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May Cloud Roundtable – BTP and Runtimes

Sign up for our upcoming cloud roundtable here, and read on for a preview of some possible discussion topics!

Our last cloud roundtable covered a lot of topics, but one of the largest ones that came up was making a decision between Neo and Cloud Foundry. In the upcoming roundtable, we’ll drill into that topic more, discuss details around decision-making considerations, and hear from participants about what their experiences and approaches are.

However, in addition to Neo and Cloud Foundry, there are two other runtimes available on the SAP Business Technology Platform: ABAP and Kyma. This brings the total of environment options to 4.

  • Cloud Foundry
  • Kyma
  • ABAP
  • Neo

Kyma is a fully managed Kubernetes runtime that allows creation of microservices and serverless functions. It is based on the open source Kyma project, much as Cloud Foundry is based on the Cloud Foundry initiative.

Meanwhile, the BTP ABAP environment is a managed ABAP environment that provides a familiar environment for ABAP developers and allows some re-use of ABAP artifacts that were developed in the on-premises environment.

What are some considerations around choosing a runtime? There are lots of influences, but I’ll go through a few here.

Skills

Different developers may have different skills. Cloud Foundry provides the possibility of many different runtimes that are attractive for different developers. Kyma also provides multiple development options that are suited to different skills. Meanwhile, the ABAP environment is aimed squarely at allowing ABAP developers and teams to build cloud extensions without having to pick up a whole new language and ecosystem.

Another aspect of the skills discussion is not developer skills, but operational skills. Do our operations teams know about maintaining Cloud Foundry applications? Kubernetes? ABAP Basis? How about our deployment pipeline? What types of environments do our monitoring solutions support? These considerations factor heaviliy into

Support

One key consideration, of course, is vendor support. The Neo runtime is receiving minimal investment, so that is a mark against it. Meanwhile, Cloud Foundry receives full focus as a runtime, but it’s worth considering the position of Cloud Foundry in the industry and the extent to which it has been subsumed by container-based approaches. It doesn’t look like Cloud Foundry is going anywhere, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

Kyma and ABAP have their own nuances. ABAP specifically may be under a support regime that is more familiar to long-time SAP customers. But there are potential issues with environment support such as scheduled downtime that customers should make themselves aware of when planning their cloud and environment strategies.

Portability and change management

Though this list is by no means exhaustive, the last point I’d like to touch on is portability. Specifically, how able are we to re-use development on other runtimes, other cloud platforms, or between on-premises and cloud? Each runtime has different characteristics here, and portability for each runtime also depends heavily on development practice.

For example, the ABAP environment can provide a great deal of portability between on- premises and cloud development, but only if you are careful to apply compatibilty checks to your development and only use ABAP APIs that are available on both platforms. In some cases, there is no shared API between platforms, which will require development of shim APIs in order to ensure portability of core code, if that is your goal. Similar concerns exist for other runtimes as well.

Join

If this topic is of interest, or if you have other topics, you would like to discuss, join us. The Cloud Roundtable is an open discussion that is participant driven. The May Cloud Roundtable will be Friday, May 14th starting at 10am CST.  Join here

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