The world of software is in constant evolution, and SAP is one of the companies that is driving the speed of innovations to ever higher levels today. With SAP HANA Cloud Platform, they now provide a solution that allows you to utilize the capabilities of SAP HANA flexibly as-a-service. I’ll show you what it is, how it works and how you can get started with SAP HANA Cloud platform today.
What is SAP HANA Cloud Platform?
SAP HANA Cloud Platform, also called SAP HCP, is a platform-as-a-service for quick and simple development of web-based applications that use the benefits of SAP HANA and SAPUI5. It is based on the SAP HANA in-memory database (while also allowing the usage of other databases) and provides a comprehensive list of features and services that make it easy to build, deploy and manage applications in the cloud.
Just like any platform-as-a-service solution, the business model is based on usage – you pay only for the resources you actually use. This is a big advantage especially for small enterprises which usually can’t afford the huge SAP license fees. You can start small and grow your application landscape easily because of the scalability of the service.
To make this very clear: SAP HANA Cloud Platform is not an ERP system and does not provide any functionality from SAP Business Suite applications like SAP ERP, SAP CRM or SAP SCM. What it does do, however, is facilitate the integration of these systems and enable the creation of applications based on data and processes originating from SAP and non-SAP software.
Main features and advantages
As of July 2014, the SAP HANA Cloud Platform offers application developers a variety of ways to create cloud-based applications.
Java EE can be used to build traditional client-server web applications, using SAP HANA or SAP MaxDB as data storage engines. Java EE applications are developed using Eclipse IDE with the SAP HANA Tools for Eclipse plugin, which provides a variety of features to build, deploy and manage applications in the SAP HANA Cloud.
When using Java EE, a range of services is available to make the development of sophisticated applications much easier. This includes connectivity to on-premise and cloud-based business applications (likely from the SAP Business Suite), persistence using SAP HANA or MaxDB, document management based on the CMIS standard, security and identity management as well as a feedback mechanism.
Of course, all of that can (and should!) be used in conjunction to build applications that have a Java EE back-end to communicate with business systems and use HTML5/SAPUI5 to build modern, sophisticated and responsive user interfaces.
How can I get started with SAP HANA Cloud Platform?
You’re a developer and want to get started with SAP HANA Cloud Platform now, but your employer doesn’t plan to use it yet? Luckily, SAP is very open in the promotion of their new service and has thus created openSAP, a site where you register for a free developer account and use the SAP HANA Cloud Platform trial version for free – as long as you want. You read correctly – it’s completely free, and you can keep using it to learn and build applications (of course not for productive use) for as long as you want.
It’s very easy to get started:
- Register for the service via https://open.sap.com/register. If you already have an account in the SAP Service Marketplace (you’re likely to have one if you’re e.g. a SAP ERP developer), you can just extend your account on the openSAP site.
- Check out the range of courses offered on https://open.sap.com/courses. Look for “Introduction to SAP HANA Cloud Platform” – the course material is available even after the course is closed, and it will explain how to set up Eclipse and how to access your SAP HANA Cloud Platform cockpit to manage your applications.
- Learn how to develop SAP HANA Cloud applications. There is a comprehensive guide available at https://help.hana.ondemand.com/, explaining everything from setting up your development tools to building your first Java EE and SAPUI5 application.
SAP HANA Cloud Platform is a fantastic service that makes it so much easier to rapidly build business applications. It offers a wide variety of development tools and is extremely easy to set up. And you can learn to use it for free! What are you waiting for?