Watching the live stream of Björn Goerke’s entertaining keynote at SAP TechEd Barcelona, I was struck by one theme underlying the announcements and demos – making scale cloud delivery simpler. By large scale I mean not just single systems with large numbers of users – but delivery across multiple solutions, multiple cloud models (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS), multiple geographies and multiple cloud providers.

There is a trend to systems being delivered in smaller integrated units (micro-services being one manifestation and specialist ‘Software as a Service’ products being another) deployed on technology and in locations that make sense for the application. This approach, enabled by cloud, provides excellent flexibility but can lead to data fragmentation and the keynote featured demonstrations of two products aimed at simplifying this – SAP Data Hub and the Data Custodian partnership with Google Cloud.

Mark Williment

Mark Williment

Head of Technology

Taking care of your data

Data Hub was announced in summer 2017 but got an in-depth demo in Barcelona. It is focused on data operations, orchestrating and governing data flows between systems – a vital capability where systems are distributed but require common data.

Data custodian was introduced in partnership with Google with an expected go-live in 2018. Governments around the world are increasingly giving their citizens rights to understand where their data is stored, and what is done with it. In a multi-cloud, multi-application environment spanning different geographies, this can get very complex and isn’t always at the top of the team’s delivering a system’s priorities. However, the fines and reputational damage can be enormous.

Announced was a ‘Docker’ image for a local version of Data Hub for development and proof-of-concepts – early developer engagement is vital for a new technology, and easy development tools are essential for this. Data custodian looks an interesting initiative, allowing organisations to set rules on where different data can be stored geographically.

It may sound trivial but when hyper scale ‘Infrastructure as a Service’ solutions can replicate disks across the world with a simple configuration change – it’s not! More importantly, it will report and demonstrate compliance across the full data lifecycle. Although simplifying compliance is something that is likely to go down well in boardrooms where regulatory compliance ultimately resides, I’d expect to see a lot more of this product set in next year’s events.

ABAP on SAP Cloud Platform was, as per TechEd Vegas, heavily featured here with a demonstration showing the release is getting closer. Choice of implementation technology can simplify delivery – pick an implementation technology your organisation already knows. I covered ABAP on SAP Cloud Platform in more detail in an earlier blog.

Finally, Open Source and standards were once again emphasised at the keynote – with SAP’s commitment to to Cloud Foundry, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and Open API initiative all getting a mention. The Open Source approach is important to simplification – as it widens the knowledge base available to help deliver a solution. Notably, all these initiatives already manifest in products, with SAP Cloud Platform Cloud Foundry, the SAP API Business Hub

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