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The debate continues – to keep an in-house technology stack for your business software solutions or to migrate those systems to the cloud?
An   estimated that between 2019 and 2021, 54% of SAP customers plan to adopt SAP S4/4HANA. Among them, 73% are choosing to run SAP S/4HANA in the cloud and others are considering hybrid deployment scenarios.
Indeed, cloud technology has come a long way in recent years, and migration has undeniable benefits – no need for expensive hardware upgrades, access from any remote device, rapid elasticity and service customization based upon the changing needs.
That’s why CIO’s are no longer asking “if cloud migration is necessary”. They are asking “when,” “how,” and “how much” resources to migrate.
For users of the popular SAP products, cloud migration is no longer an “if” question either.
SAP migration to Azure allows spinning up VM’s in minutes and SLA’s that provide for 99.9% VM availability for all of these  :
- SAP Business Suite – ERP, CRM, SCM, SRM and more.
- SAP HANA to deliver your BI.
- SAP S/4HANA – ERP solution for large enterprises.
- SAP BW/4HANA for all data warehouse needs.
- SAP Business One – the premier ERP business suite for small businesses.
- SAP Hybris – Premier enterprise-level CRM solution.
However, the most crucial reason for migration is the first-in-market partnership that SAP and Microsoft fully formalized in early 2019.
Enter SAP and Microsoft Azure Partnership
SAP and Microsoft have been working on joint cloud offerings since  . In a competitive cloud marketplace, it is interesting that such partnerships have not been negotiated by other major cloud providers.
But the real significance is that, as businesses continue to move rather aggressively into the cloud, there will be considerable rewards from the coordination of SAP in the cloud and Microsoft, which is such a major player in cloud computing.
Microsoft has been investing in SAP apps for a long time – to run many aspects of its own $89.5 billion global empire – human resources, finance, logistics and supply chain, and more. In February of this year, it completed the move of the last of its SAP landscape to Azure. Estimates by its own SAP team are that the budget will be cut by 10-20% by this application transformation.
Microsoft can serve as a model to other enterprises that move their SAP systems to Azure. Staff can ditch the worry about keeping the in-house infrastructure running and spend more time innovating. And they can begin to utilize AI and Machine Learning to gather and analyze data and learn from that.
Fast forward to   when the two companies unveiled their   — a long-term strategic partnership aimed at harmonizing and interweaving the scope of offered services for the companies’ customers. The acceleration of S/4HANA on Azure adoption is one of the key partnership premises.
The main goal of this partnership is to minimize the costs and complexities of running SAP on Azure and enable seamless integrations between SAP and Microsoft solutions. In addition, the companies promise to develop architecture references and guidelines for deploying SAP instances on Azure.
9 Reasons Why Running SAP in the Cloud Beats On-Premises Setups
Running SAP apps (ERP, SCM, SRM, CRM, etc.) on on-premises hardware requires constant OPEX investment. Not to mention the need for support and regular maintenance that forces you to keep an IT team on-call.
Migrating your SAP systems to Azure can help you reduce the reliance on in-house solutions and attain several additional benefits:
- Lower CAPEX Migration to SAP in the cloud means ease of scaling through the use of their remote servers. Scaling down is just as easy. This type of agility can give a business a competitive edge and generate tangible TCO savings. According to  , the surveyed enterprises managed to save $7.2 million in anticipated hardware costs by moving their SAP applications to Azure (instead of upgrading their data centers). Further, the study says that post-migration some managed to achieve a 20% YoY in operational cost savings.
- Automated Backup and Disaster Recovery Systems: Azure Site Recovery that seamlessly integrates with SAP can protect all your critical workloads by replicating the disks. In addition, you can create System Replication between the on-premise and cloud instances to protect your database. Depending on your needs, you can build multi- or single-region disaster recovery systems to maintain the desired RPO and RTO Values.
- Faster Access to Updates and New SAP releases: As  , its new in-house version of S/4HANA, will be supported through 2030. Those with all other earlier versions will not be supported after 2025. This means an inevitable need for considering SAP in the cloud. In this case, all the software is automatic, even security. You always have access to the latest innovations both from SAP and Azure. Plus, you can benefit from a set of market-approved journeys that would take you faster towards your ultimate business goals.
- Improved Workflows and Data Sharing: SAP offers a robust suite of business applications, but its in-house systems have limitations for an increasingly mobile workforce. SAP in the cloud fosters effective collaboration without geographical restrictions and enables real-time file-sharing from anywhere on any device. What’s more, Microsoft IoT hub now effectively integrates with  , meaning that you can run more advanced IIoT deployments and collect real-time insights from several physical assets.
