The change in SCP trial reveals its biggest problem
SAP decided to end SAP Cloud Platform (SCP) Neo trial some time ago and now also communicated the date when they will plug the plug: 13th November 2020.
SAP announced long ago that they are investing in the SCP cloud foundry stack (SCP CF), and that Neo is out of scope for new projects and that customers should start using SCP CF. Announcing the EOL for SCP Neo trial in that context makes not only sense, it also allows everyone to plan for it accordingly. The long time it took SAP to announce this and the final date shows a part of SAP’s DNA: enterprise readiness. Ending Neo trial does not mean that there is no SCP trial available any longer. SAP offers a trial for SCP CF (see SAP Note 2540282). As with the Neo trial, the CF trial comes with some limitations.
- The most important limitation is the time limit. “Cloud Foundry trial accounts expire after 30 days. You can extend the trial period to a maximum of 90 days, after which your account is automatically deleted.”
- After the maximum of 90 days, you can create a new trial account and in theory, have unlimited access to CF trial. But SAP does not make it too easy: “Note that the new account starts from scratch and you cannot carry over any development projects from your previous trial account to the new one”. After 90 days all your configurations are gone, and you start from zero. Depending on what you configured in the CF trial, this will take some time. Precious time during which the next 90 days are already running.
Strength or problem?
Why is the change in SCP trial now revealing one of SCP’s biggest problem? The SCP trial is a separate offering from SAP. When activating a trial account, you get a “special” account. With Neo trial, SAP directed you to their trial data center. With CF trial, you get a 90 days limited trial. While both are free and allow easy onboarding for developers, they do not reflect the reality when you want to develop in SCP: be prepared to talk to sales. Don’t expect to be able to use SCP immediately.
The big cloud players offer no special trial environments. They offer a free tier. Getting started as a developer with Azure or AWS means that you start like you would as any customer, in any project. You register, select the services you want and start developing. You can start in the free tier. After your app attracts more users, you move up in the tier level to a paid level. If you need services for those without a free tier available, you can simply add them (and pay). In the end, you may have a productive solution that uses some services that are free, while paying for others. The free tier level is the lowest entry level at those cloud companies.
At SCP, the trial account is not the lowest entry level. It is designed as a dead end. Once you want to scale up, you cannot. You have to start from scratch with a real SCP CF account. While the free tier lowers the entry barriers and lays the foundation for continuous innovation, the trial account at SCP is the opposite. Before you can start to innovate, you should talk to an SAP sales person and see how to onboard you to SCP.
One outcome is that customers can innovate faster when not using SCP. A small development team can start at zero costs in Azure, and show the value their solution can bring in an MVP, while with SCP you may still trying to figure out to which sales person you have to talk to.
A possible solution could to be that SAP is offering services not in their multi cloud environment, but as services you can add from a AWS or Azure marketplace. Sometimes I have the impression that SAP Cloud is tailored to serve SAP sales more than customers. So I guess that this limitation will stay around for a long time.