In this blog series you will find quotes, backgrounds, suggested further readings and other information related to my latest book SAP HANA 2.0, An Introduction published by SAP Press.
As the goal of the book is to provide an introduction, we could not spend as much time and pages on each and every topic as we wished at times. The SAP Cloud Platform and Cloud Foundry are one of these topics although we do address the technology in the book, it is mostly related to native application development and XS Advanced. In this 2-part blog series, I will cover the SAP Cloud Platform and Cloud Foundry story in a bit more detail and include references where to find more information.
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In the previous blog, we covered Heroku, Ruby on Rails, and the origins of the platform service, open-source champion SpringSource shopping for Cloud Foundry, Groovy and Grails, RabbitMQ, and other gems, and the way of the Panda, or the sometimes surprising enthusiasm for open-source with big software vendors. We paused around 2012 when Cloud Foundry celebrated its first birthday and CloudFoundry.org was launched.
In a previous blog about SAP Analytics Cloud, we already pointed out that with the acquisition of Business Objects in 2008, apart from a state-of-the-art business intelligence suite, SAP also acquired OnDemand.com.
The name would be used for home-brew SaaS LOB developments like Sales OnDemand. Soon SAP would start to acquire LOB SaaS solutions. Curiously enough, today hana.ondemand.com is still the home of the SAP Cloud platform (we get to the HANA part in a bit).
In 2011, SuccessFactors and VMware announced a new project using PaaS for SaaS extensions.
- First-of-its-Kind agreement to deliver Platform as a Service offering on Cloud Foundry to extend business execution value in the cloud (SuccessFactors, 2011)
All the key ingredients are listed:
This new project takes the Cloud Foundry vision one step further, enabling customers to extend and build custom applications around SuccessFactors to address specific business and vertical use cases, without restricting the choice of development frameworks, data or application services. Cloud Foundry helps ensure customers can build applications using open and industry-standard development technologies while preserving the flexibility to deploy across both public and private clouds.
If not already, the acquisition of SuccessFactors certainly brought CloudFoundry on the agenda of SAP’s CTO.
- SAP to Accelerate Cloud Strategy with Acquisition of SuccessFactors (SAP News, 2011)
NetWeaver Cloud (Neo)
In 2012, SAP entered the PaaS market with SAP NetWeaver Cloud. NW Cloud supported Java and Spring frameworks and provided Portal and Document Services.
SAP NetWeaver Cloud is an open, standards-based and modular Platform as a Service for rapid development of on-demand applications.
- SAP NetWeaver Cloud – We’re open! by Matthias Steiner (2012)
- SAP NetWeaver Cloud (Neo) – The road forward by Matthias Steiner (2012)
The code name Neo, short for NetWeaver On-Demand, would later return in the official documentation to reference the SAP-hosted environment on the SAP Cloud Platform and distinguish it from the Cloud Foundry environment hosted by other cloud providers.
NetWeaver Cloud ran on open-source Xen (at the time) and used the same SAP infrastructure as Business ByDesign, a SaaS application launched in 2007.
The Linux of the Cloud
Although SAP had started to contribute to the open-source community a little before, with its cloud platform, this greatly expanded. The rise of cloud computing, the upcoming SaaS alternatives for business solutions, the sudden and dramatic demise of BlackBerry in mind, as observed at the time, SAP was at the crossroads.
For SAP, this requires the audacity to strive towards an enterprise version of Apple, with a thriving developer community built around its mobile, in-memory, and on-demand solutions. (…) For the first time ever, SAP can’t build everything it needs internally and hope to win. It’s ecosystem or bust.
- SAP Teched Las Vegas and Beyond – SAP at the Crossroads by Jon Reed (2011)
- SAP NetWeaver Cloud & Open Source – A match made in heaven by Matthias Steiner (2012)
We already mentioned SAP’s open-source focussed Big Data strategy.
- SAP Increases Focus on Developer Experience and Makes Key Open Source Contributions (SAP News, 2013)
Time to Pivot
In 2013, VMware and mother company EMC decided to create a spin-off from their recent acquisitions including SpringSource and Cloud Foundry, and called it Pivotal, a company at the intersection of big data, PaaS and agile development that would bring “consumer grade” technology to the enterprise (sounds familiar?). Not without expectations: The Economist: Will Pivotal Be Bigger Than Google, Apple for the Enterprise?
The next year, VMware also started the Cloud Foundry Foundation, an open-source governance framework for which besides Pivotal, VMware, and EMC, also IBM, HP, and SAP signed up (to name but a few).
