SAP Embraces Serverless Computing Frameworks

SAP has begun to make available extensions to its cloud platform that enable customers to leverage a framework running on top of Kubernetes to invoke serverless computing frameworks.

The framework is based on the open source Kyma project spearheaded by SAP. Thomas Grassl, vice president for developer relations and the SAP Community, says SAP expects developers to make extensive use of serverless computing frameworks running on public clouds to not only dynamically invoke additional compute resources when needed, but also reduce the size of their applications by relying on functions as a service to, for example, run an analytics process.

Kyma runs on top of an instance of Kubeless, a serverless framework based on Kubernetes running on the SAP Cloud Platform, which SAP makes available to both host custom customer code and provide integration services. An Application Connector from SAP allows applications to register their application programming interfaces (APIs) with Kyma. Kubeless allows developers to create functions (or lambdas, in the case of Amazon Web Services) that consume the events exposed by the Application Connector, in addition to invoking external services provided by the Service Catalog to trigger certain business logic. It offers access to third-party services in the form of Service Classes exposed by the Service Brokers that a function can consume. Also included with Kyma is an instance of the Istio service mesh, Prometheus monitoring software and NATS distributed messaging system.

At its SAP TechEd conference this week, SAP demonstrated how to employ the Kyma framework to access various serverless computing services being made available by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.

In general, Grassl says SAP doesn’t get enough credit for all the open source projects its software engineers contribute to regularly, including the Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment; OpenJDK, an instance of Java; Eclipse, an integrated development environment; UI 5, a user interface framework written in Java; Gardener, a tool for managing Kubernetes clusters; Project Piper, set of continuous delivery tools; and Code Licensing Assistant, a tool for managing permissions. Counting the code samples SAP makes available, Grassl says SAP has 401 active projects on GitHub.

Of course, the bulk of the code SAP develops remains proprietary. However, thanks to open source projects such as Kyma, a lot more of that code is going to integrate more seamlessly with a wider array of applications and platforms. In fact, SAP envisions a world where developers will spend most of their time writing business logic while relying on SAP to automate the management of their code in the cloud, in much the same way the company historically managed their code in on-premises IT environments.

It may take a while for SAP to replicate the level of service on multiple cloud platforms it provided in on-premises IT environments. But in time, the company is making it clear organizations can either build their own DevOps platforms or rely on the one it intends to provide as a managed service. Either way, SAP plans to make it easier for developers to write as much business logic as possible.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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