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The runtime for your Cloud Foundry applications on SAP Cloud Platform: What’s in a name?

Ah… quite a lot actually… 

A ‘Name’ gives identity, representation, description of who or what something is. 

It helps you to recognize, distinguish what you are looking at, working, or interacting with. 

But,…

it can also make you build first impressions, opinions, assumptions about a subject, beforehand. 

And assumptions are not always right! 

By now, you may have assumed that this blog will talk about philosophical topics like identity, the realization of self, etc., etc. or that the author of the blog has mistakenly posted his daily diary entry. Unfortunately, you assumed wrong.

See! 🙂 

The runtime for applications you build and deploy on the SAP Cloud Platform, Cloud Foundry environment is getting a new name.

And this blog explains the rationale behind the new name, what will change, and what that means for you.  

 

The Story so far… A Flashback… 

 

At SAPPHIRENOW 2016, SAP announced its intention to incorporate the popular, industry-standard, open-source technology, Cloud Foundry into its enterprise Platform-as-a-Service offering – SAP HANA Cloud PlatformThe move promised to enrich the platform with Multi-Cloud capabilities and to reduce infrastructure vendor lock-in. Additionally, the inclusion of Cloud Foundry also presented a world of choice for developers, with support for all major programming languages, which in turn would accelerate customers’ move towards the cloud and hence their digital transformation journey. 

With the GA announcement of the newly renamed SAP Cloud Platform at SAPPHIRENOW 2017, SAP brought the Cloud Foundry technology, and with it, the SAP Cloud Platform Application Runtime service aimed to simplify the lives of enterprise business application developers 

This fully managed runtime service is built to handle the ‘code-to-container’ workflow, which includes bundling of source code, staging, packaging language support (with buildpacks) & dependencies, and finally running the application. In addition, the service also offers logging, monitoring, and health check components to ensure that your applications keep running. 

Since then, the SAP Cloud Platform Application Runtime service has been available to platform customers building multi-cloud applications on Cloud Foundry. 

 

Slight detour…  

 

 

As the SAP Cloud Platform grew to become THE integration and extension platform for SAP applications, in SAPPHIRENOW 2019, SAP announced the availability of the SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory, to revolutionize the side-by-side extensibility of SAP cloud solutions. 

By this time, there were already a couple of new runtimes announced as BETA, in the Multi-Cloud realm, namely the Serverless runtime and the Kyma runtime. 

Following the core platform principle of openness, the Extension Factory allowed customers to select the runtime option that best serves their needs, in order to deploy enterprise extensions 

The Application Runtimservice was one of the runtime options offered under the Extension Factory for customers to deploy their extensions using Cloud Foundry technology. You might have seen that this runtime flavor was, until recently, called the SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory, application runtime. 

 

Multi-Cloud and SAP Cloud Platform in 2020 

 

The year 2020 saw major announcements in the SAP Cloud Platform extensions area and its multi-cloud runtime capabilities. 

At the beginning of the year, SAP announced the general availability of the SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory, Serverless runtime which provides a fully-managed, lightweight extension option to enable seamless integration with SAP business systems and processes. 

In May 2020, the other multi-cloud runtime SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory, Kyma runtime, also announced general availability. The latest addition offers a fully managed Kubernetes runtime based on the open-source project Kyma, to build extensions using both microservices and serverless functions.

More recently, there was another significant announcement in the extensions space, which also had an impact on the multi-cloud runtimes of the platform. 

We saw the evolution of SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory into the more comprehensive SAP Cloud Platform Extension Suite providing standardized connectivity, developer experience, common registry, ancillary services, tools, and low-code capabilities to help realize your enterprise extension use cases. This change retired the ‘Extension Factory’ naming and its mention in the corresponding runtime service names. 

 

Will the real app runtime please stand up…? 

The introduction of additional multi-cloud runtimes like Kyma runtime and Serverless runtime brought in questions and confusion on the SAP Cloud Platform Application Runtime. As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, this name led to assumptions that this was the runtime to build Applications and opened questions on what the other runtimes should be used for.   

