SAP on AWS migration: 5 common mistakes and how to avoid them

SAP on AWS migration can be a complex and challenging endeavour due to the critical nature of these systems. The process demands meticulous planning, resource understanding, effective communications with business and IT as well as comprehensive training and awareness across the entire teams to reap all the benefits of AWS.

To ensure the full benefits, discover the five most common errors in SAP on AWS migration and learn strategies to avoid them. Ensure a seamless transition and maximize the benefits of your migration project.

Insufficient assessment

One of the most prevalent missteps during a SAP on AWS migration is the failure to accurately estimate planning time and overlooking the implications for current infrastructure, both in terms of organizational dynamics and cost considerations. Adequate planning is the cornerstone of a successful migration, and underestimating the time required can lead to rushed decisions and potential setbacks.

A critical aspect often overlooked is the lack of awareness among internal teams, not just within IT but throughout the organization, about the implications of SAP on AWS migration. Many team members may not fully comprehend the nuances of this transition or the array of tools and applications available on AWS. Unlike on-premise platforms, AWS bills data usage per megabyte, meaning every file replication incurs additional costs. Furthermore, security measures on AWS are distinct from traditional setups, and grasping these nuances is paramount.

Plan ahead and document your current set-up

To ensure a smooth SAP on AWS migration, it’s imperative to bridge the awareness gap within your organization and provide comprehensive education on these critical aspects. Even when adopting a lift and shift approach, an AWS cloud strategy should involve assessing the current SAP landscape, workload, and the integrated tools prior to migration. An organisation planning for migration should also explore the full range of cloud-native features and non-SAP applications available following SAP on AWS migration to optimize scalability and cost-efficiency, reduce latency, and improve availability. These possibilities include migrating from conventional data bases such as Oracle or MS SQL to cloud optimised managed services. In this case, products to consider are open-source solutions such as Postgre SQL or MySQL.

In addition, static webservers can be hosted after migration directly on Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) or other server-based services that can be turned into serverless functions with the smallest of effort.

Failing to anticipate the data transfer complexity

Organizations still using older versions of SAP, predating S/4HANA, often rely on tailor-made solutions that have evolved over time. These solutions are deeply integrated into the existing ecosystem, with numerous SAP and non-SAP applications built around them. However, migrating from such intricate setups can be highly complex. Each application that needs migration demands specific expertise to ensure seamless integration into the new environment. Failing to anticipate these complexities can lead to challenges during and after migration, potentially causing disruptions and increased costs.

Clean-up prior to migration

The key to a successful migration lies in recognizing the unique complexities posed by older SAP versions and being prepared to address them effectively. It’s not just about moving data; it’s about ensuring that each component fits seamlessly into the new cloud-based infrastructure. Overlooking this aspect can result in significant post-migration challenges, not only in terms of costs but also in terms of operational efficiency and system performance.

An organized and efficient data structure can significantly streamline the migration process and enhance data integrity in the cloud. Additionally, selecting the right AWS storage solutions tailored to your specific needs is paramount. AWS offers a diverse range of storage options, from Amazon S3 buckets for scalable data storage to Amazon EFS for file systems that grow and shrink seamlessly according to your workload. Making informed choices in this regard is key to optimizing data management during and after migration.

Underestimating Cloud Resources and Costs

Transitioning to the cloud offers remarkable flexibility, but it also introduces its own set of challenges, particularly in terms of resource planning and cost management.

The allure of the cloud lies in its seemingly limitless scalability, making it easy to overlook the critical aspect of resource management, which is pivotal in traditional on-premise environments. In on-premise setups, resource constraints necessitate regular assessments, prompting questions such as whether it’s prudent to deactivate older servers or remove redundant data. However, the cloud presents a vast resource pool where provisioning new servers can be accomplished effortlessly, often without disrupting existing infrastructures. This abundance of resources can lead to cost inefficiencies if not managed diligently, emphasizing the importance of resource planning and cost control in the cloud era.

Build a FinOps roadmap

When developing an AWS cloud strategy, it is pivotal to factor in the flexibility of resource reservation options in AWS when estimating costs over the next three years following migration. Understanding that the cloud’s virtually limitless resources demand a proactive approach to resource management is key to avoiding spiralling costs. Likewise, implementing a comprehensive FinOps strategy to regulate and report on cloud spending will ensure it aligns with the organisation’s goals and budget constraints.

