SAP Cloud Platform’s Strategy has been evolving and there have been some major changes in the last few weeks. As of last month, SAP managed backing services like PostgreSQL, MongoDB, Redis, and RabbitMQ have been retired from SAP Cloud Platform. These were some of the popular open-service based backing services which were used in SAP Cloud Platform by customers to build applications. My colleague Manjunath Baburao had earlier blogged about this announcement “Evolution of SAP Cloud Platform – Retirement of SAP ‘managed’ backing services” . As pointed out in his blog post, the reason for SAP to make this move is primarily focus on providing differentiating Business Services which can add more value to business processes within SAP solutions. Few people interpreted this as SAP not being open and forcing users to use HANA or Enterprise Messaging service. I would like to clarify that – its not mandatory to use SAP services like HANA or Enterprise Messaging service to support those missing capabilities. SAP is providing a choice and flexibility for its customers to decide whether they want to use SAP’s services on SAP Cloud Platform or use similar services from the underlying hyperscalers. Obviously, lot of factors will come into play including cost, feature set, support, SLA etc. Hence, I believe SAP Cloud Platform continues to adhere to its core principles of “Openness” and “Freedom of choice“. SAP’s partnership with the Hyperscalers is growing rapidly and it makes more sense for SAP to piggyback on the investment the hyperscalers make in those open-source backing services rather than reinventing the wheel.
In this blog, I would like to provide a walk through of a recent capability added to SAP Cloud Platform called “Resource Provider“.
Using Resource Providers to create Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) – PostgreSQL
Resource Providers allow you to connect with different Cloud Vendor accounts and consume remote services which you own. As of today, its possible to connect with AWS and the only remote service which can be consumed through this channel is AWS RDS PostgreSQL database. More Cloud Providers/remote services will be added in the future.
In order to setup a PostgreSQL in your SAP Cloud Platform account, you would need to follow the below steps.
Login to your AWS Console and create VPC/subnets within your selected region. If you don’t have AWS account, you can try it out for free.
Locate the “Resource Providers” menu within the Global Account menu of your SAP Cloud Platform account (as shown below). This is where you will be able to add and manage all the Resource Providers. Click on “New Provider”
In the “Edit Resource Provider” screen, Select the Provider as “AWS” and provide a display/technical name. In the configuration properties, you would need to provide an AWS Access Key ID and Secret Access Key. You would have obtained this when your user profile was created in AWS IAM service. Finally, provide AWS region and VPC ID which you had configured earlier.
I have a SAP Cloud Platform subaccount created in AWS for this demonstration. I will be creating a PostgreSQL within this subaccount.
Before creating a PostgreSQL instance, the appropriate entitlements must be allocated to this subaccount. Hence as an administrator, you will have complete control on how many units of a particular service needs to be allocated to each subaccount. In the “Subaccount Assignment” menu, select your subaccount and Click on “Configure Entitlements”.
Add a service plan which launches the entitlement screen. Navigate the service catalog to locate “PosatgreSQL on Amazon(AWS)”. Select from one of the available plans.
You also have an option to set the quota/number of instances permitted for this subaccount. Save your changes once you set the quota.
Navigate to the “Service Marketplace” within the subaccount and locate the service “PostgreSQL on Amazon(AWS)”. Select it to create an instance.
In the parameters section, you can provide the configurations to be used while creating a PostgreSQL instance. Notice that the Technical name of Resource Provider is being used.
Finally, provide a name to the Instance and save your changes.
This will take about 10 minutes to create the PostgreSQL instance.
Switch to the AWS Console and you will find a new RDS instance created in your account.
You can explore the configurations used at the time of creating this instance.
This shows how one can leverage the SAP AWS service broker to provision and de-provision PostgreSQL instances from within SAP Cloud Platform within few minutes.
Here is the link to the FAQ – “Backing Services Strategy for SAP Cloud Platform” where you will find lot of answers to the questions you might have. I have just highlighted two sections below as I did
With Bring-Your-Own-Account(BYOA) approach, you will need to have a separate contract/ subscription with hyperscalers and the billing for the resources consumed will need to be arranged with the hyperscaler.
SAP will not be involved in Day2 operations like version upgrades, patching, backup/restores etc. SLA’s for those backing services now depend on the hyperscaler.
Apart from this, there are few other approaches to consume AWS services within SAP Cloud Platform. I have covered them in the below two sections.
User-Provided Services on SAP Cloud Platform
Another way to consume AWS services within SAP Cloud Platform is to use the User-Provided services on Cloud Foundry. Unlike the previous options, here you will have to create your instances in AWS and consume them in SAP Cloud Platform. You will have to create a publicly accessible service in AWS and use the credentials/service URL to connect to it from apps in SAP Cloud Platform. Suhas Narasimhan has recently posted a blog on how to achieve this with ease – “Consuming Hyperscaler managed services on SAP Cloud Platform as User-Provided Services“.
Leveraging AWS service broker
The AWS Service Broker allows native AWS services to be exposed directly through SAP Cloud Platform or any platform that implement the Open Service Broker API. This is an open source service broker provided by AWS. Harini Gunabalan has posted a blog on this topic “How to consume AWS services on SAP Cloud Platform?” which shows the steps required to surface some of the AWS services within SAP Cloud Platform cockpit.