1 2 3 32 Previous Next

SAP Cloud Computing

478 Posts

As SAP has positioned itself as one of the leading cloud service provider, cloud computing is getting a lot of attention from CIOs and line of business (LOB) leaders who are already showing a great amount of interest in this topic. CIOs and LOB leaders are now interested to find out how they can take advantage of the cloud computing and extend their business to the cloud, make their business more agile and reduce time and cost for deploying new applications. Being a beginner in the cloud computing area, I started reading tons of blogs available on this topic on the web and in SAP community network and learned a great deal about what SAP stands and what it has to offer in terms of cloud computing. But, then I realized that I need to take a step back and first understand the basic definitions and fundamentals about cloud computing and move on from there. If you are like me, a beginner in the cloud computing, then please join me as we start this journey...

 

Definition

As per National Institute of Standards and Technology, the cloud computing is defined as : "Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that

can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. This cloud model is composed of five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models"

 

Characteristics

Now that we know the technical definition of cloud computing, let us try to understand some of its key characteristics that makes it so popular.

On-demand self-service: customer (subscribers) can use web based portal to request cloud resources (server time and network storage) as needed without any human interaction.

Broad network access: cloud computing resources are available over the network and can be accessed using all kinds client platforms e.g. mobile and desktops.

Resource pooling: Computing resources (e.g. storage, processing, memory, and network bandwidth) are pooled to serve multiple consumers using a multi-tenant model. Multi-tenancy can be economical for customers and at the same time if offers flexibility whereas new resources can be assigned or reassigned based on customer demand.

Elasticity: Resources are provisioned and released on-demand and/or automatically based on certain parameters.

Measured service: Resource usage can be monitored, controlled, and reported, providing transparency for both the provider and

consumer of the utilized service (1).

 

Service models

Cloud computing is available mainly in three service models:

 

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Cloud service provider provides its customer servers, network, storage and other computing resources aka infrastructure which is managed solely by the cloud service provider. The service provider owns the equipment and is responsible for housing, running and maintaining it. The client typically pays on a per-use basis. Customer can run operating systems and application of their choice and have control over it.

 

Software as a Service (SaaS):  the customer can use the provider’s applications running on a cloud infrastructure. The applications are accessible from various client devices through either a thin client interface, such as a web browser or a program interface. The customer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure or even individual application capabilities, with the possible exception of limited user specific application configuration settings.

 

Platform as a Service (PaaS): Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a way to rent hardware, operating systems, storage and network capacity over the Internet. The service delivery model allows the customer to rent virtualized servers and associated services for running existing applications or developing and testing new ones. Geographically distributed development teams can work together on software development projects. Services can be obtained from diverse sources that cross international boundaries. Initial and ongoing costs can be reduced by the use of infrastructure services from a single vendor rather than maintaining multiple hardware facilities that often perform duplicate functions or suffer from incompatibility problems. Overall expenses can also be minimized by unification of programming development efforts (4).

 

Deployment models

Private cloud. The cloud infrastructure is created for and to be consumed by single organization.

It may be owned, managed, and operated by the organization, a service provider, or some combination of them, and it may exist

on or off premises.

 

Community cloud. The cloud infrastructure is created for and to be consumed by a community of organizations who share common mission and objectives.

It may be owned, managed, and operated by one or more of the organizations in the community, a service provider, or some combination of them, and it may exist on or off premises.

 

Public cloud. The cloud infrastructure is created for and is available for consumption by public.  It exists on the premises of and is managed by the cloud service provider.

 

Hybrid cloud. The cloud infrastructure is a composition of two or more distinct cloud infrastructures (private, community, or public).

 

I hope now you have good understanding of the fundamentals of cloud computing and the choices it offers. In the next part of this series, I will try to explore the cloud offerings from SAP and how they fit in with different cloud service and deployment models.

 

References used:

  1. 1. http://thoughtsoncloud.com/2014/01/cloud-computing-defined-characteristics-service-levels/
  2. 2. http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-145/SP800-145.pdf
  3. 3. http://searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com/definition/Infrastructure-as-a-Service-IaaS
  4. 4. What is Platform as a Service (PaaS)? - Definition from WhatIs.com

 

 



Technology is everywhere and to remain competitive in today’s business environment, every business needs to transform digitally to connect with consumers. Whether you’re a large financial institution or a small local car garage, your customers want instant access to transfer funds or simply book a service. Transactions have become so easy to complete with instant internet access anywhere on a smartphone or tablet, businesses that don’t have an online presence will soon be forgotten about. Everything is now available at the touch of a button or screen so businesses need to have everything in one place, ready to go.


If you’re in a business that hasn’t digitally transformed yet, come along and join this free course by openSAP, Digital Transformation and its Impact. This course explains the challenges your business may face and provide practical solutions to help you avoid disruption by going digital now. Topics will include disruption, the four building blocks of digital transformation: Cloud, Mobile, Data, and Networks, the role of IT, and show examples of digital transformation. 


Your instructors for this course are Sven Denecken, SAP’s Global Vice President for Customer and Partner Strategy Cloud Solutions, and Bert Schulze, senior member of the SAP Cloud Global Customer & Market Strategy group. Sven and Bert have extensive experience working with customers to understand their needs and are focused on Co-Innovation and Strategy for SAP´s Cloud Solutions. The course starts on February 24 and will run for four weeks.


Don’t get left behind. Transform early and discover new insights, new innovations, and ways to interact. Sign up for free today!




About openSAP

openSAP is SAP’s open online course provider delivering courses in the format of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). The course will run for four weeks. Each week, you will get access to the latest content through:

  • Video Lectures: You can access the material at any time throughout the week at a time that suits you. You can download the material for offline viewing.
  • Self-tests: After each video unit, you will have the opportunity to test your knowledge. The results of the self-test are not recorded and you can attempt the questions as often as you wish.
  • Discussion Forum: If you would like to discuss topics about the course or ask questions, you can visit the course discussion forum where you will meet peers and experts.
  • Weekly Assignments: If you would like to earn a Record of Achievement for this course, you are required to submit your homework each week.

I remember the good old days when the abundance of Y2K projects was keeping consultants busy and project funding was in abundance. I am one of the consultants who grow out from this boom.

Before I’ve become a consultant, I was warned: consulting is in decline. All companies are implemented their SAP systems, no need more work has left for us.

I am busy ever since 1999.

Watch my word: I think there is a new consulting boom is upon us.  Cloud computing will be the next wave of consulting paradise.

 

Why do I think this way? Just think about what was keeping us busy in the past decade:

 

For one, we have the constant evolution of the technology, second is the constant maintenance requirement of the implemented systems, mostly going through massive data and software entropy most of the time.

 

New systems were requiring adaptation, integration. The ERP install base was expanding during the decade. Companies were leveraging more functionality in the existing ERP core solutions. We learned more precise business process monitoring using CO and Project Systems. The systems were maturing on bigger clients. Template deployments were born, and these simplified business processes made companies more efficient.

Consulting with these integrations were essential for the companies.

 

These systems of course getting more complicated to maintain, fragmented master data and adopting the systems to these made the processes complicated. I find more and more of my consultant friends settling to these companies to keep them moving. This is mutually beneficial for both company and the former consultants: the consultants have a chance to retire from intensive travelling, while the company gets consulting knowledge at a price of a permanent employee.

 

Cloud computing is the next era of innovation.

 

The cloud is the buzzword of this decade. It was in the air in the nineties, I remember Larry Allison’s famous speech on the Network Computing machine. It has become reality with the high speed, especially high-speed mobile access to the technologies using the Internet.

The big question is how this technical breakthrough gets adopted to the enterprise universe.

 

I find large enterprises are not too fast with adaptation: their investment in the old tech is very high. The implemented solution is an expensive asset, and complicated to morph into the new processes. Changing core business supports is a risky endeavor, and no one is more risk-averse than any CIO of a large enterprise. However, we do see big companies accepting cloud solutions as the future model of their enterprise.

Moving to this segment of businesses will definitely require consulting work. This means that us, seasoned ERP consultants we need to learn how to adopt old ERP solutions to the new cloud-based system landscapes.

