Exploring BTP’s New Free Tier Plans
This post was originally published in July, 2021.
SAP continues to add services to BTP free tier – check out the TechEd 2022 replays for more information. I updated this article to use more precise terminology. Technically speaking, there’s “BTP Trial”, which I talk about below. But there is no “BTP free tier account” — today free tier service plans are available in either “BTP Pay as you go” accounts or “BTP Cloud Platform Enterprise Agreement” accounts. More below.
There’s quite a bit of buzz in the SAP Community about the initial release of SAP Business Technology Platform free tier service plans and what it might mean. Initial release is scheduled for today, July 1st.
I wanted to take a few minutes to explain what the free tier model for SAP BTP adds to your current SAP BTP landscapes and how you might start exploring it immediately.
Free Tier Adds Free Plans to Select SAP BTP Services
If you are familiar with operations in an SAP BTP global account, free tier service plans will be easy to understand. An SAP BTP global account is composed of subaccounts. Those subaccounts are created as needed within your team. Your organization likely has separate subaccounts for team development, build, test, and production. The exact details of the subaccount structure are up to your organization’s application architects, DevOps folks, and your global account administration team. You enable SAP BTP services to support your application as needed in each subaccount.
Within SAP BTP consumption-based accounts, there’s an extra layer of control for enabling specific services known as entitlements. An entitlement is assigned to a specific subaccount. Entitlements can be thought of as “permission” to create a specific number and type of services in a specific subaccount. In effect, entitlements combined with account access permissions to provide consumption and cost controls.
Each SAP BTP service has one or more “plans”. A plan limits the quantity of the service that’s available. Maybe you need a lot of some service in a production subaccount. Maybe you need less for development or test. When you assign an entitlement to a subaccount, you also select the plan for use in that subaccount as well.
Here’s the key point: the free tier adds free plans to selected SAP BTP services.
You will find the list of new free tier services on this Discovery Center page. We’re adding these across all SAP BTP regions (except China). We’ll be adding more over time.
What If You Are Already Using the SAP BTP Trial Today?
It is important to understand that the SAP BTP Trial and the free tier model for SAP BTP are not the same thing.
SAP BTP Trial has been around for several years. It supports a range of learning and product evaluation scenarios.
If you have worked in both, the SAP BTP Trial and in a commercial SAP BTP account, you probably have noticed that a SAP BTP Trial account essentially operates as an isolated subaccount. The notion of a global account is much more limited in SAP BTP Trial. Your service entitlements were pre-allocated to you by SAP when you created the SAP BTP Trial account. There is an Entitlements section on the left-hand navigation panel of the SAP BTP Trial cockpit, but that view depicts these pre-allocated entitlements.
Exploring the Free Tier Using Existing Learning Content
In tutorials and other learning content, you will enable the services you need on demand. For the most part, SAP Developer Center tutorials were written assuming they’d be executed in SAP BTP free trial – but it turns out that you can run these tutorials in a CPEA or Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) account using the corresponding free tier service plans, too. The learning steps will largely be the same — the differences will lie in the tutorial’s prerequisite or setup steps:
- Isolate yourself so you don’t step on the work of others – Create (or have your SAP BTP global account administrator) create a new subaccount for you to use
- Assign appropriate free tier service plan entitlements to your new subaccount – Assign (or have your SAP BTP global account administrator assign) appropriate free tier service plan entitlements to your subaccount
- Navigate to your subaccount using the SAP BTP Cockpit
- Enable the required new services in your subaccount
- Run through the learning or enablement content you are interested in (the Developer Center Tutorial Navigator is always a great place to find things)
- When you are done, you can remove the subaccount or leave it in place for future use – it is your choice
It’s quite likely that your global account is shared by a larger team. There is a subtle but important feature to the steps described above: each team member can have their own subaccount for this sort of experimentation and learning use. Each subaccount will have private instances of the required free tier service plans. Balance isolation and sharing by creating exactly the number of subaccounts that you need. You may allocate required free tier service plans to each.
Many tutorials may require services that are not yet on our list of available free tier service plans. In such cases, you can always still execute these tutorials in your SAP BTP Trial account. If you really feel the need, you may also entitle and enable the corresponding paid service plan and then disable the service when you are done. Your choice.
Free Tier Service Plans: Community Support
A few final notes: Free tier service plans are not designed for productive use. SAP provides no SLAs associated with free tier services plans either. If you think you have encountered a runtime issue with a plan, you can ask a question on the SAP Community Q&A site and tag the appropriate service as part of your question. SAP product folks monitor these forums, so your request should get proper attention quickly.
Explore and Interact
The free tier is designed to give you more options to explore many SAP Business Technology Platform services at little or no cost. As initially released, exploring free tier service plans will require and existing SAP BTP PAYG or CPEA global account. Although I am not speaking for SAP when I say this, it is reasonable to expect further announcements later this year that will allow you to explore the free tier in your own personal SAP BTP account.
You can continue to use your SAP BTP Trial account as well.
Which one you choose for a task might best be based on whether your focus is on personal learning or a more formal company-sponsored project. Both are approaches available to you, and most existing SAP enablement content and code samples will run on both, too.
Check out more posts and announcements on the SAP BTP topic page. There’s a quick link there to post your questions, too.