Migrating SAP to the Cloud: A Planning Guide

Hard drive data storage is rapidly turning into technologies of the past. Our foreseeable digital future is definitely located in the cloud. Cloud computing — with its powerful infrastructure, flexibility, and cost-efficiency — is the best alternative for every company that strives for better running and taking advantage of changing market conditions and new technologies.

A couple of years ago the only question an enterprise could ask was: “ If we are moving SAP to the cloud …” Today the main issues discussed are: “ When are we  migrating to the cloud, and how are we going to do it?”

As a rule, all innovations seem daunting. For that reason, most companies haven’t worked out their migration-to-cloud strategy yet. Yes, the migration process is still challenging and quite complicated for critical systems, but it is really worth doing.

Cloud Migration Strategy

The market for cloud services has grown tremendously in the last few years. In 2017, we see the increasing number of customers shifting to remote platforms. A new generation of startups and “born in the cloud” providers is being created.

Gartner anticipates that more than 30% of the new software investments made by the largest vendors will be involved in a cloud-only strategy by 2018. The shift to the cloud directly or indirectly will create more than $1 trillion in IT spending by 2020, said Gartner. As it happens, cloud computing will become one of the most powerful IT sectors.

Migrating SAP to the Cloud

Source: Gartner

The world of data centers and hardware is also undergoing significant changes. According to a Cisco research, 83% of all data center traffic will be based in the cloud by 2018.

Gartner supports this statement and claims that by 2020, the majority of virtual machines and computing power will be delivered by IaaS ( Infrastructure as a Service ) and PaaS ( Platform as a Service) providers. The revenue is likely to exceed $55 billion.

7 Steps to Migrating SAP to Cloud

What is SAP migration in general? It is a complicated procedure of data transition revolving around changes to the hardware, software and the physical location of the SAP landscape. It requires special knowledge and the engagement of professionals.

Migration to the cloud implicates data transition from the company’s hardware to a remote server. So how can you decide that it’s the right time for SAP system migration? There should be a significant reason for making changes.

The first reason is related to hardware costs. As we know, any hardware has its lifecycle. For example, IT hardware should be replaced every five years, which, consequently, implies additional expenses. So, the trigger point for your business to move to the remote platform might be the approaching end of the hardware lifecycle.

The second reason is the business benefits. When you see that cloud adoption can provide the biggest benefit, as compared to the traditional model, it is time to work out your SAP cloud migration strategy.

In order to help organizations create their own plan and achieve a smoother migration, we’ve made up a list of 7 SAP migration steps.

1. Checking Compatibility

Different cloud-based platforms support different versions of SAP applications. You need to check beforehand whether your solution is compatible with the proposed cloud regarding the SAP system, operating system, and database software.

2. Choosing the Right Size

Cloud platforms offer various storage space sizes. To get the exact size for your migrated system, you should know the number of SAPS necessary for each SAP system, or you can just apply the average utilization (this gives you the size you need at the moment and the ability to grow in future).

3. Choosing the Location

Cloud servers can be located in any part of the world (Europe, North America, Asia, etc.). Choose the closest and most appropriate location for your system, taking into account the wide area network costs.

4. Choosing Services

It is also necessary to choose the appropriate support for your SAP product. There are three service classes:

  • Entry service — a minimal set, recommended for isolated projects
  • Development service — supports the application from the beginning of its development to the moment it goes live
  • Full service — a full set of support required for best system management

5. Planning and Budgeting

The next step is to determine what to move first and what strategy to follow to make the migration as smooth as possible. Assess the whole SAP landscape, and based on the obtained data, draw up your budget.

6. Testing

If your solutions are running on OSs or databases that are unavailable on clouds, they must be changed and tested again. This point is significant, as it can contribute to the migration timeline and final costs.

7. Cleansing

Before migration, the system should be cleaned of inconsistent and corrupted data, unreadable files and other data that is seldom used. It can be archived and purged. This will simplify the migration to a great extent.

Read also: 5 Ways to Migrate Applications to the Cloud

Cloud Platforms for SAP Applications

Choosing the right platform for SAP migration is not a very difficult job, as there are numerous solid options. You just have to select the one that is better suitable for your personal project. We are not going to choose the winner, but want to compare the current top players for you.

