In my previous ‘SAP Cloud for Customer Customization: In-App extension’ blog I outlined how an end user, a key user and a developer can customise Cloud for Customer (C4C). There are numerous ways C4C can be modified from lightweight changes made via the WebUI to heavyweight solutions made in SAP Cloud Application Studio.
After these changes are made, a comprehensive round of unit and integration testing on the system will be required to ensure quality. In this blog I want to concentrate on C4C Out-App extensions, first focusing on C4C and SAP HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) applications and then I will zoom out to see the wider landscape where on-premise systems are also represented and the possible future of HCP.
Cloud 4 Customer and SAP HANA Cloud Platform
Maintaining these applications in the long term is easier as they are loosely coupled (not relays on C4C’s PSM), their only dependency is the service`s interface. Developers can create cloud portal pages on HCP for end users and add UI5 applications to the page as widgets. It is possible to create Java EE, XS OData services on HCP for UI5 applications and also to store data in the cloud at the same time, allowing the opportunity for multiple data sources. As I mentioned the HTML mashups in the previous blog, there can be a scenario where HCP`s HTML application is embedded into a C4C view. Another scenario is when only services are built on HCP and the frontend is a C4C`s view, so we don`t build UI5 application.
A high level comparison of in-app and out-app extensions
Table 1: C4C In-App and Out-App high level comparison
Cloud for Customer and on premise systems
Increasingly, customers have heterogeneous landscapes with a mixture of SAP and non-SAP systems and they need the opportunity to utilize data from all of them on HCP. Customers are likely to continue with their usage of existing on premise applications for the foreseeable future, given the investment they have made and the processes and data that these systems support.
Out-App extensions are highly relevant in this hybrid world where customers run a mixed-estate of cloud and on-premise applications and wish to join processes and data from them both as they innovate for the future. The Out App extension approach helps to facilitate a smooth transition from on-premise to mixed-estate and onto full cloud in future.
See the AgilityWorks’ blog SAP NetWeaver Gateway the Key to Unlocking Your Business Data to find out more about this. In order to run this approach, the SAP Cloud Connector is used in the on premise landscape to create a SSL VPN connection to HCP. After VPN connection is established, the HCP applications can consume data in a secure and reliable way from the on-premise system`s SAP Gateway services as we can see it on the picture below:
Security is crucial in today`s IT world. If the customer`s on premise identity provider supports SAML 2.0 than users can be authenticated on premise by delegating the authentication from the cloud to on premise identity provider. Besides using an existing corporate identity provider the SAP Cloud Identity Service gives the possibility to use social identity providers as well (like Google, Facebook …).
In order to deliver the concept of loosely coupled applications it is necessary to have end-to-end user identity propagation across all of the component parts. The same user account and its’ rights will need to be present all the way up and down the stack. In case you would like to read more about HCP development than continue with AgilityWorks’ 3 reasons why the SAP HANA Cloud platform should excite partners and developers blog.
In today`s competitive world, speed of development is increasingly important. To be agile, to react quickly to customers` requirements is vital. This only can be done if developers can focus only on building apps and care less about the infrastructure and it`s maintenance. A a result they can gain an understanding of systems quickly so are able to become more productive and innovative. But what will this look like in the future?
The possible future of SAP HANA Cloud Platform
Cloud Foundry is an open source platform as a service, leading platform as a service technology. There are around fifty Cloud Foundry members including big IT leaders like IBM, Pivotal, HP, VMware, Intel, SAP, EMC joined to contribute to Cloud Foundry. The aim is there should be one platform as a service which provides the interoperability between different technologies from multiple vendors. Cloud Foundry`s supported frameworks are Java, Ruby, Node.js, Scala, Python, PHP, and Go. The number of partner who provides services for the enterprise is growing rapidly. SAP is committed to contributing to open-source PaaS technologies. The HCP product roadmap (Q3/2015) shows that in the future HCP`s runtime environment will be completely based on Cloud Foundry and then developers will be able to utilize the resources from both SAP and Cloud Foundry. SAP has already released a new Cloud Foundry service broker for their SAP HANA database and Hybris-as-a-service is based on Cloud Foundry.
In 2013 SAP Cloud for Customer was released and even though this is relatively young platform it gives large set of tools for customization compared to any other SAP Cloud solution in the market. We look into the future with great excitement what will be the destiny of Cloud Foundry and SAP HANA Cloud Platform.
If you would like more informaion on SAP Cloud for Customer please get in touch or check out our latest video case study that explains how Arco improved their customer engagment through implimenting Cloud for Customer.