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Cloud Computing at SAP

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 Computing Overview


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 Video Recording



Cloud Trends and Value

Cloud Trends


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:

  1. Integration with Customer IT: including Network, Operations, Billing
  2. 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:

  1. The cloud infrastructure exposes only essential data center capabilities on the level of Virtualized Storage, Networking and Computing Resources.
  2. 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

  1. compose an integrated user experience,
  2. avoiding lock in for SAP,
  3. providing a seamless integration into the SAP internal processes and
  4. 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.

Please let us hear your opinion


You can meet us at SAPPHIRE in Orlando, Florida at a SAP NetWeaver Cloud Session

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  • Hi Frank,

    Thanks for a nice introduction to how big organisations use AWS.

    I was glad that I spend the time watching your screen cast, it contains some points that I ahve not considered.

    I like the infrastructure you have build around Amazon and make it invisible from the user. But gives all the benifites.

    What need to happen before the cloud would be sutiable for deploying production instances of SAP?


    • Hi Daniel,

      Thank you.
      For production instances in the sense of mission critical systems, the community needs to work on SLA guarantees and on integration topics (network, billing, etc.)

      If we see the anouncements and the activities then this is clearly happening right now.

      And at least as important for everybody is a standardized interface to cloud infrastructures. This hinders adoption as well.
      The Open Cloud Manifesto is focussing on this aspect.


  • I've been exploring, in my spare time, implementing SAP / Netweaver on AWS. 

    The major drivers, from a business perspective, are quick deployment of non production systems, for training testing and develkopment services - In fact the original driver was that when ever I managed to scam enough hardware for a playpen for myself, It was "stolen" by developers, functional people and sales teams, whose need for a stable system precluded BASIS experimentation.

    A typical example where I see this being used in an enterprise is where we can provide 'custom-made' access to training and development systems for the duration of an upograde or EHP implementation. 

    • I have heard the use cases
      "'custom-made' access to training and development systems for the duration of an upgrade or EHP implementation" several times from the entire range of SAP customers - smallest to largest organizations.

      Also this "stealing of hardware" sounds very familiar to me. In order to meet tough deadlines, projects are pushed to the borderline of compliance to corporate rules.

      Cloud Computing provides a way out of this dilemma for both Corporate IT and the project leads.

  • I have been preaching to the masses on Cloud/Virtualization for the last 5 years, there is so much more we in the SAP Eco-system can do with it.  The security levels are there with SAS70 compliance by certain providers, and the ability to launch a new development or test environment with clean data in less then 30 seconds with the appzero tool makes our lives in the SAP worl cleaner and easier...The upgrade and migration capabilities make the cloud a wonderful arena as we can now have that technically configured upgrade system then build and worth with a copy of the migration data...simply wonderful and rewarding.  SAP is re-writting the book with the cloud keep up the good work
  • Hi Frank,

    Thanks for the informative blog. I am trying to understand what SAP expects from Cloud IaaS providers for the purpose of partnership? Is there a partner program in place for joint GTM strategy to offer SAP solutions on partner cloud services?



    • Hi Minhaj,

      We are in discussions on how IaaS providers can become partners of SAP. There is no decision on this one yet.

      It would be very valuable for our customers and partners. So we will push the topic.

      Best Regards,