A sophisticated FinOps (Financial Operations) strategy creates an operational framework that drives financial accountability and accelerates business value realization through cloud transformation. Combined with regulations and robust reporting mechanisms, it ensures that cloud resources are used efficiently and that costs are continually optimised. One of the fundamental practices in FinOps is rightsizing, which involves adjusting the size and configuration of cloud resources to match the actual workload requirements. Over-provisioned or underutilized resources are identified and optimized, leading to cost savings.

Unforeseen Challenges: Navigating the Unknown

When it comes to SAP on AWS migration, some challenges are not initially recognized or anticipated in a timely manner. It is important to acknowledge that it is impossible to predict every obstacle that may arise during a complex migration process. The more experience one has with cloud scenarios, the better equipped they are to identify and resolve unexpected issues.

However, many organizations often fall short in their preparations by not conducting adequate preliminary assessments to identify potential scenarios that may arise.

Collaboration, insight and partnership for success

Involving various parts of the organization, particularly those with a clear understanding of everyday systems and application usage, is essential to your cloud strategy. Their insights can shed light on how the migration may impact standard processes, helping to proactively address challenges before they become significant roadblocks in the migration journey. Thorough homework and collaboration across departments are key to a smoother SAP on AWS migration experience.

The ability to foresee and address potentially unforeseen challenges often hinges on the user’s familiarity with the cloud environment. Relying solely on one’s organisation’s established standards can lead to efficient but somewhat limited solutions. To truly harness the potential of the cloud, a solution architect should devote time daily to stay abreast of new developments and changes in the cloud ecosystem.

Cultivating a robust partnership with a cloud provider, such as AWS or Azure, can be invaluable when addressing unforeseen challenges. This collaboration grants access to specialized cloud provider experts who can provide valuable insights and innovative solutions when unexpected issues arise. Ultimately, this partnership ensures a smoother and more successful migration journey, enhancing your organization’s ability to navigate the complexities of the cloud environment effectively.

Networking and Security Misconceptions

Migrating SAP from on-premise to AWS offers numerous benefits, but failing to grasp the differences in network security can lead to costly mistakes. One common error is assuming that the security measures used in on-premise environments can seamlessly translate to the cloud. In reality, AWS operates on a different set of principles and security protocols. Neglecting to adapt your network security strategy accordingly can leave your SAP systems vulnerable to threats that were not prevalent in your on-premise setup.

Unlock the power of AWS security features

AWS offers a robust suite of built-in security features, making it a reliable choice for safeguarding your data and applications. From network inspection through AWS GuardDuty to DDoS prevention via AWS Shield, AWS provides a comprehensive security framework. In fact, AWS boasts a total of 27 services dedicated to security, access management, and compliance reporting. These services can be seamlessly integrated into your AWS environment, enhancing your security posture. However, it’s essential to consider the cost implications when implementing these solutions, as they are billed based on usage.

When developing an AWS cloud strategy, it is well worth considering that AWS has a large Managed Service Operation Centre (SOC) that detects attacks around the clock and performs mitigation. Understanding these considerations in depth is important when balancing the pros and cons of using one or another methodology for one’s own security compliance.

Amazon VPC (Virtual Private Cloud), for its part, makes it possible to create isolated network environments for one’s SAP systems. Private subnets can be used to restrict access and employ security groups and network access control lists (ACLs) can be implemented to control inbound and outbound traffic. Through Identity and Access Management (IAM) user access to AWS resources can also be taken under greater control.  And to crown this, the regions and availability concept on AWS is highly flexible, allowing users to manage access in a more effective and secure way.

Work with an experienced MSP to get the most out of SAP on AWS migration

Do you find yourself resonating with the challenges mentioned above? Are you in the midst of planning a SAP on AWS migration and feeling unsure about the best way to proceed?

SAP on AWS migration, though intricate, is entirely manageable with the right approach. Embrace the challenge head-on, select the right partner who understands your goals, remain flexible in your approach, and foster effective collaboration among your teams. While doing so, always keep a watchful eye on the long-term implications of cost and resource management in the cloud.

You can contact Syntax experts to solve any questions about SAP on AWS Migration here.