 

There is an other emerging layer of enterprises who will benefit from our consulting experience: the small and medium enterprises of the past decade, who are about to scale up to a next level of ERP, or looking for a new system.

 

The basic immediate benefit for these companies is the elimination of the need for hardware and software infrastructure.

If your company was running on a small enterprise software or scaled up to the business one level, but not ready to pay for a full-blown ERP system implementation, the systems needs to be scaled to next stage of the business. They will need to look for a solution, and the most natural way of moving is working with a cloud-based solution. These are our early adopters, and they will pave the way to new methodologies for the rest of the large enterprises.

 

The big question to me is what is the better strategy to moving companies to the cloud. Early adaption or go with the mass?

If the technology growth is exponential as we experience it today, early adoption could have a technology benefit for the smaller enterprises, which could help them to outgrow the existing players in the market.

Cloud provides access to e.g. markets via social media, cloud-based analytics that is not part of the core ERP business model today. The evolution of these systems and plug-ins can change a reactive enterprise to a pro-active model. It is especially important where the consumers are rapidly changing their demands. Access to the customer is becoming more difficult and the customers becoming more self-efficient with existing cloud-based technologies. Just think of the recent revolution of the 3D printing technologies, or how the photo or music industry changed, big players disappeared by the change of the technology.

 

Looking at the world and the speed of change we experience I think there is no better time to be consultant than now. As long we keep up with the cloud, our knowledge will be needed.

“Darling - any idea where my keys are?” 01_KEYS.jpg

Running late already for our weekly dancing class. “Honey, have you seen my keys recently?“  Yes, indeed - classical ballroom dancing: Rumba, Cha-cha, Jive, Waltz, … You know what ? Geeks can dance …. “Yes, I am sure I had them with me – how should I otherwise have opened the door?” … The ballroom dancing calls had been a Christmas gift from my wife. Yes, I know exactly what your thoughts are … “I’ll check if my keys are in my bag which I had at work” … Well, you know, at the age of 45 you have to do some kind of sports to keep in good shape. “No, not in the bag” Yes, dancing is sports – you don’t believe me?  No – I don’t meant watching dancing with stars on TV sitting on the couch – I mean really doing it yourself. Try out yourself. But be careful who you pick as partner. You better don’t risk 15 joyful years of being married to your beloved one.  “No, I definitely did not leave them in the car. No, really not. OK, honey – I’ll double-check”. But you know what? After a long day at a software company having successfully managed 6 conference calls starting in the morning with my Australian mates and ending the day with my colleagues in Palo Alto, having created 3 power-point presentations on the value of HANA, published one SCN blog and posted 10 tweets dancing is feels like relaxing your brain … “I found them – you would not believe it – the keys had been still in the car“.

 

Wouldn’t it be good if …

Obviously this is a 100% fake story which could have never happened like this in real life – but wouldn’t it be great if there is an app you can just ask where the keys are? The app would just tell you where to find them and how to get there. Not that I expect that app to be as good as my wife. Any you know what? This app exists, it comes with a beautiful, simple User Interface based on SAP UI5, is powered by SAP HANA and – our team won SAP Demo Jam in Las Vegas showcasing this app – check out how Santosh Kumar and  Simranjeet Kaur from our SAP Custom Development APJ team rocked the house at SAP TechEd && d-code. Isn’t that a great app and an even better demo performance? OK – I know we are on SCN so everyone reading this blog is a techie and hates these marketing blogs published by all these SAP guys on SCN. So let’s get serious.

DEMO JAM VIDEO.jpg

 

Why did the team come up with this use case?

We are all loosing things on a daily base. Thousands of smartphones get lost in cabs per day – zillions of socks get lost – and still it is a secret why always the left sock gets lost (the answer to this question is not 42 by the way). Yes, smartphones have a built-in functionality to track and find the device once lost – but what about the other pieces which are not GSM enabled but still are valuable for us? How do I find my handbag, my wallet, my watch (yep – I lost already  a watch in an SAP office …), my laptop, … Why not having a way to define which items are important for me so that we track and trace them wherever they are, anywhere on the planet. Science-Fiction? No – this can be done already today. The technology is available. This is how “SPOT ON” was born – an application to find and track any items valuable to us.

 

How to bring this to life?

Ok, the application needs to be simple, easy to use and accessible from anywhere on any device. So let’s build a cloud based application coming with a SAP UI5 frontend, running on the SAP HANA Cloud Platform. At the core of the solution is a tracking device providing the geo-location of the item it is tagged to.

 

Here are the technical specs for the tracking device:

  • GSM – Simcom 900a
  • Microcontroller – Atmega 324
  • GPS Module – gotop1513 sf
  • Voltage Regulator – IC 2576adj
  • Battery Charging Management – IC Max 1555

DEVICE.jpg

As youcan see this is yet a prototype but radically reduced the size of this prototype should not be a big thing.

SPOT ON is build with SAPUI5 and SAP HANA XS. The data is exposed using the SAP HANA OData Interface. The application also runs a XSJS service which is responsible for retrieving the latitude & longitude data of the device from an external server.

 

Tour the app

Let us have a look what the application can do: After logging in you we are re-directed to a dashboard with 4 tiles:

APP Screen 1.jpg

A click on the “Manage Item” tile opens a screen which provides an overview on all items which have been registered: With one shot you can see when the device was registered and the location where the device was detected the last time. You can easily register new items by adding the name and the unique device ID which is used the map the database entry with the physical device.

APP Screen 2.jpg

 

Next we click on the “Search” tile. Here we can either manually select the item which we want to retrieve or we can use the built-in voice recognition capabilities by e.g. saying “SPOT ON find Pickup Truck”. Having recognized the task and the requested item, the app highlights the position of the app in Google maps and displays the optimum route to get there.

APP Screen 3.jpg

OK – Walking from Jaipur to Gurgaon might be not the best idea – let’s take a car next time.

 

But that’s not the end of the story. The team had bee also been able to add predictive analytics capabilities. Based on statistics on which category of items has been lost in which locations we are able to do a prediction where an item most likely will got lost.

 

The future of SPOT ON

There are multiple, possible use cases for SPOT ON. One can use such a solution to trackany kind of shipment in the world any time it is in reach of a GSM connection. In today’s world items are typically tracked by scanning a barcode tagged to the item. This allows us to know when an item leaves a hub or reached a hub but we don’t know where it is in between. As more and more planes are equipped with GSM responding infrastructure - we might be even able to see when an item is in the air. Finally one can evaluate tracking and shipment data to improve efficiency of shipping and utilization of transportation routes – but also early detect critical zones where items are getting lost or stolen more often.

 

A big congratulation to the team behind SPOT pot – you rock and we are proud of you !

Demo jam Team.jpg

Oliver

 

See als my previous cloud blogs:

In my recent blogs Extending the Power of the SAP Cloud Portfolio and Adapting the cloud to your needs using a PaaS solution, I talked about the fact that mission-critical functionality can’t be left behind when moving to the cloud and how a PaaS solution like SAP HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) helps customers to adopt their SaaS solution to make this happen. In this blog we will take a closer look on how to get started and how SAP helps customers to speed up the development of new, innovative cloud applications.

 

How to get started with SAP HANA Cloud Platform - SAP TechEd && d-code 2014 highlights

The page http://hcp.sap.com serves as a central page for everybody wanting to get first-hand information on the SAP HANA Cloud Platform. The developer section provides

  • Access to a free trial account allowing you to build your own application and try it out
  • Tutorials on how to set-up and get started with the development infrastructure
  • Access to the SAP HANA Cloud Platform Developer Center for additional tutorials, blogs, and community conversations

HCP.jpg

HCP supports multiple languages for the development of cloud applications. The most convenient way to develop responsive, Fiori-like SAPUI5 cloud applications on HCP is the SAP Web IDE. It does not require any additional local tool set-up and allows developers to jointly work on a project using a common Web interface while connecting to the same shared HANA based data repository. As described here SAP Web IDE is a fully extensible and customizable experience that accelerates the development life cycle with interactive code editors, integrated developer assistance, and end-to-end application development life cycle support. Prakash Darji showed a brief demo of SAP WEB IDE as part of the SAP TechEd && d-code 2014 day 1 keynote. By the way – one of the best SAP TechEd keynotes I saw so far, check it out yourself. On the 2nd day Bjoern Goerke and Ian Kimball jointly demoed how to easily create, deploy and adapt  a cloud application on HCP based on an existing SAP Fiori template and finally run it on a mobile device using mobile services which is an integral part of HCP – see the demo here (ff to ~01:17:00).

