SANTA CLARA, California — As enterprises shift to digital business models, “every company becomes a software-driven company,” said Bjoern Goerke, CTO of SAP in his keynote address at last week’s Cloud Foundry Summit Silicon Valley.
He’s referring to the much-discussed digital transformation, which sees companies moving their workloads to the cloud and communicating with customers via digital platforms. It’s been a favorite buzz-phrase at recent industry events, and this was the case at the Cloud Foundry Summit, too.
Companies need to change, Goerke said. “They know they now need to reach out to consumers, they need to digitize their biz model, they need to be more visible out on the streets. It requires a different, modern IT depart,” he said. “This is about agility, this is about moving fast, changing things quickly, testing it out, validating it with your customers, fixing it and then boom you want to scale it as quickly as possible around the globe.”
Cloud Foundry, he said, makes this pretty darn easy for enterprises. The open-source platform-as-a-service (PaaS) allows companies to deploy applications to multiple cloud platforms, both private and public, as well as on bare-metal servers, with no changes to the application.
“This is a platform that allows you to bring in your own programing languages of your preference,” Goerke said. “This is a platform where DevOps was considered right from the start, which allows you to get away from classical IT implementation cycles, and you can choose where to run the solution.”
Major brands including Cisco, Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Google, IBM, Microsoft, Pivotal, SAP, and SUSE support Cloud Foundry’s open source technology. SAP and many of these other companies have built their own cloud platforms on top of the PaaS.
SAP Cloud Platform
SAP’s is called the SAP Cloud Platform. Based on Cloud Foundry, it runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure as a public BETA, and will soon support Google Cloud Platform as well. The SAP Cloud Platform is also the technical foundation for the company’s Internet of Things (IoT) platform, Leonardo.
The biggest business benefit that SAP Cloud Platform provides to the company’s 330,000-plus customers is its “all-around reach and choice,” said Dan Lahl, VP of product marketing at SAP, in an interview with SDxCentral. “Everyone is afraid of vendor lock-in. It’s giving those customers the choice to take the best of the infrastructure-as-a-service vendors. If a customer wants Azure, this extends to Azure. If they want AWS, they can choose AWS.”
BOSCH used SAP Cloud Platform to build an online booking platform that allows big-rig operators to reserve parking spaces at truck stops online. “It’s an Uber for parking,” Lahl explained.
Europe mandates rest periods for truckers. Failing to comply with these rules can mean steep fines. It also puts the driver, other drivers on the road, and the truck’s freight in danger.
“The business benefit is two-fold,” Lahl said. “If there’s a crash because the driver is tired — that’s very bad PR,” Lahl said. “Second, there’s very high taxation for penalties if you don’t meet the requirements for rest. The money maker is the optimization of the driver’s hours.”
Walmart, another SAP Cloud Platform customer, uses the software to scale its Sustainability Index, a measurement system used to track the environmental impact of products. More than 800 Walmart merchants now evaluate suppliers using product-specific sustainability scorecards. Additionally, over 700 Walmart product categories, representing over 58 percent of sales, are being evaluated against 15 key performance indicators.
T-Mobile and Intel
T-Mobile and Intel were among the other enterprises that discussed success stories and lessons learned at the Cloud Foundry Summit.
Before Cloud Foundry, T-Mobile’s GetUsage function took 12 million calls daily. Scaling up the application took seven months and 72 steps. Three months after starting the Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF) installation, the app now runs 100 percent in PCF.
“It’s hard to take on risk if you need seven months and 72 steps to get code out the door,” said Brendan Aye, the principal Cloud Foundry architect at T-Mobile. “By moving more quickly we’re able to take more risks. Being able to get code out the door quickly, being able to scale up and down to meet demands, sometimes even daily, has been a huge benefit of Cloud Foundry.”
Intel used Cloud Foundry to move away from expensive, proprietary vendor mobile platforms. “The new solution we developed is cheaper, it’s more agile and we’re able to deliver business value faster,” said Dan Cook, an enterprise architect at Intel.
Three years ago, Intel had two different mobile enterprise application (MEP) platforms — these are the software platforms that enable development of mobile applications.
“They were costly to maintain and upgrade,” Cook said. “There were software licenses that needed to be paid for. If you wanted to do certain things in an application that wasn’t supported by their framework, you were stuck. It was proprietary. And it was redundant. We had two of them.”
Intel reached its “breaking point,” when developers didn’t want to develop on the mobile enterprise application platforms, and Intel employees didn’t want to use the applications. So it ended the two vendor platforms and switched to open source technology and a runtime based on Cloud Foundry.
The move has saved Intel hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual software licensing costs, Cook said. It also reduced the time to deploy applications by 85 percent, from 20 weeks to three weeks.
“We went from about 10 applications between the two platforms, and now we’re looking at 70 applications that are used across all employee bases,” Cook said. “We went from 500 users with the two MEPs and now we have 12,000.”
Photo: Bjoern Goerke, CTO of SAP, delivers a keynote address at Cloud Foundry Summit Silicon Valley.