sap migration best practices

SAP on Amazon Web Services: 5 Best Practices to Ensure a Successful Migration

When you migrate your SAP environment to Amazon Web Services (AWS), you will gain benefits such as increased agility and greater compute capacity. Here are five best practices to ensure your migration flows smoothly with minimal downtime. 

A few years ago, it seemed impossible to migrate your SAP environment to Amazon Web Services (AWS).

While many CIOs felt comfortable running non-productive systems in the public cloud, they didn’t see it as a viable option for their mission-critical SAP applications.

However, both SAP and AWS have come a long way in addressing CIOs’ top concerns.

AWS has matured and now offers the scalability, reliability, and security needed to host enterprise applications. The public cloud provider has also invested heavily in SAP, as demonstrated by its wide selection of SAP-certified instances that can accommodate the most demanding compute needs.

Meanwhile, SAP has made significant advancements in cloud versions of its core products, particularly S/4HANA. The tech giant has also partnered with cloud providers, including AWS, to make its platforms available to enterprises that seek efficiencies, flexibility, and cost savings in the public cloud.

According to a Teknowlogy Group survey of SAP customers, 47 percent said that running SAP applications in the cloud was a relevant part of their IT strategy. Meanwhile, almost 70 percent of SAP customers who use public cloud hosting want to migrate their productive systems.

Why More Enterprises Are Running SAP on AWS

AWS now offers more than 165 native cloud services including compute, storage, networking, databases, analytics, IoT, machine learning, security, and more. Because the company continuously innovates, it regularly adds new services to its portfolio. AWS released 1,957 new features and services in 2018 alone.

The AWS Marketplace also offers thousands of third-party tools that are pre-configured to run on AWS — from operating systems to DevOps software.

According to a recent report, 67 percent of large companies use AWS services, making AWS the leader in enterprise public cloud adoption. These companies include thousands of SAP customers, such as Lockheed Martin, Zappos, and Lionsgate. SAP even trusts its own ERP workloads to AWS.

Another AWS advantage is its strong relationship with SAP. Since 2011, the two companies have worked together to certify the AWS platform so companies can take full advantage of the SAP HANA in-memory database management system in the public cloud.

The following SAP solutions are certified for deployment in AWS Cloud:

  • SAP Business Suite
  • SAP Business One
  • SAP BusinessObjects
  • SAP Hybris
  • SAP database and mobile solutions in AWS

When you run SAP on AWS, you will:

  • Partner with the leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant. AWS takes the top position in “execution” and “vision” in the Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service category.
  • Gain high capacities for SAP compute. AWS currently supports up to 12TB EC2 high memory instances with the capability to scale out SAP S/4HANA to 4 nodes and 48TB of memory. They rapidly develop and certify new SAP-certified instances with plans to release 18TB and 24TB instances in 2019.

5 Things to Consider Before Migrating Your SAP Environment to AWS

If you are planning dramatic changes to your SAP environment, you have the opportunity to migrate to AWS.

For example, you may want to move to S/4HANA before SAP stops supporting its legacy ERP in 2025. AWS will give you flexibility and make it easy for you to scale your S/4HANA implementation as your business changes.

You can also consider running SAP on AWS if you want to reduce your IT spending. The public cloud offers significant costs savings, as you won’t need to invest in hardware or your own data center. You can also use the AWS Cloud as a disaster recovery site for your local SAP systems, without the cost of a second physical site and a standby infrastructure.

Here are five questions to ask before you make the move: 

1) What do you want to migrate?

 Perform a complete inventory of your systems and applications to decide which ones you want to move to AWS.

When you look at each item, consider the 6 Rs:

  • Re-host: In other words, “lift and shift” of copying applications and data to another cloud host.
  • Re-platform: Do you want to convert to a new platform, such as S/4HANA?
  • Re-purchase: If you use a legacy system or application, can you move to its cloud version?
  • Re-factor: Can you make the application cloud-native to improve your efficiencies?
  • Retain: Do you want to keep the system or application as is?
  • Retire: Is it time to retire the system or application? 
2) How many integrations do you have? 

Many enterprises lack the internal skills needed to migrate SAP environments to AWS. Integrating and managing both AWS cloud services and your SAP infrastructure is also challenging, especially if you work with multiple cloud providers.

Since AWS innovates continuously, your in-house security team may not have the time to keep pace and take advantage of new efficiencies.

3) Have you cleansed your data?

Your data volume directly correlates with your downtime when you move SAP workloads to AWS. Cleansing your data and deleting information that you don’t need will minimize your downtime. You can always archive information to keep it accessible to users while reducing your data volume.

When you cleanse your data in advance, you won’t need as much cloud storage and can reduce your monthly costs.  

4) Can you afford downtime?

 With the right migration strategy, you can minimize downtime when you move SAP workloads to AWS. For example, plan your migration during a time that won’t impact your key financial processes, such as your month- or year-end close. That way, the transition won’t impact user productivity.

You should also work with a partner who has a proven methodology for migrating SAP to AWS. Look for a partner who has expertise with similar enterprises and a track record of success.  

5) Do you have a detailed cloud strategy?

AWS offers a number of security features. However, it won’t fully protect you out of the box. When you move your SAP workloads to any public cloud, you must apply — at a minimum — the same best practices that you use to protect your legacy systems.

If you don’t have a dedicated cybersecurity team, or your current team is busy with other projects, you can work with a partner to ensure that your data is safe in AWS. Your partner can also provide you with ongoing security checks.

Why Work with an Enterprise Cloud for SAP Partner?

Many enterprises think their in-house team can migrate their SAP environment to AWS.

Unfortunately, this strategy often results in delays, especially if your technical team doesn’t have the deep AWS skillset required. Even if your team has the time, they may lack the right cloud experience, tools, and deployment knowledge.

To ensure your migration is a success, find a partner who has experience moving SAP environments to AWS. They should have both SAP and AWS certifications, along with a deep talent pool that can scale with you.

Look for an SAP cloud partner who has built a rich set of tools and services on top of AWS, as these will speed your migration and keep your data secure in the public cloud.

Getting Started with SAP on AWS

Want to learn more about how to seamlessly migrate your SAP systems to AWS?

Download the SAP on AWS white paper “Migrating Mission-Critical SAP Applications to Amazon AWS and watch the on-demand SAP on AWS webinar: 7 Key Questions to Ask Before Migrating SAP to AWS“.

You can also contact us today to discover how we can reduce your risks when you run SAP on AWS.