In reality, all of these runtimes can be used for application development on the SAP Cloud Platform. The choice of runtime should be based on which of these fit your use case, requirements, skills, and efforts. 

Also, the other runtimes clearly indicate the technology stack or environment your applications are running on. It was not intuitive that the Application Runtime is relevant to applications deployed on the Cloud Foundry environment 

With this rationale in mind, we are happy to announce that the SAP Cloud Platform Application Runtime will be renamed to SAP Cloud Platform, Cloud Foundry runtime in order to provide absolute clarity on what the runtime provides and is meant for.  

You will soon start seeing the Cloud Foundry runtime name replace the old name in all assets like documentation, SAP pricelists, official slides, road maps, etc. 

 

So… now what? 

 

What does this change mean to you? Hmm… not much. 

Completing the quote with which we started this blog, the author William Shakespeare says, 

 

“…that which we call a rose 

By any other name would smell as sweet.” 

– Romeo and Juliet 

 

The rename of Application Runtime to Cloud Foundry runtime is mainly meant to provide you, our customers/partners, clarity and avoid confusion on what the runtime is and should be used for. The service itself does not change in its technical implementation, functionality, or the simplified commercials announced in August 2020. 

SAP Cloud Platform, Cloud Foundry runtime will continue to: 

  • Provide a simplified developer experience for business application development. 
  • Accelerate your speed of development by taking over complex tasks like ‘code-to-container’ packaging, security patching, and app health maintenance from the developer, hence providing the best ROI for your development effort. 
  • Allow developers to focus on building business applications by abstracting technology internals. 
  • Demand a short and gentle learning curve with support for all major programming languages.

To summarize, the runtime for your Cloud Foundry applications on SAP Cloud Platform now has a new name – SAP Cloud Platform, Cloud Foundry runtime – but retains all the benefits it has been providing for business application development. 

In case you have never been introduced, we encourage you to check out the SAP Cloud Platform, Cloud Foundry runtime to build business applications on the platform. 

4 Comments
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  • Thank you – blog posts such this one can help prevent confusion among the developers such as myself.

    So in fact – now we have 3 runtimes

    1. CF runtime (former application runtime)
    2. Serverless runtime
    3. Kyma runtime

    I have to investigate what are the use cases for each of them. Of course besides CF runtime which I use right now.

  • Thanks very much Manjunath Baburao for this valuable information. This is seriously confusing and as an architect in this space these name changes are not great. Additionally the trial accounts still have Application runtime in the list of entitlements so no wonder people are confused. I have tried to activate this for a customer recently and I cannot see Application runtime and I cannot see Cloud Foundry runtime so have no idea whether I need to activate an entitlement or not? Here is my question that relates to this issue.

    https://answers.sap.com/questions/13173122/cannot-see-the-cloud-foundry-runtime-service.html

    My feedback for SAP is to seriously think about the names they are giving things because what was pretty simple before – Application Runtime – has seriously morphed into something that is hard to keep up with and given my question above not sure if it is even implemented properly at the moment. How something changes names 3 times is beyond my thinking. Just create a name and stick with it please!

    Thanks for the blog anyway that is there to try and provide more information to the SAP Community, it is appreciated however this should not even be needed if these names did not change every month.

    KInd Regards

    Phil Cooley

     

    • Hi Phil,

      Thanks a lot for your candid feedback.

      I agree that frequent name changes, and in the short timeframe are extremely cumbersome to follow, but these changes were unavoidable. With the above blog, my attempt was to provide some clarity on the rationale for why such a change was required. But your point is taken. I will ensure that this feedback is also distributed internally.

      The change is reflected in most assets already, and some changes for example, for trial accounts, are on the way. Apologies that this takes some time.

      As for the missing entitlement issue for the runtime in the CPEA account, thanks for bringing this to our notice. I am checking this internally. .

      Meanwhile, apart from the question in the community, would it also be possible to open a support ticket with account details?

      Best regards,

      Manju