SAP readies 'River' cloud platform for public debut

River will be for simple 'extension' on-demand applications, while Business ByDesign will support more complex ones

SAP is segmenting its emerging cloud-computing strategy across multiple development platforms, including one code-named "River," which will support lightweight extensions to its on-premises ERP (enterprise resource planning) software.

The first River-based application, Carbon Impact 5.0, is set to be unveiled next month and will be running on Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud.

SAP has been working on River for about 18 months, said CTO Vishal Sikka in a recent interview.

River applications are meant to be simple, with only a few dozen screens or so, and are easy to put together and extend, Sikka said. Still, SAP has done "a significant amount of work" on River in areas such as data security and authentication, "which frankly have been missing in many cases in the cloud atmosphere," he said.

River will be opened up to partners "over time," as well as other infrastructure services, he said. "The first [application] is on Amazon, but the platform is designed to run on multiple clouds. Over time it will run on multiple clouds including our own."

SAP went with Amazon at first because it has "a great expertise in this area," Sikka added. "It's a great way for us to deliver the first application, but by no means the only one."

Meanwhile, more complex cloud applications will be based on the platform behind Business ByDesign, SAP's on-demand ERP suite for the midmarket, Sikka said. Business ByDesign is entering a broader release this year.

Although earlier indications were that the platform SAP acquired via its 2006 purchase of e-sourcing vendor Frictionless Commerce would play a central role in its on-demand strategy, that doesn't seem to be the case any longer.

The Frictionless platform provides "a unique set of components for applications similar to sourcing," he said. But "not much" is planned for it outside of e-sourcing, Sikka said.

Although SAP builds out a portfolio of on-demand applications, its embrace of the cloud goes only so far for now.

For example, while customers can use public services like Amazon for development and testing purposes, Sikka doesn't see production ERP systems running there anytime soon, "for the foreseeable future."

"Technology's just not at a point where you can run a mission-critical application on a public cloud," he said. "There isn't one contributing factor to it, but really several."

He cited familiar reasons, such as customer concerns over data privacy, data integration and regulatory hurdles.

But Sikka also flagged one perceived benefit of public clouds -- "elasticity," or their ability to scale pools of resources up and down in response to demand -- as a potential pitfall.

"Mission-critical enterprise applications have lots of ways in which they tax the underlying resources of a system," Sikka said. On-demand applications such as Salesforce.com's CRM (customer relationship management) offering are "relatively straightforward," he said.

In contrast, SAP's Business Suite has a wide variety of processes ongoing, Sikka said. "You're running analytical things, you're running long-running things, you're running complex things like demand planning, workforce planning, things like that." Therefore, "a very uniform composition of simple hardware resources may not be the right [approach]," he said.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags cloud computingIT managementCIO roleinternetbusiness issuesSAPit strategy

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?