 

HCP WEB IDE 2 Bjoern.jpg

Don’t want to build it on your own? SAP is here to help

While cloud applications can be built by an in-house development team, many organizations choose to work with partners and SIs. This particularly makes sense when the partner organization is skilled to customize, extend and manage a company’s mission-critical business process functionality running on-premise as well as on SaaS and PaaS solutions. In fact, a recent IDC report notes that enterprises prefer to work with a single major cloud service provider capable of providing a complete and fully integrated solution: “63% said they expect to have a “single major CSP” (cloud service provider, which includes delivery of all kinds of cloud services, from applications to infrastructure.” To support this request from our clients we established a team of cloud developers and architects within our SAP Custom Development organization. This team partners with customers that want to accelerate their journey to the cloud. We work tightly together with our colleagues in the core cloud application units, the SAP HANA Cloud Platform team, solution architects from with deep LOB and industry knowledge to design, build and run tailored cloud applications and extensions to fulfill the growing demand.

 

Innovation in the cloud: Spot On – the SAP Demo Jam Winner !
Demo jam.jpg
To showcase the innovation capabilities of HCP and to inspire people how cloud applications can transform customers  business our team at SAP Custom Development prepared and submitted an application which was build and deployed on HCP using a Fiori-like, SAP UI5 based simple and beautiful UI, called “Spot On”. This application can be used by anyone to find a lost or misplaced item (or person) with the help of GPS technology. Watch how the crowd went wild when our team presented Spot On at SAP TechEd && d-code 2014 in Las Vegas. Guess what – they WON ! Congratulations to the winners Santosh Kumar and  Simranjeet Kaur and the full team comprised of Jyoti Kushwaha, Aditya Srivastava, Sonam Singh and Saarthak Jain!

 

More on Spot On and other real-life examples

Interested to get a view behind the scene on how Spot On was built and hear from other real-life examples of cloud applications developed by our SAP Custom Development ? This and potentially more will come in my next blog – stay tuned.

 

Oliver

 

 

 

Introduction

Unless you have been living under a rock in the Atacama Desert with only a Llama for company, you will have come across the term cloud computing. It is thrown about wildly on the internet, in corporate buzz word speeches and even in some of the stranger pubs in Dublin.

 

Believe it or not, the cloud is nothing new. Its evolution has seen it meander from a mainframe-terminal relationship in the corporations and universities of the 1950’s, to the complex array of services provided today. This can make it quite difficult when trying to find a single definition for cloud computing. Yes its roots are computing concepts of a bygone era, but it is only recent advances in network technologies that have allowed for the cloud to emerge as a potential successor to the personal computer. With this in mind do any of us really understand what cloud computing is or where it came from?

 

Defining the undefinable

In researching the answer to what cloud computing is, it is easy to become flummoxed with the vast differences in definitions found in a simple Google search or varying books on the topic. For example;

  • Gartner defines cloud computing as “a style of computing in which scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities are delivered as a service using Internet technologies” [1]and it is important to note that Gartner refer to this definition as “Official”.
  • The National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST) define cloud computing as “a pay-per-use model for enabling available, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g. networks, servers, storage, applications, services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.” [2]
  • Alternatively there is the economist’s view that “Cloud computing is essentially the next phase of innovation and adoption of a platform for computing, networking, and storage technologies designed to provide rapid time to market and drastic cost reductions.” [3]

 

A lot of these definitions don’t describe what cloud computing is, merely the usage and features of the cloud. The fact appears to be that cloud computing is such a multitude of things that these definitions amongst more are perfectly correct, but for the most part fall into the corporate buzz word trap, with a continuous regurgitation of “scalable” and “elastic”, without really giving any insight into what either term means in relation to the cloud.

 

A brief use case

John Smith is the owner of an online Novelty Christmas Jumper store founded in 2010. Three seasons on and coming into the fourth, John has been delivering Jumpers worldwide and in turn has had a serious increase in sales. When John initially set up the business he purchased a small server to run both company software and host the website, unfortunately this hardware investment was done without the foresight of such amazing growth. John now has hardware that is incapable of maintaining his business. During his busy period last year John received daily complaints about the performance of his website. John’s company has scaled and his hardware and software both need to do the same.

 

Although John Smith’s Novelty Christmas Jumper store is a fictional creation, it is a perfect example of how the cloud can benefit scaling companies. Rather than a heavy upfront investment in IT, as your business grows, the cloud allows your hardware and software solutions to scale as required. Another point to note is the major busy period at Christmas. Companies no longer have to purchase IT equipment to deal with the worst case scenario. The elasticity of the cloud allows businesses to add and subtract Virtual Machines and Disk Space with just a few lines of code. We are now in an era of service based, requirement ready computing. The next question is - how did we get here?

 

An ideological birth

It appears the concept of cloud computing is much attributed to John McCarthy when in 1961 he pondered that “computation may someday be organized as a public utility.” [4]McCarthy likened his concept for the future of computing to that of the telephone service. In which all the real work is done out of view and the user is only required to lift the receiver and dial a number. His idea was termed “Utility Computing” [5] and provides much of the backbone on which the cloud computing idiom is based.

 

Whilst John McCarthy is associated with the concept J.C.R. Licklider an American computer scientist is more widely associated with proactively developing technologies that created the first networks on which a cloud computing system could exist. Licklider created the idea of a packet switching network called the “Intergalactic Computer Network” in a memo in the 1960’s. His postulation grew traction and led to the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPAnet) in 1969 which is commonly seen as the first internet. [6][7][8]

 

Despite the cloud computing concept being attributed to McCarthy and/or Licklider in hindsight it may now been seen as the next logical step in computing systems. Back in the 1960s and early 1970s, “there was no such thing as a personal computer; instead, there were large mainframes the size of small refrigerators which sat in a specially-designed room and could be accessed by users who shared its processing power, memory, software and so forth.” [9] Access to the mainframe was via a terminal. These terminals had virtually no capabilities other than data input and output. Early mainframe systems were purpose built, expensive and generally only manufactured by large companies such as IBM or developed by Universities. [10] This centralised approach to computing had many advantages, for example;

  • Mainframes run multiple sessions, and with high reliability. Companies can run their IT operations for years without problems or interruptions with minimum down time.
  • Administration is very easy due to the fact that all applications layers are monitored in one Machine.
  • Reduced management and administrative costs whilst providing a much better scalability and reliability. [11]

 

It’s nothing personal

Despite these advantages, the biggest problem and ultimate downfall of the mainframe was the networking technologies of that era. Whilst mainframes were scalable, this scalability was normally confined to a single building. The only network around was ARPAnet which in the early 1970’s was only adding nodes at a rate of 1 per month. [12]This lack of connectivity coupled with the invention of the microprocessor lead to the development and popularisation of the personal computer.

