SAP Cloud Migration to GCP The Functional Side of Moving SAP to the Cloud
SAP Cloud Migration to GCP The Functional Side of Moving SAP to the Cloud
Cloud environments are present in all verticals, enterprise, and customer use cases. Some services are inconceivable without cloud support, such as voice assistants or cloud storage.
Thousands of organizations globally rely on SAP for their mission-critical workloads. The broader digital transformation journey in many organizations includes shifting the essential SAP workloads to Google Cloud. The migration offers them greater agility, elasticity, and uptime on the flexible cloud platform with the benefits of cutting-edge AI, ML, and analytics capabilities.
However, most SAP services are not applications that are native to the cloud with the capability to integrate perfectly into cloud environments. SAP systems have requirements that often do not fit at all with the ways of the cloud platform and its operations. In order to derive optimum benefit, companies need to invest time in the architecture and planning of the SAP on the Cloud landscape as it is an important strategic decision.
Who can migrate to GCP
Only select supported versions of SAP products can be migrated to a list of certified GCP hardware. The list of certifications is growing as both SAP and GCP test and issue new certifications continuously. SAP and GCP-related notes are periodically updated. These can be found here.
SAP’s Product Availability Matrix (PAM) provides a list of OS/DB that are supported for each of the SAP applications and versions. Users can start with PAM and narrow it down with the GCP SAP notes to check if an application can be migrated.
How – The process of Moving to GCP
Using Google partners, businesses can migrate their SAP applications and data to Google Cloud quickly and easily with minimal disruption to the business. With Google’s exclusive cloud infrastructure organizations can host large instances fully on the cloud without depending on bare-metal servers as part of their public cloud strategies. There are specific steps to follow in the process of moving to GCP.
- Define the Sequence of migration by defining the environments involved, the starting point (on-premises environment, a private hosting environment, or another public cloud environment) and solution compatibility with the proposed cloud regarding the SAP system, operating system, and database software.
- Automate process using tools such as CloudPhysics to do environment discovery. It is useful for the discovery of over 10 servers and shows an accurate cost comparison for the servers on GCP and other cloud providers.
- Identify the manual process like filling in the current environment details such as VMs sizes, Operating Systems, data size, and planning accordingly.
- Organize a pilot run if required, spinning up an SAP environment on GCP, to verify technical and business requirements.
- Migrate by utilizing one or more of the four different processes available.
Challenges in Migration
While the cloud offers definite advantages for SAP customers, the move itself can be complicated, challenging, and disruptive. Factors that decide the difficulty of migrations are:
- Database Size and type
- Downtime available for Production Cutover
- Nature of migration-homogeneous or heterogeneous. Heterogeneous migrations are more complicated as it involves SWPM (Software Provisioning Manager) export from the source and import into the target. Homogeneous migrations are simpler and smoother.
- Requirement of any Operating system or database upgrade
- Requirement of SAP application upgrade
- Need for Unicode conversion if any
Mitigating the Challenges
Optimizing the system and implementation to overcome the challenges can be done at many levels.
It is possible to use application methods (e.g., HANA system replication or SAP-HANA scale-out system with host auto-failover) to secure systems against the failure of individual components. It is also appropriate to decouple the application as much as possible from the underlying operating system. With this loose binding, users can deploy a server within minutes in case of problems within the server or the OS and preconfigure it with an automation solution of their choice. The application changeover is seamless, and it saves time-consuming troubleshooting.
The more important an application is within a company, the more critical its performance is. Avoid any negative user experience immediately after go-live by focusing on offering the users the same or even better performance when migrating to the cloud. This could have a lasting negative impact on the reputation of the cloud among the/its users.
It is therefore important to create a careful sizing of the SAP landscape in the cloud. SAP’s recommendations in the form of the PAM (Product Availability Matrix) and the Certified and Supported SAP HANA Hardware Directory as well as the certifications for SAP applications on the GCP should also be considered. The advantages of the cloud are seen when sizing the SAP landscape.
In SAP on Cloud projects, it is advisable to set up servers larger than the sizing requirements. Initially, for about 3 months, the servers are run in a pay-as-you-go operation to be able to collect secured data on utilization in the new environment. This data-level is considered for rightsizing. Any changeover to stronger or smaller servers requires only a reboot. The servers can then be committed and accepted by the cloud provider for the long term and under appropriate conditions.
Apart from architecture and performance, there are many other areas of attention in an SAP on Cloud project. Migrating from a workload to a public cloud can be challenging and risky. There is minimal change to the workload during the migration of legacy on-premises apps to the cloud despite multiple steps that need careful handling.
The outcomes of the shift
GCP provides a robust cloud infrastructure that helps to monetize the benefits of the cloud for much more beyond the SAP setup. The power of BigQuery helps to analyze combined data from SAP and other data sources.
Forrester’s Total Economic Impact (TEI) study for companies running SAP systems on Google Cloud reveals the following:
Direct cost savings
Companies reported annual savings of more than $3 million on average including eliminated hardware purchases, right-sized software licensing, staffing efficiencies, and other operational cost savings. Relocating an organization’s SAP workloads to GCP ensures a reduction in initial costs allocated for data storage and data recovery.
Migrating SAP to Google Cloud almost eliminates downtime, planned or unplanned, producing $1.5 million in annual savings by avoiding revenue and user productivity losses. It also resulted in an average 98% reduction in unplanned downtime saving businesses an average of nearly $770,000 in revenue and productivity gains. Relocating an organization’s SAP workloads to GCP ensures 99.99% availability of IT infrastructure.
Forrester reported $500,000 in average annual productivity gains for SAP business users and frontline workers. In addition, there were additional annual efficiency gains of about $500,000 on average after migrating from SAP to Google Cloud.
Companies could expect average three-year benefits of about $15.4 million overall.
Additionally, the time needed to maintain and manage SAP environments is reduced by an average of 66% per year, providing savings of $443,000, per company.
According to IDC, companies running SAP on Google Cloud spent 31% less on infrastructure annually, or an average of $233,000 less per company. (Source)
Industry Landscape, Examples, and Cases
Optimizing business operations with SAP on Google Cloud
A leading provider of cloud software for customer engagement and intelligent automation had its core SAP systems in a traditional data center. The IT department found it was spending too much time on day-to-day maintenance and less on strategic projects that generated value for the company.
The company deployed its SAP environment, including SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) and SAP HANA data warehousing, on Google Cloud. The move helped the company overcome many of the challenges it faced with the previous deployment apart from reducing the time it spent on SAP operational maintenance by two-thirds. The move to Google Cloud-enabled the company to use data from SAP HANA leading to richer data integration and faster and better-informed decisions leading to improved performance. It could now scale up and scale down resources as needed.
Resolve Tech Solutions and SAP on GCP
RTS leverages the public cloud smart infrastructure and migration accelerators while utilizing its proven SAP and GCP expertise to help customers complete their migration to a public cloud. RTS has earned its credentials as a leading multi-cloud specialist with extensive SAP ERP and GCP expertise, providing value to customers get out of their SAP investment. It serves as a trusted partner that offers management services built on industry-leading best practices.