure 5: Integration of SAP Cloud Platform accounts into change management
In terms of change management, besides transporting Multitarget Applications via enhanced Change and Transport System (CTS+) as described in the blog post of my colleague Harald Stevens or using the SAP Cloud Platform Transport Management service for handling the propagation of MTA files more and more cloud artefacts, you would also have the option to integrate SAP Cloud Platform applications into higher level offerings, such as Quality Gate Management und Change Request Management of SAP Solution Manager. This integration into change management is available for both CTS+ and SAP Cloud Platform Transport Management. With all this, you get the option to plug in SAP Cloud Platform into existing change management processes, potentially spanning on-premise and cloud applications.
Integrate + Test
In this phase, you enable back-end connectivity for your application in the relevant environments and perform testing your application.
For the integration of back-end systems and other solutions, you can rely on SAP Cloud Platform Cloud Connector for point-to-point integration and SAP Cloud Platform Integration for sophisticated business process integration, such as for the integration of SAP Cloud apps, on-premise SAP solutions, and third-party solutions, where you might have to use business logic to perform data conversions/mappings as part of the integration.
For testing, you could check out different test tools integrated into SAP Web IDE and consider the usage of the Feature Flag service for the Cloud Foundry environment of SAP Cloud Platform.
Onboard Users + Use
Here, you would make sure that the right users will be in place with the right authorizations (such as for used SAP Cloud Platform and back-end services) to actually use the business scenario your application does offer.
That is, you first make sure that the right users are in place in each environment, such as via an SAP-provided identity provider service or by using an own identity provider also for your SAP Cloud Platform accounts.
To grant the right authorizations, you make sure suitable roles are in place and are correctly assigned to the corresponding users. For platform roles, SAP Cloud Platform brings predefined ones (such as for administrators and developers) and allows to define own. In addition, you would come up with application roles.
For more information, see the section SAP Cloud Platform Security in SAP Help Portal.
Operate + Monitor
Finally, you want to make sure your application is provided with the right availability and performance. In case of issues, you want to handle those efficiently and reliably.
In terms of monitoring, there are several options in place, such as application monitoring and performance statistics, usage of monitoring APIs, log viewers, and health statistics for SAP HANA instances + availability checks for your applications. Those are complemented by specific monitoring information provided for certain services, such as for SAP Cloud Platform Cloud Connector. In addition, you have the option to use third-party tools and infrastructure, such as for application performance monitoring of your applications running on SAP Cloud Platform.
Instead of manually tracking the monitoring information for your application on an ongoing basis, we recommend that you set up SAP Cloud Platform Alert Notification service that allows to subscribe to events coming from SAP Cloud Platform (Neo and Cloud Foundry environments) and send them via a channel of choice – with an out-of-the-box option to integrate those notifications into SAP Solution Manager.
If you have an operations infrastructure using SAP Solution Manager in place, there are several options for the supportability of hybrid landscapes, spanning SAP Cloud Platform with further environments.
Figure 6: Overview of hybrid supportability offerings from SAP Solution Manager
For example, you can:
- Ensure a reliable hybrid data exchange with Integration Monitoring,
- Handle business-critical exceptions of hybrid applications in a central exception store with Exception Management (where SAP Cloud Platform Alert Notification could contribute exceptions from SAP Cloud Platform, as outlined above),
- Ensure the availability and performance of cloud scenarios from several locations with User Monitoring, and
- Trace the performance and the transverse path of SAP Cloud Platform apps with Trace Analysis.
For more information, see this overview blog post about hybrid supportability.
This concludes the lifecycle of SAP Cloud Platform applications – thanks for your interest in this topic! I hope you have gained an overview about the comprised phases, what aspects you should consider and how SAP is enabling you to manage the lifecycle to operate your cloud and hybrid applications smoothly and reliably.
Looking forward to any comments or questions you might have!