Tim Stein

Head of Professional Services,
VANTAiO GmbH & Co KG. 

19 November 2019

SAP Cloud Platform environments:
SAP Neo vs SAP Cloud Foundry

The SAP Cloud Platform offers two different development environments: SAP Neo and SAP Cloud Foundry (aka Multi-cloud environment). In this article I would like to discuss the differences and relationships between the two SAP cloud environments.

The availability of different environments basically has the advantage that you have a choice of technologies, runtimes and services when using the SAP Cloud Platform, and thus allows greater flexibility in your development process.

But what are the characteristics of SAP Neo and SAP Cloud Foundry?

What is Cloud Foundry?

Cloud Foundry¹ is an open source platform for multi-cloud applications and is managed by the Cloud Foundry Foundation (www.cloudfoundry.org). Cloud Foundry has a container-based architecture that runs applications in any programming language.

Cloud Foundry is a popular Platforms as a Service (PaaS) technology for developing and deploying cloud applications in private and public cloud environments. It can run on a variety of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) systems including Amazon Web Services, OpenStack, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure. Developers can use different programming languages, runtimes and data/backup services. SAP is a platinum founding member of the Cloud Foundry Foundation, which oversees the development of cloud foundry software and ecosystems.

SAP is also a certified provider of a cloud foundry platform. The SAP Cloud Platform is a distribution that uses cloud foundry as its core, but has been enhanced with vendor-specific functionality.²

Application developers can use the cloud foundry environment to extend existing SAP solutions and develop entirely new applications based on business APIs provided by SAP on the SAP Cloud Platform.

Note that not all services theoretically available with Cloud Foundry are also available on the SAP Cloud Platform.³

What is the Neo environment?

The SAP Cloud Platform Neo environment is based on a proprietary SAP runtime environment. Neo is a development environment with which you can develop and run Java, SAP HANA XS and HTML5 applications.

The Neo environment also allows you to use virtual machines to install your own applications that do not run directly on the platform.

The most important differences to SAP Cloud Platform Cloud Foundry (aka Multi-Cloud) summarized:

SAP Cloud Platform Cloud Foundry...

  • can be used unlike Neo also in data centers of AWS, Azure, and Google
  • supports more programming languages than Neo, e.g. JavaScript/NodeJS
  • offers multi-target applications, so that add-ons can be written in different technologies and used for different purposes

Which platform should I use?

In addition to the fundamental differences in structure and philosophy of the two environments Neo and Cloud Foundry, the decision in favor of one of the two should focus in particular on the available and planned functions.

At the time of this writing, the Neo environment is the more mature and functional solution in many areas, such as the Portal Service.

A look at the roadmaps gives the impression that this will change very quickly. Many of the planned functions will only be developed for the Cloud Foundry environment, so that the Neo environment is likely to become dependent in the medium term. Since applications cannot be migrated from Neo to Cloud Foundry without effort, it is important to consider whether the Cloud Foundry environment is the future-proof choice in case of doubt.⁵

An overview per service, in which environment and location it is available, can be found on the following page:
https://help.sap.com/doc/aa1ccd10da6c4337aa737df2ead1855b/Cloud/en-US/3b642f68227b4b1398d2ce1a5351389a.html

Do you have any questions?
Please feel free to contact me.

Tim Stein
Head of Professional Services
T +49 6131 – 622280

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