Advantages, Challenges & the Right Solution
The last decade has seen businesses increasingly moving their application workloads from on-premise to the cloud. SAP being one of the most business-critical applications, there have been considerable discussions around migrating SAP workloads to the cloud and choosing the right cloud vendor.
Two of the leading players in the market, Azure and AWS, both offer great support for running SAP workloads. AWS being a market leader has a rich ecosystem of solutions and integrations that can benefit your SAP implementation. However, Azure is also fast expanding its repertoire of solutions.
Understanding Challenges with SAP on Azure
The choice of AWS or Azure depends primarily on what best meets business requirements, and the existing IT infrastructure and cloud solution in place. However, there are a few well-identified challenges with running SAP on Azure that you might want to consider when evaluating moving SAP to the cloud, or moving SAP from Azure to AWS:
No Dynamic Capacity Planning: Azure has certain constraints on moving and allocating infrastructure resources, which means you cannot dynamically scale your cloud usage up or down in response to changing demand. This can lead to wasteful expenditure in paying for resources that are not in use.
Limited Visibility and Monitoring: Azure offers a limited range of monitoring tools, which means you do not have complete visibility into your infrastructure. This lack of insight can cause a failure to notice core performance issues, thus disrupting business processes. Most businesses adopt additional monitoring software to get around this challenge.
Besides this, Azure is also less flexible when it comes to supporting non-Windows based server platforms.
Advantages of Running SAP Workloads on AWS
With over 5000 active customers, AWS looks to be the most preferred cloud solution for running SAP workloads. IDG Research reveals that businesses running SAP workloads on AWS report high satisfaction rating, and have reaped significant benefits. 96% of businesses surveyed say that choosing AWS has reduced their total cost of ownership (TCO). They also report an increase in savings by upto 26%.
But that’s just the beginning.
Here’s a closer look at the diverse range of benefits that businesses stand to gain, once they move their SAP workloads to AWS:
Easy Provisioning, High Scalability
Migrating SAP workloads onto AWS gives you a highly available, robust and scalable infrastructure to launch and manage your business critical applications. It eliminates the need for investing in costly and time-consuming infrastructure purchases and deployment, allowing you to launch SAP systems in minutes. And this improved time-to-market is highly valuable in today’s disruptive market conditions.
The close partnership between AWS and SAP means that customers can leverage a range of solutions designed specifically deliver these benefits:
- AWS Quick Start to streamline deployment of SAP HANA production environments, in accordance with best practices from both SAP and AWS.
- Integrating SAP workloads with AWS CloudFormation and Amazon CloudWatch to automate resource provisioning and other system maintenance.
Your teams also do not have to engage in complex capacity planning to ensure optimal use of budgets and resources. With flexible computing solutions and pricing models, AWS allows you to scale up or scale down infrastructure usage in response to fluctuating requirements. You can add or remove compute, networking and storage instances as required, to actively keep up with evolving workloads. And this is a key advantage that AWS delivers over Azure.
Improved Performance, Enhanced Agility
One of the key reasons businesses choose AWS for SAP is because it offers a complete cloud environment for business innovations. The fact that SAP and AWS have been working together since 2011 means that businesses have access to a set of solutions that have been honed over the years to anticipate and solve real customers needs around application performance and agility. So we have:
- A range of Amazon EC2 instances optimized for specific SAP workload needs. One of these is X1, which has been purpose-built with Intel® Xeon® E7 processors. It meets the strict performance requirements for in-memory databases such as SAP HANA and other big data and enterprise workloads.
- Pre-built system images are available on AWS for certain SAP solutions, allowing businesses to deploy a ready-to-go, preconfigured SAP system in a matter of minutes.
- Dedicated SAP customer support for businesses running SAP on AWS.
Lower Cost, Higher Savings
Businesses migrating SAP to AWS report a significant drop in TCO in the short term. SAP reveals that customers leveraging AWS cloud for their SAP workloads incur savings ranging from 59%-71% over a five-year period.
These savings occur across several aspects:
- Lower cost of purchasing and maintaining physical infrastructure
- Improved and simplified operational processes which minimize spends across process design, technical set-up, project management and testing
- Lower cost on continuous improvements and activities such as application and system upgrades
- Ability to dynamically manage resource usage in response to changing requirements
The cost benefits delivered by AWS also compound over time, with businesses that have been using it for a longer period to run their SAP reporting higher cost savings.
Challenges in Migrating SAP from Azure to AWS
While there are several approaches to migrating applications between clouds, not all of them yield similar results. When it comes to moving SAP workloads, it is important to plan a detailed migration strategy so as to ensure minimal disruption for the business. And hence, it is advisable to know the possible challenges to expect during migration, and how to work around them.
CloudEndure may not work
One way to migrate SAP from Azure to AWS is by using CloudEndure Migration. It offers an automated cloud migration solution with a lift-and-shift approach. However, what appears to be a simple enough solution on paper can run into several roadblocks once executed:
- The CloudEndure agent does not support Linux Suse12 SP3 servers for Azure to AWS migration
- Azure and AWS have different Hardware Virtual Machine (HVM) layers, with varying processor families, leading to compatibility issues
- This can result in having to move all your applications and databases manually from Azure to AWS, which can be an extremely error-prone and cost-intensive process
It is possible to work through these challenges individually, like adopting a different migration path for Linux servers or choosing to move ahead with manual migration of databases. But the overall migration process in itself remains inefficient and can bring down the productivity and performance of the final implementation.
So it’s advisable that you find a more comprehensive solution to migrate SAP workloads from Azure to AWS.
Leveraging AWS Server Migration Service
Starting, April 2019, Amazon announced support for Azure to AWS migration with the AWS Server Migration Service (SMS). Currently, AWS SMS is one of the best methods to migrate your SAP workloads running in Microsoft Azure to AWS Cloud. You can discover your virtual machines running SAP on Azure, bundle them into applications, and swiftly move them to AWS. The key advantages of this are:
- Completely eliminate the hassles of replicating individual servers or decoupling application dependencies
- Reduce time taken for migration
- Reduce the risk of errors during migration and any consequent downtime
The Last Word
Given there are known challenges to successfully running SAP on Azure, which have a direct impact on operating expenditure, it does make sense for enterprises to move to AWS to improve application performance and keep costs low. However, SAP migrations from Azure to AWS are not as straightforward as cloud teams might desire and require detailed strategic plans. CloudEndure has been a solution for this so far, but that comes with its own set of challenges. With the AWS Server Migration Service, enterprise cloud teams will now find it far less challenging to make the switch. What could also aid enterprise IT teams looking to execute an SAP migration from Azure to AWS is an experienced third-party team of cloud professionals. At Minfy, we have worked with enterprises across industries to successfully carry out workload migrations onto and between cloud solutions.
Let’s start a conversation and our experts can help ensure a seamless migration of your SAP workloads.