 

Personal sized computers can be traced as far back as the 1970’s. The French made Micral N being the earliest example of what we consider nowadays to be a personal computer. It was introduced in 1973, powered by Intel's 8008 chip, and was the first commercial non-kit computer based on a microprocessor. It was conceived in France by François Gernelle. It took until the 1980’s before the personal computer eventually popularised. This was due to the expense involved in creating a “one size fits all” computer. The first example of this style of computer was the Amstrad CPC range launched in 1984. The early 90’s, with a special gratitude to Microsoft saw sales of the personal computer explode. Sales between 1985 and 1990 were approximately 24 million, the following five years to 1995 saw sales more than double to 58 million. This growth in the personal computer market brought a new need for network connectivity and once again the Universities came to the rescue. [13][14][15]

 

Networking is good

As the personal computer evolved, so too did the network technologies that brought the existence of the internet. ARPAnet originally designed as a way to allow the American Air Force maintain command and control after a nuclear attack, was now beginning to connect Universities across America. ARPAnet’s abilities were limited, a user could only connect to a remote computer, print to a remote computer and transfer files between computers. These limited abilities however were revolutionary at the time and ARPAnet’s Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) quickly became the network industry standard. Another major milestone in the development of the internet was Ethernet technology created by Bob Metcalfe in 1973. Ethernet quickly coupled with TCP and allowed the widespread development of local area networks in the 1980s, in turn allowing the nascent Internet to flourish. [16][17]

 

In 1989 Tim Berners-Lee proposed the World Wide Web (WWW) as an information management system designed to share ideas and knowledge with his counterparts across the world. In November of the same year Tim Berners-Lee implemented the first successful communication between a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) client and server via the Internet and by 1991 the first server went live in the United States of America. The web developed and grew to the mammoth it is today, as did the means of connectivity. Broadband internet connections are now common place in homes in each corner of the globe. Free wireless connections are offered in coffee shops across all major cities and towns. Mobile phones have transgressed to being mobile devices or smart phones. This ability to always be connected to the web has proved to be the necessary step to combat the devolution the personal computer inevitably was. [18]

 

One step back, two steps forward

In a sense we have evolved back to the cloud. The difference now is the mainframes and terminals are now longer restricted to single buildings but instead span the globe in client server relationships. This has allowed for a new view on software design and hardware infrastructure.

 

In 1999 Salesforce.com showed the world that software can be bought as a service. This “as a Service” ideology caught on quickly and in 2002 online retailer Amazon got involved. At first Amazon offered not software but storage as a service. By 2006 Amazon had developed a full suite of services which could be used on the cloud. One example, Amazon Web Services EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) allows its consumers to create and destroy custom sized web based virtual machines at a whim, fulfilling the “elasticity” criteria of the cloud. [19][20]

 

Since 2006 the idea has continued to evolve. For SAP, the cloud coupled with the invention and innovation of Hana Technologies has allowed for a whole new approach to enterprise software. Most would agree that prior to the explosion of the cloud, SAP was seen as a medium to large scale business software option only, with the clouds elasticity and scalability it is now possible for SAP to truly open its doors to smaller enterprise. The financial benefit of this to SAP is obvious but these SME’s are also set to gain big. The experience SAP has garnished since its foundation in the 70’s is unmatched in enterprise software alternatives. Companies can manage all aspects of their business, be it HR, Finance, CRM or Procurement in the cloud with the most comprehensive cloud computing portfolio on the market. 35 million business users already use SAP Cloud, most seamlessly integrating it with their on premise solutions to maximize business agility. [21]

 

Having looked at some of the services provided by cloud computing it is easy to see the “why” behind its current popularity. For customers, it is the ease of scalability with little upfront capital investment. For providers, it is the ability to open up to new customers and markets. Some figures for cloud products have valued it at 250 billion by 2020 in Europe alone.

 

In Conclusion

Cloud computing is essentially completing the natural life cycle of the computing age. Much like electricity, computing is moving from its innovation stage to service stage. Electricity, which was much known about for hundreds of years was not really commoditised until 1821, when Michael Faraday invented the first electric motor. This caused an innovative period that was maintained through the early and mid-19th Century. In 1890 with much help from Nikola Tesla, the inventor of alternating current (AC), George Westinghouse installed the first long-distance power transmission lines - 14 miles between Willamette Falls and Portland, Oregon. Electricity in less than 80 years went from being innovation to service. Homes all across America and in time the world begin to plug in and pay for the service that is electricity. The similarities to cloud computing are uncanny. [22][23]

 

In truth cloud computing itself has no “real” history, like electricity cloud computing is the culmination of a century of innovations. If not for early computers the size of large rooms, if not for the transition to transistor, if not for ARPAnet and the Internet, if not for the Personal Computer and the mobile phone, if not for all the things that have been instrumental in building a world where technology is common place and connectivity is a necessity, there would be no cloud and there would be no cloud computing. Looking to the future it is easy to see that connectivity will be king and the cloud, well that will be the kingdom.

 

Sources

  1. Gartner, Cloud Computing Definition, http://www.gartner.com/it-glossary/cloud-computing/, 2012
  2. National Institute of Standards and Technology, http://www.nist.gov, 2009
  3. Bill Williams, The Economics of Cloud Computing, Cisco Press, Indianapolis, IN, USA, 2012
  4. Simon Garfinkel, The Cloud Imperative, http://www.technologyreview.com/news/425623/the-cloud-imperative/, 2011
  5. Alfredo Mendoza, Utility Computing, Technologies, Standards and Strategies, Artech House Publishers, 2007
  6. Arif Mohammed, A History of Cloud Computing, http://www.computerweekly.com/feature/A-history-of-cloud-computing, 2012
  7. Technopedia, What is the Intergalactic Computer Network, http://www.techopedia.com/definition/27943/intergalactic-computer-network, 2010
  8. Mary Bellis, ARPAnet – The First Internet, http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa091598.htm, 2013
  9. TurboSoft, A Brief History of Terminal Emulation, http://www.ttwin.com/blog/index.php/history-terminal-emulation, 2011
  10. THOCP, Mainframe, http://www.thocp.net/hardware/mainframe.htm, 2011
  11. Rakesh, Mainframe – Advantages and Disadvantages, http://biznik.com/members/rakesh-s/articles/mainframe-advantages-and-disadvantages, 2011
  12. Computer History Museum, Internet History 1970’s, http://www.computerhistory.org/internet_history/internet_history_70s.html, 2006
  13. Georgi Dalakov, History of Computers, http://www.history-computer.com/ModernComputer/Personal/Micral.html, 2013
  14. Amstrad, Amstrad Company Profile, http://www.amstrad.com/about/profile.html, 2008
  15. EtForecasts, Worldwide PC Forecast, http://www.etforecasts.com/products/ES_pcww1203.htm, 2010
  16. National Museum of American History, Birth of the Internet, http://smithsonian.yahoo.com/arpanet2.html, 2013
  17. Barry M. Leiner et al, Brief History of the Internet, http://www.internetsociety.org/internet/what-internet/history-internet/brief-history-internet, 2012
  18. CERN, How the web began, http://public.web.cern.ch/public/en/about/webstory-en.html, 2008
  19. Julie Bort, The 10 Most Important Companies in Cloud Computing, http://www.businessinsider.com/the-10-most-important-companies-in-cloud-computing-2012-4?op=1, 2012
  20. David Ramirez, Amazon Web Services, http://www.slideshare.net/davinken/amazon-web-services-history-overview-presentation, 2008
  21. SAP Cloud Computing, http://www.sap.com/pc/tech/cloud.html
  22. Spark Museum, The Development of the Electric Motor, http://www.sparkmuseum.com/MOTORS.HTM, 2012
  23. Westinghouse Nuclear, History, http://www.westinghousenuclear.com/Our_Company/history/Timeline/1846_1899.shtm, 2013

In my recent blog I talked about the fact that mission-critical functionality can’t be left behind when moving to the cloud. Every industry, whether it’s manufacturing, travel, retail, or aerospace, has unique requirements that aren’t always met by general cloud solutions. Plus, almost every company has built unique business processes that have traditionally separated it from the competition. The value of this functionality is priceless and core to a business’s success – and it can’t be just left behind on premise. So here’s the million dollar question: How do customers leverage the benefits of moving their key business processes to the cloud to improve business outcomes today and continue to innovate and transform for the future?

 

The technology behind the last mile

All Saas solutions offer a minimum of customization to adapt the solution to customers need. SAP Business ByDesign and SAP Cloud for Customer offer two ways to extending the application: A Key User Tool and a Software Development Kit (SDK) previously known as Partner Development Infrastructure (PDI) – see also this “How-to guide” describing both options in detail. To configure and extend SuccessFactors solutions the “Meta-Data Framework” (MDF) can be used – this SCN blog by Luke Marson provides an overview on MDF for those of you wanting to get a deeper insight.

 

What all these tools have in common is that they allow customers IT or the Business User to adapt the solutions without long intensive training – no need to engage a 3rd Party and spent a lot of money. On the other hand cloud-based solutions are by nature limited when it comes to individualization and supporting specific business requirements beyond a certain level. To be able to build and deploy rich extensions, there is a need for an extensibility layer. Within this added layer of development, valuable, mission critical business functionality can be fully realized and the promise of the cloud can become a reality.

