AWS and Google Cloud Versus SAP Cloud and Oracle Cloud Containers

Executive Summary

  • AWS and Google Cloud are distinct from SAP Cloud and Oracle Cloud in important ways.
  • This article explains how the cloud innovators differ from SAP and Oracle in the cloud.


SAP has been trying to jump on the cloud bandwagon for year now. For some time, they tried to correlate the cloud with their HANA database in the minds of customers. They did this with what amounted to little more than wordplay and inaccurate product naming. They released the “SAP HANA Platform.” This inclusion of the word “HANA” into the name never made any sense a HANA has nothing inherently to do with the cloud. One of the authors, Shaun Snapp, engaged in repeated discussions with SAP consultants on this exact point with multiple SAP consultants who were intent on obscuring the line between HANA, SAP HANA Platform, and HANA Studio. The idea was to try to mislead the listener with the idea that HANA was an amalgamation of these components, and therefore HANA was not simply a database but “so much more.”

Shaun began to observe such a premeditated pattern in these discussions that in response and in order to explain the pattern to others he wrote the article How to Deflect That You Were Wrong About HANA.

The outcome?

SAP eventually removed the word HANA from the service and renamed it to the SAP Cloud Platform and finally to just the SAP Cloud. This change to the name made it more difficult for people to conflate/confuse HANA with the HANA Cloud Platform. This was a good thing for the market as there was far more confusion when SAP kept placing HANA in the naming of things that had nothing at all to do with HANA.

However, one has to wonder, why did SAP consultants engage in such extensive misdirection in any case? It appears the only purpose was to obscure the truth. Moreover, these are consultants advising clients! Which means SAP customers need to think about to whom they are taking advice. Many SAP consultants are people don’t care to know that a database is separate from a development environment or an IaaS, or are just repeating anything whether it contains any truth. That is the problem with analyzing statements that are false. One never knows if the individuals themselves knows they are false. SAP puts a lot of information out into the market, and much of it is repeated verbatim without thought.

SAP’s Faux Cloud and SAP’s Faux Containers

SAP has what amounts to a faux cloud that is used by very few companies. This is evident by the simple act of using the SAP Cloud. When using the SAP Cloud, and it is the norm to run into one problem after another. The overall experience promotes the idea that SAP has created the SAP Cloud to create the impression that one exists, rather than creating a cloud product that is designed to be used by anyone. The overall product is the subject of great underinvestment, and it seems that SAP has other priorities.

SAP Cloud is still essential for SAP, but not for customers, and not for SAP employees. The SAP Cloud is critical because it helps SAP cloudwash for Wall Street. The essential part of SAP Cloud is that Bill McDermott, Rob Enslin, and other top executives need to cash out options. Moreover, they need to maintain the facade of the cloud for Wall Street to do this as Wall Street assigns a higher multiple to companies that look like they are moving to the cloud. Much of this comes from a general misunderstanding about the cloud on the part of Wall Street, but that is what they believe. Therefore even if no customers use the SAP Cloud, it helps maintain the illusion that SAP desires.

However, all of this is nothing new. At SAP’s TechEd conference, every year SAP makes new announcements where SAP co-opts some cloud standard or approach. Cloud standards and approaches that will never be used in SAP. This is to make the faithful think SAP is becoming more cloud.

This is SAP’s vision for its Cloud Platform (now SAP Cloud). This is very standard SAP diagram in that it is egomaniacal. Everything is all SAP. Vora, a rarely used product with little practical reason for existing is in there for some unknown reason. Overall, this diagram could be called “things SAP would like to sell you.”

This graphic is from when SAP Cloud was called SAP HANA Cloud Platform. However, notice how SAP has it identified as a iPaaS – which is just a PaaS.

Notice the orange curved box on the bottom. Notice how the SAP Cloud supports everything else. The Intelligence Core is supposed to be S/4HANA Cloud. This is a diagram that shows using SAP for absolutely everything. However, in practice, it makes little sense to use SAP Cloud. It’s a beautiful diagram though. You have to credit SAP for making some of the nicest graphics in the industry.

SAP has tried to ape everything that AWS and Google Cloud have been doing, but without a lot of it making much sense. SAP Cloud now supports Kubernetes! Which is extremely odd. This is because SAP does not support containers. Instead, SAP creates monolithic applications, so the embrace of Kubernetes seems pure fantasy – take your pick.

The SAP Cloud is without any exaggeration, the worst cloud we have ever tested. SAP calls the SAP Cloud a PaaS, but it is a very incomplete PaaS. Some instances can be brought up, but that is the extent of the SAP Cloud with any efficiency. The user interface is Fiori, and is slow, with every change between screens being roughly between 3.5 and 6 seconds, but went all the way up to 8 seconds on some screens. Every time we switch to a new screen, we have another wait time. It’s a wait time you don’t find in non-Fiori applications. We covered the problems with Fiori’s performance in the article Why is the SAP Fiori Cloud So Slow? Which was testing S/4HANA Cloud, and the performance again a problem as Fiori is the UI for the SAP Cloud.

Services can be brought up in the SAP cloud, but it is problematic to do so. The experience leads one to want to leave the SAP Cloud to work in a real cloud offering rather than this facia cloud. Everything in SAP Cloud is clumsy and time-consuming to use, and we received numerous errors in bringing up basic services. It is nothing like the experience of working with AWS and Google Cloud.

What SAP calls a PaaS is just an IaaS “facilitator,” but a very limited IaaS or IaaS passthrough which allows one to access true IaaS’s. Moreover, we will get into why that is a serious problem in a moment. But sufficed to say, developing within the SAP Cloud is pointless.

Advice on Enjoying the SAP Cloud Quiz

To see the full screen just select the lower right-hand corner and expand. Trust us, expanding makes the experience a whole lot more fun.


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Neither this article nor any other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle, SAP or their competitors. As part of our commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research; no paid media placements, commissions or incentives of any nature are allowed.

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