SAP Cloud Appliance Library (CAL) – Trial Version Experience

Introduction

The technology is changing rapidly, and various game changer innovative solutions are now available to meet the customer demands. Today in just a few clicks and within a few hours full SAP systems can be provisioned through SAP Cloud appliance library (CAL). There are various SAP solutions available in the cloud, and these solutions (For instance SAP S/4HANA 2021) are available with pre-configured SAP Best Practices and demo scenarios. The system can be launched in less than 2 hours on public cloud providers (such as Amazon, MS Azure or Google Cloud Platform) or in a few days (3-5 days) on on-premises.

The last shipment for S/4HANA IDES version is 1610 which was outdated last year in December 2021. There is no IDES shipment anymore after this version and the good fit for this type of requirement is  SAP S/4HANA Fully activated appliance.

One can use this type of solutions as a trial system, sandboxing, proof-of-concept, or scoping exercises.

My focus on this blog is restricted to trial versions of the SAP solutions available in SAP CAL. These are primarily divided into following areas.

  • About SAP Cloud Appliance Library

My suggestion is to get familiar with the SAP CAL concept first before attempting this solution. As informed earlier, there are various SAP solutions (both trial and non-trial) available in the store to test.

In theory, SAP CAL allows you to rapidly build the latest SAP Solutions such as SAP S/4HANA, ECC, Industry Solutions etc. It’s a mature platform with latest, preconfigured, ready-to-use SAP solutions that can be instantly deployed into your own public cloud accounts (e.g., Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform) to jump-start your SAP projects – within a few hours!

More information is available at the link below.

SAP Cloud Appliance Library

  • Infrastructure prerequisite for trial and monthly subscription

 One of the technical prerequisites for consuming SAP Solutions through SAP CAL is that you must have an account with a hosting provider (Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform) to create SAP instances. Another good feature provided in the store is that you forecast hosting costs before deployment. You have to create a separate account if you are new in public clouds otherwise the preference can be given to your existing Cloud provider partner. The cost may vary depending upon your location preference in these cloud providers. For trial purposes, you can choose the economical option available in any of the locations.

  • SAP License

The temporary license will be installed and valid for 30 days. One must take the decision on continuing with the SAP CAL before it expires otherwise the instance will freeze and the infrastructure cost may apply for the consecutive months. The quarterly subscription option is available after the trial period expires.

  • Additional SAP License

One may have to purchase an extra license from SAP if the new functionality is unavailable in the existing subscription. The trial version can be used to understand what functionality is available in the standard subscription and the extra licensing cost needs to be estimated if the plan is to continue with the SAP CAL in future.

Useful tips before consuming SAP Solutions through SAP CAL

  • Do not accept the terms & conditions if you are just exploring the options of creating the instance unless you are sure and ready to launch the instance. It is very clearly mentioned by SAP that the trial period for the solution will begin on the date of accepting the agreement. For instance, you are accepting the agreement today and creating the instance after 7 days, in that case you will be losing your 7 days and the trial instance will be active only for 23 days.
  • You can launch as many trial instances with different SAP User Id and there is no restriction. Only infrastructure costs will be applied for the trial instance.
  • Thoroughly forecast the estimates. The discounts are available and change daily. If possible, try to calculate the cost and arrange an approval from the manager on the same day to avail the discounts.
  • The solutions can be automated completely at the time of launching the instance. Just fill the required details (system restart schedule) in the instance creation wizard and the system restart operation can be fully automated. In the worst case, you may have to suspend and activate your instance again.
  • Launch instance creation with the Advanced Mode wizard. This will help you to automate your system restart activity and you can select/deselect the additional VMs available in some solutions (For instance S/4HANA 2021 is available with additional software appliance (Remote desktop, BI platform)
  • You may have to reactivate your instance if the sap application is not reachable. This is the worst case scenario and generally systems are reachable without any technical glitch.
  • All the SAP standard credentials are mentioned in the standard documents. You have the option of creating additional users for your team members if required.
  • Additional Business Functions can be activated in the new releases.

Conclusion

SAP has provided an advanced platform in the form of SAP Cloud appliance library to quickly build and explore new functionalities in SAP. I am from a technical background and I know the challenges in building an SAP environment. Time is precious, everyone wants to learn and move quickly. This is a great solution to adapt to a new feature or functionalities.

I have personally used the trial version of SAP S/4HANA 2021 in our organization for exploring new functionalities in the latest version of S/4HANA. My personal experience (in terms of performance, availability & pricing) of using SAP S/4HANA 2021 Solution on public cloud is incredible and I would prefer to consider this option compared to on-premise solution.

I must recommend my SAP teammates to test this solution.