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Running SAP Application Server in Azure Using Cloud Volumes ONTAP

Bernd Herth

Today, many businesses are using Microsoft Azure to accelerate their SAP deployments, reduce costs, and increase agility for their business processes. Many customers using NetApp® Clustered Data ONTAP® for their on-premises data center also want to embrace the same features and deep SAP integration when moving their SAP systems to Microsoft Azure. Cloud Volumes ONTAP®, a fully virtualized ONTAP operation system running in an Azure virtual machine (VM), fills this need.

In this blog post, I describe a simple three-step procedure for how to use Cloud Volumes ONTAP as the basis for the shared file systems for an SAP system. The three steps are:

  1. Create a Cloud Volumes ONTAP instance
  2. Create and export a volume
  3. Prepare the operating system to mount the SAP-specific file systems

1) Create a Cloud Volumes ONTAP Instance

Cloud Volumes ONTAP is a fully software-defined storage solution that offers ONTAP data management features for the cloud, using cloud instances (VMs) and cloud block storage instead of physical hardware. It can be scaled from several gigabytes up to hundreds of terabytes capacity, in a single node or a high-availability setup using two cloud instances as an HA pair. Customers can choose from a set of different cloud instance and storage types to meet their specific performance requirements.

Setting up Cloud Volumes ONTAP takes only a few minutes with the easy-to-use but powerful web interface of OnCommand® Cloud Manager. OnCommand Cloud Manager is part of NetApp Cloud Services and can be accessed from the NetApp Cloud Central portal using single sign-on. Watch this video to see how easy it is to use OnCommand Cloud Manager to install Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

2) Create and Export a Volume

Cloud Manager is also the central GUI for all management activities. It uses a simplified “drag-and-drop” interface to create new volumes, protect the volumes by using NetApp Snapshot™ copies, and synchronize the data between different Cloud Volumes ONTAP instances and/or on-premises ONTAP systems.

The following video shows the simplified setup, in which an SAP application server is installed on an Azure VM running SUSE Enterprise Linux for SAP. Cloud Volumes ONTAP is running on an Azure VM, and a single volume, SBX_shared, has been created that holds the shared files of the SAP system.

In the Linux world, the NFS protocol is used to mount the file system to the client VM that is hosting the SAP application server.

3. Prepare the Operating System to Mount the SAP-specific File Systems

A typical setup for SAP shared file systems uses a single volume for the various file systems, such as:

  • /usr/sap/trans
  • /sapmnt/SBX
  • /usr/sap/SBX

This setup simplifies management as well as data protection by using Automated Snapshot copies. It is common in on-premises SAP setups that use NetApp storage.

The next step is to create the mount points listed above at the operating-system level, and to create for each of the mount points a corresponding folder on the Cloud Volumes ONTAP volume. After these preparations, the mount table /etc/fstab needs to be maintained, so that all required file systems are available after a reboot. As a last step, you can create a final Snapshot copy, and then you’re ready to start the SAP installation, as demonstrated in the video.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP not only offers superior data protection and features; NetApp customers can continue to use the same tools and workflows and an identical setup for their SAP systems as on their premises, making the move to the cloud as seamless as possible.

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


Don’t miss the chance to talk to me and my colleagues in person. NetApp will be at SAP SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando, May 7 to May 9. Please visit us at booth #1031. We’ll be there to answer any questions and help you implement the best cloud strategy for SAP.

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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