 

Building rich functional cloud extensions – Why PaaS ?

To avoid disruptions of the underlying core cloud solution allowing seamless regular updates, rich and complex custom-tailored extensions needs to be build outside, decoupled from the core solution. Extensibility is managed in a dedicated, separate cloud infrastructure offered in a platform as a service (PaaS) model where the SaaS business objects are accessed via public APIs. As PaaS and cloud application are different solutions with distinct databases, they do not share the same data objects. SAP HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) is SAPs PaaS offering. It offers

  • a design time environment to develop cloud applications
  • an enterprise-scale  runtime environment to run the applicationsPAAS big picture HCP.jpg

PaaS solutions like HCP support three major business scenarios:

  • New innovative cloud applications supporting customers to e.g. establish new business model and enter new markets
  • Easy-to-use cloud applications extending on-premise to support the end-users need for consumer-like business apps while running complex business processes in the on-premise backend
  • Rich cloud solutions extending the functionality of existing SaaS solutions to fulfill unique business process requirements. The Extension Package for SuccessFactors is an example of such an extension providing out-of-the-box abilities to build cloud solutions extending extend Success Factors Employee Central (EC) core functionality

 

I strongly recommend reading the blog “SAPHANA Cloud Platform – setting the stage” from SAP Cloud guru and evangelist Matthias Steiner for an overview on what HCP is all about and what it offers to customers and partners.

 

Get started on the last mile now…

For organizations that want to move to the cloud, there is no reason to wait! Having laid the foundation on how this goal technically can be achieved, my next blog will cover design and build of these applications in more detail and how SAP is scaling up its development resources to help customers to accelerate their journey to the cloud.

 

Let me know your thoughts and stay tuned!

 

Oliver

Developers looking to build applications with SAP database solutions now have access to components of the SAP® Data Management portfolio in OpenShift.   The mobile data management cartridge for the SAP SQL Anywhere suite, available to developers for free, makes it easier for developers creating database applications in OpenShift to extend their data to remote and mobile applications, and keep it synchronized.


Using the OpenShift Cartridge API, the cartridge for SAP SQL Anywhere enables developers to quickly "snap-in" a pre-configured, ready-to-develop cartridge for synchronizing MySQL-based applications. This means more rapid development of applications that require fast, scalable and reliable online/offline data synchronization of mobile devices and remote offices to a central server database.

 

SAP SQL Anywhere is a comprehensive suite of solutions that provides data management and synchronization technologies that enable the rapid development and deployment of database-powered applications in embedded, SaaS, remote and mobile environments.

 

The combination of OpenShift by Red Hat and SAP SQL Anywhere delivers developers a flexible, choice-driven solution that is capable of handling large amounts of data. OpenShift automates the provisioning management and scaling of the application, while the self-administering, self-tuning, self-healing and synchronization support features of SAP SQL Anywhere make it well-suited for zero-administration environments.

 

Developers want technologies and solutions that help them do their jobs better, faster. Developing apps in OpenShift using the mobile data management cartridge for SAP SQL Anywhere lets developers do this, while taking advantage of key SAP database technologies and scaling to the needs of the application from small scale through enterprise-class.”

 

Developers can access SAP’s cartridge and mobile data management component through github.

Cartridge for SAP SQL Anywhere for OpenShift

Mobile Data Management component for SAP® SQL Anywhere

 

For more information on SAP SQL Anywhere and its mobile data management component, visit

http://scn.sap.com/community/sql-anywhere

 

273186_l_srgb_s_gl.jpg

Today the benefits of the cloud – cost efficiencies, increased operational flexibility, and lower total cost of ownership – are well within reach. Companies understand that the fastest path to maximizing innovation and business transformation is through the cloud and that this journey, when executed properly, can help enterprises take a competitive lead in their industries. But organizations are still struggling to come up with a comprehensive cloud-adoption strategy that

 

  • works for their existing, well-established business processes
  • takes into consideration the investment into their on-premise infrastructure
  • gives  them the flexibility to innovate and fulfil the growing business

 

The hurdle of the last mile

When considering moving the cloud, many organizations are concerned that they will need to leave the functionality of their on-premise solutions – which often includes competitive, industry-specific extensions – behind,on premise. This is a valid concern, because while cloud solutions are providing innovation at the pace of business change, not all cloud solutions fully address a company’s primary – and often mission-critical – business process functionality. One of the reasons why cloud solutions sometimes struggle to support the customer’s need for individual, unique, tailored business process solutions is described in the following SCN blog by Sven Dennecken “Cloud Myth Busting: Myth #8 - Cloud Can’t Adapt to My Needs.“… SaaS solutions require more discipline of enterprises in the standardization of processes. Updates can’t be performed individually as a large number of tenants share the same solution core – and this core needs to be kept upgradable anytime.”

273818_l_srgb_s_gl.jpgIn reality, this “last-mile” challenge – bringing mission critical functionality to the cloud – is companies all around the globe experience. A recent report from Oxford Economics shared results from a survey indicating that for 42% of the respondents, business continuity was a risk that they were concerned about in the adoption of cloud computing. The report also says that integrating clouds with on-premise applications is one of the challenges that companies face in meeting their cloud strategies.

 

Mission-critical functionality can’t be left behind – How to deal with it in the cloud?

In my next blog I will talk about ways to overcome this challenge e.g. by using a PaaS solution like SAP HANA Cloud Platform. I will then tell you how SAP is scaling up its development resources to help customers which are starting this journey to run their mission critical tailored business processes in the cloud. And I’ll end the mini-series with two or three recent customer projects – at least that’s the plan.

 

Let me know your thoughts on this and stay tuned!

 

Oliver

Welcome back to this mini series about SAP HANA Cloud Platform (HCP). In part 1 we provided you with a high-level overview about PaaS in general and HCP in more detail. Based on this knowledge we can now dig deeper and see how some of the recent announcements fit into the bigger picture.

 

Open PaaS

 

It is essential to understand SAP's vision in regards to PaaS to fully grasp the relevance and the importance of the things we'll discuss in this blog post. So, let's have a brief look back at the early days before we fast forward to today (and beyond).

 

In the beginning of SAP's PaaS journey there's been the conscious decision to start from scratch and develop a cloud platform based on open standards and open source software. From a development perspective this approach looked promising and perfectly in-line with the typical benefits of using open-source: reduced development time, a stable and mature code base to build on and ultimately lower development costs. Interestingly these benefits are exactly those a cloud platform needs to provide in order to appeal to developers, which is why we decided to not only use this approach internally to develop the platform, but also to make it our guiding motto in regards to design decisions impacting how developers would interact with the platform (Please see: SAP NetWeaver Cloud & Open Source - A match made in heaven)

 

In simple terms this philosophy boils down to: only differentiate in areas where there is no prior art and where differentiation adds value! In all other areas it pays off to use open standards and open source as it lowers the entry barrier and leverages synergies. Ultimately, (cloud) platforms are all about adoption and the best way to push adoption is to make it plain & simple to get started.

Slide07.jpg

 

The way we see it providing an open platform goes beyond technology and encompasses the whole lifecycle from familiarizing with the platform, getting all the required tooling, to education and staying up-to-date. In this regard, HCP truly is the prime example of a new philosophy at SAP as everything a developer needs to get started is freely available on the web.

 

Information

 

Our central landing page (http://hcp.sap.com) provides tailor-fitted information for all stakeholders (customers, partners and developers) to learn about the platform and its capabilities. The developer section of this website features lots of tutorials explicitly covering the getting started experience. Additionally, the entire online documentation is publicly available on http://help.hana.ondemand.com. (Speaking of which, the best testimonial about the quality of the online documentation came from DemoJam runner-ups SAP Droids, a team of mid-school kids, that developed a mobile application connected to HCP. In a follow-up interview one of their team members claimed to have been "able to teach himself how to program on that platform largely based on the documentation SAP provided."  [REF])

 

Tools & SDKs

 

We understand that developers are reluctant to marketing and that ultimately they want to experience the platform first-hand to assess it. For that purpose, we provide all our tools and SDKs for download on a central page: http://tools.hana.ondemand.com/#cloud. To facilitate the consumption of HCP's APIs for Java develoeprs we also provide the respective packages on Maven Central, which is a popular repository for Java artifacts. (For further information please refer to Building Java Web Applications with Maven.)

