GCP resources used by SAP: Basics.

Today’s article will definitely not be as heavy as the previous one, where I wrote about different security aspects within GCP. At the same time, I will get more specific with advises about how to organize all the resources needed for SAP installation in GCP.

Where to start with Google Cloud Platform

You should start off by registering here, preferably using your Gmail account if you’re only starting your adventure with GCP. As I don’t want to overcomplicate here, I will skip alternative login methods or options to organize resources like folders and organizations. They help to manage more complex environments, but they are not specific to SAP workloads, so general rules and good practices apply.

Once registered, you will get 300 USD worth of credits to create and run various GCP resources. That should get you covered for a longer period of time, even when you provision more complex SAP environments for short periods of time.

TIP: In order to limit the billing for GCP resources at early stages (when you’re experimenting and provisioning sandbox environments), try to turn off VMs used for SAP components when not using them.


Creating a project will be the first thing you’ll have to do after logging to Google Cloud Platform Console. A project needs a name and two values that will identify it globally: ID and number.

Projects are they are logical building blocks of Resource Manager, which helps you manage and organize all the technical resources you provision. Projects:

  • form the basis for enabling and using GCP services.
  • are used for grouping all your ‘real’ resources.
  • enable billing.
  • enable and disable APIs and services.
  • help you track spending and separate access to resources.

You can’t provision a VM, VPC or anything else unless you have a running project.

TIP: As a general rule, you can start with just one project. By the time you get more serious with your landscape and start to plan migration of systems to GCP, you should know more how to mange it in an optimal way.


Once you have a project, you need a billing account. It’s mandatory, even if you don’t want to spend anything more that those 300 USD you got at the beginning.

TIP: If you want to stick with just one currency, one billing account is usually enough.

Next, you will provide valid debit/credit card details and you’re ready to go.

TIP: No worries, your credit card will not be used until you’ve used up all the free credits. You theoretically could run some free GCP services without the need to provide any payment details, but from SAP perspective, that wouldn’t get you too far, so that’s not really an option.

TIP: it’s wise to set up a Bugdet Alert to warn you about overspending. SAP (especially: HANA) boxes tend to be quite large and can quickly use up your budget if you forget to shut them down when you don’t need them.

TIP: you can also set up programmatic webhooks that will be called in response to an alert. It can then trigger a script to shut down any non-free resources or to create a trouble ticket for you as a form of notification.

How to interact with Google Cloud Platform

There are basically four ways you can interact with Google Cloud Platform:

You will probably start from web-based console as it’s the simplest tool to work with your resources. You can manually manage all of them and using UI helps you to gain some experience when you are still learning.

When you’ll get more confident, you will probably switch to command line. You’ll want to start with Cloud Shell, which is a small, no-cost docker container running on a Virtual Machine instance. You can think of it as a small linux box provisioned for you to help you manage your GCP resources

TIP: Cloud Shell machine is ephemeral, meaning it’s stopped automatically when you’re not using it and started instantly when you try to login. For this reason, you should not treat it to run any production worloads.

It comes with preinstalled Google Cloud SDK commands, so you can basically use tools like gcloud, gsutil and other maintenance and administrative actions – similarly to when you use web console.

Using gsutil command from Cloud Shell to list contents of GCS bucket.

What’s interesting, you can also install Cloud SDK on your local machine (no matter if you’re running Windows, Linux of macOS) and interact with your cloud resources directly from your laptop.

The same command as above – this time executed from my local laptop.

There is also a mobile app, but it has some limited functionalities and has nothing to do with SAP, so I’ll just skip this one. I will also not dwell into whole world of programmatic, REST-based APIs that can manage GCP resources via custom-built software you can create.


Real fun starts when you learn to automate things, instead of executing a separate API calls or commands for each task. This is when you discover beauty of automation software. GCP comes with a tool called Cloud Deployment Manager, which is great if you want to work with GCP exclusively.

If you want to be cloud-agnostic (at least to some point), there are some third-party tools that will be just as good. I chose Terraform (link) for my “SAP on GCP” project (link). It’s a provisioning software that can be used with different cloud providers, enabling you to easily translate your code if you decide to go multi-cloud or change your cloud provider. I will dig much deeper into Terraform usage with GCP resources in some of the future articles.

TIP: Terraform is pre-installed on Cloud Shell box!

Choosing a region

As already mentioned, you usually put all SAP resources in a single region, distributing different pieces throughout zones (there are usually 3 zones per region). This is due to network requirements (1 ms round trip between zones, much more between regions) that SAP system has to fulfill.

When choosing a specific region, you should consider various things, especially when planning cloud migration down the road. Here are some factors you should take into account:

  • Proximity of end users.
  • Availability of resources. Especially, ability to provision HANA instances of the size you wish.
  • CPU platforms available in data centers forming the region. For details, see here.
  • Possibility to create a Disaster Recovery environment that matches criteria you choose in respect to RTO and RPO.

With the information presented today, you should be able to register to Google Cloud Platform, create your first project and get basic experience with interacting with GCP Console. Before we move to the next topic, put some effort in choosing a region where you’d like to provision your resources. If you don’t want to miss another article (I will deal with Network this time), make sure to subscribe to my newsletter.