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SAP HANA Cloud expert panel – Ep 2: Options and costs

Migrating SAP HANA workloads and databases to the cloud can actually cut down on costs. By carefully looking at the available options, your business can embrace greater agility while reducing expenditure on IT. Our expert panel discuss the options and costs surrounding a HANA migration.

Nayoka Oware

Disruptive Live presenter

Matt Lovell

CEO of Centiq

Narendhar Tangella

Data Management Technical Architect, Blue Chip

David Spurway

IBM Power Systems CTO, UK & Ireland

Nayoka Oware: Welcome back to Disruptive Live, I am Nayoka Oware and today we will be continuing our discussion on SAP HANA on the Blue Chip Cloud.
I have with me three incredible experts. We have David Spurway from IBM, Narendhar Tangella from Blue Chip and Matt Lovell from Centiq. How are you all doing?

Team: Very well thank you!

Nayoka: Great! Great to have you back again. Narindhar, let me start with you. Let's say I want to move my SAP environment and mission-critical infrastructure into the cloud. What are my options?

Narindhar Tangella: It really depends on whether you're going to start on a greenfield site, or migrating your existing workload into Blue Chip Cloud. Depending on that, we'll work with the customer to understand the requirements of the Power cloud and then take them through a simplified and easy migration journey and take care of all the intricate aspects of running on HANA cloud. We're dealing with a great experience along with our partners, Centiq.

Nayoka: Thank you, I'd like to ask you the same question, please, Matt.

Matt Lovell: So, for a lot of customer migrations, there's a lot of options. What we're trying to do is simplify that down for a customer and actually leverage the expertise, so we've got a huge joint investment, collectively here, in terms of a proven platform, a proven methodology and taking the pain away from customers of actually designing, defining and actually building the actual platform itself. So, we bring all of the DevOps, all of the automation, all of the agile principles, to proven approaches, to design, to deploy, to redeploy, a customer platform on the Blue Chip private cloud. What we can then do is then apply those principles to the update and update process for lots of customers, which is another point of pain where we're seeing customers looking for the continued agility without business disruption and it's how we deliver continued service, continued performance and leverage those principles in a new operating model for customers.

Nayoka: Wonderful! David, is there an easy way to migrate our SAP systems from ECC to S4/HANA?

David Spurway: I would say there are certainly methods, yes. What we can do with the Power boxes if that's assuming that we're kind of looking, as you described, at the kind of brownfield site where they're already running SAP on the Power box, then you can be very granular as you move from the existing SAP instance, you can use the virtualisation using the same physical server. You can dynamically move across to have a relatively small SAP HANA instance and they can be grown over time, can be resized appropriately as you deploy it and move forward in that kind of space. That's as I say, assuming that we've already got an instance that is running SAP on this Power box. If what we're talking about is using something that doesn't exist on the Power box today, but it's coming in potentially into Blue Chip Cloud then again we can use the automation, that is the hallmark of proving it's a cloud and not just a managed service - being able to create this again and also dynamically resize it and grow it over time and 'right size' it as you move forward to be able to make it easier and straight forward, as you move forward.

Nayoka: Thank you for that! And Matt, how do I go about sizing my SAP landscapes for a cloud environment?

Matt: So, a lot of customers have a large amount of data that's already been built up and built up over a period of 10 and even 20 years worth of business operations and that in itself requires us to take a sort of pre-migration step that we recommend to all customers using a proven methodology, which is to optimise the amount of data to archive, to archive the data. This helps with both the platform capacity on day 1, and in terms of the migration, speed and approach, and it ensures that the customer has migrated data that has the highest value to it. What we do then is we then size the platform to scale, according to the business growth requirements, so you know, the IBM approach is the Power platform, the Blue Chip philosophy in terms of how it delivers that service, enables a customer to flex over a period of time. In terms of performance increase, is if that's seasonal or to look at a steady state of growth in terms of their HANA platform once they've migrated or they wish to add additional businesses or changes within their business. So again, it's enabling the customer to say this is not just sized on day 1, which was always a concern customers had previously, perhaps in their previous iteration and design process, but it's actually aligning that to the business requirements going forward and to ensure, as David said, that's then 'right sized', both for capacity and performance.

