The HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) is a SAP hosted online cloud service (“platform as a service”). It combines a HANA database with the possibility of deploying custom JAVA applications and XS (HANA native) applications. As front-end, you can use Fiori to tap into HANA services (e.g. predictive analysis). The HCP can be combined with other cloud offerings (AWS), but also with on-premise systems. There is a free trial version available for customers to test drive the possibilities of the HCP.
SAP promises that, thanks to the HCP, “The age of the agile business app” has begun. Applications can be integrated with applications, services, and systems of each and every software vendor. And, to top it off, these apps are instantly mobile ready. For the Fiori user interface, there are tools and example libraries ready to start rapid prototyping.
This all sounds truly great! What are the benefits of the HANA Cloud Platform?
- You can build lean applications, running in the cloud, but still access data from the on premise or other clouds. SAP offers infrastructure services to implement ETL to load data between on premise systems and the HCP. For example, running the Fiori app as Canary Code frontend in the cloud makes it very easy and fast to deploy.
- It helps with connectivity (BYOD) because no VPN is required.
- There are several tools available: there is a web IDE in the HCP which helps you build Fiori applications in a WYSIWYG style. This IDE still lacks some important controls (e.g. charts and tables). However, you can easily create screens in the UI using XML.
The indirect usage scenario is looming on the horizon.
Of course there are some small strings attached. While there is a free version for trial and education, the real deal is paid of course (which is fair). The pricing though is a confusing mix of T-shirt sizes, services, packages, and technologies. Also, the HCP it is JAVA only. If you think you could leverage your ABAP skills with the HCP – forget it. But the technology is not the biggest downside – in fact, in the experience of our Datavard developers and code magicians, the HCP is indeed a nice, solid (albeit ABAP free) thing. What concerns me more is that SAP makes this offering so open, integrated, and welcomes developers to utilize other applications, cloud services and vendors to integrate their applications.
The issue here is the indirect usage, which has always been a sort of grey area – didn’t SAP encourage customers to build custom applications some years ago? Back then, there was no talk of extra payments and the indirect use scenario. And now, once SAP has successfully taken over large parts of the on-premise data centers, it charges customers for integration – although not always successfully. At the same time, SAP is pushing customers to the HCP and cloud, where of course such custom development is very welcome (probably because it is still too difficult to convince customers with standardized applications, the historical strength of SAP). Time will tell if SAP customers can truly rely on the HANA Cloud Platform offering, especially when cloud usage becomes more common.
WEBINAR: HOW TO IMPLEMENT BIG DATA LAKES
DATE: Wednesday, 15 February 2017
TIME: CET: 5PM | EST: 11AM (45 min. incl. Q&A)
SPEAKER: Michal Alexa, Datavard Innovation Labs