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 3-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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To cut a long story short, we have covered
- How cloud computing infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) took off in 2006 with Amazon Web Services Elastic Compute Cloud (AWS EC2) and that it would take about seven years before they faced any serious competition (dixit CEO Jeff Bezos).
- How platform-as-a-service (PaaS) took off with Heroku in 2007, making it easier to develop, deploy, and scale web applications. SalesForce acquired Heroku in 2010 to facilitate customising (extensions) software-as-service (SaaS) applications.
- How virtualisation market leader VMware, a Dell EMC company, acquired several open-source companies and launched Cloud Foundry, an open-source PaaS in 2011. The fact that IaaS/PaaS market leader AWS was running open-source Xen to virtualise its own infrastructure might have inspired the move.
- How Google and Microsoft started late with PaaS but soon followed AWS and moved up and down the stack into infrastructure and applications, both embracing open-source where applicable.
- How SuccessFactors prior to its acquisition by SAP had an early partnership with Cloud Foundry for building SaaS extensions.
- How SAP launched its own NetWeaver Cloud PaaS in 2012, and
- How IBM, SAP, and some others joined the Cloud Foundry Foundation in 2014 to promote the open-source cause amongst other interests.
The cliffhanger was a quote from Cloud Foundry CEO Abby Kearn in 2017:
PaaS, as a name, as a concept and as a solution is dead.
When Gartner identified key trends in 2019 they counted more than 360 vendors, offering 550+ cloud platform services in 21 categories, and expecting the market to double in size (2018-2022) with a revenue forecast of $34 billion, with PaaS as prevailing platform delivery model moving forward. Not exactly dead, in other words.
What might have inspired Mrs. Kearn in 2017 to state otherwise?
In part the smorgasbord of services available from the global cloud service providers AWS, Azure, and Google (with Alibaba for China), the hyperscalers as they are often called at SAP, which reduced PaaS to a category and less as alternative platform.
In part the rise of DevOps making software release a shared responsibility between development and operations. PaaS in turn, empowered developers own part of the operations. Not the best way to make friends.
In part, also, the competing container technology from Docker and Kubernetes.
If Google Trends provides an indication, DevOps gradually increased mindshare gaining momentum after 2018. The rise of Kubernetes was steeper and boomed at little earlier.
DevOps is great topic for a blog but fortunately that has already been done. See for example
If you want to know more, check out the topic area or follow the tag on the community. For a guided approach, check out the Leaning Journey.
If you missed the buzz around DevOps somehow, this IBM Cloud video does a great job explaining.
If you are busy, or find it easier relating to pizza’s, check out Pivotal’s take DevOps.
You may recall that Pivotal is the company that Dell EMC and VMware created for Cloud Foundry and other open-source projects. VMware bought it back and it now continues as Tanzu. Pivotal Cloud Foundry is now Tanzu Application Services.
Containers and Orchestration
In 2016, the initial Cloud Foundry architecture presented on Distributed Design and Architecture of Cloud Foundry was updated. The Droplet Execution Agent (DEA) and Warden containers written in Ruby were replaced with Go (DEA + Go = Diego and Go + warden = Garden).
Conceptually, this is similar to Docker containers and Kubernetes orchestration. If you are interested in how this works exactly, see the Cloud Foundry documentation.
To deploy the Cloud Foundry runtime, VMware developed (2010) and later open-sourced BOSH, a recursive acronym for the BOSH Outer Shell (typical geek humour as in GNU is Not Unix and YAML Ain’t Markup Language).
Cloud Provider Interfaces (CPI) were added for AWS and later also for Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and some other platforms. SAP volunteered to write the CPI for open-source OpenStack, as it happened to power the SAP HANA Cloud Platform.
We recall that the Cloud Foundry runtime was provided as beta on the SAP HANA Cloud Platform in 2016 and in production one year later, when HANA was dropped from the name of the platform.
BOSH is doing a similar job when compared to the (Docker) container orchestration platform Kubernetes, which raised some questions.
- Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes – Where do they differ? How do they fit together? by Sanjay Patil (2018)
To better understand the differences between both technologies, see these two contemporary IBM Developer blogs.
- Five facts you might not know about Cloud Foundry (2017)
- Game of cloud technologies: Kubernetes vs. Cloud Foundry (2018)
There is also advice how to convert your apps. IBM was an early sponsor of both Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes.
CaaS and Kubo
We mentioned that SUSE took over Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) initial Cloud Foundry investment in 2016 and that both Microsoft and Google also got involved around that time.
- Watch your PaaS (and IaaS) – SUSE acquires OpenStack and Cloud Foundry technology from HPE (SUSE, 2016)
- Introducing Pivotal Cloud Foundry on Google Cloud Platform (Google, 2016)
SUSE added SUSE container-as-a-service (CaaS) and also Kubo, later renamed to Cloud Foundry Container Runtime (CFCR), to deploy containers using Kubernetes and BOSH.
