SAP workloads are increasingly moving to the cloud, and SAP teams are developing the skills and practices needed to run them effectively. CloudOps is a new set of principles and practices that can help teams manage critical workloads in the cloud. I’ll explain the primary ways SAP systems are deployed in the cloud, and introduce CloudOps as a new way to manage your cloud-based SAP environments.
SAP Cloud Deployment Options
An SAP deployment typically includes cloud-based elements, even if it is not entirely hosted in the cloud. Many SAP solutions today are deployed entirely in the cloud. SAP supports the following cloud-based options:
Public Cloud SAP Deployment
Public clouds enable self-managed SAP deployments, suitable for experienced teams wanting to move their SAP stack to the cloud. The cloud provider handles the infrastructure while the internal SAP team handles the migration. This option has the lowest upfront cost and eliminates data center maintenance costs. Still, it is not always the cheapest solution overall (infrastructure is only about a fifth of total costs).
Running SAP applications in a public cloud requires ongoing software maintenance and administration. The first consideration when adopting a public cloud SAP deployment is to create a migration plan and determine how the SAP team will manage the cloud-based solution. Public clouds usually offer infrastructure-level SLAs at the infrastructure level.
The SAP team must choose the correct infrastructure configurations and implement disaster recovery and backup procedures.
Managed SAP Deployment
HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC) is the easiest cloud-based SAP deployment option to implement. It provides services to manage SAP applications, suitable for simpler application landscapes. This option relies on SAP to determine the infrastructure setup. SAP can impose limitations on the software installed on an HEC system. The SAP SLA guarantees 95% uptime for non-production and 99.5% uptime for production systems.
HEC is an SAP-only solution and is less flexible than other deployment options. It does not support integration with existing third-party systems. It is also more expensive than a public cloud deployment, although it offers significant advantages. HEC is a complete solution, making it easier and potentially more cost-effective than an SAP-managed private cloud deployment.
Managed Private Cloud SAP Deployment
Private cloud deployments enable a high degree of customization. SAP offers a managed private cloud service that organizations build customized on-premises deployments with cloud features. Leveraging SAP Leonardo and Cloud Platform, organizations can build unique solutions.
What Is CloudOps?
Cloud Operations (CloudOps) is a process for managing the delivery, orchestration, optimization and performance of workloads in cloud environments. It is similar to DevOps, which organizes the process of developing and delivering applications. Developers, IT operations experts, and security teams all use CloudOps principles to work together to ensure clouds run more effectively.
CloudOps has a broad scope, covering multi-cloud, hybrid cloud, private clouds running within on-premise data centers, and edge computing. CloudOps provides operational patterns, procedures, and cost optimization best practices that ensure organizations derive more value from their cloud investment.
A key element of cloud operations is data and analytics. Access to data increases visibility into elements of the cloud environment, and provides the insights needed to control resources and run services more efficiently.
In many organizations, CloudOps has replaced the traditional Network Operations Center (NOCs). Organizations are migrating from on-premises data centers to the cloud, making the NOC less relevant, and often unable to manage a hybrid environment. Just as NOCs monitor and manage data centers, CloudOps monitors, measures, and manages VMs, containers, and workloads running in the cloud.
Advantages of CloudOps for SAP Deployments in the Cloud
CloudOps has tremendous potential to improve the cost and efficiency of SAP workloads in the cloud. Benefits of CloudOps include:
- Improved service delivery—CloudOps enables the automated execution of critical tasks. For instance, organizations can configure their SAP systems to conduct analytics, produce reports, provision infrastructure, and perform tests automatically in the cloud. These processes help boost productivity and increase operational efficiency while delivering services seamlessly.
- High availability in the cloud—CloudOps provides real-time data transfer monitoring, cloud application updates, and automated resource deployment and scaling. It helps maintain service availability for SAP applications and supports the remote execution of processes and applications from any location. High availability minimizes the risk of downtime and service outages.
- Improved security—CloudOps focuses on data security as a core task to ensure that organizations plug security gaps, encrypt all data, scan for malware, apply patches, secure their networks with firewalls, and detect potential attacks. This is critical for SAP environments, which are especially vulnerable to security vulnerabilities. CloudOps also offers compliance management capabilities to ensure all cloud processes are within legal limits.
- Easier disaster recovery—CloudOps helps ensure system and data recovery during a breach or disaster. Automated tools managed by CloudOps teams can protect business continuity of SAP systems by backing up cloud data to the same cloud, other clouds, or on-premise locations.
In this article, I explained the main options for running SAP workloads in the cloud, and showed how CloudOps practices can be used to run SAP in the cloud more effectively, with improved security and service availability. I hope this will be useful as you evaluate the use of CloudOps practices in your own SAP environment.