- The Cloud Foundry Foundation: The Key Driver Of A Breakthrough In PaaS Adoption (Forrester, 2014)
- SAP Commits to Cloud Foundry and OpenStack for Innovative Development in the Cloud (SAP News, 2014)
- Continuous evolution on SAP HANA Cloud Platform with Cloud Foundry and OpenStack by Rui Nogueira (2015)
For a contemporary view, watch the Cloud Foundry Summit 2014 keynote SAP – Future of Enterprise PaaS by Steve Winkler and Dirk Basenach.
Microsoft and Google joined the foundation a little later while SUSE took over HPE’s stake. Cloud Foundry still powers IBM Cloud today.
See Cloud Foundry Members for the full list.
- General availability of Cloud Foundry and preview access of Pivotal Cloud Foundry (Microsoft, 2015)
- Introducing Pivotal Cloud Foundry on Google Cloud Platform (Google, 2016)
- Watch your PaaS (and IaaS) – SUSE acquires OpenStack and Cloud Foundry technology from HPE (SUSE, 2016)
Looking ahead, in 2019, VMware bought Pivotal back and Cloud Foundry is now part of VMware’s Tanzu portfolio.
- VMware Completes Acquisition of Pivotal (VMware, 2019)
One of the open source contributions from 2013 was the CF SAP HANA Broker, making the SAP HANA database available as Cloud Foundry data service.
Not open source and considerable more effort was the implementation of Cloud Foundry as native development environment for the on-premise SAP HANA platform. It shared the same core concepts like buildpacks, service brokers like UAA (user authentication and authorisation), and its cf CLI (disguised as xs) but persistence was restricted to the local SAP HANA database.
Cloud Foundry for HANA was released in 2015 with SAP HANA SPS 11 as XS Advanced, initially as developer preview, side-by-side with the original architecture for building native applications SAP HANA XS, now tagged as the classic model. To deploy development artefacts to runtime objects, the HANA Deployment Infrastructure (HDI) was added (related although technically not dependent). Java and Node.js buildpacks were included and a new XS Advanced Programming model.
- SAP HANA SPS 11: New Developer Features; XS Advanced by Thomas Jung (2015)
- SAP HANA SPS 11: New Developer Features; HDI by Thomas Jung (2015)
- Developing with XS Advanced: A TinyWorld Tutorial by Chaim Bendelac
Cloud Foundry on the SAP Cloud Platform
With the on-premise SAP HANA platform and SAP HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) using the same Cloud Foundry technology, you could start development of native SAP HANA applications on-premise and deploy your application to the cloud. This required another step, of course, for Cloud Foundry to be available on the cloud platform. A beta was released in 2016.
- SAP HANA Cloud Platform – The big picture by Matthias Steiner
- The next step: Cloud Foundry services as beta on SAP HANA Cloud Platform by Rui Nogueira (2016)
GA would follow one year later. By this time, the SAP Cloud Platform (SCP) had dropped HANA from its name.
- General Availability of the XS Advanced Programming Model with Cloud Foundry on SAP Cloud Platform by Sven Kohlhaas
- A new seamless SAP Cloud Platform experience by Robert Wetzold (2017)
- SAP Cloud Platform – The next level by Matthias Steiner (2017)
Multi-cloud and two environments, this required some explanation.
- SAP Cloud Platform – A positive-sum game by Bjoern Goerke
- SAP Cloud Platform Environments – Cloud Foundry vs Neo by Raja Prasad Gupta (2019)
PaaS is Dead
SAP was at crossroads when it got involved with open-source and launched its cloud platform. But did it take the right turn?
As early as 2016 the first obituaries started to arrive and eventually even Cloud Foundry CEO Abby Kearn was quoted with
PaaS, as a name, as a concept and as a solution is dead
- PaaS is dead, long live PaaS (Computerworld, 2017)
Particularly vendors active in the DevOps, Docker, and Kubernetes space tried to use it to their advantage
- It’s Official: Public PaaS is Dead – Cloud66
We already mentioned how companies like AWS, Google, and Microsoft successfully managed to morph PaaS into their overall service portfolio. There were security and high-availability concerns with PaaS but the biggest threat around this time came from the move to containerisation with Docker and Kubernetes. This topic we will cover in the next blog.
Learned Something New?
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Denys van Kempen
SAP HANA 2.0 – An Introduction
Just getting started with SAP HANA? Or do have a migration to SAP HANA 2.0 coming up? Need a quick update covering business benefits and technology overview. Understand the role of the system administrator, developer, data integrator, security officer, data scientist, data modeler, project manager, and other SAP HANA stakeholders? My latest book about SAP HANA 2.0 covers everything you need to know.
Get it from SAP Press or Amazon: