At your service: SAP rolls out Cloud ALM SaaS extension

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In its most recent announcement, SAP has revealed that its Cloud ALM is now extending its capabilities to centrally operate Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications and custom extensions built and operated on SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP).

The extension follows a series of SAP innovation headlines, from backing a $500m series B round for Aleph Alpha to product innovation announcements at its recent TechEd event.

Last week’s news brought to the fore Joule-embedded SAP Build Code, an application development solution that uses SAP’s AI co-pilot by integrating AI-based code generation to create data models, app logic and test scripts.

Plus, at SAP TechEd, SAP announced that its HANA Cloud will be adding new vector database features to its multi-model offerings at no additional cost and said it will unveil its AI Foundation, aimed at creating GenAI-powered extensions and applications on SAP BTP.

Extending Cloud ALM

SAP Cloud ALM is a cloud-based tool for application lifecycle management, offering capabilities for the implementation, operation and service of several SAP applications, including SAP S/4HANA and SAP SuccessFactors software. The tool has now been made available for customers as part of their subscription and support contract.

Janko Budzisch, chief product owner for Operations Platforms at SAP, discussed what the news means for SAP BTP customers.

Budzisch said: “In SAP BTP, we saw a gap in particular for the custom-built applications on top of SAP BTP, Cloud Foundry environment. This was mainly due to the fact that both the Cloud Foundry environment and the Kyma environments of SAP BTP are being based on open-source technology. Thus, there was a strong wish to have SAP BTP support for OpenTelemetry capabilities, an open-source standard for observability.”

As a result, an OpenTelemetry-based approach with SAP Cloud ALM has been introduced which includes tools to reduce the mean time to detect issues and tools to identify and fix issues. The approach also looks to provide library support to enable observability for custom-built applications, for both customer-built applications and SAP BTP-based SaaS applications.

Looking at some of the new capabilities of SAP Cloud ALM for SAP BTP customers, Budzisch says SAP’s approach is to enable observability based on its central operations platforms.

“One of these capabilities is alert management. We think it’s essential that customers have one central place to access integrated monitoring with their existing IT service management processes.

“As an example, customers typically have their own ticketing systems. The observability data coming out of the observability tooling generates events. For these events, we prefer to have automatically generated tickets. Instead of doing this for every local tool, it’s a good idea to do this centrally with SAP Cloud ALM.”

SAP Cloud ALM raw data interfaces are exposed based on the OpenTelemetry standard with a centralized approach which is used to expose data to third-party APMs.

Budzisch explains that SAP Cloud ALM is an open platform: “This means it’s clearly our target to expose via APIs all data to third-party tools. There are examples where customers are using third-party analysis capabilities, or we have customers that want to work with their own data lake across all the platforms.”

For customers and partners looking to leverage SAP Cloud ALM for SAP BTP, there are two options. There is an option for those who want to monitor their own built applications and an option for those who would like to connect SaaS applications from SAP built on SAP BTP with SAP Cloud ALM.

For users wishing to monitor their own built applications, Budzisch said: “Here you would use our instrumentation library, or monitoring, based on OpenTelemetry. This library helps to accelerate the whole instrumentation process. Let’s say you bind your application to this library and make the instrumentation visible in your application. Most of this is done via auto-instrumentation. You don’t need to do something to your source code. It’s a pure configuration that more or less gets the data from your own applications into SAP Cloud ALM.”

To help users connect their SaaS applications, SAP has provided descriptions in the expert portal on how to connect an SAP BTP-based SaaS offering with SAP Cloud ALM.