By now you probably have heard of SAP Data Hub – just a year young, Version 2.3 just announced, and already demonstrating tremendous value in today’s complex data integration scenarios. And while there are plenty of web resources that describe well what Data Hub is, what it does, and how it works, I am focusing in this blog on a) what makes Data Hub so different in my view and b) what opportunities we see for SAP’s global partner ecosystem leveraging it.
A different category of Data Integration
Data Hub is designed and delivered fundamentally different than any other SAP application thus far. Developed with cloud native, infinitely scalable, micro services architecture in mind, and embracing open source. Data Hub is the first SAP application that is delivered and run as Docker containers, managed by Kubernetes (K8s). The two elements that make it so different in my opinion are, this cloud native architecture, and its open and extensible design. The architecture allows Data Hub to run anywhere based on customer preferences (on-prem, public or managed cloud, or multi cloud), and the openness of it offers customization options that allow anybody to extend functionality for specific requirements, or use cases, or industries, or markets, and take it far beyond standard delivered scope. Data Hub comes with a huge set of functionalities out of the box that are referred to as “Operators”.
- Data-flow Operators
- Available in the Data Hub Launchpad, they are the richest and most integrated connectors, providing a unified meta data and governance services, profiling, source crawlers etc. This category includes connectors to tools, objects, and systems like SAP Data Services, SAP BW task chains, SAP HANA SDI, S/4HANA, Hadoop clusters, and public cloud objects stores, where Data Hub leverages brokered connections through an intermediary, allowing to connect to many additional systems.
- Connectivity Operators
- Here, additional systems can be accessed within the pipeline modeler via specific operators. Data Hub supports all methods of data ingestion for all kinds of data (static, in motion, stream, replication, batch, message queue), e.g. Kafka, MQTT, Google Pub/Sub.
- Pre-build operators
- designed for Data Architects, Data Analysts, and Data Scientists.
- This category of operators is particularly flexible because
- And you bring in your code in any language and package with the necessary libraries, then deploy it as a docker container and register with Data Hub as a custom operator
SAP Partner Opportunity
The market and business opportunities look obviously different for a System Integrator vs. a Reseller vs. an ISV/OEM partner. Here are a few examples how SAP’s partners can leverage SAP Data Hub in their strategy.
- System Integrators have typically wide-ranging business models that cover any aspects of integration, far beyond just SAP related markets, but always require leveraging and integrating many different data sources and types. Standardizing on few tools that cover a wide range of functions that still can be customized, limits dramatically the cost associated with operational complexity. As a result, this ability enables the agility and flexibility customer projects require. With SAP Data Hub, you can define and enforce data integration standards across your solution portfolio. Recurring scenarios can be realized through previously developed data pipelines and code, complex scenarios are overcome faster, common integration elements can be reused, best practices and associated data integration blue prints can be made available and facilitate the standardization that makes you more agile. Imagine a data integration “shared service” that is available to client engagement managers and project teams, providing complex data integration services inclusive of your own IP and competence in specific industries at the speed of the businesses you serve. You can find several recorded demo examples here. One excellent partner example is the solution Avalon Consulting LLC has produced and documented in this blog.
- ISV/OEM partners have several options to leverage Data Hub for their existing or new solutions. You can build specific “Operators” and “Connectors” that extend the out-of-the-box functionality of Data Hub and monetize them independently of course and through SAP’s App Center Customers can “plug” these new operators into their existing Data Hub environment. Another area of value is to empower your applications with one tool to realize complex integration scenarios. Today’s differentiated, modern applications leverage data from anywhere and will continuously react to new data types and technologies. You cannot afford to re-write your application every time a new disruptive technology presents itself. Building on SAP Data Hub and its flexible Data Pipelining function, allows you to utilize complex pipelines today and in the future. You don’t even have to know what technology or data you may need to consider in the future – Data Hub can grow with your evolving requirements. Lastly, you can combine both approaches; building specialized operators AND embed Data Hub in your application as one package, which is build cloud native and can infinitely scale out. You could even partner with a technology partner and bundle the whole solution inclusive of infrastructure on-prem, cloud based, or hybrid (which is really multi cloud) with automated installation processes for easy consumption and deployment.
- As Technology partner you can provide infrastructure solutions that make the installation and operation easy and predictable. Reference Architectures, Technology Implementation Services, Ready-to-go Hardware/Software stacks, (e.g. Lenovo) and best practices are some of the examples, we see our partners providing. Existing and new customers, even those already running Docker and K8s will appreciate the enterprise class capabilities you offer. As always, It is important to make it as easy as possible to extend into new areas of IT and Business capabilities without having to manage compatibility and interoperability of many tech components. Some of SAP’s early partners supporting and enabling Data Hub with their enterprise class Kubernetes solutions can be found in the Data Hub PAM (Product Availability Matrix). In addition to public cloud compatibility, some of our partners like Cisco, RedHat, and SUSE have published their Data Hub supported Kubernetes platforms for on premise scenarios as well (after all, not everyone prefers to manage their own K8s cluster and requires enterprise support).
In any case, whatever partner role applies to you, all SAP Data Hub partner content can be found SAP’s Partner Edge URL for Data Hub.