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Enabling Skills for SAP C/4HANA Foundation

Be prepared for the new wave of cloud-native technologies.


It is important to be prepared for the next wave of cloud-native extensibility for SAP C/4HANA solutions.  This article provides links to many enablement resources to get your teams up to speed.  It is important to allocate adequate time for teams to do so, to ensure a quicker time to market for extensions, services, and applications.

Table of contents

Introduction

SAP C/4HANA Foundation is a lightweight yet powerful technology layer, which infuses SAP C/4HANA with agility, openness, and extensibility to help you design and deliver amazing customer experiences effortlessly.  SAP C/4HANA Foundation comprises a number of components that deliver part of the 7 Qualities that support our 5 C/4HANA Clouds, depicted in the diagram below. This article focuses on the SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory component, which provides extensibility and integration and fosters an open ecosystem.


The SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory:

  • Harmonizes the integration and customization across the SAP C/4HANA & provides out-of-the box integration
  • Improves product stability and upgradeability, by externalizing customizations and extensions
  • Increases agility through open standards, technology agnostic solutions, event-based cost-efficient extension mechanism and reusable services
  • Creates a vibrant ecosystem – winning the hearts of developers and creating new business opportunities for partners and 3rd-party developers through a powerful extensibility framework

The diagram below shows the SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory, in relation to the SAP C/4HANA clouds and other SAP C/4HANA Foundation components.


This new extensibility platform comes with a different technology stack and architecture, which require a new set of skills for teams working with the platform. Impacted teams include developers, dev-ops, and site-reliability engineering (SRE). The technologies build on each other, as illustrated below:

The technologies are described below and include links to enablement resources and in some cases an estimate of the time to complete the enablement.

SAP C/4HANA Foundation Components

SAP C/4HANA Foundation comprises a variety of components to enable administration and the extensibility of SAP C/4HANA solutions.  Administration is provided via the SAP C/4HANA Cockpit, while extensibility is provided by the SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory, powered by Kyma (kyma-project.io). The skills and technologies here are used when building services and extensions in SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory.

SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory Enablement Videos - Each video varies from about 5 minutes to 45 minutes

Cloud-Native

A cloud-native approach is needed to take full advantage of SAP C/4HANA solutions and to design and monetize the delivery of the ultimate customer experience.  Therefore, the leading cloud native skills and technologies are outlined here. Many of these technologies are under the umbrella of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF - www.cncf.io), of which SAP SE is a Platinum Member.

Technologies

Docker

docker, logo, media, social icon

Docker containers wrap up software and its dependencies into a standardized unit for software development that includes everything it needs to run: code, runtime, system tools and libraries. This guarantees your application always runs the same and makes collaboration as simple as sharing a container image. The linked guide describes Docker Swarm, which is an alternative to Kubernetes, helps put the container orchestration concept into perspective.

Docker - Get Started Guide - about 2 hours

Kubernetes

Kubernetes is a container orchestration platform and a foundational component of Kyma. It is a Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) project.  The tutorials introduce key Kubernetes concepts such as nodes, pods, services and ReplicaSets. It also describes how to create a cluster, deploy a containerized application, and scale the application. Minikube is a Kubernetes engine for local development.


Istio

Istio is a service mesh for Kubernetes, which provides a control plane for Kubernetes clusters.  It provides flow control and connectivity for services in the mesh, as well as security and observability. It deploys an Envoy sidecar to each targeted Kubernetes pod that hooks in the configured service mesh policies. Bookinfo is an example application for Istio service mesh that shows how Istio can be used to manage traffic to services and versions of services, within your cluster.

Istio Bookinfo - about 2 hours


Kyma


Kyma is an open-source project founded by SAP Customer Experience that powers SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory. Kyma lets you extend and customize cloud-based and on-premise enterprise applications, in a quick and modern way, using serverless  computing or microservice architecture. Components include;

  • An Application Connector framework for linking enterprise applications with event and API registration and trust.
  • Service Catalog to manage third party service API connectivity and serverless functions via Knative or Kubeless. 

 Kyma is accessible via a web console and a command line interface (CLI).  Kyma incorporates many open source and CNCF technologies including Kubernetes, Istio, Dex (for security) and Prometheus (for monitoring).

  1. Kyma documentation
  2. Kyma Open-SAP Course
  3. Kyma Examples comprises various Kyma use-cases with code examples.
  4. Kyma Personservice is a very extensive demo describing a complete end-to-end process for a service. - about 3 hours
  5. Kubeless Function Examples illustrates serverless functions in a variety of languages.

Hyperscale Providers

Hyperscale platform providers, such as Google and Azure. support SAP C/4HANA Foundation in the following ways:

Infrastructure

Hyperscale platform providers provide the infrastructure on which SAP C/4HANA Foundation components run.  Understanding how to manage platform subscriptions, service accounts, quotas and resource management will yield the most cost effective and efficient deployment of SAP C/4HANA Foundation.

Value-added Services

In addition, they provide many value-added services that can be wired into SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory, via the Service Catalog.  Leveraging value added services can help you extend your C/4HANA solutions to an even greater degree with a very quick time to market.

Conclusion

SAP C/4HANA Foundation is new and many of its components are planned innovations.  The concepts and technologies described here will help your teams take full advantage of the agility, extensibility and ecosystem that is accompany these innovations.