SAP missed another good opportunity
Microsoft Build conference is currently running and full of announcements. You can read the in the book of news published by Microsoft to get an overview. One of the most impactful announcements concerns Azure apps. You can now run Azure application services (App Service, Functions, Logic Apps, Event Grid, API Management) on Kubernetes (K8s). Just as you run an app on Azure, the app can now run on K8s. And with Arc, in the K8s environment of your choice.
The concept is explained in detail and with hands-on examples in the session Build cloud-native applications that run anywhere.
This is real cloud, hybrid and multicloud. What makes this new feature incredible is that you do not need to waste time in creating and maintaining YAML files for K8s. You keep developing like today your app, function, API and just deploy it to K8s. For the developer nothing changes. The task is the same: develop an Azure app with the tools you know. Yet, at the same time, everything changes. This is a completely new way to develop and run apps. Developers can now use their skill to create apps in Azure and run them in AWS or on-premises. Companies can go multicloud and bring the service to where the user, even on-premise.
Why is this now a lost opportunity for SAP? With the SAP cloud SDK or with their Cloud Application Programming Model (CAP), SAP offers a way to develop cloud apps. Developed to run them on SAP BTP. A while back I had several discussions on bringing at least CAP to the cloud that customers are using: Azure. For instance:
One of my ideas was to add e.g. CAP next to other Azure app templates in the official listings. If you look at the Quickstart guide for Azure App Service, you can see that several templates are provided.
Cloud SDK and CAP allow developers to code app in Java or Node.js. The base template is already there. Why not use the big partnership between SAP and Microsoft and add CAP as a first-class citizen to the templates? For instance, as a web app?
On the lower right corner, there is even space to add the SAP logo. Added as a template, developers could create apps for SAP in an easy way in Azure. And now with the new K8s deployment option, for multicloud and on-premises too. What Microsoft announced comes for free for everyone using app services. While Azure evolves, so do automatically your apps.
SAP could have included connection to PostgreSQL. Spoiler: a new 12 month free PostgreSQL offering is coming to Azure. Plus the other PostgreSQL or Cosmos DB announcements that make it cheap to develop apps, while offering enterprise grade services. And with all these in place, with an SAP SDK as a template in Azure, developers could create more and more apps around SAP.
Could. Unfortunately, only could. Too many times just could. Because SAP did not want to. There is no SAP template in Azure app services. There is no quickstart guide included in the documentation. No official (from SAP) PostgreSQL CAP adapter, no Cosmos DB support. SAP customers that use Azure cannot benefit from this. They are forced to use SAP BTP for their SAP centric cloud apps and extension. And when they have their own data center, with K8s, they don’t benefit from Arc for SAP developments. While Microsoft is continuing to deliver benefit for their customers, SAP customers invested in Azure too don’t benefit.
Why? Is it the lack of an end to end vision? Of a dream what could be possible? People too much stuck in their bubble? That believe that SAP is the center of innovation? Do I talk to different people than SAP does? Cannot be, as the same people are in the room with me when we are talking with SAP. Why is the message not understood by SAP? Why is the customer saying: we need this in the cloud we use, for the tools our developers know or we are not going to commit time and effort and SAP understands: everything is super. Why?