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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert

Update on our Cloud Foundry Activities

Earlier this year Pivotal – a joint venture by EMC, VMware and GE – announced to establish a formal open governance model for Cloud Foundry, an open platform-as-a-service framework. Together with five other veterans of the IT industry (EMC, HP, IBM, Intel and VMware) SAP announced to become platinum sponsor of the Cloud Foundry Foundation.

Much has happened since then. And much has been written and spoken about our decision to contribute to Cloud Foundry and to leverage it in our own PaaS, the SAP HANA Cloud Platform:

  • Matthias Steiner’s recent blog about SAP HANA Cloud Platform
  • Two interesting analyses (SCN, Diginomica) done by Richard Hirsch
  • Presentations from Dirk Basenach (SAP, recording) and René Welches (hybris, recording) during the Cloud Foundry Summit
  • Interview with Pieter Humphrey (Pivotal), Andreas Wesselmann (SAP) and Steve Winkler (SAP) during SAP TechEd && d-code 2014

With this blog post we want to revisit the latest events, talk more in detail about our approach and principles to adopt Cloud Foundry and give an outlook of what you can expect during the next months.

Cloud Foundry Foundation

And now the great news: Today Pivotal announced that the Cloud Foundry Foundation has been successfully established.

“The Cloud Foundry Foundation's mission is to establish and sustain Cloud Foundry as the global industry standard open source PaaS technology with a thriving ecosystem; to deliver continuous quality, value and innovation to users, operators and providers of Cloud Foundry technology; and, to provide a vibrant agile experience for the community's contributors that delivers the highest quality cloud-native applications and software, at high velocity with global scale.”

As you can read in today's Cloud Foundry Foundation announcement, we are excited to be part of the Cloud Foundry Foundation:

“As a Platinum member of the Cloud Foundry Foundation, SAP is actively engaged in helping to define one of the industry-leading, open-source PaaS technologies as well as part of the evolving ecosystem around it. It is important to be open, and we believe that Cloud Foundry is fast becoming ‘a platform of choice’ for many of SAP’s partners, customers and developers. SAP is committed to contributing to open-source PaaS technologies, including integration of technologies such as the SAP HANA® platform and Internet of Things as part of SAP HANA Cloud Platform.”
Björn Goerke, Executive Vice President and Corporate Officer, Product and Innovation Technology, SAP

The Cloud Foundry Foundation now has around 50 corporation members of different sizes and from different industries.

For us, the launching of the Cloud Foundry Foundation is an important milestone, because its bylaws and contribution rules formalize the governance of influence, intellectual property and opportunities for the contributors and give us a reliable path for the future of this open platform-as-a-service initiative.

We look forward to working closely with the the Cloud Foundry community.

Our approach to adopt Cloud Foundry

Matthias Steiner already nicely outlined our roadmap to adopt Cloud Foundry in our PaaS. Today we like to take a closer look at the principles we follow and the phases we run through during our journey.

For SAP it is important to follow three simple principles while adopting Cloud Foundry:

  • Learn by example: work with stakeholders to understand concrete requirements and derive backlogs accordingly
  • Use instead of write: avoid developing new platform components, but use externally available alternatives (open source) where applicable
  • Prefer value adding new features over re-implementing existing ones: instead of immediately replacing features already available on SAP HANA Cloud Platform with the equivalent features based on Cloud Foundry, start with leveraging Cloud Foundry to offer “more” to stakeholders of our PaaS (i.e. more programming models, more application services, more openness)

Now let’s take a brief look at what has happened so far and what is going to happen next.

Phase 1 (done)

During the last months we have been on a steep learning curve. After making the commitment to join the Cloud Foundry Foundation, we have set up dedicated teams in Walldorf (Germany) and Sofia (Bulgaria) to familiarize themselves with the technology, to run our first own Cloud Foundry instance and to support first internal frontrunner applications. To facilitate the learning process two developers joined the Cloud Foundry Dojo in San Francisco during Summer 2014.

The teams were able to run a Cloud Foundry instance in our German data center. In this setup Cloud Foundry BOSH acts as the abstraction layer to deploy and run the platform on the underlying infrastructure. BOSH supports (via so-called Cloud Provider Interfaces, CPIs) different infrastructure providers (AWS, OpenStack, vSphere). Currently we use the AWS CPI as our own, internal IaaS layer called Monsoon which offers an AWS API.

Our major frontrunner application for Cloud Foundry has been hybris-as-a-service, an offering to build commerce solutions. We worked very closely with the teams responsible to implement this offering in order to learn and plan our backlog in accordance with their requirements.

SAP has also started to make contributions to Cloud Foundry e.g. with the SAP HANA Service Broker for Cloud Foundry and you’ll see initial results of these contributions soon, also inside products from SAP and SAP companies.

Specifically in the SAP HANA Cloud Platform, Cloud Foundry will enable supporting scenarios like bring-your-own-runtime or bring-your-own-service so that customers and partners can have even more choice to leverage their know-how and technologies on SAP’s Platform-as-a-Service offering.

Phase 2 (ongoing)

Now we are in phase two of our Cloud Foundry journey. For this phase we plan to increase our investment in Cloud Foundry, to look into enterprise-readiness of our Cloud Foundry instances and to support additional application developers within SAP interested in utilizing the Cloud Foundry technology.

The number of SAP developers busy with the groundwork to make Cloud Foundry part of our PaaS offering has gone up significantly. It will further increase in 2015. Some of these developers are planning to join the Cloud Foundry Dojo training program in the next quarter.

To allow productive usage of Cloud Foundry as part of SAP HANA Cloud Platform, we have started to look at what is needed for monitoring, logging, backup and restore etc. We need to ensure that existing services offered by our PaaS are also available from within Cloud Foundry. We need to decide, too, which services to port to Cloud Foundry.

In parallel we like to allow additional internal applications to be built on Cloud Foundry. This requires training of application developers. Therefore, we have set up an internal trial system which can be used to gain a basic understanding of what Cloud Foundry is. And my partner-in-crime Matthias Steiner has already managed to run his famous Granny application there which he originally had used on SAP HANA Cloud Platform.

Phase 3 (future)

As soon as we feel comfortable we also want to give external developers (i.e. from customers and partners) a chance to take a look at Cloud Foundry in the SAP HANA Cloud Platform.

Therefore: stay tuned and look out for updates here in the SAP Community Network.



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