Is SAP Cloud Platform architecture the same as SAP cloud migration?

With so many SAP products using the term 'cloud,' understanding what Cloud Platform is -- and isn't -- can be confusing. Here's a quick intro to help bring clarity to the issue.

Confusion abounds in the SAP ecosystem, especially when it comes to the SAP cloud.

So, let's clear up one important point right away: SAP Cloud Platform is not a deployment type.

In other words, it's not referring to an SAP HANA system running in the cloud. Instead, the SAP Cloud Platform is a PaaS. It's SAP's environment for integrating next-generation technologies in the cloud.

SAP Cloud Platform architecture benefits

SAP Cloud Platform is the bridge to extending on-premises or cloud ERP functionality and getting access to SAP Leonardo technologies, such as IoT and blockchain. It's intended to be open and flexible, with open APIs and numerous tools, including an SDK for Apple iOS.

SAP Cloud Platform architecture enables organizations to build, extend and integrate business applications in the cloud. The platform provides an environment to tie together ERP applications and technologies such as machine learning, AI, blockchain, IoT and big data. With the SAP HANA service, organizations can use SAP HANA databases from their applications running on SAP Cloud Platform, via Java APIs and other application runtime environments.

SAP Cloud Platform consists of two different development environments, and the technologies a company needs to ensure a successful migration will depend on which SAP Cloud Platform offering it chooses, said Steele Arbeeny, CTO at SNP Schneider-Neureither & Partner SE, an IT consulting company and software provider based in Heidelberg, Germany.

Cloud Platform architecture components, requirements

One major component of SAP is the Neo platform, which closely resembles other infrastructure-as-a-service offerings, Arbeeny said. Neo requires organizations to have skills and tools for operating system administration and security, monitoring and management, as well as the knowledge to plan their own disaster recovery, scalability, capacity planning and high availability.

The other major component of SAP Cloud Platform is Cloud Foundry, which can be hosted in the SAP cloud and in the clouds of other providers, such as AWS and Google.

"This solution provides a containerized approach where your application components can be dropped into the Cloud Foundry containers, and the scalability, resource management and OS administration topics are abstracted away," Arbeeny said. "You may not even know what operating system you are running on."

The drawback of this approach is companies can only run components that are supported in the specific SAP Cloud Platform instance of Cloud Foundry, Arbeeny said.

For organizations that are planning to use SAP Cloud Platform, a look at the pros and cons of integration tools and a study of approaches such as DevOps are critical.

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