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SAP Cloud Platform – moving forward on our multi-cloud strategy

When we released our multi-cloud architecture for SAP Cloud Platform to the market, our aim was to open the way for our customers to get the benefits of platform on their cloud infrastructure of choice. The goal was and is, to leverage the investment of our cloud infrastructure partners and serve our customers with more flexibility (cloud vendor of choice, larger network of available regions), reliability (use of hyperscaler infrastructures and their capabilities), and agility (broader range of development services and supported development paradigms). Since the initial release, the SAP Cloud Platform team has worked continuously to put this strategy into action. Today, we are at a point where we have decided to take the next step and I want to lay out the concrete next steps we are taking.

Where we stand today

SAP Cloud Platform multi-cloud environment is available in 14 regions worldwide and on 4 major cloud providers – Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Alibaba Cloud (Click here to check the specifics). We are working with our data-center partners to build out this network even further in line with customer and market demand.

Scope wise, we have a broad list of SAP Cloud Platform services that are available in each and every region (info source) and we are extending the availability of the other SAP Cloud Platform services constantly – again, based on customer demand. The full list of SAP Cloud Platform services is of course available in our service catalog, which we revamped a couple of months ago (see Holger Neuert’s blog post)

Those of you who follow SAP Cloud Platform understand that our offering was initially based on a proprietary stack. We have now reached a state where our customer and partners will be able to cover the same scenarios that they were able to cover on the “Neo” environment in the past and shift their focus to a standards-based approach with our multi-cloud environment. You will find more details in this blog post from my colleague Yun-Hsuan Lin. The scope of the multi-cloud environment is not “just” a duplication of the Neo services. New SAP Cloud Platform services and innovations (for example the SAP Cloud Platform ABAP Environment, SAP Cloud Platform Integration Suite, Business Aplication Studio or the recently released SAP CP Extension Factory, Kyma Runtime) are exclusively available on the multi-cloud environment and our strategy is to focus our innovation investments on this environment (quick note:  this includes also our investments on container technologies like Kubernetes). Looking at our adoption, we have productive and mission critical applications from both, our customers and ourselves (like SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP Cloud ALM or SAP For Me) running. In short: We are ready.

 

The Next Step

The logical next step will be that new customers and partners will by default get access to the multi-cloud environment of SAP Cloud Platform only. While this does not mean any change for the newest services, this means that multi-cloud will also be the default environment to consume services where we have both, a Neo-based and a Multi-Cloud version.

 

What about Neo?

Having said that – we have a very large customer base with applications and workloads on Neo. Also, there are markets that we currently only cover from SAP data centers (on Neo). So, the immediate question will be: What does that mean for Neo customers and partners?

We have not retired Neo, and this is not an announcement of an end of maintenance for Neo. Many of our customers and partners – and SAP itself with many internally used applications and externally available solutions – have a substantial investment in Neo and rightfully expect that we will support them moving forward. And support in this case means two things: First, ensuring that existing applications will continue to run, be maintained and supported as business depends on these applications. Second, it means that SAP needs to help in assessing if, when, and how customers and partners should move their applications to the multi-cloud environment. It is also possible to renew and expand existing Neo footprints if their business demands it.

 

Tag along

This is why we have put a program in place from our development team that will create migration packs (guides and tools for migration) for Neo-based applications. This program will work with customers and partners to define their strategy and pace to move from the Neo environment to multi-cloud. In the end, we want to make sure that all our SAP Cloud Platform customers will be able to benefit from our investments in new services and innovations as well as from our partners’ investments in infrastructure capabilities – leading to improved development agility, flexibility, and reliability.

To summarize it as clearly as possible

  1. New customers and partners will by default start on the SAP Cloud Platform multi-cloud environment
  2. We recommend existing customers and partners to evaluate the multi-cloud environment for new projects, while existing production applications and workloads on Neo can be left untouched for the time being. Of course, we also recommend assessing options to migrate over time. We have a number of customers like Shell (see page 24 in the linked document) who have already taken this approach.

 

Outlook

Where do we want to take this from here? We will continue to evolve SAP Cloud Platform as SAP’s strategic Integration and Extension platform (i.e. application development in an SAP context), based on a multi-cloud foundation. We have some exciting plans that we hopefully can share soon.

Also, if you saw the SAPPHIRE keynote from our CEO Christian Klein, you noticed that our industry Cloud strategy is based on our Business Technology Platform (BTP), and SAP Cloud Platform is a key pillar which brings the application development and integration capabilities of BTP to life.

We will also continue to build out and enhance the multi-cloud foundation and increase the number of options for our customers to run SAP Cloud Platform.

Our team is excited to take the next steps and I hope our customers and partners will quickly reap the benefits.

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