Navigating the Road to SAP® HANA


Is moving pre-HANA systems causing road rage? Find out why cloud migration is one of the speediest, most picturesque drives organizations can take on the way to their SAP HANA destination.

Close your eyes and picture this: you are cruising by a clear, blue ocean, verdant tropical rainforests, and the shining sun is warming your face – it is the ultimate paradise. The cloud migration equivalent of that would be the shift to SAP HANA. The route to HANA is a similarly beautiful drive, and the destination is a reward as well.

For SAP, ECC, NetWeaver, and R/3 users, their HANA (High Performance Analytic Appliance) is not so much a vacation spot as it is an incredibly fast database foundationOpens a new window for future SAP solutions. However, there is always one question that inevitably comes up during the path to SAP HANA or S/4HANAOpens a new window :

What should we do with our on-premises pre-HANA ECC, NetWeaver, and R/3 systems once we have moved to HANA?

One solution is to migrate these systems to the cloud. Let’s look at the benefits of moving pre-HANA systems to the cloud and preparing for the next step in the evolution of the workplace.

A Boost in Business Continuity

Businesses running SAP most likely have a large IT department with a well-thought-out disaster recovery (DR) plan. Today it is easier than ever to run pre-HANA systems in the cloud, thereby enabling DR in the cloud for those systems. It is possible to decommission on-premises DR hardware and infrastructure, in turn lowering costs and harnessing the cloud’s flexibility in a way that the IT team couldn’t before. Cloud-based DR can also offer greater resilience and make it easier to comply with data sovereignty regulations based on where the cloud provider’s data center is located.

See More: A Roadmap for Migrating Legacy Tape Storage to the Cloud 

IBM Power Is Supported in the Destination Cloud

All major cloud vendors now support Power in the Cloud, including AIX, IBM i, and Linux on Power, providing a road to the cloud for current Power-based applications and SAP deployments.

Systems running in the cloud can have workload symmetry with existing on-premises systems. This means that it is possible to perform an initial “lift-and-shift” of applications without altering them, then over time, refactor applications can be employed for native cloud services piece by piece. Using the same hostnames, IP addresses, and overall network topology allows IT to perform a lift-and-shift, determine if any modernization or re-engineering is required, and then do that work at their own pace. IT teams can first adjust to having the application in the cloud, and once they start refactoring, they can apply lessons learned from early projects to the later ones. This slower, more controlled approach can help reduce the risk of migrating complex, business-critical applications to the cloud.

Data Center Exit, or On-Prem Infrastructure Reduction = Big Savings

Once an organization decides to run its SAP HANA-based system in the cloud, it makes even more sense to move any pre-HANA systems to the same cloud. This will reduce latency, and housing both systems in the same cloud allows SAP to modernize any of the satellite application systems connected to SAP. Native services from cloud vendors such as blob storage, DevOps tools, directory management and virtual machines are just one of many services that could be used to revitalize pre-HANA applications if they are moved to the cloud. 

If an organization chooses to run HANA on-premises, migrating the pre-HANA systems to the cloud may still make sense as it allows the decommission of all on-premises hardware previously supporting the pre-HANA systems. Depending on the size of their deployment, these savings could be considerable. Satellite SAP applications can be modernized once moved to the cloud. However, the downside is the potential latency or separation between the systems. That said, this is commonly fixed by using a high-speed interconnect from a cloud provider back to on-premises.

See More: What Is Cloud Migration? Definition, Process, Benefits and Trends

Maintaining Legacy Applications for Regulatory Compliance

Depending on the industry, some organizations must keep legacy systems and data intact and easily accessible for several years after a migration to comply with regulations. Over time, these legacy systems will be used less and less or perhaps be discontinued entirely. One alternative to using on-premises tools to support decommissioned applications is “Application Cold Storage,” where users store applications in the cloud. The application can be stored in a powered-off state to lower costs and then activated whenever it is accessed. This way, organizations do not need to pay the full infrastructure costs for applications that are no longer needed.

The above is only a smattering of options to consider while navigating the “journey to HANA .”By utilizing all of the cloud vendors’ latest features, the path to the beautiful destination that is SAP HANA can be smooth sailing indeed.

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