Disclaimer: The following does not represent SAP strategy and also does not contain any product announcements.
At the SAP UK Techtour we shared some of the work, SAP is doing in the domain of Cloud Computing the first time to a broader audience.
SAP is used to building internal tools and infrastructure in order to increase the efficiency of our own organization. Sometimes such internal tools are then transformed into products, as we want to share that value with our customers and partners.
This is also true in the domain of Cloud Computing, where SAP has build tools to efficiently provide and manage SAP landscapes.
Let’s begin with a definition which I will use of Cloud computing, from the perspective of a consumer:
Cloud Computing allows On Demand Software Provisioning with Zero-Installation & Automatic Configuration at low cost and immediate access in Scalable Data Centers.
From provider perspective the topic is structured in various domains, below I will show four of them of particular relevance:
Cloud Applications: also known as Software as a Service
Cloud Platforms: also known as Platform as a Service
Cloud Infrastructures: also known as Infrastructure as a Service
When I use in the following the term cloud computing I will talk in the context of Cloud Infrastructures.
This article will focus on leveraging the Amazon Web Services for running SAP Landscapes.
Video containing Motivation, Architecture & Demos
The following video includes a number of demos about SAP NetWeaver CE, SAP ERP, SAP CRM & SAP BI running in the Amazon Cloud.
Cloud Trends and Value
Maturity of Cloud Computing
The available cloud infrastructures today are suitable for running SAP systems for several non-mission critical tasks, including testing, development, demo and training.
Before clouds can run mission critical SAP Landscapes e.g. the central HR system they need to mature in two domains:
- Integration with Customer IT: including Network, Operations, Billing
- Strong Service Level Agreements: including Security, High Availability, Performance
We see that this is happening, so that by 2010 or 2011 cloud infrastructures might be recommendable for mission critical usage.
It is important to understand that very often our customers spend more than 50% of their IT costs on non-mission critical systems.
SAP internal adoption
For many years SAP has leveraged virtualization combined with automated operations for internal engineering purposes.
Since 2007 we have deployed various SAP solutions into the Amazon Cloud, beginning with SAP NetWeaver CE, BI, ERP and CRM solutions
SAP is using the Amazon Cloud internally for non-mission critical tasks listed above.
Two challenges we faced since the very beginning with external cloud infrastructures:
- The cloud infrastructure exposes only essential data center capabilities on the level of Virtualized Storage, Networking and Computing Resources.
- In addition the interface to those capabilities are very specific to the cloud infrastructure e.g. Amazon.
We used a SOA architecture based on SAP NetWeaver CE to
- compose an integrated user experience,
- avoiding lock in for SAP,
- providing a seamless integration into the SAP internal processes and
- support numerous SAP solutions running in the cloud.
Acceptance in customer base
We could realize a significant cost reduction SAP internally. In addition cloud infrastructures increase drastically the agility of IT operations. While it takes our customers on average days to weeks for the end to end process of setting up an SAP solution, we can now provision any number of SAP solutions within<1 hour. This translates into agility and again into significant cost savings.
(The end to end process includes: organizing Hardware, getting installer, installation, basic configuration).
We have begun to share our findings with 130 customers and partners at the SAP UK Techtour.
58% believe cloud computing will be either important or mission critical for their business by 2012.
Significant Interest in cloud computing comes from single contributors to the largest corporations.
Cloud Computing is more than a hype. It is the future.
SAP is very interested in understanding, where you see the value of Cloud Computing.
You can meet us at SAPPHIRE in Orlando, Florida at a SAP NetWeaver Cloud Session