Azure

Microsoft is in a strong position in the market with its Azure cloud platform. It provides software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Azure is compatible with numerous languages, development tools and frameworks.

SAP migration to Azure is a solid move for maximum cost savings, uptime and agility. There are two possible strategies: the horizontal strategy first moves low-risk environments and doesn’t affect critical functions; the vertical strategy moves an entire system starting with the lower-risk resources.

AWS

Amazon Web Services offers deep database and data migration tools. Its global cloud-based products include computing, storage, database, analytics, IoT, mobile, networking and security applications. SAP migration to AWS becomes an easy task with AWS Server Migration Service (SMS). This agentless service helps to migrate a great number of on-premises workloads to the cloud quickly.

The largest enterprises and the most promising startups trust AWS to power a wide variety of their operating loads. Amazon Web Services has a long list of enterprise software partners certified to run on its platform.

IBM

The IBM cloud offers more than 50 global data centers for keeping your applications secure and compliant. You are able to select your delivery models, locations, services, tools and data to meet your specific workload needs. You can build on top of what you have, connecting applications across all types of the cloud with on-premises systems.

The IBM Cloud is open by design, giving you the flexibility and control you need to leverage your skills and technology investments.

GCP

Google Cloud Platform is the right choice for many enterprises. Its services are easy to understand and well-adapted for various projects. Google’s infrastructure is secure, global, cost-effective and constantly improving. Google can boast of its customer-friendly pricing, innovations such as the per-minute billing and sustained discounts.

Data security is provided by a layered, end-to-end security model and comprehensive third-party audits (ISO, PCI & HIPAA).

SAP

SAP Cloud Platform is a PaaS for digital transformation with comprehensive application development services. Its strengths include a consistent and productive web integrated development environment, its Fiori framework for mobile and web app development, and its identity and access management service.

The SAP cloud provides a 50-75% reduction in development time. However, it is a “challenger” among the mega-cloud providers. It lacks a wide range of languages, databases and analytics services offered by other cloud leaders.

SAP Migration to Cloud: Challenges and Benefits

Moving products and services to the cloud is a modern, long-term trend among organizations that want to go global. For some of them, it’s a business choice, for others, just a necessity (turning to the cloud can become a must due to increased traffic to the website, the company’s geographical expansion, etc.). In any case, the benefits of the procedure are significant.

Benefits

Flexibility  — the system can scale up and down, tons of storage can be added, unnecessary resources can be removed, depending on the needs

Disaster recovery systems  — they are cheaper and easier to set up in the cloud; moreover, they give much more control than their hardware equivalents

Maintenance  — no need to worry about managing and maintaining servers, as they are offsite and the provider handles everything for you

No hardware costs  — remote servers don’t require your engagement in fixing problems and replacement

Work from anywhere  — access to the data is provided from anywhere in the world

Security  — a machine crashing will not corrupt your data anymore

Competitiveness  — the above-mentioned points make it possible even for small businesses to compete with larger companies

Despite all the obvious benefits of cloud migration, there’s also a number of challenges related to it. Organizations have to take them into account, before making a decisive move.

Read also: Cloud Migration Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Challenges

Data security  — this is a disadvantage to a lesser degree, but just a fear of some managers: they presume that sensitive data can be at risk because they can’t physically touch and feel it; in reality, data on the cloud can be even more secure than on-premises

Potential latency  — delay of some operations can appear if the provider’s center is far from your location; choose the closest data center to avoid this

Portability  — before migrating to the cloud, you should check your software portability with its environments and adapt it if necessary

Adaptability  — both people and equipment in the whole organization will undergo changes after migration; they should be prepared for transformation and adoption

Time  — the procedure requires a certain period of time, which should be carefully considered in advance

Benefit from SAP with SaM Solutions

Cloud migration is an extremely credible method for a business to become more efficient, assuming that it is done right. All you need is sound knowledge and a reliable provider to achieve this goal.

SaM Solutions is an SAP Silver Service Partner and provides service and support of SAP C/4HANA Suite solutions. We implement SAP end-to-end solutions from initiation to productive roll-out and provide post-production maintenance.

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About the author

Natallia Sakovich
Natallia Sakovich

A copywriter at SaM Solutions, Natallia is devoted to her motto — to write simply and clearly about complicated things. Backed up with a 5-year experience in copywriting, she creates informative but exciting articles on high technologies.

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