Organizations are accumulating and applying huge amounts of data in a way that was impossible in the past. The insights and advantages organizations gain from this data are due to technologies like SAP and Kubernetes. These tools provide data analytics and enable the use of cloud services on the scale needed to meet current data demands.
SAP and Kubernetes make an obvious pair, and many organizations are already using these tools in combination. In this article, you’ll learn what Kubernetes is. You’ll also learn how it is leveraged by some popular SAP services to support growing demands for data analysis in the cloud.
What Is Kubernetes?
Kubernetes is the most widely supported and adopted container orchestration platform. You can use it to deploy, manage, and monitor containerized workloads and applications. Pure Kubernetes is open-source and is offered as a Platform as a Service (PaaS). It is also available as a fully-managed service for faster deployment. You can use it on-premise or in cloud environments.
With Kubernetes, you can run and scale applications in self-contained environments. The Kubernetes framework enables you to automate tasks related to container management. This automation support makes it ideal for the development and deployment of cloud-native applications and DevOps workflows.
Kubernetes includes features for:
- Storage orchestration—enables you to automatically mount a variety of storage systems, including local and public cloud storage.
- Service discovery and load balancing—unique IP addresses and DNS names ease container discovery. Kubernetes can also automatically redistribute traffic across containers to balance loads.
- Automated rollouts and rollbacks—Kubernetes systematically rolls out changes and automatically rolls back changes if an update fails.
- Self-healing—Kubernetes automatically restarts containers and nodes that fail or that do not meet health checks.
- Horizontal scaling—you can scale your deployment automatically according to demand or manually via CLI or user interface.
- Secret and configuration management—you can deploy and update secrets and configuration information, on demand, without rebuilding images or exposing secrets.
How do SAP and Kubernetes Overlap?
A variety of SAP services enable you to take advantage of the flexibility and availability that Kubernetes can provide. These services are based on or support Kubernetes deployments. This base enables you to more easily integrate SAP tools and services into existing deployments across a variety of hosts. It also enables you to more easily scale your SAP services to meet workload demands.
SAP HANA Cloud
SAP HANA Cloud is a containerized version of the HANA database that can be managed using Kubernetes. It is a fully managed service that can be hosted on any cloud provider. It is built on cloud foundry and Kubernetes clusters. SAP HANA Cloud enables you to scale compute and storage independently since these resources are provided via separate containerized microservices.
SAP HANA Cloud is designed to provide a single access layer for your data sources, including on-premise and third-party data. It includes features for data tiering and data federation. Data tiering enables you to optimize storage by moving less frequently accessed data to cheaper storage resources. Data federation aggregates data across distributed sources.
SAP HANA Cloud is intended to aid developers by providing faster and easier access to data in cloud-native environments. However, it does not make HANA APIs or clusters directly available to developers.
SAP Data Hub
SAP Data Hub is a tool that enables you to orchestrate data processing, integrate data, and manage metadata across your data sources. Data hub is specially designed for use with a distributed data lake. It supports use with Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (EKS), Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), and Alibaba Container Service for Kubernetes (ACK).
SAP Data Hub includes pre-built integrations for machine learning libraries, including SAP Leonardo Machine Learning Foundation and TensorFlow. These libraries enable you to more easily integrate data sources into your machine learning training workflows.
SAP Data Hub takes advantage of Kubernetes clusters to isolate security features from standard service features. It also includes a Diagnostics feature with two dashboards for monitoring Kubernetes cluster metrics.
SAP HANA Express
SAP HANA Express is a community-supported, streamlined version of SAP HANA that is freely available to developers. It can be used to prototype next-generation applications with up to 32 GB of memory.
You can run SAP HANA Express on Linux Intel systems or any other operating system that can support a hypervisor and virtual machines. It enables you to use SAP HANA on devices that are not SAP-certified hardware appliances, including in public and private clouds. Since SAP HANA Express is not restricted in the same way the full version is, you can easily run it in a self-controlled container.
SAP Vora is a distributed database system that you can use to process big data. It is deployed and run in Kubernetes clusters and you can run it in any Kubernetes environment.
SAP Vora enables you to access a variety of external data stores, including Azure Data Lake Storage, Azure Blob Storage, Amazon S3, and Hadoop Distributed File System. You can also integrate it with SAP HANA via a Spark extension or with SAP HANA Smart Data Access.
To run applications on SAP Vora, you need to incorporate the SAP Data Intelligence System Management application. System Management integrates natively with Kubernetes. When you use System Management, user applications are dynamically created as Kubernetes pods that you can orchestrate.
The combination of Kubernetes and containerized SAP services can be a huge benefit for organizations. The ability to orchestrate and scale workloads from a single source can be a significant time-saver. Additionally, the ability to use cloud-native SAP services can enable developers to leverage analytics and databases more easily and securely.
Hopefully, this article helped you understand what Kubernetes is and the role it plays in several popular SAP services. Understanding which services integrate with Kubernetes can give you insight into improving your own deployments. This knowledge can also help make migration easier if you are considering moving from on-premise to the cloud.