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Is SAP HANA in the Cloud Right for Me? | @CloudExpo @SAPInMemory #Cloud

Benefits of SAP HANA in the Cloud

With the pace of technological development and the complex needs of ERP, it can be difficult to choose the right SAP HANA hosting or upgrade strategy. There are unexpected benefits of moving to the cloud, but also risks in outsourcing mission-critical applications. Here are some of the common arguments for and against SAP HANA in the cloud.

Perceived Benefits of On-Premise SAP HANA Hosting

ERP Security and Control: Companies are understandably concerned about who they trust with their core data and applications. Although a well-run SAP HANA cloud hosting provider can usually provide better security than onsite hosting, many businesses still prefer keeping systems in-house, where their own team can keep an eye on everything.

Better Control over SAP HANA Hardware: Onsite hosting lets organizations choose high-quality SAP HANA appliances, supporting ERP stability and performance. Building out existing hardware through Tailored Datacenter Integration (TDI) also appeals to many companies, since it allows them to capitalize on previous investments. Although some SAP HANA cloud providers allow companies to vary their hardware layout, not all do.  TDI configurations require oversight by an SAP HANA certified specialist which can be quite costly and time consuming to accomplish.  Likewise, certification is again required if changes to the HANA system are made.

The Ability to Address Complex IT Infrastructure Needs: Companies with legacy systems, multiple platforms or other complex needs often choose onsite ERP over cloud solutions. There are fewer managed service providers able to cater to hybrid cloud needs, so they assume onsite is the best, or even the only option.

Low latency needs are another important factor. A dedicated high speed connection may not be feasible or cost effective, requiring at least part of the network to be onsite. Organizations may decide to keep all IT infrastructure in-house.

Benefits of SAP HANA in the Cloud

Better SAP HANA Support: SAP HANA requires regular maintenance, continuous monitoring and the ability to react quickly when the system starts to behave erratically. Unless your in-house IT team can drop everything to hunt for a bug in the middle of the night, minor issues can quickly grow to full-blown system outages. For most SMBs, a full-service SAP HANA cloud provider such as Symmetry can provide better support: improving uptime, performance and security.

No CapEx and Reduced OpEx: Buying a new appliance or building out existing hardware can easily run into several hundred thousands of dollars, and that doesn't include:

  • Configuration
  • Onsite integration
  • OS & Firmware support and patching
  • Software and tools

All told, the upfront costs are often excessive, and this is for a fixed size HANA system.

OpEx for an onsite SAP HANA system isn't cheap either. Costs include:

  • Rack, power and cooling costs
  • Network maintenance
  • Backup/disaster recovery
  • Basis administration

Many configurations have a TCO in the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars, and that's just for the first three-year term. Considerations also need to be made for system growth and hardware renewal.

An SAP HANA cloud provider can eliminate CapEx, and significantly reduces OpEx and TCO. The right full-service SAP HANA cloud provider can typically save as much as a ⅓ of the cost.

The savings from placing your ERP including SAP HANA in the cloud depend on finding the right full-service provider, however. Many hosts have limitations in their offerings that may not fit your organization's needs. For example, they may limit the size of systems available for scale-up HANA, or limit the data that can be utilized within an allocated instance.  Look for a provider with a subscription model without limitations, that provides managed services as part of their solutions, and supports all workloads.

Custom SAP HANA Hybrid Cloud Solutions: For complex needs, such as low latency, legacy system integration or multiple platforms, an SAP HANA hybrid cloud provider often has substantial advantages over onsite hosting, including:

  • Flexibility
  • Available capacity when you need it
  • Better stability through utilization of enterprise class platform
  • Lower TCO
  • Less reliance on your organizations staff

However, it depends on finding the right partner. SAP HANA in the cloud requires careful sizing and configuration to provide optimal performance, while minimizing cost. Other services, like transporting legacy servers to the provider's farm or supplying techs to maintain the onsite portion of your system can maximize the benefits of a hybrid SAP HANA solution in the cloud, but not every partner offers them.

With the right service provider, SAP HANA in the Cloud can be a competitive advantage. Your SAP HANA strategy, should carefully weigh in-house assets against an array of vendor offerings. If your in-house IT team is already stretched thin, or you're wary about the substantial cost of on-premise SAP HANA, a full-service SAP HANA cloud provider may be the most competitive solution.

More Stories By Kevin Knuese

As Vice President of SAP Solutions, Kevin Knuese leads Symmetry’s SAP Cloud Hosting and SAP HANA solution development efforts. After decades of problem solving within the IT world, Knuese provides strategic leadership to help navigate the complex world of SAP application management for Symmetry’s valued customers. Working shoulder to shoulder with our customers’ executive management team, Knuese assess business requirements to ensure the IT infrastructure in place is meeting the enterprise needs, while providing operational guidance to leverage emerging technologies. Knuese ensures Symmetry customers are delivered tailored enterprise cloud solutions that are expertly managed, with state-of-the art security and built in scalability to grow as our customers’ businesses grow. He is a sought after thought leader and can be frequently seen presenting on the main stage at leading edge IT conferences in the U.S. and around the world.

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