Cloud Native / Data / Kubernetes

SAP Relies on Cloud Foundry, Kubernetes so Users Can Fire up Databases at Will

9 Oct 2019 11:16am, by

SAP, one of the world’s largest software providers, expands its reliance on cloud native platforms and Kubernetes, lending credence to claims the software industry’s widening adoption of Kubernetes might live up to its early promise — or as some say — hype.

SAP’s latest Kubernetes move consisted of new additions to HANA Cloud’s database capabilities it unveiled this week during the SAP TechEd 2019 conference in Barcelona. The software, beginning by end of year, will run on cloud Foundry services and microservices as well as Kubernetes clusters, SAP executives said during the conference.

SAP Chief Technology Officer and Executive Board Member Juergen Mueller described during the conference’s keynote the importance of the HANA Cloud enhancements — without mentioning Kubernetes specifically — the importance of HANA in terms of how most SAP applications now run on HANA. “This is why we are working on embedding more SAP Analytics Cloud [options] in even more SAP solutions,” Mueller said.

The HANA announcement was largely about “leveraging Kubernetes, cloud native and microservices,” Thomas Grassl, vice president and head of developer relations and SAP Community, said.

SAP also plans to continue to support and contribute to the Cloud Foundry as a way to help improve its underlying cloud native infrastructure in support of its software running on Kubernetes on the cloud, thus indirectly helping to improving users’ experiences when using HANA Cloud.

“We need to help improve Cloud Foundry,” Grassl said. “That is why we will continue to contribute to and support the project.”

The underpinning microservices will run underneath HANA Cloud, while developers will not have direct access to HANA’s Kubernetes clusters or to the microservices’ APIs. But developer and operations teams will be able to benefit directly from the Kubernetes clusters and microservices, since the structure is microservices-enabled. DANA’s database on the cloud will be able to, for example, be “scaled up and then spun down” more dynamically on an as-needed basis thanks largely to the statelessness of the clusters, Grassl said.

“In the past, it was like, ‘okay, you had your instance with HANA installed somewhere on it,” Grassl said. “Now, if you have more requirements and need a bigger instance, you can go to the configuration and scale it up or down directly. That’s the big announcement.”

For DevOps teams, SAP is hoping to make HANA Cloud easier to manage and more flexible, increasingly thanks to the Kubernetes and microservices underlying layers. For simplicity, SAP says it seeks to lessen the load of database programming, management and storage by offering what it calls a “virtual interactive access layer” across an organization’s entire database — depending on users’ security layer access — with a single query engine.

One of the resulting advantages for developers is HANA Cloud serves as an “in-memory” database and data management platform, Grassl said. HANA Cloud thus assumes “many of the data-management aspects” for developers, Grassl said. These include not having to configure database indices or “complex queries consisting of say, for example, millions of data points with search query results generated in milliseconds,” Grassl said.

Ultimately, the cloud offering is largely intended to boost DevOps’ access times to data, whether accessing data that is one or five years old without having to change, for example, the underlying search query code or perform other database configuration or management tasks. “HANA Cloud is becoming much more transparent for developers since it can be configured on the cloud,” Grassl said. In other words, as another example of what cloud native platforms can offer, DevOps can access and change search queries and database access directly through a single API, while gone are the days when such a project would consist of the long and cumbersome tasks of reinstalling or provisioning database servers on-premises in data centers.

“There is now just that much more flexibility,” Grassl said.

Cloud Foundry Foundation and The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) are sponsors of The New Stack.

Feature image via Pixabay.

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