Is public cloud suitable for SAP?

Let’s face it: SAP is usually not the first application you’d want to migrate to the public cloud. These big, monolithic backbone systems have always been running in dedicated data centers. They are usually the last ones in your application ecosystem that you’d like to move. Their unavailability most often means that the whole company cannot function, thousands of employees are unable to perform their jobs, customers can’t buy your products and money (together with your reputation) is flowing very rapidly out of your pocket. What’s more, there are law (and common sense) often restricts you from moving your precious data to different locations, especially if you don’t exactly know where it resides.

On the other hand, 2025 is coming fast. That’s a magic date for everyone in SAP area as it means that thousands of migrations and conversions to HANA (S/4 HANA) will need to take place. Big part of them will utilize some kind of cloud resources, both public and private. Google Cloud Platform is one of the competitors that will have it’s share in this transformation and I’ve already proven in a practical way that it’s able to host SAP ecosystems. Here is some reasoning behind it:

  • First and foremost, SAP solutions on GCP are officially supported to run on Google Cloud Platform. Have a look here for an up-to-date list presented on the table below.
For details, see note 2456432.
  • You can choose between different VM sizes and even pick non-standard (custom) ones that best suit your needs, provided you apply to some vCPU to memory ratio rules. Google’s Compute Engine Virtual Machines are scalable, can be provisioned in seconds and you are only billed for the time you’re using them! A range of sustained usage discounts and the fact, that you just don’t care about any data center related costs mean that running your workloads is GCP can translate to substantial savings and – more importantly – you being able to use innovative solutions and squeeze the most of your SAP systems, instead of constantly having to manage the basics.
Using VMs as a basic building block of your solution, you are utilizing an “Infrastructure as a Code” concept, where Google is responsible to arranging and managing many bottom layers of your IT solutions.
  • GCP has a global, fiber optic network, a piece of which you can utilize for your needs. It also allows you to securely join with your on-premise physical network. Depending on your needs, you can choose from different solutions and throughput ranges. If appropriately planned, your data does not traverse the Internet to be accessible from your company locations!
  • Google is a global leader in Artificial Intelligence area and has many Machine Learning solutions that can help you extend the functionalities of SAP systems. Doing ad-hoc, lightning fast analysis of SAP data with BigQuery is just one example that I will present in one of the articles.
  • SAPs Cloud Appliance Library (CAL) has multiple solutions to quickly get you moving with different SAP products running on GCP. It’s a viable option for quick verification of business ideas, sandboxing etc.
  • There is a well-designed, field-proven, multi-step process that help companies migrate to GCP. Basically, you’re not left alone in this process. A separate, (similar to some extent) approach can be used for SAP workloads:
    • it starts with assessment of your current architecture and your future needs, with a special focus on S/4 HANA adoption.
    • first SAP systems (with or without your data) are provisioned in GCP using manual approach or automation software like the one I created. You can mess around with those with no risk and at the same time you will build some understanding of how it all works.
    • preparation to migrate and the migration itself with minimal impact on your business are the next steps. This is something you would want to perform with a support of an experienced GCP Cloud Architect with strong SAP skills.
    • When migrated, you can validate various transformation options to enhance your SAP workloads and utilize AI, BigData and other services and tools that Google Cloud Platform has in its portfolio.
  • In fact, there is a whole framework (Google Cloud Adoption Framework) that helps you verify how well prepared is your company for migrating to public cloud.
  • Google has proven, well documented and strict security mechanisms for your data that range from physical data center security (yes, cloud providers also operate within data centers!) all the way to encryption of your data by default and well-designed access and privilege system.

I will deep dive into most of the topics I mentioned above in the upcoming weeks. I hope that today’s high-level overview of SAP on Google Cloud Platform was helpful. The transformation itself is never an easy or straightforward process, but at some point there are decisions that just need to be made and executed.

In the next article, I will deep dive into security topic, which is of the the mayor concerns and deal-breakers when having to decide where to migrate SAP workloads to. If you’d like to be informed about new content, make sure to subscribe to my newsletter!

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  1. Pingback: Different approaches to migating SAP to public cloud. – SAP on Google Cloud Platform

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