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Struggling with SAP in the cloud? Here's how to cope

Meg Matich
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SAP in the CloudDid you know that there’s an interesting story behind our long-standing relationship with SAP—and how we’ve transformed it to meet the needs of today’s organizations?

The story starts with our track record. For over two decades, we’ve worked with organizations that decided that on-premises SAP was the right fit, and chose NetApp to help get them there. Over the years, NetApp proved itself as a successful on-premises storage provider for SAP. From our early efforts with disk-based NetApp® FAS to today’s NetApp AFF, we’ve helped our customers solve fundamental problems, such as cutting rack space and power needs by 90% without compromising performance, resilience, and value.

But on-premises SAP, though still common and important, is no longer the be-all and end-all of SAP implementation. Organizations with both new needs for SAP and existing SAP implementations are looking to the cloud for added agility, versatility, and impact. They’re on a search for better ways to build SAP in the cloud, and NetApp is right there with them to address these needs.

That’s where our story is heading—toward the cloud, and the connection and integration of cloud resources with on-premises resources. Whether you’re considering an SAP migration to the cloud or creating a true hybrid cloud with SAP capabilities, we have good news. Our experience on-premises and in the cloud is a source of powerful insights into:

  • How cloud storage for SAP ought to work
  • What advantages the right storage can offer
  • Just how far you can go with cloud for SAP built on storage from NetApp
Read on to explore all the challenges and considerations you could face when you’re thinking about SAP HANA in the cloud.

The SAP HANA certified provider program

As you probably know, the first step to anything SAP is determining whether a vendor is part of the SAP HANA certified provider program. So, let’s talk about SAP certification and why it’s important.

SAP takes great care to ensure that its solutions provide value out of the box. SAP customers have high demands and high expectations, and to use SAP’s own words, the certified provider program helps SAP customers identify best-in-class service providers, while certified partners increase market visibility and drive new revenue... And if you’ve looked, you know there are dozens of SAP HANA certified providers, including NetApp" to NetApp participates in the HANA certification program for Enterprise Storage and IaaS. These certifications help SAP customers identify best-in-class providers to meet their requirements in terms of quality, scope, and geography.

Co-innovated offerings with stringent and ongoing certification requirements give you comfort and confidence. Choosing a certified provider can mean quicker implementation times, lower integration costs, and proven compatibility with SAP S/4HANA. NetApp participates in the HANA certification program for Enterprise Storage and IaaS.

But not every certified partner has the breadth and depth that organizations need if they’re considering SAP in the cloud. After all, many organizations have implemented or are planning to implement hybrid and multicloud environments. Many SAP-certified technologies work in one environment, but not all. Organizations that want the advantages of hybrid cloud for SAP typically choose between two sets of technology:
  • On-premises certified storage platforms that don’t have public cloud equivalents
  • Certified infrastructure as a service (IaaS) platforms without certified solutions on premises
Ideally, you need a vendor that can do both hybrid and multicloud, and that’s where NetApp shines.

SAP can be hard: Explore the intricacies of SAP deployments in the cloud

If you want your SAP deployment to be high performing, scalable, efficient, and cost effective, you know that the best approach to running SAP is to run it simply. The fewer disparate technologies, the better.

Consider this scenario. Perhaps you’re planning to migrate your SAP database onto Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure, and you have a vision (or even a plan) for a hybrid cloud that offers SAP-certified capabilities. But you’ve discovered that it’s hard to do either simply.

Organizations face a few critical challenges when running their SAP database in the cloud.

  • Any move to the cloud, whether a migration or a long-term integration, is hybrid for some period. You’re forced to use different tools for different environments, which quickly becomes more complex and potentially confusing for IT.
  • Different platforms result in different performance, resilience, and value characteristics. Availability isn’t consistent, data protection isn’t consistent, or APIs and integrated capabilities (like snapshots) aren’t consistent. And it’s hard to predict this user experience when migrating your SAP workloads.
  • Different elements of SAP in different environments often result in limited visibility. Default cloud monitoring tools provide insight into cloud infrastructure only. This lack of visibility across a hybrid or multicloud environment causes inefficiency and adds risk.
  • Bridging different technologies encourages you to develop complex integrations. These integrations can be hard to debug, and if challenges emerge, you’re dealing with multiple vendors and inevitable finger pointing.
  • With default vendor tools and different toolkits for different environments, it’s hard to scale and apply appropriate resources as demands change. Inefficient SAP scaling in the cloud can skyrocket operational costs if you use pay-as-you-go pricing.
All these challenges stand in the way of value, and solving this complexity is critical for success.

That’s why we’ve found a way to address this complexity—with seamless data management for SAP that spans all major public clouds (yes, public clouds, not just one). And we’re a leading provider of on-premises storage for SAP. We know from experience that SAP in the cloud is hard, and we’ve come up with ways to make it easier.

NetApp for SAP in the cloud: A proven approach

At NetApp, we’re committed to adding value in the cloud. That’s why we offer NetApp Cloud Volumes file storage (both NFS and SMB) on the three major public cloud providers: AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure. You get a common data experience across multiple clouds—the same NetApp ONTAP® experience that tens of thousands of organizations know from using NetApp on-premises storage. Take advantage of consumption based pricing based on multiple service levels, and a consistent API for integrated management and data protection. And avoid performance and latency issues you might expect with other cloud storage services.

NetApp is certified by SAP for on-premises storage and for cloud storage on Google Cloud and Azure. Whether you need cloud storage for production HANA, shared files, application testing and development, or disaster recovery, we have a proven track record of public- cloud-only or hybrid cloud storage services for SAP that:
  • Deliver up to 6GiBps throughput
  • Offer guaranteed nine nines of data durability
  • Make RPO=0 configurations available
  • Provide exceptionally fast backups through application-integrated NetApp Snapshot™ copies (through scripts or NetApp SnapCenter® for NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP®) and replication
  • Provide cloning for migration, testing, prototyping, and QA
  • Provide at-rest encryption with NetApp managed key rotation and management
  • Shrink costs by up to 70% with data management automation and cold data tiering
Unlike other storage systems that are limited to either on-premises or cloud-native use, our technology helps you transform your SAP operations in the cloud to:
  • Speed up development, QA, and deployment
  • Optimize resilience and simplify operations that support always-on agility
  • Provide the right mix of versatility across multiple clouds and on-premises data centers to support digital transformation initiatives in the way that’s right for you
In short, we help you connect and integrate cloud services to make running SAP workloads in hybrid or multicloud environments simpler and better.

Review our SAP reference architectures

We’re here to make managing SAP workloads across different clouds simpler, and to give you choice. And speaking of making things simpler, we’ve created reference architectures to help you connect and integrate your SAP ecosystem from on-premises to hybrid, or across specific public cloud infrastructures.

Use our reference architectures to help you define performance and capacity (which you can still change whenever needed to control costs). The reference architectures also help you understand both SAP shared file system and SAP database (including HANA) use cases. To learn more, download either or both of these reference architectures:

Conclusion

We’re proud of our on-premises and cloud storage story, and the way we’ve facilitated moving SAP workloads to hybrid and multicloud environments. It’s part of our vision of a data fabric that connects and integrates disparate pools of resources—a vision that continues to evolve, adding value for you over time.

To learn more about what we do to accelerate SAP projects, simplify TCO, and help you move to the cloud faster, visit our SAP resource page.

Meg Matich

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