 

Please note that SAP offers free, perpetual developer accounts for SAP HANA Cloud Platform to provide developers with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the platform first-hand. Signing up is as simple as 1-2-3 and does not take more than 5 minutes. Those interested please visit our respective developer page on:

 

http://hcp.sap.com/developers.html

 

 

Education

 

For the purpose of learning more about the platform and how-to develop on top of it SAP provides free online education courses (Massive Open Online Courses) on open.sap.com. The courses we conducted so far have seen a great uptake (more than 70k people enrolled) from the community and the feedback has been very positive. The repetition of "Next steps with SAP HANA Cloud Platform" hosted by Rui Nogueira is still ongoing, but you can always access past courses online here: Introduction to SAP HANA Cloud Platform. Furthermore, there is a great selection of shorter HOW-TO videos available via the SAP HANA Academy on youtube: SAP HANA Cloud Platform - Java Development

 

For more information regarding the openSAP courses related to HCP please consult this article: openSAP course guide - Introduction to SAP HANA Cloud Platform.

 

Code samples

 

Developers want source code and ready-to-run samples to get up to speed with a given technology. That's why we provide plenty of them on our github page all shipping under an Apache v2 open-source license.

 

Communication

 

Last, but not least: communication. Let me start by pointing out our public release notes. Since day one we play it open by providing detailed information about our bi-weekly updates to the platform. Those who have been following HCP for a while can certainly testify that we have been walking the talk. The next resource to mention is the HCP Developer Center, the place where the community mingles and where we share news, blog posts and other information with our developer base. Last, but not least... many on the team are also active on Twitter and other social networks (e.g. Slideshare).

 

Cloud Foundry @HCP

 

Now that you know our stance on openness let's discuss how some of the more recent announcements fit into the picture. In March this year SAP (among others) joined the Cloud Foundry Foundation as a platinum member. This step marks an important milestone in our engagement with Cloud Foundry, which dates back a few years already. As announced in a keynote session at the Cloud Foundry Summit, SAP will intensify its investment and partnership with Cloud Foundry, following up on some contributions that have already been made (e.g. the SAP HANA Service Broker for Cloud Foundry or the node.js Connector for SAP HANA.)

Slide14.jpg

Going forward, SAP will incorporate Cloud Foundry as an additional runtime container alongside the existing JVM-based runtime and the native SAP HANA programming model leveraging server-side Javascript. To pilot this integration of Cloud Foundry into the HCP stack SAP is currently developing a new "as-a-Service" commerce platform based on Hybris, which will run on Cloud Foundry.

Slide15.jpg

Given the support Cloud Foundry receives from all the members of the Cloud Foundry Foundation and the broader PaaS community it has the potential to become the "Linux of the Cloud". The reasons for SAP to embrace (or even propose to CF as Richard Hirsch put it) are manifold, but they all share a common characteristic - openness:

 

  • support for additional runtimes and programming models via so-called buildpacks
  • low risk of lock-in for apps and services due to wide adoption of Cloud Foundry among PaaS providers
  • gain more flexibility in deployment models for HCP (e.g. private cloud scenarios)
  • last, but not least the opportunity to help shape an ecosystem that spans across the whole industry

 

The desired flexibility to leverage HCP in non-SAP data centers was also a main reason to strengthen our commitment to OpenStack as announced in July. The combination of Cloud Foundry and OpenStack promises both a low entry barrier and a reduced TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) for customers and partners intending to run HCP in various cloud environments.

Slide12.jpg

SAP actively contributes to Cloud Foundry with an emphasis on features required to operate the respective technologies in an enterprise-scale cloud environment distributed across the globe. Other key areas besides operations are commercialization (commercial micro-services based on Hybris, marketplace integration, metering & billing services and API management) and user management (replication of users from central enterprise stores, enterprise-grade authentication and authorization, Single Sign-On and user mapping between CF users/roles and common identity providers.)

 

Planned innovations

 

I'd like to wrap up this blog post by providing a brief outlook on other planned innovations. We already elaborated on some of them in the previous paragraphs, yet there are two topics we did not cover so far: support of additional databases (SAP ASE and SAP IQ) and the integration of Docker as an additional runtime container. For those who may not have heard of Docker yet, here's a short description from its founder Solomon Hykes:

"Docker is an open platform for developers and sysadmins to build, ship, and run distributed applications. Consisting of Docker Engine, a portable, lightweight runtime and packaging tool, and Docker Hub, a cloud service for sharing applications and automating workflows, Docker enables apps to be quickly assembled from components and eliminates the friction between development, QA, and production environments. As a result, IT can ship faster and run the same app, unchanged, on laptops, data center VMs, and any cloud." [REF]

 

In other words, think of Docker as a virtualization technology, which allows to define images including both the application plus arbitrary runtime dependencies. These images can be deployed into any cloud environment that support Docker. In comparison to other VM-based virtualization technologies, Docker is more lightweight as multiple Docker containers share the host OS and kernel while ensuring clean resource isolation and allocation. The obvious benefit is the flexibility this brings to HCP in regards to the components that can be deployed.

Slide18.jpg

 

Those interested to learn more about the roadmap of HCP are strongly recommended to attend the respective session at SAP TechEd conducted by  Thorsten Schneider (Head of HCP Product Management):

 

DEV814

 

Product Roadmap Q&A (1hr)

Road Map Q&A: SAP HANA Cloud Platform

 

SAP HANA Cloud Platform combines the power of SAP HANA with the flexibility of the cloud to build net new industry and LoB solutions, and to extend existing SAP solutions. This session outlines currently available features, planned innovations, and the future direction of SAP HANA Cloud Platform.

 

Speakers: Thorsten Schneider

Tue, 12:00pm - 01:00 pm

We, 10:00am - 11:00am

 

Outro

 

As you can see there's a lot of traction behind SAP HANA Cloud Platform and yet I barely scratched the surface with this two part blog series. Those attending SAP TechEd && d-code this year will definitely  hear more during the event; all others - don't worry we'll make sure you capture all the relevant information in subsequent blog posts. Stay tuned...

 

PS: Short reminder - here's a summary of all HCP-related sessions conducted at SAP TechEd && d-code: HANA Cloud Platform @TechEd - Not to be missed!

 


Note: The respective presentation can be found on Slideshare: SAP HANA Cloud Platform - Setting the stage

SAP TechEd && d-code is just around the corner and as everyone is busy with last minute preparations it's buzzing all around me. From what I can tell SAP HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) will be a BIG topic this year and as such I'd like to set the stage for the things to come. Assuming that not everyone is yet familiar with SAP's cloud platform I decided to divide this post into two parts.

 

In part one, we'll start from scratch and talk about cloud platforms and their value proposition in general before we have a closer look at HCP. As such, it can be considered as preliminary reading for those that want to gain a better understanding of the platform prior to going to SAP TechEd && d-code. The second part will then take it from there and focus on more recent activities and announcements

 

 

Cloud Basics

 

Before we dig deeper, let's establish a common vocabulary:

 

Slide03.jpg

Cloud computing is a relatively new phenomena within IT, yet it's a close kin (if not the brain child) to established practices such as hosting and virtualization. More so, it takes the principle of outsourcing the operation of systems via hosting services and the flexibility of hardware virtualization to the next level: the result is called Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). In short, IaaS providers offer resources (e.g. computing power, storage, networking bandwith etc.) on a subscription basis. This frees customers from having to buy/maintain their own hardware and instead rent them as needed from IaaS providers. This does not only result in a shift from capital expenses to operational expenses, but also empowers companies to focus on topics closer to their primary expertise (instead of having to deal with low-level infrastructure challenges!) The fact that the dominant IaaS players all operate at extra-large scale and that they are fighting for marketshare very aggressively results in offerings which are also very appealing from a pricing perspective. As such, IaaS by itself is (close to becoming) a commodity business and consequently vendors are offering higher-level services to differentiate from the competition (more on that later on!)

