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Public, Private, or Both?

Navigating Options for Bringing SAP HANA to the Cloud

by Dirk Oppenkowski | SAPinsider, Volume 17, Issue 2

April 26, 2016

SAP HANA and cloud computing both promise to deliver flexibility, simplification, and cost reductions to IT. When the two technologies are combined by deploying SAP HANA in the cloud, the promise grows even greater. Before taking advantage of that promise, though, organizations need to wade through the wide variety of options for a cloud-based SAP HANA deployment, including Amazon Web Services offerings, OpenStack-based private clouds, and the managed cloud services of SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud. Read on for an analysis of these three options and insight on how to choose the strategy that’s best for your organization.

More and more companies are exploring how to deploy SAP HANA in the cloud, and it’s no secret why. The combined innovation potential of these two technologies provides businesses the ability to improve and simplify their business processes, significantly reduce costs, and accelerate innovations.

There are several options for acquiring SAP HANA instances and SAP HANA applications via the cloud, including offerings from Amazon Web Services (AWS), OpenStack-based private clouds, and the managed cloud services of SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud. Hybrid clouds are also great options for customers who want to benefit from the advantages of a cloud solution while protecting existing investments. Regardless of which model a company chooses, implementing SAP HANA in the cloud can be a significant source of agility and innovation — particularly when used in tandem with powerful extensions or operating systems. Let’s take a look at each of these four deployment methods and how they might meet your needs.

1. Running SAP HANA in the Public Cloud with AWS

Running SAP HANA on public cloud services such as AWS helps companies noticeably reduce their IT infrastructure costs and increase flexibility and speed when acquiring new SAP HANA instances. The main benefits are nearly unlimited scalability, cost-effectiveness, and greater reliability that come from large-scale operations. But companies considering a move into the public cloud must think about how critical the data and applications are to their business because public clouds could run on a server in a different country that is governed by an entirely different set of security or privacy regulations to which companies must adhere.

To supplement these AWS systems, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is optimized for the pre-configured solutions found in the SAP Cloud Appliance Library, including instances of SAP HANA. It helps deliver a seamless, automated installation process that eases deployment and speeds time to value for companies using SAP systems on AWS. Whereas it previously took days or even weeks to get access to the relevant servers, companies using AWS can use 2TB systems with four Intel Xeon E7 processors at the push of a button. They no longer need to commit to month-long or year-long contracts; instead, they can install the required SAP HANA instances within two hours without any lead time — and reduce the number of instances when they are no longer needed.   

In close cooperation with AWS, SUSE has developed a high-availability solution for SAP HANA on the AWS cloud. The High Availability Extension (HAE) within SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP applications includes two new resource agents that are able to move requests from one virtual private cloud to another and to solve split-brain scenarios where two nodes in a cluster of AWS virtual machines cannot communicate with one another. Companies have access to highly available SAP HANA databases, which is a crucial factor for the uninterrupted operation of their business-critical SAP systems.

2. Leveraging Open Architecture with OpenStack

OpenStack, an open-source framework for setting up private clouds in a standardized way, offers numerous advantages over proprietary cloud computing for some enterprises. The open architecture and interfaces of OpenStack, for example, support integration with existing systems and thus offer improved interoperability. OpenStack also helps reduce vendor lock-in and minimizes licensing costs for cloud management and virtualization solutions.

This flexibility makes OpenStack a future-oriented option for companies running SAP HANA. To support the implementation of OpenStack, many companies are turning to the administration and orchestration solutions available in SUSE OpenStack Cloud for SAP environments, which facilitates rapid implementation and simple management, as well as high availability of the open-source framework with automatic failover. SUSE OpenStack Cloud offers an array of support for hypervisors, including Kernel-Based Virtual Machine (KVM), Xen Project, Hyper-V, and VMware vSphere, giving enterprises choice and flexibility. SUSE also maintains numerous collaboration and industry partnerships to ensure companies get best-of-breed cloud architectures and solutions. For example, SUSE has worked to improve the OpenStack Cloud Provider Interface, which aims to simplify communication between an open-source cloud platform and its underlying infrastructure.

To overcome some of the challenges of developing a hybrid cloud environment, organizations should take a step-by-step approach to the cloud by establishing a well-defined roadmap for cloud deployment.

3. Managing SAP HANA

Through SAP with SAP HANA Enterprise CloudSAP HANA Enterprise Cloud allows companies to acquire complete systems, consisting of applications and SAP HANA databases, as managed cloud services. Provided that users have or obtain licenses for the SAP software, SAP provides the IT infrastructure and handles the operation, support, and application management.

SUSE also plays a major role in supporting SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud. When used in conjunction with the managed cloud service, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP applications assumes the task of ensuring operational reliability for the SAP system, while SUSE Manager facilitates the integration of the underlying SAP HANA operating system infrastructure into an existing IT landscape and provides a high degree of automation.

For SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, SAP maintains approximately 6,600 servers with more than 12,000 CPUs and 16,000 virtual machines running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP applications.1 “We operate 100,000 virtual machines in 50 data centers for our internal and external workloads,” said Martin Heisig, Senior Vice President, SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud at SAP SE. “The majority of our servers run SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and we are working closely with SUSE to standardize our IT environment and reduce operating costs by automating more operational processes and increasing the number of virtualized systems.”

4. Opting for the Flexibility of the Hybrid Cloud

Companies that host data on a private cloud are now turning to hosted clouds and public clouds as well. This results in a hybrid strategy, wherein organ­izations can leverage the scalability and cost-effectiveness of a public cloud offering without having to expose some of their more critical applications and data to external resources. Hybrid clouds operate freely between the worlds of on-premise and on-demand technology, so companies need reliable partners that can provide optimal infrastructure, services, and security. To overcome some of the challenges of developing a hybrid cloud environment, organizations should take a step-by-step approach to the cloud by establishing a well-defined roadmap for cloud deployment.

Learn More

The strategy an organization adopts for its cloud-based SAP HANA deployment depends on that organization’s specific requirements. No matter your needs, however, SUSE can help you make the most of your deployment by providing innovative products and services that meet your needs. For more information, visit www.suse.com.

1 For more information, see www.suse.com/success/stories/sap-se.html. [back]

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Dirk Oppenkowski
Dirk Oppenkowski

SAP Alliance Director
SUSE



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