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Cloud Volumes ONTAP and Azure NetApp Files: SAP HANA System Migration Made Easy

Bernd Herth

Azure NetApp® Files was announced as generally available at the end of May 2019. With Azure NetApp Files and Cloud Volumes ONTAP®, Azure customers can use NetApp technology that is deeply integrated into the Azure cloud to optimize their SAP system operation. With Azure NetApp Files they can use the NetApp enterprise-grade NFS file system to meet even the most extreme performance requirements of SAP HANA production systems.

For Azure NetApp Files SAP HANA, the certification process to achieve production support has started, and customers are planning how to migrate their SAP systems to the cloud. This blog compares the different migration options and highlights how NetApp technology can help to make that migration easy.

The cloud migration journey

There are many ways to migrate an SAP HANA system to the cloud; the preferred method depends on the customer’s specific requirements and use cases, as well as on the technology that customers are using in their on-premises data centers and in the cloud. The following list describes a few typical use cases and compares them in regard to update frequency, required time, and costs.

  • One-time transfer of test or training system
    • In this use case, customers need to set up their target system and typically import a file-based backup. Based on the size of the backup (between a few hundred GB and several TB) customers can choose to wire-copy the files, for example by using NetApp Cloud Sync, or to transfer the copy using transportable disks or storage systems, such as AWS Snowball or Azure Data Box. This method works very well to transfer a first-test system, or to migrate a sandbox or training systems, but it’s not suitable for transferring production systems or dev/test systems that are frequently refreshed.
  • HANA system replication (HSR)
    • One important use case of HSR is the ability to set up a secondary SAP HANA system using asynchronous replication to allow transfer over wide distances with lower bandwidth and higher latencies; for example, the connection from an on-premises data center to the cloud. With HSR it’s even possible to switch production from primary to secondary with only minor interruption and zero loss of transaction in the case of a planned migration. However, HSR requires provisioning and running a complete HANA system, including storage and compute resources. Although HSR provides the shortest cut-over, it raises the bar on all required resources and costs.
  • Storage-based replication
    • Customers using NetApp ONTAP for their on-premises systems can benefit from NetApp’s highly efficient SnapMirror® based replication technology. With Cloud Volumes ONTAP running in the cloud, they can define which volumes need to be replicated, and SnapMirror takes care of the rest. In combination with NetApp SnapCenter®, all SAP HANA backups or only selected ones (with NetApp SnapVault®) can be replicated and SnapCenter can take care of a fully automated cloning workflow in the cloud to spool up new test systems.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP is the perfect solution, not only to transfer data rapidly and efficiently, but also to provision NFS shared files and database volumes.

True hybrid operation – the data fabric in action

In addition to the native migration options just described, customers may want to combine the safety of their on-premises operations with the flexibility and scalability of the cloud, not only to reduce costs but also to secure and accelerate their development and test projects with on-demand cloud resources.

In the example that we developed jointly with our Microsoft colleagues, we combined several customer use cases into one scenario to show the power of the data fabric from NetApp with Azure NetApp Files and Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

  • Back up to the cloud
    • This is a very common scenario based on the storage-based replication just described to cost efficiently use Cloud Volumes ONTAP as a second backup location. All or only selected backups can be transferred (for example, by using NetApp SnapCenter) and stored outside the on-premises data center, adding an extra level of security to meet customers’ SLAs.
  • Dev/test in the cloud
    • NetApp FlexClone® space-efficient cloning can be used to create on-demand system clones for dev/test and training systems to support various project demands. The built-in cloning workflow of SnapCenter helps to automate these system-copy and system-refresh scenarios. Because migration works in both directions, this method makes it easy to move a project system back to the on-premises data center if necessary.
  • Disaster recovery in the cloud
    • Finally, cloud resources can be used in case of disaster. Because the backups are already synchronized, SAP systems can be recovered by adding additional on-demand cloud resources. Although Cloud Volumes ONTAP is a perfect environment for dev/test systems, Azure NetApp Files provides the required performance and resources to support disaster recovery scenarios. Because ready-to-use data is already on Cloud Volumes ONTAP stored in the cloud, the relevant systems can easily be moved to Azure NetApp Files to benefit from the performance and capabilities of the underlying NetApp enterprise- grade hardware.

Watch the video: SAP HANA Migration: Cloud Volumes ONTAP, Azure NetApp Files.

The video focuses on part three of the workflow, starting after SnapCenter has transferred the SAP HANA system to Cloud Volumes ONTAP. The video explains how to relocate the system from Cloud Volumes ONTAP to Azure NetApp Files by using Cloud Sync. For details on how to use SnapCenter to transfer a system to Cloud Volumes ONTAP, read my previous blog, which explains migrating a system copy of a MAXDB database from on the premises to Cloud Volumes ONTAP by using SnapCenter (SAP System Migration into the Cloud Using Cloud Volumes ONTAP).

For more information, see the following technical reports and web pages:

Please join us at SAP TechEd 2019 in Las Vegas next month. We will be in booth 401.

Bernd Herth

Bernd Herth architects and defines NetApp's SAP solutions as TME at the SAP Partner Port at SAP headquarters in Walldorf. He has over 25 years of experience in SAP software and in planning and architecting infrastructure solutions for SAP and has held various positions in the SAP ecosystem. Herth has published articles and books focused on SAP technology and virtualization. He holds a masters degree in physics and taught computer science classes as assistant professor.

View all Posts by Bernd Herth

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