SAP Throws Weight Behind Cloud Foundry and OpenStack

SAP today formally made available new application development tools in the cloud that the company promises will make use of open source OpenStack and Cloud Foundry platforms that will serve as the foundation for its overall API strategy.

The announcement was made at the O’Reilly OSCON Open Source 2014 convention today. Thomas Grassl, head of SAP developer relations, says that open source technologies now play a leading role in SAP’s overall strategy. With the announcement that SAP is now a sponsor for both OpenStack and Cloud Foundry, Grassl says SAP is looking to make it easier for developers to leverage one of the largest data ecosystems in the enterprise today.

SAP has been using the River portfolio of tools to develop applications that run on top of the SAP HANA in-memory computing platform. Today SAP is moving to make those tools available to third-party developers. SAP announced SAP River Rapid Development Environment and SAP HANA Answers, which are being made generally available to developers via the cloud.

The River Rapid Development Environment (RDE) is an IDE that allows developers to essentially insert whatever programming language or toolkit they choose to build an SAP HANA application, Grassl says. The RAD tool that SAP is announcing today is just one in a series of River application development tools that SAP has created for HANA. SAP HANA Answers is a knowledge hub for developers that is directly accessible via a plug-in from the SAP HANA Studio, an Eclipse-based IDE.

Grassl says that SAP now proactively contributes to more than 100 open source projects, including drivers for Node.js access to SAP HANA and the Apache Spark project for Hadoop, and that the company uses well over 1,000 open source libraries when constructing its own applications. In addition, he notes that SAP made available the SAPUI5 framework that powers the company’s Fiori User Interface as open Source Code on the GitHub site under an Apache version 2.0 license. The ultimate goal, says Grassl, is to create a Framework through which SAP can more easily co-innovate with third-party developers.

Support for OpenStack and Cloud Foundry is the beginning of an API journey for SAP, Grassl says. Longer term, the company plans to pull all the APIs that it exposes via cloud and on-premises applications into a single framework that will make them more accessible to third-party developers. Other major enterprise IT vendors that have thrown similar weight behind Cloud Foundry include IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Mendix.

In the meantime, SAP is clearly trying to create an application ecosystem around its HANA Platform that should serve to help the company sell in-memory database licenses for decades to come.

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