The Road to SAP® HANA

Lush green tropical forests, sky blue ocean waters, cascading waterfalls, your ultimate destination awaits…

For someone visiting Maui, driving the “The Road to Hana” is a thrilling experience of nature and beauty that should not be missed. The journey and destination are the rewards.

For users of SAP, ECC, NetWeaver, and R/3, their HANA is not a place but is instead the super-fast database technology. HANA actually stands for “High-Performance Analytic Appliance” and is the technical database foundation for SAP solutions moving forward.

During your journey to SAP HANA or S/4HANA, there is one question that will come up:

“What is the right IT strategy for our  pre-HANA ECC, NetWeaver, and R/3 systems once we move to HANA?”

One part of the answer is: Move them to the cloud.

Here are some scenarios of why moving your pre-HANA systems to the cloud makes sense:

  • Support for Power (IBM AIX, IBM i, or Linux on Power)

    All the major cloud vendors now support Power in the Cloud including AIX, IBM i, and Linux on Power. This provides a “path to the cloud” for existing Power-based applications and Power-based SAP deployments.

    Some believe that moving application systems to the cloud requires that they be re-engineered as a cloud prerequisite, but that is not true. Systems running in the cloud can have workload-symmetry to existing on-premises systems. This means you can do an initial “lift-and-shift” of applications without fundamentally changing them, then over time migrate parts or complete applications into native cloud services. Using the same hostnames, IP addresses, and general network topology allows you to do the lift-and-shift, and then over time, at your pace, you can decide if any modernization or re-engineering is needed.

  • Regulatory Compliance

    Based on your industry you might be required to keep legacy systems and their data intact and accessible for a number of years after making a migration. What is worse is that over time, these legacy systems will be used and accessed less and less. Eventually maybe not at all, even though you might be required to still keep it intact. Instead of using on-premises resources to support that decommissioned application, use a concept like “Application Cold Storage” where an application can be more cost-effectively stored “in the cloud”, but accessed when needed. When not needed, have it exist but be in a powered-off state reducing costs.

  • On-premises infrastructure reduction, or data-center exit

    If your strategy is to run the SAP HANA-based system in the cloud, then it makes even more sense that you would move your pre-HANA systems to that same cloud where HANA will exist. In addition to reduced latency, having both systems in the same cloud provides opportunities for the modernization of any satellite application systems that connect to SAP. Native services provided by cloud vendors such as virtual machines, blob storage, DevOps tools, and directory management are some of the services that could be used to revamp pre-HANA applications that previously existed on-premises.

    If your strategy is to run HANA on-premises, then moving the pre-HANA systems to the cloud might still make sense. It will allow you to decommission all the on-premises hardware that was supporting the pre-HANA systems. These savings could be substantial, depending on the size of your deployment. Satellite SAP applications moved to the cloud have greater opportunities for being modernized. The only downside might now be the separation or latency between the systems. This can typically be solved using a high-speed interconnect from your cloud provider back to on-premises.

  • Business Continuity

    Most likely if you are running SAP then you have a larger IT organization with a comprehensive IT strategy. Part of that strategy will be disaster recovery (DR). Now that it is possible to more easily run pre-HANA systems in the cloud, this enables DR in the cloud for those pre-HANA systems. Once again the possibility exists to decommission on-premises DR hardware and infrastructure, reducing costs and enabling cloud flexibility that didn’t exist before.

These are just a few possibilities to consider while embarking on your “Road to Hana”. Using all of the latest features provided by the cloud vendors, your journey to nirvana can be something you’ll never forget.

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