David: The 'right sizing' approach can save you money, in that if you don't get the sizing right and are using something that isn't quite as dynamic as the Power boxes, if you had to do an appliance for example and you got one that was maybe too big, you've wasted money by buying something more than you needed. Alternatively, if your sizing doesn't quite match and is actually too small, then I need to 'break/replace' what I've got and to buy it again, whereas with that virtualisation capability with the Power box we can dynamically modify it as we go along and make sure you can actually save cash as you move forward.

Nayoka: Everyone wants to save some money, so thank you! Narendhar, does SAP migration into the cloud take a long time?

Narendhar: As the experts pointed out, it depends on the complexity of the environment. It could take days, to a number of years, depending on the size and the complexity of the implementation of the SAP applications. I'll hand over to Matt to give a bit more information.

Nayoka: Sure!

Matt: That was a quick 'bat and chat'.

Nayoka: Yes, it was!

Matt: I think it's underscored, if we're building a greenfield environment, it's very easy to provision thaton the cloud in a matter of minutes, or hours, depending on the size of it. A migration, you know, requires a huge amount of preparation from the customer, understanding the customisation that's in an existing environment, understanding the interfaces that need to be supported, preparing and testing many areas of which we can help automate in terms of the methodologies that we've got, and again, you're knowing that you're moving to a proven architecture in terms of what is there, on the Blue Chip Cloud, but enabling customers to then invest time in looking at their business process, consolidation and migration which is another huge investment of time. So, we are trying to simplify that, we're trying to expedite that for customers, but you know, it can be a matter of hours or days, as Narendhar said, it can be a matter of months but we are trying to condense that further, and again, the earlier we work on the definition with customers, the faster we can actually get to a plan and we can expedite those steps within the plan.

Nayoka: Okay, that sounds a little time consuming, do you have, like, a 24-hour consultation service? Are you on standby, or available to assist your customers whenever they need help?

Matt: Certainly, between us, we've got a proven methodology of migrating workloads. So, we have a clear engagement model with customers to actually say 'this is how we lay out the definition', you understand and discover what you have today through the actual design process and again using the templates, the proven methodologies in terms of the Power platform, to then apply those to SAP, to do the discovery around the customisation, to look at data archiving options. Through the migration process, and again, large amounts of that can be automated, some customers have requirements for zero downtime, some customers can tolerate some downtime, into, obviously, the run and the optimisation. So, it's an ongoing process and that is a proven methodology that we are evolving and refining, the greater the number of migrations and the different migrations that we are seeing with customers.

Nayoka: That's great, you sound like you know what you're doing, so we're in safe hands! That's all that matters. David, if I was currently running my SAP environment on public cloud, and the costs are ever growing, how could I minimise unexpected costs?

David: Excellent, yes, we have a very common engagement as I go round and see customers, as I see many of them around this country and around the world. A common sort of desire is to go cloud first, is that 'cloud first' is a kind of driven and almost religious kind of feeling, that 'I must go to cloud', 'I must, by assumption, go out onto the major public clouds', the Azures of this world or others. And that, as you quite rightly say, end up actually being a pretty expensive process. We talked about a little bit before, where you can have the costs actually of just how long you're staying, but if you're going to be for a significant duration, then it is actually renting a car or buying a car. The best idea, if you're going to run it for several years, then potentially you don't want to rent something, you want to buy it, depending on what you're doing. Also, there are significant costs, potentially around moving data around, that, as we have lately, in the cloud, it's not uncommon for there to be charges as you move data in and out of these areas. Again, if you have your own, then you can save money that way or alternatively you've, when you've worked with the cloud provider program partners, they don't have the same charges when it comes to the movement of data and they can considerably save you money at that point. They also have these skills, of being able to automate the sizing of the building blocks you're working with. They can deliver the reliability and the performance, to save you cash at that point, to 'right size' it, to make it correct, and save the money of the movement of the data. I hope that adds this part of it.

Nayoka: It does! Do you have any money-saving tips, Narendhar?

Narendhar: Absolutely, Blue Chip operates using software-defined networking and we have a simplified cost structure as well, we're upfront with our charges, we make it easier. We list out the variable charges, so the customer knows, you know, what they're buying and what they're getting, and have an understanding of how the costs could impact their project. So, yeah, we all make it simpler really.

Nayoka: Thank you for your time, this is where we'll have to end this amazing discussion. Unfortunately the discussion does end here, but do join us again as we discover SAP HANA on the Blue Chip Cloud.