SAP Cloud Platform – a very general overview

We have all heard of SAP Cloud Platform, even more so nowadays after the SAP TechEd 2020, where it was the star of most of the lectures and workshops.

So what exactly is SAP Cloud Platform?

SAP themselves are defining SAP Cloud Platform as an enterprise Platform-as-a-Service (enterprise PaaS) that provides comprehensive application development services and capabilities, which furthermore lets you build, extend, and integrate business applications in the cloud.

SAP Cloud Platform runs on multiple cloud infrastructure providers, and so it supports different environments, like ABAP, Kyma, and Could Foundry, various programming languages, and multiple different regions.

The central point of entry to the SAP Cloud Platform is the cockpit, where you can access your accounts, tools, and applications, and manage all activities associated with them.

SAP Cloud Platform Cockpit

For the purpose of this blog, we used the Trial subaccount. As you can see, from the cockpit we have access to our services, subscriptions, the Cloud Foundry environment, connectivity, security, entitlements, and usage analytics.

First of all, in order to get the hierarchy straight, we need to define the Capabilities in SAP Cloud Platform. They group together different technical components, like services, runtimes, tools, APIs, and applications.

Services

The part of Services consists of the Service Marketplace and Service Instances. The Service Marketplace is a catalog of all the services available on SAP Cloud Platform.

SAP Cloud Platform: Service Marketplace

Services are used for development of business applications on SAP Cloud Platform in an easier and faster way. They are divided in two groups:

Business services: Services that enable, facilitate, or accelerate the development of business process components or provide industry-specific functionalities or content within a business application.

Technical services: Services that enable, facilitate, or accelerate the development of general or domain independent content within a business application, independent of the application’s business process or task.

You can see the full list of Services available here.

Regions

Furthermore, the applications can be deployed into different Regions, which basically are geographical locations where the data is hosted. Regions are provided either by SAP or by Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) providers, like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Alibaba Cloud. The third-party region providers are responsible for the infrastructure layer of the regions, and SAP is responsible for the platform layer and Cloud Foundry (environment).

Environment

Now, what is an environment? That is actually the platform that SAP is offering as a service. Inside this environment is where you can develop your applications, and where you can find runtimes, services and tools to help you do so.

At the moment, there are four environments available in SAP Cloud Platform:

  • Cloud Foundry Environment – here we have available the SAP Cloud Platform, Cloud Foundry runtime service, based on the Cloud Foundry Foundation’s open-source application platform.
  • ABAP Environment – this is actually a new space for ABAP Development, created under the Cloud Foundry environment. Here, extensions for ABAP-based systems can be created, like for S/4HANA Cloud, for example. Additionally, new cloud applications can be developed, or adjust existing ABAP-based custom code into the cloud environment.
  • Kyma Environment – it is a Kubernetes runtime based on the open-source project «Kyma». Using serverless Functions and containerized microservices, developers can create their event-based and API-based extensions.
  • Neo Environment – in this environment we can develop HTML5, Java, and SAP HANA XS (extended application services) applications, and also use the SAPUI5 for creating user interfaces for web-based business applications.

Commercial models

And as far as the commercial models go, SAP offers two options:

  • Consumption-based commercial model – as the name itself suggests, here you pay according to the services consumed. One plan is to get access to all eligible SAP Cloud Platform services, current and future, and then turn them on or off, in accordance with the requirements, and pay only for the services used. This is the SAP Pay-As-You-Go model, and is suitable for customers with use cases that are not well defined, and are interested in running a proof-of-concept in a productive environment. However, another alternative to this one, while keeping the consumption-based model is the SAP Cloud Platform Enterprise Agreement (CPEA), where the organization pays annually and in advance. It is suitable for companies that have well-established and planned use cases, and who want the flexibility of turning services on and off, and switching between services, without the commitment of being tied to a single service throughout the duration of the contract.
  • Subscription-based commercial model – in this case, the organization subscribes to the services they are going to use. Then regardless of the consumption, these SAP Cloud Platform services can be used for a fixed price.

As you might have noticed, the topic of SAP Cloud Platform is vast, and extensive, and so far we have barely scratched the surface. Since our point is not to overwhelm you with information, but to get you familiar with the concept as well as we can, we will be releasing a series of blog posts on SAP Cloud Platform detailing all the terms, concepts, and capabilities, keeping you up-to-date with all the news and updates, so stay tuned!

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