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Updated: Jan 5


When you mention "mission-critical software," hundreds of business and IT professionals will think of one company right away: SAP. Today, SAP, whose brand practically came to represent integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) software in the 1990s, is still a key component in data centers all over the world. According to SAP, 87% of the Forbes Global 2000 are among its clients, and its systems account for 76% of global transaction revenue. Mission-critical software must provide more than just extreme reliability and high availability in today's digitally connected society. Customers need products that can be delivered quickly to fulfill their needs real-time operational demands, flexible enough to quickly react to shifting business and market requirements, and secure enough to safeguard sensitive data. In their own data centers, several SAP clients have had trouble meeting these and other standards. On-premises SAP deployments may provide reliable and predictable performance, but they frequently use expensive, rigid, inflexible technology. As a result, businesses may find it challenging to rapidly and affordably extend and adapt their SAP environments, purchase and implement cutting-edge hardware platforms, and increase their market share in new regions.

sap on aws

Pushing SAP HANA Performance with Amazon EC2 X1 and Intel® Xeon®

Customers have significantly speeded up everything from their core business activities to big data analytics since SAP released its in-memory database, SAP HANA. However, utilizing SAP HANA to its full potential necessitates computing and memory resources that are greater than those of many current data center platforms.

The Amazon EC2 X1 Instance was developed by AWS in partnership with SAP and Intel to guarantee that deployments in the AWS Cloud could fulfill the most demanding SAP HANA requirements. X1 offers more memory than any other SAP-certified cloud instance currently on the market thanks to its four Intel® Xeon® E7 8880 v3 processors, which can support 128 virtual CPUs. AWS recently unveiled a new instance called X1e that enables up to 4TB of RAM in addition to the 2TB of DDR4-based memory offered by X1 instances. Additionally, X1 instances come pre-optimized for Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) and offer 10 Gbps of dedicated bandwidth by default.

For any OLAP-based scenario that SAP HANA offers, X1 instances are certified for scalable deployments of up to 17 different nodes and can expand out to 34TB of RAM. Through the most recent Intel® AES-NI feature, which is a new encryption instruction set that enhances the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithm and speeds up data encryption in the Intel® Xeon® processor family and the Intel® CoreTM processor family, X1 instances enable increased cryptographic performance.

Moving to AWS and rationalizing legacy infrastructure

Some businesses are implementing "cloud first" strategies as a result of the advantages they and other businesses are reaping by switching to AWS. But even some of the most ardent supporters of the cloud can't always just give up on their current infrastructure investments. Even as businesses start to migrate IT activities to the cloud as part of their efforts to undergo digital transformation, they frequently need to continue utilizing those sunk expenses for some time. Moving to the cloud gives many businesses the chance to get rid of old, inefficient hardware and right-size apps and infrastructure that have grown too large. However, when a mission-critical migration is necessary, businesses must carry it out as rapidly and imperceptibly as they can.

Many Benefits Seen by Moving SAP Environments to AWS

Customers claim that AWS is the best option for their SAP application and SAP HANA workloads because it offers the most comprehensive cloud environment for business innovation. Their crucial requirements for performance, quick provisioning, scalability, and security are met by the AWS Cloud.

Performance benefits

For certain workload requirements, AWS has created a range of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances. One of the most potent EC2 instances is X1, which was specifically designed with Intel® Xeon® E7 processors and is geared to fulfill the stringent performance requirements for big data and enterprise workloads as well as in-memory databases like SAP HANA. (See Pushing SAP HANA Performance with Amazon EC2 X1 and Intel® Xeon® for more information on X1). Business Warehouse on HANA (BW/4HANA), data mart solutions on HANA, Business Suite on HANA, and the next-generation Business Suite S/4HANA may all be used in production situations on the AWS Cloud thanks to certification from SAP for X1 instances.

Lockheed Martin, a firm in the aerospace and defense industries, switched its SAP HANA test and development instances on-premises to X1 instances. According to Brent Eckhout, Lockheed Martin's SAP technical services manager, the X1 instances "performed substantially better than our on-premises test environments and our in-house application servers" during testing. Going forward, he expects to see even greater advancements.