 

A common analogy to explain the benefits of cloud computing is the introduction of power grids as part of the industrial revolution. Instead of having to operate their own steam engines (or equivalent) to produce electricity companies started to procure electricity from specialized suppliers. What I find particularly fitting about this comparison is the fact that both electricity and computing resources per se are just means to power something. In the context of cloud computing this of course means: applications!

 

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provides many advantages over traditional on-premise solutions. For consumers, SaaS solutions provide a care-free experience: the software is always up-to-date (without having to cope with tedious updates etc), it's accessible from anywhere (on-demand) and new features are rolled out more frequently (continuous delivery). Solution providers on the other hand benefit from the reduced time-to-market gained with SaaS and that they can rollout new features to all customers at once. Yet, given the demand to rollout new solutions faster than faster the question arises how-to best (reads: most efficiently) develop SaaS solutions. Enter: Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).

 

Cloud platforms such as HCP address this challenge by providing a standardized design and runtime environment to develop, extend and run applications in the cloud. They provide an abstraction layer for the underlying infrastructure and take away the burden of managing all the lower-level infrastructure complexity such as load-balancing, disaster recovery (DR), high-availability (HA), fail-over scenarios (FO) and elasticity ... just to name a few. This way,  development organisations can focus on developing their business solution based on this standardized environment and the comprehensive set of capabilities, services and APIs offered by the platform.

 

Platform Play: End-to-End approach

 

So far, we have exclusively talked about the technical implications and benefits of PaaS, however that is only one aspect of it. For a platform to be successful it is important to also cover the commercial factors and the marketplace.

Slide04.jpg

 

As such, the SAP HANA Cloud Platform needs to seen as the technical pillar of a broader cloud platform play including the SAP HANA Marketplace and of course - the ecosystem. The best example of a successful platform strategy can be found in the mobile space where companies like Apple and Google have established a thriving economy for mobile applications around their respective platforms. The underlying rational is simple:

The platform that accomplishes to attract the most developers will get the most apps. The platform with the most apps will be the most attractive platform for customers. The platform with the biggest customer base will be most attractive for developers and so on.  [Source]

 

In a nutshell, it's a cycle, that - once set in motion - eventually accelerates itself. SAP is determined to foster such a platform for enterprise software together with its customers and partners. While a lot of the action will take place behind the scenes, this strategy manifests itself in the newly created HCP-centric website: http://hcp.sap.com. (For further information please read the respective blog post: A new home)

 

Typical usage scenarios

 

While cloud platforms have to cater to and support a broad variety of usage scenarios (see The VOID that is PaaS) we understand that it helps to provide typical usage scenarios. Especially for less technical people it's sometimes hard to get a grasp of the opportunities such a platform provides by just looking at its technical capabilities. To address that we have compiled a set of scenario archetypes that have proven to be ideally suited to be developed on HCP, yet please keep in mind that this is not an exclusive list, but rather meant to be a conversation starter.

Slide06.jpg

 

So, the three major usage scenarios we see are as follows:

 

  • New cloud solutions (e.g. LoB solutions or verticals) that leverage the in-memory capabilities of the underlying SAP HANA database platform
  • On-premise extensions that extend or connect to existing on-premise systems and use the cloud as an outbound channel for easier access and providing a first-class user experience (e.g. such as Fiori)
  • Cloud extensions that extend the functionality of existing SaaS solutions such as SuccessFactors Employee Central

 

The next usage scenario HCP will be focusing on is Internet of Things (IoT), so expect to hear announcement in this area during SAP TechEd && d-code.

 

HCP within the broader cloud strategy of SAP

 

With common usage scenarios outlined above it's a good opportunity to elaborate on HCPs role within the broader cloud strategy of SAP. As such, let's spend a few minutes elaborating on this aspect.

Slide10.jpg

 

Given the similarities in names it's important to understand the difference between the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC) and SAP HANA Cloud Platform (HCP). The former (HEC) is a managed service provided by SAP to operate (parts of) a companies landscape on behalf of the customer, freeing him to focus on more innovate scenarios and solutions that help to differentiate from competitors. Focus use cases are: SAP Business Suite on HANA, SAP BW on HANA, SAP HANA Data Marts and other solutions based on SAP HANA. Customers subscribing to HEC benefit from an initial end-to-end assessment prior to a tailor-fitted migration to HEC. SAP then takes care of  application maintenance and all other operational activities within HEC's managed cloud environment.

 

SAP HANA Cloud Platform on the other hand is SAP's public cloud PaaS offering to develop, extend and run applications in the cloud. This could be either custom-developed solutions developed in-house, applications developed with the intension to sell them as SaaS solutions (e.g. via the SAP HANA Marketplace) or ready-to-run applications provided by SAP or its partners.

 

HCP is also the designated extension platform for SAP`s SaaS solutions including the recent acquisitions of Ariba, Hybris, Fieldglass etc. as well as the strategic development platform for new cloud solutions. Prime examples of such solutions are SAP Financial Service Network , SAP Precision Marketing or SAP Mobile Documents just to name a few.

 

[Update:] The latest addition to the list of SaaS applications powered by HCP is the new SAP Cloud for Planning solution.

 

Available packages

 

SAP HANA Cloud Platform comes in various packages, each targeting a unique group of customers - all of which are available via the SAP HANA Marketplace:

Slide11.jpg

 

Let's have a closer look at the individual packages:

 

  • Infrastructure Services - This package provides SAP HANA infrastructure on a subscription basis for customers who already have a license and who want to get up and running quickly and without having to invest into hardware.
  • DBServices - This package provides both infrastructure and license subscriptions for SAP HANA and it comes in two flavors: a Base and a Platform Edition. Both editions provide native development capabilities such as SQLScript and Extended Application Services (XS) as well as SAP HANA Cloud Integration for data services for initial and delta loads.
  • AppServices - This package includes all the capabilities of the DBServices package plus in addition provides shared Application Services and capabilities typically required for the development of new multi-tenant cloud applications or extensions of existing solutions residing either on-premise or in the cloud. Furthermore, it offers additional runtimes and programming models such a certified Java Web Profile runtime as well as an integrated development and runtime environment to develop lightweight consumer apps based on HTML5 and Javascript.

 

Which package best suits your needs depends on your intended usage scenario and whether or not you already have a license for SAP HANA. For more information regarding the individual packages and their capabilities please consult the following blog post: SAP HANA Cloud Platform - The full package.

 

Please note that SAP offers free, perpetual developer accounts for SAP HANA Cloud Platform to provide developers with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the platform first-hand. Signing up is as simple as 1-2-3 and does not take more than 5 minutes. Those interested please visit our respective developer page on:

 

http://hcp.sap.com/developers.html

 

 

High-level overview

 

To wrap up the first part of this mini-series let's have a closer look at the AppServices package and the capabilities it provides:

Slide12.jpg

As the name suggest, HCP is based on SAP HANA, SAP's in-memory database platform. Needless to say, all applications developed on HCP leverage the vast set of capabilities provided by SAP HANA such as advanced engines (Planning, Geo-Spatial, Predictive, Graph, Text Search & Tech Analytics), the Planning SDK and the Predictive Analysis Library. For more details about these features please consult this document.

 

To facilitate the rapid development of cloud applications the platform provides a vast set of platform services for the most common pattern in software engineering such as persistence, connectivity, identity and document management and so forth. Addressing the needs it requires to develop first-class business applications these application management services are complemented by profiling and monitoring tools, logging capabilities and remote debugging of cloud applications.

 

In addition, HCP offers a set of higher-level services, which provide specialized capabilities as needed for specific scenarios such as:

 

 

Outlook

 

With that I want to conclude part 1. By now, you should have a good understanding about SAP HANA Cloud Platform and its comprehensive set of capabilities as well as typical business scenarios that can be solved using HCP. In part 2, we'll have a closer look on some of the most recent announcements and activities related to the platform and ultimately set the stage for further news revealed at SAP TechEd && d-code. Stay tuned...

