SAP is now hosting VMs in its cloud. Just don't call it HANA

The PaaS plot is thickening with big data, AI and the cross-application workflow creation

SAP probably isn't high on the list of companies you'd contemplate as a host of a virtual machine in the cloud, but the company's just doubled down on a service that offers just that.

The company's not trying to be a general-purpose cloud platform. Instead, the offering is part of the recently-re-named SAP Cloud Platform. Previously known as SAP HANA Cloud Platform, the company changed the name because it has figured out that it slapped the “HANA” name on too many things. Doing so deterred customers who worried they weren't ready for in-memory computing.

The Cloud Platform is a platform-as-a-service into which SAP has just tossed things like a new SDK for developing iOS applications, an Internet of Things service it says can hoover in data generated by things using 40 different protocols and a Hadoop-powered big data service.

Cloud Platform's overarching purpose is to let SAP users build apps that connect to either legacy software, third party software both on-premises and SaaSy, and to SAP itself. For the latter, SAP is banking on the fact it knows exactly what's going on inside its own applications and is therefore in prime position to pump out information so it can be put to work. Hence the imminent ServiceNow-like “Cloud Platform Workflow service” that will debut on March 30th and make it easy to “create new composite workflows for business processes.”

And then there's that virtual machine hosting service. SAP's not bidding for your critical cloud workloads. Instead, it figures that if you've built something to work alongside SAP, that workload may well do better in the cloud than it would if it had to traverse the internet to get anything done. The service runs on SUSE and OpenStack and creating it is one of the reasons the two companies are so tight and so invested into the open source cloud stack. The VM-hosting service is also expanding about to expand: it kicked off in Europe late in 2016 and has now reached North America.

We can expect more services to appear in SAP Cloud Platform before long: the company's representatives today told The Register its SAPPPHIRE conference in May will see it announce more to go beyond the current total of 45.

Just don't call any of this HANA: that name's now reserved for SAP S/4 HANA, the current version of the company's application stack, and for the HANA data platform. If you run SAP S/4 in the cloud, it's the SAP S/4 HANA Cloud. ®

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