SAP Enterprise Resource Planning takes to the Cloud

Accelerate enterprise ERP application migration with private interconnection

Christof Juette

It was no surprise to hear SAP CEO Christian Klein double down on his commitment to meet customer demand for the cloud-based SAP applications. In the company’s Q1 2020 earnings call, he said “To run their value chain end-to-end, our customers want SAP to drive more vertical industry specific processes in the cloud with seamless integration to SAP cost solutions based on the SAP Cloud Platform. We will respond decisively to that demand.”[i] Klein and his team are working diligently to help their more than 400,000 customers digitally transform, which includes moving mostly on-premises SAP systems to the cloud. SAP will provide mainstream maintenance for SAP Business Suite 7 core applications until the end of 2027, followed by optional extended maintenance until the end of 2030. Even network carriers such as Orange and Telstra and cloud providers, such as AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, have created SAP practices and sales forces addressing this massive migration opportunity.

For SAP customers, this may not be an easy feat. Moving to the cloud will fundamentally change how they have been operating their IT, especially since there are various deployment models for SAP HANA systems that enterprise customers have to choose from. Also, SAP Enterprise software has a high degree of individualization and customization and the tools they use today on-premises deployments will have to change when they move to the cloud.

Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric™

Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric (ECX Fabric™) directly, securely and dynamically connects distributed infrastructure and digital ecosystems on Platform Equinix®. Establish data center-to-data center network connections on demand between any two ECX Fabric locations within a metro or globally via software-defined interconnection.

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To run their value chain end-to-end, our customers want SAP to drive more vertical industry specific processes in the cloud with seamless integration to SAP cost solutions based on the SAP Cloud Platform. Christian Klein, CEO, SAP

To ease this transition from on-premises to the cloud, SAP is working with partners such as Equinix to make the move relatively seamless. This includes making the following recommendations to SAP customers:

  1. Outline your requirements to move toward digital transformation and migrate to the cloud. What do you need to think about when doing this?
  2. Review the technology with SAP applications and services moving into the cloud. What do you have to do to successfully deploy hybrid or multicloud infrastructures for SAP applications – what capabilities do they need? (e.g., high-performance, secure interconnect, scalability, direct access to networks and clouds, etc.).
  3. Plan on how to make this transition to the cloud without interrupting applications.

Equinix is a valuable partner in helping SAP customers with their cloud migration. For example, we can support test sandbox trials and use case evaluations into the clouds in our Solution Validation Centers (SVCs) around the world. Or using an Equinix Performance Hub or Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric (ECX Fabric), businesses can experience the value and benefits of digitally transforming and migrating SAP and other enterprise applications to the cloud(s) on Platform Equinix®.

Flexible interconnection adds agility and scale

SAP enterprise customers and SAP system integrators, such as Accenture and Capgemini, facing application migration to the cloud can all appreciate the value of flexible interconnection. Being able to virtually add network bandwidth and on-ramps for users to the SAP HANA platform on demand is a huge plus in terms of agility and scalability.

As most SAP deployments will run on more than one cloud platform, then businesses need to be able to quickly deploy hybrid multicloud platforms to enjoy the best of what each cloud service provider (CSP) has to offer. This is where direct and secure cloud interconnectivity is key, especially when it comes to ensuring high-speed, low-latency connectivity between enterprise IT infrastructures and multiple clouds. ECX Fabric software-define interconnection enables businesses to establish multiple virtual connections to CSPs on Platform Equinix over a single physical port, saving on multiple one-to-one connections. And with more than 45 ECX Fabric locations worldwide, IT organizations can access SAP HANA and cloud providers in remote geographies. from Equinix, along with ECX Fabric, enables enterprises to spin-up virtual network devices and access SAP HANA instances in the cloud in just minutes without deploying additional hardware. The diagram below illustrates how laying down a flexible interconnection foundation opens up opportunities for a choice of connectivity via virtual network routers to private and public clouds.

Accelerating SAP HANA Migration to the Cloud

Typically, an enterprise will start its SAP journey into the cloud by running an SAP HANA instance on a single public cloud. Part of the enterprise IT process will operate in the cloud and generate the first experiences with the new SAP HANA architecture and operation. In the successive steps, more and more processes will be migrated and the advantages of this journey will start paying off.

This is when the SAP customer will start considering multicloud deployments. CSPs have specific specialties that may be relevant for the enterprise IT organization in terms of supporting different business applications and operations. For example data warehouse functions might be well suited in the Google Cloud, whereas the SAP HANA instance runs in Azure and the disaster recovery service is hosted in AWS. The interconnection between the clouds is an elementary piece in this architecture and its critical to implement at the beginning of the cloud migration process. Integrating this connectivity at a later stage of the design could lead to massive efforts necessary for that change.

Orchestrating the various workloads in different deployment locations can be done at the heart of interconnection. Network Edge from Equinix offers virtualized network appliances to manage those tasks. It can define networks for different services and rules of interactions between them. The tools for operating the flow of workloads and data streams can be spun up in minutes and scaled easily following the capacity demands.

Private interconnection via ECX Fabric and Network Edge services allow SAP customers to efficiently and effectively migrate ERP and other business applications to SAP HANA and create future-proof hybrid multicloud infrastructures.

Learn more by reading about ECX Fabric.

[i] The Motely Fool, “SAP SE O.N. (SAP) Q1 2020 Earnings Call Transcript,” April 21, 2020.

Orchestrating the various workloads in different deployment locations can be done at the heart of interconnection. Network Edge from Equinix offers virtualized network appliances to manage those tasks.