 


Note: The respective presentation can be found on Slideshare: SAP HANA Cloud Platform - Setting the stage

Mastering the digital transformation under the pressure of possible disruption is challenging, especially with so many lacking the management and experience necessary.  Leadership is critical in order to kick-start the transformation.  Clear direction and initiative from the right leader can make a substantial push forward toward achieving digital transformation. I would even argue that no leadership means no change and no transformation.

 

A 2013 survey by MIT Sloan and Capgemini Consulting reports that 40% of executives and managers interviewed cite a lack of urgency in the company as the biggest barrier to digital transformation. Even worse, 93% of employees state that they would say yes to a focus on digital transformation. 


So while the exact entry point into digital transformation (customers?  business? processes?) is less widely agreed upon, one thing is clear: businesses need to adopt a digital transformation vision.


LI-leadership.jpg


Digital transformation is often pigeonholed as an IT topic, but it is not. If done right, digital transformation affects the entire enterprise. It might start with a well-prepared CIO, fueling the company with new tools and the simplification of processes. But because of the potentially huge impact on the entire company, the strategy needs to be directed from the top down.


Should a digital transformation involve transitioning to an “as a service” business, all C-level executives will need to direct change.  The CFO, CHRO, COO, and CMOs must adapt, since their key areas – financials, people, production, and sales and marketing – will all be affected.


We’ve seen this top-down approach work successfully with the German Football Association (DFB – Deutscher Fussball-Bund).  Oliver Bierhoff, the national team general manager, wanted to improve communication between players.  Realizing that players preferred communicating digitally, Bierhoff connected the dots and commissioned an app for team communication and data analysis.  Within weeks, the team was using the app to communicate and debrief, to perform split-second analysis and to gain deeper insights from player data.  Now with a World Cup victory under their belt, Bierhoff and the team are already thinking of new functions for the app to advance their performance even further.


Challenges

By all means, leaders undertaking digital transformation will have to face a number of challenges.  To start, they must recognize the varying levels of digital proficiency (more details in our previous blog, “The building blocks”).

Not everyone will adapt easily to digital transformation – some may even resist it.  Other problems that leaders may run into include inertia, defensive attitudes, and internal politics. To combat these and to ensure that everyone is on board, organizations need to invest in training and change management workshops, for example, to teach usage and convey the benefits of digital initiatives.


Read more here.

Abbasi Sadikot

Cloud For Composed!

Posted by Abbasi Sadikot Oct 3, 2014


 

                    cloud-computing1 - Copy.jpg

 

"We can't change the direction of the wind, but we can adjust the sails." – Old Hindu Proverb

 


The SaaS model has undoubtedly disrupted many boardroom strategies. And hopefully by now everyone realizes that cloud is here to stay and are already cloud dreaming. What is important is to realize that we (both cloud adopters and software vendors) need to adapt to Cloud and not the other way around. Because the latter usually results in endless discussions of requirements around features and functions. Resulting into a system of records instead of a simple and robust system of engagement.


Businesses today want to outpace the disruption happening in their space. Cloud adopters should focus on simplifying and effectively run business processes with security and scalability in mind. Try to automate interactions and activities (both with and outside organization) that you couldn't dream with previous generations of technology. Do not mix your aspirations from on-premise world with on-demand. Think of an on-prem running on cloud. Disaster!

 

And software vendors should solve top-3 pain points in customers’ business processes and also focus on security, privacy, UI and performance. The pressure is to provide friction-less software in the digital world capable of computing multiple external interfaces. It should be future ready too; to manage underlying shift in technologies and that the new batches of developers doesn’t sight the architecture as complex.

 

Having worked with SuccessFactors and now with SAP Cloud for Customer, my favorite part in respective “What’s new” guide was never the “new” part. But something that is cool technologically and the powerful set of application capabilities centered on evolving processes and outward-facing interactions.  And so-far they haven’t disappointed. Both C4C and SF are already rich in their offerings and the good news is that they are adjusting their sails as and when needed.

 

I like the character of Mozzie in the TV series White Collar for his eidetic memory. He reiterates many times – “If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.”

 

So maintain calmness and composure as you (either as cloud adopter or cloud provider) draft your cloud story.

In today’s business world, across all industries, nearly everybody is travelling on behalf of the company they are working for. Some people travel every week, others only once a year. But all of them have the daunting task of reporting their travel expenses, which is about as fun as completing your tax declarations. While the once-a-year business travelers can hardly remember how the system works, the frequent travelers need a system which works quickly for all types of expenses.

 

As a result of this, travel managers are sometimes not the most popular people in the company, as they push hard to get all their internal customers satisfied.


But there is a solution available helping them

  • to get full process visibility
  • to report accurate figures to their management that allow them to make the right decisions


This will increases the satisfaction of their users while making their lives easier.

 

And besides that it solves the travel managers’ own issues like increasing compliance, connecting to booking providers effectively, and integrating to the financial backend of their company.

It is also simplifying IT’s life and gives the IT staff some time back to really care about their own internal customers.


Want to learn more about this therapy to simplify your life?


That’s SAP Cloud for Travel and Expense, a world class Travel Management solution.


A cloud solution that is easy to start with and offers easy to learn built-in mobile support to boost productivity.


Visit us @ ACTE Copenhagen:

ACTE_Copenhagen.png

 

 

 

Want to read more blogs about Travel and Expense management? Click here

 

Follow_SAPCloudTravel.jpg

A new study conducted by Oxford Economics for SAP busts several myths that we hear about Millennials. More important, it found evidence that shows Millennials will be the workforce majority soon. It isolates several key factors that companies need to act on now.

 

In Part 1 — The Looming Talent Crisis we debunked some of the myths about the Millennial workforce. Today we will focus on some answers to the most pressing questions: what we need to understand and how can we act on it.


An increase in the number of non-payroll positions for contingent workers will require changes to HR strategy and management — now.

  • 83 percent of executives say they will be increasing the use of contingent, intermittent, or consultant employees.
  • 41 percent of executives say their firm is increasingly using contingent workers.
  • 42 percent say this increasing number of contingent employees is affecting their workforce strategy.

Ongoing globalization and macroeconomic shifts mean the 2020 workforce will be made up of a wider group of ages and nationalities than ever before.


wf2020hub


In order to succeed, companies will need to have a broader understanding of their people and the markets in which they operate.


Executives cite globalization and Millennials entering the workforce as top business concerns — 51 percent say these labor market shifts have great impact on their workforce strategies. Our qualitative research — interviews with executives from around the world — will delve deeper into the reasons for these concerns.

One finding is that the Human Resources department too often lacks the information or insights needed to be truly strategic. HR most frequently works with C-suite executives but does not drive strategy at the board level.


"Only half (52 percent) of executives say workforce issues drive strategy at the board level, and nearly one-quarter say that workforce issues are an afterthought in business planning."

A lack of metrics and tools prevents HR and the whole organization from developing strategies for building the workforce of the future:

"While over half (53 percent) of executives say workforce development is a key differentiator for their firm, they do not have the tools and organization to back it up."


What matters most at work?


Companies often do not understand what their employees really want from them. When it comes to satisfied employees, compensation matters — a lot. Consistent with other recent findings, notably the Corporate Leadership Council, compensation is increasingly important to employees. As a result, companies should focus on monetary rewards.


"Only 39 percent of executives say their company offers competitive compensation. But when ranking the importance of benefits, competitive compensation and bonuses/merit-based rewards rank highest among employees — other benefits are far less important."


The leadership cliff


Executives and employees agree that leadership is lacking — and companies are not focused enough on developing future leaders. The gaps in leadership capabilities spells trouble for future growth.


Executives cite a lack of adequate leadership as the number two impediment to achieving goals of building a workforce to meet future business objectives, and only 35 percent say talent available in leadership positions is sufficient to drive global growth.


Leadership is not equipped to lead a global, diverse workforce. Just one-third (34 percent) say their leaders are prepared to do so. And, 42 percent of C-level executives say their companies’ expansion plans are limited by a lack of access to the right leadership. Employees agree with executives that leadership is lackluster.


Read more here:
Workforce 2020 – Part 2: What matters most to employees and what they really want from their employers | ZDNet

Actions

Filter Blog

By author:
By date:
By tag: