Sapphire 2017 saw some big announcements regarding SAP Cloud Platform but both Cloud Foundry (as discussed in this blog) and some element of multi-cloud deployment have long been expected. However, the Sapphire announcements made it clear those two are intrinsically linked.

SAP Sapphire Now 2017
Mark Williment

Mark Williment

Head of Technology

After some teasing tweets, a blog from Bjoern Goerke, CTO at SAP and President of SAP Cloud Platform was released simultaneously with the Sapphire keynote. The SAP Cloud Platform Cloud Foundry services were general availability – with a productive version available immediately on AWS, the same services available in beta on Azure, and a Google Cloud Platform version on the roadmap. As the announcement happened – logging onto the SAP Cloud Platform cockpit the services could be seen ready to go.

The first indication was on the region selector on the SAP Cloud Platform cockpit’s home page, and a quick look at this page shows two vital elements of the release, the regions are split into two groups “Cloud Foundry” and “Neo”; and each region tile specifies the infrastructure it runs on.

SAP Cloud Platform cockpit

SAP have made it clear neither Neo and Cloud Foundry will extend in the future, and I firmly expect the management and services across the two to become ever more tightly integrated.

So what do the “Neo” and “Cloud Foundry” groupings mean? Neo was the original pre-release name of SAP Cloud Platform, now revived as the name to cover the long-standing SAP Cloud Platform services and management cockpit – select a Neo region tile and you get the cockpit you’re familiar with, select a Cloud Foundry region and you get to the new complementary set of services.

On each tile you’ll see an “Infrastructure” element as well – Neo services remain in SAP data centres and Cloud Foundry services are multi-cloud from the start with a choice of AWS or Azure infrastructure.

The SAP Cloud Platform online help has a handy guide as to what services are available on Neo, Cloud Foundry or both. There’s overlap, but I would broadly categorise them as Neo provides services to extend and integrate business systems (mobile services, API Gateway, cloud integration and so on), while “Cloud Foundry” provides services for more exotic development such as IoT (MongoDB, Reddis, RabbitMQ). Crucially some of the most compelling aspects of the platform, single sign-on, backend connectivity, authorisation and the SAP HANA database are available across both. Also there’s the ability to closely integrate services on both as described in this blog.

SAP Cloud Platform SCP

One element that is not immediately clear is what are the full implications of multi-cloud – how will the SAP Cloud Platform services on AWS, Azure and Google be differentiated? Will there be a price differentiation? Will it be easy for organisations to leverage existing investment in those platforms? For example, if an organisation has invested in AWS Direct Connect for dedicated bandwidth between AWS and their on-premise network, will they be able to utilise that for fast connections to SAP Cloud Platform services on AWS? Time will clearly tell – but these are exciting times for those of us working with SAP Cloud Platform.

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