Provisioning and Scalability benefits

Companies can save time and money by using AWS to handle their infrastructure purchases and installations. They can quickly scale up and down their compute, storage, and networking infrastructure once their program is operating on AWS instances to fit fluctuating loads and service level needs, as well as in response to other circumstances. Companies may confidently shift their operations to Amazon Web Capabilities (AWS) while retaining their current SAP licenses since AWS offers a comprehensive range of computing and storage services certified for SAP apps and SAP HANA workloads. Fairfax Media, a multiplatform publishing company, wanted to adopt SAP BW/4HANA. To quickly test its proof of concept and go live with its production system within three months, it used AWS. When the production system hit its limit after six months, Fairfax Media was able to quickly move from a 244GB system to a 2TB system.

Security benefits

Cloud security benefits used to seem like an oxymoron to some people not so long ago. But increasingly, businesses are realizing that mature cloud environments like AWS can match or even outperform the security capabilities of their local data centers.

AWS's engineers and automated systems regularly monitor, validate, and test the environment's defenses. AWS offers a broad range of redundant and layered security protections. Additionally, businesses offering a wide range of security services designed to supplement and expand the security measures existing in the core AWS environment are part of the AWS Partner Network (APN).

SAP and AWS integration for business transformation

Running SAP applications and SAP HANA on the AWS Cloud has many more business advantages than those already mentioned. Not continually having to create and maintain a new wheel is one essential benefit. Companies may reallocate their time and resources to more strategic priorities by relying on AWS to maintain, patch, secure, and upgrade the IT infrastructure. Instead of focusing on becoming experts in IT deployment and maintenance, they can concentrate on being experts in their business sectors.

The assistance offered by AWS begins at the deployment stage. By using AWS Quick Start to deploy SAP HANA production environments, this procedure is streamlined and best practices from both SAP and AWS are followed. By automating the accumulation of capital and other system maintenance tasks, integrating those SAP workloads with other AWS services like AWS CloudFormation and Amazon CloudWatch can further simplify management.

Feedback from the organizations

  1. “Using AWS to deploy and operate our SAP environments, we can be more nimble, which opens up many more possibilities for our business." Sahal Laher Executive Vice President and CIO, Brooks Brothers

  2. We chose to build our SAP and third-party systems/applications environment on AWS to take advantage of the integration, scalability, and reliability that AWS provides. This helped us to deliver high performance while generating business value through advanced technology and ease of implementation and integration with various applications.” Srinivas Kollipara Chief Information Officer and Chief Technology Officer at L&T IDPL

  3. AWS technology, combined with the AWS engagement and relationship model, is unparalleled among cloud providers. Given our company’s small size and ambitious goals, AWS is critical to our digitization strategy." Marcello Damiani Chief Digital Officer, Moderna Therapeutics

  4. Shoppers get a better experience because we don’t have fixed servers that get overloaded with traffic.” - Begoña Beotegui, Chief Information Officer, Fund Grube

  5. “Running SAP BusinessObjects on HANA in AWS enables unparalleled agility for reports and analytics across our business. This solution empowers our business with a streamlined analytical process for making strategic, tactical, and operational decisions."

  6. Mustafa IT Director, BI & App Development, Ferrara Candy Company”

Story of Brooks Brothers

Brooks Brothers decided to move its SAP HANA platform to the cloud to increase agility and save costs. The company believed Amazon Web Services (AWS) provided the best solution after examining offerings from top cloud providers. AWS has the finest reputation in the industry, and they properly fit our objectives for scale and agility, according to Laher. Additionally, we were certain that AWS could offer us alternatives to SAP. By deploying its SAP HANA systems to AWS utilizing the AWS SAP HANA Quick Start Reference Deployment manual, Brooks Brothers began its path toward the cloud. The Quick Start manual made it simple for Brooks Brothers to deploy and construct its SAP HANA cluster using AWS CloudFormation scripts. We would have had to install, configure, and then install the HANA application on top of a Linux system without the CloudFormation templates, according to Miller. We merely needed to press a few buttons to get a working SAP HANA solution using AWS SAP HANA Quick Start.

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