SAP Cloud Migration to GCP The strategic aspects of Moving SAP to Cloud

SAP Cloud Migration to GCP The strategic aspects of Moving SAP to Cloud
Cloud Migration

SAP Cloud Migration to GCP The strategic aspects of Moving SAP to Cloud

The Enterprise Objective and Background

SAP products serve the strategic, mission-critical and enterprise level needs of many organizations. This also creates dependencies on SAP and any change to the implementation would be equally critical. The cloud is the preferred platform and the plan for its adoption can directly and indirectly impact all related processes and workloads. Though SAP is not typically the first platform moved to the cloud it can be the most important.

Enterprises move to Google Cloud as part of a larger strategic shift toward the cloud to support their growing workforce. Moving SAP infrastructure onto GCP (Google Cloud Platform) helps organizations consolidate their business processes onto the Google Cloud ecosystem.

Organizations migrate their SAP ecosystem and IT workloads to a Cloud platform to achieve or keep their leadership position in the market, continue innovation, gain an edge over the competition, and improve their bottom-line. Understanding the strategy for an SAP cloud migration and innovation targets are critical to the success of all cloud adoption plans.

Moving SAP to Google Cloud provides access to other innovations on the same platform. It requires a full-blown change, and it may not be enough if just the SAP workloads are moved to infrastructure-as-a-service. Google Cloud’s automation tools also improve automation capabilities. Some of the relevant issues in this adoption scenario are:

  • Capital expenditure to refresh SAP infrastructure
  • Lock-in of SAP vendors SAP across multiple years
  • SAP upgrades cycles or a business driver triggers contract renewals to extend SAP capabilities.

Why move SAP to the cloud

Cloud solutions are streamlined incremental ones where the users benefit by only paying for the difference of data-backups, not the full storage. All the valuable data in SAP can be analyzed and presented with clear insights to provide value. The statutory, strategic, vendor related and operational reasons for moving to the cloud are:

  • SAP customers need to upgrade hardware to meet the new HANA demand of high memory VMs by 2025. SAP requires an upgrade of all older versions to S/4HANA by 2027. This creates a sense of urgency for SAP customers to decide their options but the potential of GCP provides a way forward.
  • Users can pay for what they need and scale VMs (Virtual Machine) with additional RAM on demand as the database grows or shrinks over the years
  • Pay per second of consumption of Compute (vCPU), RAM and Operating System Licenses
  • Flexible payment for non-production workload with no cost involved when development or testing VM is off
  • Custom machines provide cost savings

Why GCP – Advantages and benefits of GCP

Modernizing the SAP environment, bringing in a proper structure and benefiting from the cloud are some of the advantages of Google Cloud Platform (GCP). GCP offers customers an excellent path to upgrade, run and innovate their SAP environment and benefit further from the integrations, insights, and innovation that GCP provides.

It is possible to use Google Cloud infrastructure to build greenfield (fresh implementation) of SAP environment or migrate existing SAP workloads from on-premises or other cloud providers to Google Cloud. GCP provides BigQuery’s AI&ML capabilities to provide data analysis and SAP automation.

Organizations benefit from the flexibility that Google Cloud enabled for their SAP infrastructure. Google Cloud allows IT teams to easily spin up or down SAP instances, which reduces the amount of time, effort, and internal coordination required for testing and development. Companies can easily scale up and scale out when required.

  • GCP provides a compliant-safe environment to run the SAP workloads and business processes. The Google infrastructure is a perfect fit for operating SAP in production.
  • Build and Drop VMs are faster and built for implementation/staging/mock runs, PoCs, short term testing.
  • Provides better security- Hardware level security is ensured and optimized by the Cloud Provider while application-level security is confirmed on the Cloud. The security protocols ensure the workloads are secure and continuously available.
  • Offers better RTO and RPO, Uptime, Network performance – Google Cloud up time SLA is 99.999%
  • Provides Dynamic Architecture- the shift enables move from IaaS to PaaS, AaaS and Serverless Architecture such as Kubernetes, App Engine and Cloud Functions/Run where applicable

Once an organization has migrated the SAP workloads to GCP, it benefits from a cost reduction for storage, high availability, and disaster recovery. The organization is also able to monetize on the additional benefits of the Cloud.

GCP Adoption strategy and approach

Businesses need to adopt a cloud strategy with detailed scoping and implementation planning driven by systematic thinking and continuous improvement. The strategy provides a vision for what cloud should be, a process and a path, with appropriate checks and balances.

  • Consult the SAP consultant through the process.
  • Optimize landscape for the Google Cloud Platform.
  • Identify target SAP apps, size, and price: – Based on the adoption strategy, an estimate is created for the different phases.
  • Define use cases and prototypes
  • Define the additional Google cloud integration points such as BigQuery and G Suite if needed Finalize Architecture Blueprint.
  • MAp the outcome of the strategy and planning phase in a detailed architecture diagram along with project plan for the short-, mid- and long-term project phases.
  • Set up the business case, VMs discovery and Foundation for GCP project followed by actual data and VMs migration.

Industry Landscape, Examples and Cases

Enhancing Sustainability with SAP S/4HANA on Google Cloud

The company is one of the pioneers and the largest developers of renewable energy generation projects in Brazil and handles about 30% of all operational wind farms (or under construction) in Brazil. It produces vast amounts of data that can be processed and analyzed to study wind behavior, control turbines, and forecast power production and climate, among others. Its on-premises infrastructure no longer had the capacity to process, orchestrate, and analyze such vast amounts of data in the face of the company’s continued expansion. With a growing number of projects, the company needed a solution that would centralize its workflow while providing scalability and flexibility. The company decided to adopt SAP as a business-management solution and host its SAP S/4HANA environment on Google Cloud. The benefits of this move were:

  • Reduction in the time needed to predict the amount of energy generated by a specific project from 15 days to one day.
  • Process 20 years of data in less than two hours during its weekly data processes.

The second part of the article will focus on the functional side including the process, the challenges, means to overcome them, and the outcomes of the migration.

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