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Author's profile photo Jamie Cawley

What is Kyma?

As you start to learn more about the SAP Cloud Platform Kyma runtime you will start to hear about Kyma being described as a Kubernetes runtime.  We’re frequently asked why would I use Kyma and not just use the standard Kubernetes cluster? In this blog I’ll answer this question by explaining what exactly Kyma is.

Before I can explain Kyma, I need to explain Kubernetes since Kyma runs on top of it. Kubernetes provides a framework, to run distributed systems based on containers.  You can think of a container as a very lightweight virtual machine containing a small piece of software, which serves some larger application, aka a micro-service.  With this, Kubernetes provides a number of components that are used to manage the lifecycle of the containers, however it leaves the choice of application dependencies such as messaging buses, monitoring, logging, etc. up to you.

To address these needs numerous projects have been developed by the open source community. With this flexibility comes a lot of choices to be made to determine what project should be used for each purpose.  These choices also involve a lot of time in determining what best fits the need, how do I install the project, how do I integrate it with other projects I have chosen, which translates into a lot of investigations, learnings and frustrations. This of course intrigues some people to put this effort in to learn all of this and figure out how to integrate all of the pieces together and more importantly how to keep it running smoothly.  Additionally, the operational aspects are quite large and involve challenges to address how each project can be tweaked to run efficiently and dealing with issues that each project can potentially bring to the table.  This becomes an ongoing effort as the projects and Kubernetes get updated with new features, fixes, etc.

Getting back to the original question on what Kyma is.  Kyma is an open source project built on top of Kubernetes which is comprised of a collection of projects united together to simplify the extension, and integration of monolithic software.  All of the investigations, learnings and frustrations of what projects to use and how to integrate them together have been performed as well as ongoing maintenance and improvements, providing you the opportunity to quickly connect and extend applications. The project itself was originally started by SAP, but has been donated to the open source community, allowing more contributions ultimately benefiting us all.

The chosen projects of Kyma address the needs related to a micro-service architecture, event consumption, authentication, logging, tracing, monitoring and alerting.  Additionally, the service catalog allows for easy consumption of cloud services available by the hyperscalers using open service brokers as well as the services you have connected to Kyma using the application connector.  The application connector allows you to easily connect any application and expose its APIs and Events in a secure manner.

Not having the worry about any of the application dependencies, a developer can utilize the Events of a connected application to trigger serverless functions or microservices to extend a business function.  The APIs of the connected system can be used to provide integration between different systems or additional information related to an Event flow.  Both the serverless functions and the microservices can also be easily exposed to other applications.

In short, the mission of Kyma is to provide all of the necessary components needed to easily connect and extend monolithic applications.

To learn more about Kyma and it’s related components please visit this blog and visit the Kyma site.

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      Author's profile photo Nitesh Agrawal
      Nitesh Agrawal

      Hi Jamie,

      Thanks for the post.

      I have this basic question regarding Kyma. You have mentioned: The application connector allows you to easily connect any application and expose its APIs and Events in a secure manner.

      I have gone through the Open SAP course for Kyma. There a WordPress plugin was added at the WordPress site and application connector was configured at Kyma end.

      My question is: do we need to create a plugin (some code component) for every external application that we want to extend with Kyma? What about SAP on-premise solutions? how can Application Connector discover their APIs and Events?

      Answers will help my understanding of Kyma.

      Regards,

      Nitesh

       

      Author's profile photo Jamie Cawley
      Jamie Cawley
      Blog Post Author

      For full use of Kyma yes, but it is still possible to call external apis within Kyma without having an application connector implementation in place.

      Regards,

      Jamie

      Author's profile photo Marco Dorn
      Marco Dorn

      Hey Nitesh,

      In addition, have a look at this blog post: https://blogs.sap.com/2019/10/25/integrating-applications-with-kyma-using-add-ons/

      It describes different ways of integrating to Kyma.

      Best regards,
      Marco.

      Author's profile photo Praveen Thimma Reddy
      Praveen Thimma Reddy

      Hello Marco,

       

      I have one question.

       

      Can kyma be used as extension for the SAP Hana database?

       

      Best Regards,

      Praveen

      Author's profile photo Marco Dorn
      Marco Dorn

      Hello Praveen,

      There is no out of the box connector for SAP HANA to open source Kyma. But this doesn't mean that it's not possible. Kyma can be connected to very different solutions with a little bit of effort.

      Best regards,

      Marco.

      Author's profile photo cesar rodriguez
      cesar rodriguez

      Hi Jamie, in which case we should decide to go for Kyma instead of cloud foundry ?

      Author's profile photo Jamie Cawley
      Jamie Cawley
      Blog Post Author

      https://answers.sap.com/questions/13209616/kyma-or-cf.html?childToView=13209635&answerPublished=true#answer-13209635

      Author's profile photo Michael Cocquerel
      Michael Cocquerel

      Sorry, I'm a bit lost. In BTP, there is Cloud Foundry that is, from my understanding the same as what Kyma is doing. I'm right? if yes, what is the added value of Kyma versus Cloud Foundry ?

      Author's profile photo Jamie Cawley
      Jamie Cawley
      Blog Post Author

      Kyma is positioned towards the Cloud-native developer with skills in various cloud technologies. Providing a high level of flexibility with a focus on micro-services and distributed systems with the aim of high scalability and ops automation. CF is positioned towards the business app developer with CAP/CF skills providing a higher level of abstraction of the underlying details. In regards to extending S/4, the same extension framework is available in both so either could be used so the answer is dependent on you/your company’s overall desires and skill levels.

      You can find a runtime comparison at

      https://help.sap.com/viewer/65de2977205c403bbc107264b8eccf4b/Cloud/en-US/c2fec62b49fa43b8bd945c85ecc2e5bd.html

      You can also find a number of Kubernetes/Cloud Foundry comparative articles online.

      Regards,

      Jamie

      Author's profile photo Michael Cocquerel
      Michael Cocquerel

      Thanks Jamie, it is a bit clearer. What I like with CF is that I can have a CAP application running on-premise on HANA XSA and decide to move it to the Cloud on CF without having to change any coding. Is it the same with Kyma ?
      Regards,

      Michael

      Author's profile photo Thomas Hertz
      Thomas Hertz

      well.. XSA on Premise is not the same as CF in the cloud and it will diverge more in the future. so yes, XSA is there but it is no longer a strategic platform for application developement and the initial goal of having a 100% compatible version onpremise to the cloud was not reached due to various reasons.   we are continuing to support XSA on premise but in parallel are thinking of how to get a supported container based runtime to clients on premise helping them moving to the cloud.

      hope that helps,

      thomas

       

      Author's profile photo Michael Cocquerel
      Michael Cocquerel

      good to know that XSA is no longer a strategic platform

      Author's profile photo Thomas Hertz
      Thomas Hertz

      yes, to add we fully support it for all customers and also there is no end-of-life whatsoever, but we do see that the onpremise-to-cloud migration from XSA is, depending on which XSA services you use, a significant effort and our cloud platform is evolving faster. we also do see that certain programming paradigms are different onpremise and in the cloud. This is the reason we are evaluating currently how to help customers with an 'edge' runtime that can keep up with the promise of moving workload seamless into the cloud.  feel free to get in touch. curious about your usage pattern. i assume you also use HANA onpremise?

      Author's profile photo Michael Cocquerel
      Michael Cocquerel

      Yes, we are mainly using XSA for HANA database modules but we have also some few Node.js/CAP modules.