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The virtues of hybrid thinking: five steps for running SAP on Azure cloud

The rise of the 'grocerant' trend in the retail sector is a sign of the times. By combining grocery stores with restaurants, customers get to enjoy the full benefits of a hybrid experience.

Henrik Lorentzi / March 28, 2019

The rise of the “grocerant” trend in the retail sector is a sign of the times. By combining grocery stores with restaurants, customers get to enjoy the full benefits of a skillfully designed hybrid experience.

In much the same way, more and more IT managers are choosing the hybrid route when it comes to introducing cloud for business applications. And in this context, it is interesting to take a brief look at the range of options for running SAP solutions on Microsoft Azure.

Over the past couple of years, the partnership between SAP and Microsoft Azure has opened up new opportunities for pursuing agile ways of working and boosting innovation capabilities. For example, Azure makes it super easy to allocate more resources to SAP landscapes on-demand, such as memory and storage, and it's a great cloud environment for testing and prototyping concepts regardless of which industry you are in.

I can't help but notice the growing consensus that Microsoft Azure, with its fast and continuous updates, allows companies to become more service-oriented and flexible.

So, the choice is quite simple, right? Whether you are using SAP S/4HANA or any other SAP solution, just move everything over to Azure.

Hold that thought for just a minute.

Finding the perfect mix

Public cloud solutions clearly have some powerful advantages to offer. The most obvious benefit is cost savings that arise from not having to purchase, manage or maintain on-premise hardware.

In addition, you get to enjoy all the benefits of on-demand services. Consider the typical stumbling blocks associated with company acquisitions. With public cloud there is no need to wait for new hardware or additional resources for IT systems, which means that new business operations can be rapidly integrated.

Then there's added plus for international companies, or scale-ups, of always being up-to-date with regulatory compliance and security features. The same cloud rules and settings apply to the global infrastucture (instead of individual data centers).

Providers such as Azure offer unlimited resources and scalability – with ready-made templates for deploying SAP systems. At the same time, security is likely to become a concern in some cases. With public cloud, you are one of thousands of customers in huge data centers, and you might not even know for certain in what geographic region your data is stored.

This is where private clouds, which are more customer focused, and firewalls are unmatched for reliability – especially in the case of on-premise private cloud. So, why not strike a perfect balance between the two? By choosing a hybrid cloud infrastructure with Tieto's service offering you can:

  • Combine public cloud resources with the customization options and data autonomy of private cloud in Tieto data centers, protecting critical applications and sensitive information.
  • Build agility into business processes such as allocating resources on demand for short-term projects.
  • Benefit from one service experience for both private/public infrastructure with common management tools.
  • Ask Tieto experts to recommend the best hybrid scenario and then optimize the entire SAP ecosystem (both private and public cloud consumption).

In short, a hybrid cloud infrastructure gives you the best of both worlds. It allows you to separate critical workloads while benefiting from the raw capabilities of public cloud providers, for enhancing Big Data analytics or pursuing any other gain.

Recently, by all accounts, hybrid has been gaining traction. Take for example this excerpt from the survey of Nordic companies carried out by IDC (International Data Corporation) in 2017: "Cloud services are maturing, even though most Nordic companies adopt cloud on an opportunistic or ad hoc basis."

Typical opportunistic drivers were identified as applications or hardware reaching their end of life which, as the IDC report concluded, "implies that the trend toward hybrid cloud and complex architectures will continue."

Five steps for getting started with Microsoft Azure

We are rapidly heading toward a multi-layered technology future. In the cloud-driven transformation of business, the hybrid approach provides value in terms of responsiveness and shorter time-to-market without compromising security.

If your company is already running some of its operations on Azure, the impetus for consolidating will be strong and migrating SAP applications certainly does make sense in order to achieve a better overview of your business.

In any scenario, Tieto believes that flexibility and responsiveness should go hand in hand with security. This requires a strong transformation partner with extensive knowledge in SAP and Azure technologies.

To begin the journey of reaping the benefits of Azure as a springboard to future innovation, here are five fundamental steps:

  • Identify your business requirements regarding continuity and availability of your SAP processes. E.g, do you need 24/7 availability for development systems?
  • How will a hybrid solution benefit your operations? Discuss consequences for development and testing processes in detail (incl. integrations).
  • Make sure you know all integrations used in your SAP landscape and plan integration tests well in advance.
  • Define disaster recovery requirements and plan high availability scenarios on Azure.
  • Prepare and conduct performance tests before go-live in public cloud.

Whatever path to cloud you choose to take or platform to adopt, Tieto can help you maximize the chances of success.

Our team consists of more than 900 SAP experts and hundreds of Microsoft specialists. They provide both private and public cloud solutions with full scalability to customers across the Nordics and further afield.

Want to know more about SAP on Azure with details about best practices, virtual machines or mobile engagement? Drop me a line at henrik.lorentzi@tieto.com — I'd be happy to provide a look behind the scenes and discuss your best way forward.

Henrik Lorentzi
Manager, Cloud Services

Henrik is the head of Cloud Services product management at Tieto with a team of IT product management professionals across the Nordic countries. He has a business driven mindset and his passion is to develop and launch new products and services. Henrik has an extensive experience in managing IT solutions and services in international environments.

Author

Henrik Lorentzi

Manager, Cloud Services

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