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Application Lifecycle Management in the Cloud and On-premise

Application Lifecycle Management in the Cloud and On-premise

 

This blog is all about on Application Lifecycle Management options for Cloud and On-premise.I would like to give you an overview on the two different ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) products SAP is offering at the moment – SAP Solution Manager and SAP Cloud ALM.

Application Lifecycle Management

SAP delivers scalable, high quality business applications to meet the complex business requirements of our customers. It is important for us to enable our customers to use these applications efficiently to increase business value. Customers are also looking for ways to reduce IT operations cost and adopt innovations without causing disruption to current business processes. Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) portfolio by SAP aims to address these needs.

The ALM portfolio offers tools, methodologies, processes and services throughout the complete lifecycle of applications. Best practices are offered for all phases including demand, design, development & testing, deployment, operation, optimization and support. These best practices intend to help you achieve shorter time to market, increase business continuity, improve efficiency and ensure compliance in addition to creating transparency of the entire IT landscape.

Why do you still need ALM in the cloud?

Is it still required to have an ALM tool in the cloud? Isn’t it the service providers responsibility to run the SaaS(Software as a service) end-to-end? While there is certainly more responsibility on the vendor of SaaS software compared to an on-premise deployment, there are still plenty of reasons and scenarios why customers require an ALM tool for their public cloud software. No matter if you are in the project/build or run phase, ALM tools can still be valuable assets for smooth operation.

For example during a project, you would still need to configure certain parts of your solution. An ALM tool can help you in managing this across your landscape. Transports between tenants/instances might still require help from your service provider, but it could all be managed via one central tool. In similar fashion, even for SaaS products, you will still need to run integration and user acceptance testing which again can be supported by an ALM tool.

Once you are live with your new software, you then of course want to monitor that everything is running smoothly. Of course most parts of the technical monitoring (e.g. memory consumption, hard disk space, operating system & database) are the responsibility of the service provider. But you as a customer would still want to monitor your system usage (e.g. how many users are logging on) or the health of your business processes. You would want to be notified in case one of your business processes is not running anymore or there are exceptions. You would then also need to investigate the reason for the errors and how to remediate. Again, all aspects that could be covered by an ALM product.

As you can see there are plenty of reasons why an ALM tool is still relevant, even in a pure SaaS scenario. Now let’s look at the different SAP ALM tools available.

SAP Solution Manager

SAP Solution Manager is a well-established ALM platform of SAP. It follows the standardized ITIL methodology and acts as the centerpiece of the SAP application lifecycle management approach for both SAP and non-SAP applications. The latest version of Solution Manager, 7.2 is an integrated platform to align business and IT on one business process landscape and drive the “business of IT” driving a common understanding of business value, business models, operating models and solutions powered by IT. To manage this, SAP Solution Manager 7.2 offers four key value scenarios.

  • Portfolio to Project (P2P) to drive the portfolio of projects and balance business initiatives and business value against IT capacity, skills and timelines
  • Requirement to Deploy (R2D) to build what the business needs, when it needs it with measured business outcome
  • Request to Fulfil (R2F) to catalogue, request and fulfil services
  • Detect to Correct (D2C) to anticipate and resolve production problems

                   Figure depicting different functionalities of Solution Manager 7.2 across the four key value scenarios

 

SAP Solution Manager 7.2 was explicitly designed to best support SAP S/4HANA through tools, best practice content and methodologies irrespective of the transition scenario – new implementation, system conversion or landscape transformation.

Even though Solution Manager is an on-premise application by itself, it supports not only on-premise applications, but also cloud and hybrid landscapes through the 4 key value scenarios. While it is an integrated platform, it is also open to integrate into 3rd party tools complementing SAP Solution Manager.

While SAP Solution Manager was perfect for customers who had a large on-premise environment, cloud centric customers looking for standardized ALM functionality need a different approach. To satisfy the different customer expectations, SAP announced SAP Cloud ALM.

SAP Cloud ALM

SAP Cloud ALM is a brand-new product from SAP (announced in September 2018). Over the next three years, it will be developed into the ALM tool for cloud centric and hybrid scenarios. It is running on the SAP Cloud Platform (but is a standalone application, not part of the SAP Cloud Platform), so it could be deployed on top of SAP Cloud Platform in SAP’s own data centers as well as AWS, Azure or Google Cloud Platform.

As a true SaaS offering, SAP Cloud ALM will be receiving regular updates and enhanced functionality over the next years. The first released component of SAP Cloud ALM is the implementation portal for SAP S/4 HANA Cloud, the plan is to then add integration testing as well as test and deploy functionality in 2019. In 2020, most SAP products are planned to be supported and full functionality to be achieved by 2021. That is the currently planned road map but of course there is the possibility that those plans will be adjusted over that time frame.

Like SAP Solution Manager, customers will not need to buy SAP Cloud ALM or be forced to use it. It will come included with your subscription to an SAP Cloud offering or can be received by signing an amendment to your existing SAP Enterprise Support contract.

Relationship between SAP Solution Manager and SAP Cloud ALM

The reason for offering a second ALM tool was to offer the best possible solution for cloud focused scenarios. Solution Manager does work with cloud software as well, but it was decided that a standalone tool would serve a better purpose than simply offering Solution Manager in the cloud. SAP Solution Manager and SAP Cloud ALM are two different products. Therefore, it will not be possible to upgrade from Solution Manager to Cloud ALM or vice versa.

At this stage it is not possible to migrate data, users, roles etc. from one system to the other, but depending on use cases and customer demand, this might be considered in the future. For now, they are really two independent tools, existing in parallel without federation between the two.

SAP Solution Manager SAP Cloud ALM
Suitable for customers that have a larger on-premise landscape Suitable for cloud-only, cloud-first, and cloud centric customers
Installed on premise Deployed on top of SAP Cloud Platform in SAP’s own data centers as well as AWS, Azure or Google Cloud Platform
Can manage cloud as well as on-premise applications throughout the application lifecycle Expected to be available in 2019 with an initial scope of being an implementation portal for SAP S/4 HANA Cloud, later expanded for other products.
Ability to customize the ALM processes according to customer’s needs Standardized public cloud offering
                                            Table depicting the differences between the two ALM products

So which product is the most suitable depends on your specific situation? We will investigate the different scenarios and which tool is most suitable in those situations.I have explained it in the next blog , please find the link as below.

https://blogs.sap.com/2019/07/14/sap-cloud-alm-and-solution-manager-when-to-use-which-alm-products/

 

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