Eirini and Quarks
To schedule apps on Kubernetes, Cloud Foundry started project Eirini (cf push to K8s) and project Quarks to deploy and manage BOSH releases on Kubernetes.
- Container Runtime
- Quarks – Integrating Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes
- Eirini – Integrating Application Runtime and Kubernetes
- Connecting the Dots from Cloud Foundry to Kubernetes
For the creator of Kubernetes, this was enough good news for a membership upgrade.
Take a look at the OSBAPI (open Service Broker API) rainbow dreamway.
I am not making this up, folks.
For a good overview and introduction about the current state of affairs, again, watch this video tutorial from IBM Development.
For a brief history of the Cloud Foundry Foundation until 2019, visit
In 2017, SAP had joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), which supported Kubernetes and Hyperledger, amongst others. Hyperledger Fabric may be familiar to blockchain aficionados as it is available on the SAP Cloud Platform.
- Cloud Native Computing Foundation Welcomes SAP As Platinum Member (2017)
- SAP Cloud Platform: An open enterprise platform with a cloud-native core by Bjoern Goerke (2018)
Concur on Kubernetes
A year prior, at the CNCF KubeCon conference in Seattle, Dan Wilson of Concur presented their use of Kubernetes technologies (you can watch the replay on YouTube Scaling Microservices Beyond a Single Cluster w/ Kubernetes).
Like SuccessFactors early agreement with VMware Cloud Foundry from 2011, Concur’s productive use of Kubernetes inspired further usage inside SAP. Concur also open-sourced the Skipper project on GitHub.
Concur had joined the SAP family a little earlier in 2014. CEO Steve Singh would join the Docker board in 2016 to become its CEO a couple of months later. It is a small world after all.
Hybris on Cloud Foundry
Swisscom was an early adopter of Cloud Foundry. Hybris also originates from Switzerland (although later moved to Munich) and may have been one of their customers. In 2013, when SAP acquired the company, commerce-as-a-service (CaaS) running natively on Cloud Foundry was added to the technology stack.
The architecture presented at the Cloud Foundry Summit shows CaaS on Cloud Foundry running on the SAP Hanna Cloud Platform. What’s curious about this presentation, apart from SAP corporate not yet involved (slide 2 shows no disclaimer), is that already in 2014 the cloud platform was running Hybris on Cloud Foundry productively.
- Commerce as a Service with Cloud Foundry (Cloud Foundry Summit 2014)
- Cloud Foundry, Hybris and the HANA Cloud Platform: Microservices and Beyond by Richard Hirsch
Kyma and Extension Factory
CaaS (commerce this time, not container) evolved into YaaS (SAP Hybris as a Service) before being retired in 2018.
- YaaS Turns into SAP CP Extension Factory: Bringing Microservices-Led Digital Transformation to the Enterprise Level by Moritz Zimmermann (2018)
- The SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory by Rui Nogueira (2019)
- What is Kyma? by Jamie Cawley (2019)
For a FAQ, see
- Three frequently asked questions about Cloud Foundry, Kubernetes and Serverless support in SAP Cloud Platform by Saiprashanth Reddy Venumbaka
Gardener and More
As we have seen, Cloud Foundry works both with Diego and Garden containers as with Kubernetes and Docker. To manage Kubernetes clusters-as-a-service, SAP developed and open-sourced Gardener. It is not related to Cloud Foundry in particular but SAP Cloud Platform leverages Gardener to provision Kubernetes clusters to its customers.
- Kubernetes & SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory: Extensibility on a Cloud-Native Open-Source Stack by Michael Wintergerst (2018)
- Gardener – The Kubernetes Botanist
For information about current SAP open source projects, visit the SAP Developer Center.
Follow the SAP Cloud Platform for the Cloud Foundry environment tag to stay up-to-date.
For some amusement, visit
SAP HANA Academy | Partner Enablement
Itchy to get started? Check out this great series of tutorial videos from Philip MUGGLESTONE about getting started with SAP Cloud Platform (update April 2020). Covers Cloud Foundry and the Business Application Studio.
To get hands-on with the extension factory, visit
- Building Extensions for SAP C/4HANA using APIs
- Building Extensions for SAP SuccessFactors using APIs
- Building Extensions for SAP S/4HANA Cloud using APIs
SAP Developer Center
There are more tutorials on the SAP Developer Center than services on the SAP Cloud Platform. Here are two to get started.
There is a long list of openSAP courses about SAP Cloud Platform. Below some the most recent.
- Kyma – A flexible Way to Connect and Extend Applications
- SAP Cloud Platform Essentials (Update Q2/2019)
- Building Applications with SAP Cloud Application Programming Model
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: