Users of SAP are often perplexed while customizing their environments or implementing new upgrades. These tasks are highly time consuming, resource intensive, and can lead to project delays. This underlines need to move SAP environment to cloud.

              

Relevance of cloud benefits from SAP perspective

Although, many individuals would rate agility as the most attractive advantages of cloud, the significant advantage of cloud in SAP environment is the mitigation of cycle times. Provided you are having surplus resources that can be accessed or tapped as and when needed, you will be able to accelerate performance and shift gears according to situation.

Cloud is regarded for its on demand scalability that is backed by assured availability of resources. This feature reduces need for over-provisioning the infrastructure that can prove to be extremely expensive. Cloud frees you from the concern of not having resources at hand if the need arises.

Cloud addresses the fundamental goal of any business solution by providing resource whenever needed. It also enables easy migration from CAPEX to OPEX. In a CAPEX model the organization needs to continue investing into and maintaining the equipment even if it is not being used. However the OPEX model of cloud facilitates procurement and removal of resources in response to need.

It would be more relevant to analyze various attributes of cloud in terms of SAP landscape. Speed of cloud deployment for the purpose of testing customization. The benefits can be applied in two different scenarios. The first is at the level of infrastructure. Cloud facilitates creation of several instances of SAP as per requirement. In the second scenario, cloud enables infrastructure utility by pre-installation of SAP landscape that is tailor-made to match requirements. This also enables management of the entire stack.

Cloud enables IT infrastructure to dynamically respond by scaling up or scaling down on demand. There is ease of creating new landscapes as well as returning them whenever these are not required. Cloud systems can not only deliver right infrastructure but also facilitates support and maintenance of SAP landscape so that users are able to devote entire time for effective running of SAP processes.

Right sizing of resource intensive SAP workloads is an extremely vital attribute of cloud. Cloud enables seamless ability to fine-tune scale according to customer requirements. Cloud is also capable of adjusting to volume fluctuations owing to seasonal changes.

Having understood specific advantages of cloud hosting in terms of running SAP scenario, it is vital to consider selection of an appropriate cloud service provider. The process of selection must involve evaluation of service provider based on multiple parameters. These are being discussed in the following paragraphs.

               

Assured performance

Performance oriented Service Level Agreements are vital for performance guarantee. You need to get convinced that your mission critical systems will perform as expected after these are shifted from on-premise to cloud environments. You should try to understand the precautions being taken by cloud service provider for dealing with noisy neighbor issues. You can also collect relevant information about issues that may be related to multi-tenant environments.

Understand methodology of billing

In contrast to traditional and standard versions of web hosting, cloud deployment is associated with flexibility of billing system. There are cloud service providers that calculate charges by considering resource allocation and also provide choice of shutting down the systems in case these are not being used for saving OPEX. There are some providers who walk one more step and offer utility based billing that charges users purely on the basis of consumption. It is vital to confirm that the bills are negotiable in case of multi renewal of agreements.

Understand locations of data centers

Location of cloud data center is a prime factor to reduce latency. Data centers should be ideally positioned in proximity of end users for an enhanced browsing experience. If your applications are forced to undertake multiple round trips before reaching your end user, then the speed of page loading as well as latency will be affected. The location of data centers are used to determine positioning of cloud workloads.

Timing of SAP migration

Since the migration process of SAP is highly intricate and time consuming, one needs to make sure that Cloud Service Provider has gained remarkable expertise and knowledge of moving SAP workloads to cloud. This will ensure that the migration process will be swift and sure.

               

Existing customer base

You should be provided details of customers that are being serviced by the Cloud Service Provider. This can give you a broad understanding of the customer profile and you can confirm the same matches with your organization in terms of scope. You can also ask the Cloud Service Provider to share specific cases that involve implementation of performance, compliance, and security.   

Differentiating factors

It would be great if your Cloud Service Provider is able to share USPs of the services. This will offer a clearer picture what unique advantages you will be able to gain by availing services of a particular provider. It is quite common for service providers to offer on demand storage or to commission additional virtual machines. Some service providers offer exclusive SAP services as well as expertise in terms of SAP innovations.