December 15, 2017

More evidence emerged today that Kubernetes is rapidly evolving into a platform on which some of the largest enterprise applications will be deployed. SAP announced that Vora 2.0, a big data analytics platform based on a distribution of the Apache Spark in-memory computing framework, has been redesigned to run on Kubernetes.

Ken Tsai, global vice president and head of cloud platform and data management product marketing, says SAP decided to rebuild Vora as a container application that run on Kubernetes because it wanted to make Vora easier for IT organizations to deploy more consistently.

Vora marks the second major SAP application to be deployed on Kubernetes—SAP Data Hub, which was developed to manage large amounts of distributed data, relies on Kubernetes as its runtime engine. SAP also said it plans to provide access to Kubernetes as a managed service, and joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, the consortium of vendors that contribute code and ongoing support for distributions of Kubernetes.

Providers of enterprise applications such as SAP now view Kubernetes as an alternative to existing platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environments for deploying large applications. The company previously made extensive use of the open-source Cloud Foundry PaaS to host applications in the cloud. Tsai says IT organizations can deploy Vora 2.0 on-premises or in an SAP-hosted cloud environment. There’s also an instance of Vora 2.0 now being made available on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) marketplace.

Vora was developed to serve primarily as a complement to the SAP HANA in-memory database platform. As such, Tsai says it includes both the controller developed by the Apache Spark community to connect Apache Spark instances to other applications and support for a proprietary SAP protocol for connecting Vora to the SAP HANA platform.

The company also announced that SAP Data Network, its data-as-a-service platform for organizations that want to develop a business around selling and sharing data, has now been integrated with Vora 2.0.

Tsai says it’s still too early to say to what degree Kubernetes might usurp other platforms. SAP will be watching closely to see how customers respond to a Vora platform running on Kubernetes. Many of those IT organizations are likely to gain their first experience of working with Kubernetes via an application that comes bundled with the platform. Tsai notes that many of those customers might not even be aware of Kubernetes until after they deploy the Vora platform. Based on that experience, however, many may decide to build their own custom applications on the platform.

In either scenario, IT organizations should steadily be gaining exposure to microservices architectures based on containers running on instances of Kubernetes. If more independent software vendors follow SAP’s lead, it may be only now a matter of time before Kubernetes becomes the dominant container platform in the enterprise.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.