In my post SAPPHIRE 2019: Long live the king! Long live PaaS! I gave you my opinion about SAP’s future and how their new strategy is heavily Cloud based. Today I want to give you a brief description of SAP Cloud solutions, what are they used for and some links so you can start digging and learning about them.
IaaS, PaaS, SaaS: What are you talking about?
The first goal is to understand the differences between the available Cloud Solutions. In the following image you can see the differences between IaaS, PaaS and SaaS:
- IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service): We basically buy the infrastructure. Our cloud provider will provide the data center with server, storage, firewalls, etc. The best example of IaaS is a EC2 instance on AWS.
- PaaS (Platform as a Service): We only manage the application and services. The cloud provider will manage everything else. Example of this could be S/4HANA Cloud.
- SaaS (Software as Service): All the underlying infraestructure, software, data, etc. is managed by the cloud provided. A good example could be Office365.
There are other models as FaaS (Function as a Service) and CaaS (Container as a Service) that doesn’t appear here but knowing the 3 main models should be enough. Let’s take a look to SAP Cloud solutions:
SAP IaaS Solutions
The only option available for IaaS in this case is SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC). SAP HEC is quite similar to renting your instance in AWS, Azure or GCP with a few differences:
- SAP HEC works only with HANA/ASE as databases.
- SAP manages the operating system. You as a customer have no way to connect to the OS.
- SAP manages all database tasks as backup, monitoring, start/stop operations, etc.
- Basic elements of a SAP System are managed and monitored by SAP. For example, it is not possible to access to client 000.
- Update/Upgrade operations on the SAP system are performed by SAP. SAP will charge you mainly for upgrades since update operations an SP update are included.
- Functional/technical operations are performed by the customer.
As you can see SAP HEC is an hybrid between Iaas and Paas. I recommend you reading SAP HEC Services Documentation in order to check what is included within the contract. A few years ago there was a PDF file with the tasks and responsibilities but I cannot find it on its newer version:
I’m not a big fan of SAP HEC to be honest. First of all there is the problem related to the supported OS/DB/SAP versions. Then there is the problem related to the Basis tasks performed by SAP. A lot of them have extra cost and there are not included in the contract so at the end it could be more expensive than having your SAP system on AWS and hiring a Basis maintenance. Updating/Upgrading your systems could be tricky as explained in the SAP Note 2539399 – HEC: Release Management.
I know about different SAP implementations running on SAP HEC and people with different opinions about it. Some clients are happy and some clients are unhappy so it really depends.
SAP PaaS Solutions
The main solution here is SAP Cloud Platform. It is basically an open platform where companies can register and create their own applications. Customers can search and subscribe on those applications. It is based in SAP HANA Platform and use open source and open standards.
It also have tons of API Packages so you can integrate your applications with SAP S/4HANA, SuccessFactors, Concur, etc. The price depends on the number of services you subscribe and also the partner’s applications you subscribe. It has tons of capabilities, I recommend checking them because it will adapt to your requirements.
You should also know that SAP Cloud Platform comes in two different flavors: Cloud Foundry and Neo:
- SAP Cloud Foundry: Contains the Cloud Foundry Application Runtime based in open-source application platform. Developers can use multiple programming languages such as Java, Node.Js, PHP, Ruby, etc. It is also possible to use multiple cloud providers as AWS, Azure and GCP.
- SAP Neo: Contains SAP property runtime. We can develop our applications using Java, SAP HANA XS and HTML5 applications so the allowed programming languages are quite limited. It only runs on SAP Data Centers.
I recommend reading the following article about differences between SAP Cloud Foundry and SAP Neo: SAP Cloud Platform Environment – Cloud Foundry Vs Neo. You can also start a free trial of SAP Cloud Platform if you use SAP Neo. In case you want to use SAP Cloud Foundry you will need to pay depending on the region and services.
SAP SaaS Solutions
Last on the list is the SaaS solutions. In this case SAP Cloud ERP is the main star and SAP most famous Cloud solution. In this case we have different options:
- SAP Business One for small companies.
- For midsize companies we can use SAP Business ByDesign .
- And last SAP S/4HANA Cloud for large companies or companies that want to use SAP HANA.
So all the solutions offered in Cloud flavor are the traditional SAP solutions with a Fiori interface and entirely web. In the case of SAP S/4HANA Cloud there are two possible options:
- SAP S/4HANA Cloud Multi-Tenant: It is not possible to access using SAP GUI access and you are not allowed to create custom ABAP reports.
- SAP S/4HANA Cloud Single-Tenant: It is possible to access using SAP GUI access and you are allowed to create custom ABAP reports but not custom objects in the repository. Also it is not possible to change standard SAP Objects.
The idea is basically give the customers a different approach to move their On-Premise systems to the cloud and later to SAP S/4HANA Cloud.
Also in the SaaS solutions we can find SAP Ariba. SAP Ariba is the SAP Solution for the procurement process and it was bought by SAP in 2012. SAP idea was that SAP Ariba will replace SAP SRM and SAP SRM-SUS.
We have two options available for the CRM and SCM parts of the Business Suite: C/4HANA and SAP Digital Supply Chain. In the case of SAP C/4HANA in includes five cloud solutions as SAP Marketing Cloud, SAP Commerce Cloud, SAP Customer Data Cloud, SAP Sales Cloud and SAP Service Cloud.
In the field of Human Resources we can find SAP SuccessFactors which was acquired by SAP in 2011. And the last option available is SAP Analytics Cloud for reporting and analytics. Just think about SAP BusinessObject on Cloud with more possibilities. I also wanted to include in this list SAP Concur for expenses, travel and invoices.
Really soon we will have a new Cloud solution: SAP Data Warehouse Cloud. Right now is on beta program so you can register and try it if you want. Check also the video I posted on the SAPPHIRE 2019 article about this new solution, I think it is going to become extremely popular among C-level.
As you can see SAP Cloud Portfolio is growing during the last years. They basically some years ago with SAP HEC as a competition against other Cloud providers but it ended up having their own market with a huge potential. I firmly believe that SAP Cloud Solutions will play an important role in the future. Before ending this article I would like to recommend you two ways to learn about SAP Cloud Solutions:
- openSAP releases tons of courses related to SAP Cloud Solutions. Right now you can do the SAP Cloud Platform Essentials course. Next month the Intelligent Decisions with SAP Analytics Cloud course starts, I recommend checking openSAP periodically to learn more about the new SAP solutions.
- SAP Technology Youtube Channel has a lot of videos related to SAP Cloud Platform.