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Infopulse - Expert Software Engineering, Infrastructure Management Services

Assessment and Roadmap for Greenfield Implementation of SAP S/4HANA on Azure for a Supermarket Group

SAP on Azure Proof of Concept for a Large Ukrainian Food Retailer

Client: Large Ukrainian Food Retailer
Industry: Retail
Location: Ukraine
Employees: 4,500+

Client Background

A fast-growing nationwide supermarket chain, one of the most dynamic and progressive food-retail companies in Ukraine. The company develops its business within 3 core areas, namely, building own stores, food distribution, and import of goods. Following the highest European quality standards, it offers thousands of various goods categories (ranging from food and drinks to clothing and garden tools) and the widest range of exclusive products.

Business Challenge

The client got interested in Infopulse’s services after our SAP on Azure workshop in 2019, conducted on behalf of Microsoft as a part of our Azure solutions promotion activities. Since then, Infopulse and Ukrainian food retailer have established successful cooperation, as we assist them with the implementation of SAP services and solutions

Our client was utilizing SAP ERP on on-premises VMware infrastructure. While the ERP system covered almost all aspects of retail business, including logistics, financial operations, procurement, etc. it was also approaching EoL & EoS. Thus, to satisfy the needs of the growing business, our client decided to move to a modern SAP S/4HANA platform and approached Infopulse for assistance with this project.

While there are multiple ways to implement this transformation, such as Brownfield migration or Greenfield installation from the ground up, the company was also investigating whether they should stay with existing on-premises infrastructure, build a new one, or migrate to the cloud.

As a part of our engagement with Microsoft, Infopulse offered our client to try out the transition to the cloud infrastructure. We proposed to create an SAP HANA virtual machine on Red Hat Linux in Azure to test different scenarios, requirements, and capabilities of the Azure cloud.

Solution

As a part of PoC implementation, Infopulse conducted a demo testing of Azure cloud infrastructure for SAP S/4HANA workloads. We’ve set up a virtual machine in Azure and leveraged deployment of SAP S/4HANA to the cloud:

  • Conducted deployment and preparation of VM with RHEL according to SAP notes;
  • Migrated proprietary Marketplace system from VMware environment to Microsoft Azure;
  • Configured network connection between the local and Azure cloud infrastructure;
  • Tested the monitoring system (server availability, memory load, CPU, HDDs);
  • Developed the mechanisms of direct and reverse migration of VMs;
  • Tested tools for reverse migration to the local infrastructure without business halts;
  • Conducted training on Azure tools for the Group in-house specialists;
  • Prepared comprehensive technical documentation for full-scale SAP on Azure migration.

Our client also wanted to cut down the timing of SAP HANA backup as much as possible, without making the project too costly. We had to provide such an option that would suit the client’s requirements as well as satisfy the requirements of Microsoft and SAP without raising project costs.

Besides, the project started before the VM image with required OS compatibility was even released by Microsoft. Thanks to a close collaboration of Infopulse with Microsoft office, the required VM image version was pushed to release faster.

Technologies:

SAP S/4HANA, Red Hat Linux, Microsoft Azure, Azure Site Recovery, Azure Backup, Azure Automation

Suggested SAP on Azure architecture for Large Ukrainian Retailer - Infopulse

Business Benefits

Infopulse designed a well-thought-out architecture that will help the Group move their SAP ERP infrastructure from VMware to SAP S/4HANA on Azure. The documentation includes a migration roadmap and a full-scale migration strategy with all calculations.

The PoC migration, conducted by Infopulse for the Ukrainian food retailer, aimed to demonstrate that the performance of SAP systems in Azure would be no less than this of their existing local hosting. Infopulse achieved the maximum throughput by utilizing all capabilities of the platform while taking into consideration the client’s requirements as well as Microsoft recommendations.

Besides, our client was able to investigate a number of the critical aspects of migration, such as:

  • Compare TCO of a cloud VS local infrastructure;
  • Assess advanced capabilities of Azure in terms of backup and disaster recovery;
  • Try out the tools for copying VMs from the VMware environment to Azure cloud;
  • Conduct a test server migration from the local infrastructure to the cloud to obtain the understanding of access specifics from the internal network;
  • Gain an overview of how cloud resources are saved when idle;
  • Test cloud auto start/stop when not in use;
  • Exam the possibilities of expanding SAP sessions with additional and upcoming Azure services.

Microsoft Azure as a cloud platform certified for SAP workloads brings SAP S/4HANA solution the following benefits:

  • 99.95% resource availability
  • Ability to quickly change resource specifications
  • Lower TCO
  • Continuous updates with new features and integration with next-gen Azure services
  • Full security compliance, etc.

Upon PoC finalization, SAP S/4HANA on Azure test machine has become a DEV environment and is currently used by our client’s in-house SAP experts as they continue testing new functions to realize their vision of the newest SAP ERP platform in the cloud.

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