Microsoft Azure is a preferred Cloud platform for SAP end users. It offers maximum performance along with industry-leading security standards.
Migrating SAP workloads to Azure can provide several benefits, depending upon the customer’s implementation and needs. Moreover, Azure is certified for more SAP solutions than any other Cloud provider, including SAP HANA & S/4 HANA, SAP Business Suite, SAP NetWeaver, and SAP Business One.
SAP systems contain critical data and information that needs to be secured both during and after migration. Azure provides the following features to ensure platform security for SAP Applications:
- User and Authorization: Azure provides Role-based Access Control (RBAC) model to assign administrative privileges on resources hosting SAP solution on Azure. It enables access levels for both users and resources. The resource locking mechanism prevents accidental modification or deletion of resources.
- Single sign–on (SSO) and Authentication: SSO is an accepted standard for integrating Azure and SAP solutions that enable the users to access multiple systems with a single set of credentials. Azure Active Directory associates with Cloud applications & SAP connectors to offer seamless connectivity.
- Network Security: A rule list for security is maintained by the Azure Network Security Groups (NSGs) to allow or deny network traffic towards the SAP resources. All SAP applications and database servers are isolated from the Internet or any other internal network using Azure VNet.
- Storage Encryption: By default, Azure Storage Service Encryption (SSE) is enabled on storage, providing enhanced security.
Performance & Scalability
SAP applications need to be optimized for maximized efficiency and scalability. A detailed task on sizing must be performed on computation, storage, and networking for SAP applications on Azure.
- Sizing: Sizing needs to be implemented, based on the requirements of SAPS, IOPS, and throughput.
- Storage: Azure Premium managed disks can be striped to achieve higher output values of IOPS and throughput. Azure ultra-disks are designed to perform consistently and provide low latency for workloads like SAP HANA that are extremely I/O-intensive.
- Network: Proximity Placement Group (PPG) is a logical grouping that ensures close physical proximity of Azure computing resources to achieve the lowest possible network latency for SAP Application and Database VMs.
- Scalability: Azure provides support for hybrid infrastructures, by granting greater flexibility for deployments & workloads, SAP HANA large instances (HLI) support, bare metal & HANA TDI certified computation, and network & storage infrastructure to suit all customer needs.
Azure has the most significant cloud footprint of any Cloud provider, which significantly reduces the risk of an outage. Azure provides an availability framework to SAP applications hosted in Azure Cloud based on the following:
- Availability Sets: This is a logical grouping capability to isolate VM resources from one another, along with configuration required to run multiple physical servers, compute racks, storage units, and network switches. As a result, if there is a failure in the underlying infrastructure in Azure, this will only impact a subset of the customer’s VMs.
- Availability Zones: The Azure services that are zone-redundant will clone your applications and data across all Availability zones to protect against single points of failure. Azure provides an SLA of 99.99% uptime to a virtual machine located in an Availability Zone.
- Azure Fault Domain: This is a logical grouping of the underlying hardware resources with a common power source and network switch.
- Update Domain: This is a logical grouping of hardware that needs maintenance, at the same time, including reboot operations (if any). It ensures running of at least one instance of SAP application during periodic maintenance.
SAP Application Data with Azure Integration
There are many services provided by Azure, which are incredibly critical in context with integration to SAP applications, as they help in data exchange between a customer’s on-premise applications and applications hosted in Azure Cloud.
Azure will provide a set of data integration services to move and combine SAP data with non-SAP datasets. Some of the integration tools in Azure are listed below:
- Azure Data Factory: To provide connectors for SAP HANA, SAP BW, SAP ECC, etc. It also helps to copy data in/out from SAP applications and other Azure data services.
- Power BI: Provides connectors for SAP HANA and BW system. It offers data query or import options by supporting the HANA information model.
- Azure Data Catalog: Integrates with SAP HANA as a data source and supports registration and discovery of SAP HANA views and packages.
- Azure Logic App: Provides connectors for integrating SAP applications on the SAP .net connector library and integration capabilities, such as sending/receiving between Azure Logic App and SAP.
Considerations For Running SAP systems on Azure
A regular analysis is recommended for SAP system sizing and monitoring. The following are some considerations:
- Plan for Auto-scaling – Scale up and out
- Storage I/O and throughput requirement, along with vCPUs and memory
- Plan for optimization by deciding disk storage requirements (Premium or Standard)
- Snooze option for non-productive or least used VMs
- Monitor & manage system and resource capacity on a regular basis
Caveats with regards to SAP on Azure
Although moving SAP to Azure depends on several factors, i.e., business requirements, existing IT infrastructure, and Cloud solution in place, there are a few challenges in running SAP on Azure that you should consider:
- Limited flexibility while supporting non-Windows based server platforms – Microsoft is improving offerings in this space all the time
- Limited range of monitoring tools offered (a known development area for Microsoft)
A significant amount of cost-savings and reduction in Total Cost of Ownership is delivered when you run your SAP applications in the Microsoft Azure Cloud environment. Azure offers a high degree of availability, flexibility, and scalability for your SAP environments and an increase in the power of innovation and productivity.
KochaSoft is the premier cloud consulting organization focused exclusively on the optimization of SAP business technology in the Cloud. We assist our clients with the digital transformation of their on-premise or Cloud environment in preparation for migration to SAP4/HANA. KochaSoft prides itself on retaining an exceptionally talented group of technical experts and world-class business-savvy professionals with proven capabilities, skills, and experience in building and deploying first-class solutions.
Collectively, the KochaSoft team has over one thousand years’ experience across diverse technology areas and business domains, which enables us to offer end-to-end Consulting, IT solutions, and Services to its customers globally. KochaSoft is in a unique position to deliver its flexible services seamlessly to any location. As a Canadian and US-based entity, KochaSoft provides world-class sustainable, scalable, optimized SAP Solutions at a reasonable cost with exceptional quality.
Is your company looking to migrate its infrastructure to the Cloud? Schedule a demo with one of our experts today!