How to effectively migrate SAP to the cloud

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Most large organizations face similar cost and licensing challenges when it comes to transitioning SAP to a cloud-native environment.

For decades now, running SAP throughout the enterprise has required expensive infrastructure and personnel. Organizations also have found that it is cumbersome and costly to develop, test and deploy SAP applications.

So the ability to start and stop SAP and then suspend and resume SAP applications across the product’s lifecycle can be very costly in the man-hours spent working on the applications and the cost of system downtime. It’s also time-consuming to copy, clone and refresh SAP applications: IT staffs are always challenged with how they can copy the data so they can reuse the same data copies across the organization.

Public cloud options such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure offer an opportunity to save on infrastructure costs and speed up time to market through faster provisioning and scaling. The cloud also offers an easier and cheaper way to archive data.

Here are some of the questions IT managers should ask before deciding to run SAP on a public cloud service:

  1. How can we migrate existing SAP applications quickly and without business downtime? By leveraging proven tools, processes and skillsets it is possible to prepare SAP environments for accelerated migration and to maintain business operations during the transition and transformation phases.
  2. How can we provision SAP faster? When companies run their SAP applications it can take days or even weeks to provision a new SAP environment. By using a cloud provider that has all the applications and infrastructure continuously updated, development teams can provision SAP apps in a matter of hours, if not minutes.
  3. How can we reduce infrastructure costs? The cloud also reduces the need for extensive in-house database servers and storage arrays. The cloud services manage all that data, plus they handle all the SAP basics, such as business intelligence, the BI data warehouse and the CRM applications. This opex model combined with agility in scaling up or down to match business needs enables infrastructure cost optimization.
  4. How can we guarantee high availability? By leveraging the right architectures based on clusters, availability zones and regions it is possible to ensure very high availability for SAP applications as well as Business Continuity. In addition, the cloud services typically offer analytics so the system knows precisely what the end user needs the application for and at what time. It’s also possible to add storage in an automated way. Through automation the system can discover if the customer needs more memory, more disk or if they need to remove disk. By managing the data and applications in this more automated way the cloud services guarantee high availability. End users have the SAP applications when they need them – and at the right service levels.

Clearly, migrating to a cloud-native environment for SAP offers great potential to save money and improve time to market, but it’s also quite an undertaking. Work with a service provider that can help you sort out which applications should move to the cloud first, and which make more sense to keep in-house.

You’ll also have choices between private cloud or public cloud vendors such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. More than likely, many organizations will run in hybrid mode for several months or even years, so there’s no rush to completely change everything. However, you do want to get started because, from a time and cost perspective, it no longer makes sense to run SAP in-house.


Sita-Lowman-headshot_loresSita Lowman is director and offering general manager of Platform Services and Business Solutions at DXC Technology, responsible for worldwide general management of Platform as a Service for SAP, Managed Container Platforms and Demand and Business Continuity Solutions. She previously served as offering leader for a portfolio of cloud solutions at HPE Enterprise Services. Prior to that, she was responsible for cloud and API management software in HPE ES Communications Media Solutions and previously led product marketing and alliances at Nortel. She holds a BSS in Electrical Engineering at Auburn University.

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