- Integrated Offerings To Support Large Scale Deployments: Azure   made available a number of extra-large instances to support massive SAP HANA deployments. In particular, they now have Azure Mv2 Virtual Machines (VMs) with up to 6 TB of memory for SAP HANA. In addition, customers can choose custom SKU configurations of up to 480 Intel CPU cores and up to 24 TB of memory.
- Co-Engineered Products: Microsoft and SAP state that they will be co-engineering new services, will market them together, and co-support them. Today, open connectors are already available for Microsoft Face API and SAP machine learning. CEO’s of both companies state that they are committed to deploying the technologies they offer – a collaboration that will give clients the ability to access the power of a cloud-based system, along with data and analytics that will be not just efficient but will move them to a level of competition that sets them apart.
- Faster Time-to-Market for SAP Releases. The aforementioned Forrester study indicates that organizations running SAP on Azure can release new SAP instances much faster while reducing the duration of the testing phase and an overall number of error-related delays. All of this results in $3.3 million worth of benefits.
- Azure is a Best-in-Class Cloud Services Provider. A   of 100 IT executives at Global 2000 companies established that Azure is the most preferred choice for hosting cloud infrastructure due to its service reliability, a diverse array of integrations and innovative platform services. Most SAP products now run beautifully on Microsoft Azure.
- Clear Customer Journey Maps: Microsoft, in moving its own SAP systems to Azure has done the groundwork so that any business of any size and with any complexity of SAP solutions can migrate with as few landmines as possible. In fact, SAP on Azure is now used by 90% of Fortune 500 companies – its scalability is huge, and it handles more than 5 trillion storage transactions every month. Furthermore, the two companies are offering extensive account support and additional consulting services to those wishing to migrate to the cloud.
Are There SAP on Azure Cons?
There are not so many “cons” as there are challenges to make the migration as seamless and as bug-free as possible. But the integrated collaboration between Azure and SAP, and the fact that Microsoft has been through the process, many of these issues have been resolved.
Still, as the migration occurs, these could be things to think about:
- Start with the easier, “low-hanging fruit” first. It is working with these base layers that issues can be identified and worked out before the more serious layers are migrated.
- Testing the early migrations is critical, of course.
- Clearing out. With an on-premise server, businesses tend to keep a lot of stuff they are no longer using. Dumping that will make the migration cleaner and, in the long run, save costs.
- Another potential area relates to backup. It’s easy to think that, once the full migration has occurred, the issue of backup is eliminated. You still need backup. Fortunately, Azure already functions in 50+ regions. Place your backup in another region. Should something go awry in your area, you are still covered.
If Microsoft has migrated its complex and huge SAP systems to Azure and done so successfully, it is obvious that businesses of any size will be able to do so. Further, the potential for a successful migration with as few issues as possible is greatly increased because of the joint support of both Azure and SAP.
Already, a number of “giants” are heralding the partnership between SAP and Azure. Coca-Cola, Columbia Sportswear, and Costco are just three that claim the partnership will enable them to perform all of their enterprise functions more rapidly, obtain the data and analytics they need, and, ultimately to serve their customers better. With endorsements such as these, it is obvious that SAP on Azure Cloud is a winner.
There are obvious benefits for businesses that make the choice to move to cloud computing – costs, much greater access, pay-as-you-go usage, the ability to scale up and down as appropriate, and security and backup, to name a few.
Beyond that, though, there are significant benefits for businesses who currently use SAP as their business solutions system. By itself, SAP is a great solution for ERP, SCM, SRM, and CRM, and has been for years. In a partnership with Microsoft Azure, however, cloud computing has reached a new level.
As these two giants can collaborate, they can ensure that SAP users can:
- Get all of the support they need in their migration process;
- Provide new products and services that other standalone cloud providers cannot;
- Have the expertise of app management that SAP offers on a platform that is designed to handle as much complexity as a business might have;
- Have access to a powerful cloud-based system, as well as data and analytics that will inform business decisions.
Are You Ready to Migrate SAP to Azure?
If your business has an in-house SAP solution, moving to Azure is the next logical step to bring you the competitive edge you want. Successful migration, even though there is great support from the collaboration of SAP and Microsoft, can be a tricky process.   that your migration is as flawless as possible. We migrate, test, fix, and re-test. Ultimately, you are “in” and ready to take advantage of everything that this partnership offers now and in the future.