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Author's profile photo Sven Denecken

Public, Private or Hybrid? What are YOUR Cloud choices?

At SAPPHIRE NOW I had the pleasure to participate in a podium discussion with my colleague Bernd Leukert (member of SAP´s management board) on the topic of clouds – especially the different flavors of cloud – e.g. public and private. Our experience when co-innovating with customers and partners on the topic came out in the discussion.

There are many definitions and I think a little simplification is in order, at least for the purpose of this blog (this is where some of the cloud purists will jump up and down):

1. Private Cloud – hosted solutions, often managed by a partner/vendor

2. Public Cloud – multi tenant solutions, managed by the vendor

We know that the move for our customers to the cloud must be a thoughtful evolution. Our strategy centers on leveraging the right mix of cloud, hosted, and on-premise technology. Customers have very specific challenges they are looking to solve, and very specific investments they want to leverage. Their starting point on this journey will help define the mix that is right for them.

the right mix.png

(predominant deployment models)

But now, lets focus on cloud.

Why a Private Cloud?

A key driver for private cloud environments is control – the need to tailor a solution exactly to how a business process is run – because you differentiate with this process.  You may also have specific enterprise or industry needs that need to be accommodated.

When it comes to the private cloud offering, and yes you might want to call it hosted, SAP offers a managed cloud environment powered by in-memory technology and we are adding the following service elements:

– Assessment advisory

– Onboarding and migration

– Infrastructure hosting and cloud services

– Application management and custom services


(HANA Cloud Enterprise services)

Various SAP customers are already running mission critical solutions on HANA, proving the robustness of the private cloud.

As Bernd said: “The HANA Enterprise Cloud offering enables accelerating adoption and helps customers to overcome the education and skill shortage in IT departments today and the CAPEX investment for hardware.”

With this SAP, and in the future also key partners, can run the entire business suite on HANA for customers. While the customers focus on building new and differentiating business processes – defined and sponsored by their respective line of business leaders – they can in parallel achieve positive business transformation of the assets they have invested in and they want keep using. 

Customers like Florida Crystal have done the transition from ERP on-premise to the HANA managed private cloud in a week (see here), I think this speaks for itself. Of course some projects you would argue may take little longer – but this is light speed compared with the past. SAP will run this transition service as a factory model. Many customers who are currently re-architecting, re-igniting innovation or who may be under cost pressures are looking at this managed cloud offering as an alternative.

Is a Public Cloud better?

It is not about better, it is about selecting the right approach and the right mix of solutions to solve your problems. It has to be right for YOU! or to take advantage of opportunities.

A public cloud service makes the most sense when you want to adapt or change. An entire enterprise or a dedicated business area – doesn’t matter – important that you can leverage best practice. And you want to leverage it fast – as you might need to deliver outcome in the next quarter…

SAP is constantly enhancing its already broad public cloud portfolio, with a focus on user experience. SAP is prioritizing those lines of business areas where business velocity is key, e.g. HCM, Travel, Sales, Procurement, Business Networks (see more via this link)


(Public Cloud offering)

You CAN have it all – go Hybrid!

SAP makes it possible to combine a managed Private Cloud offering -which you need to run the differentiating processes, tailored to your exact need and with tight control by your IT staff,  –with a Public Cloud service – to change your business in areas like people, customer relations, supplier relations and money?

Both private and public cloud offerings at SAP are built both on the same platform – the HANA Cloud platform. And with this Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering, SAP is enabling the eco-system and the IT departments of our customers to do what in the cloud also needs to be done – manage the last mile, configure or extend to your needs.

Regardless of whether you want to configure solutions to your needs, adapt a workflow or enhance a solution – the platform will support this.  In addition, integration and data integrity is handled by the platform, regardless of a cloud to cloud or cloud to on-premise scenario. ,

With such a hybrid environment you can accelerate existing projects by bringing innovation and responsiveness to the business – while you can work on new projects in parallel. This will allow you to truly transform your business and bring cloud benefits like minimized infrastructure costs, risk reduction and the freeing up of internal resources to focus on essentials.

Irrespective of the cloud flavor we are talking about, security is a topic. SAP addresses this in all of our cloud offerings. And as stated on the panel: “sometimes we as SAP can invest more in security than many customers can”. I will publish a blog on secuity soon and I will also address some of the other cloud myths.

I hope I could bring some clarification to the cloud discussion. Check out our portfolio of cloud solutions.

Let me know what you think and follow me on twitter to stay on top of the latest and greatest about cloud computing,

Regards @SDenecken


For complete video of the panel and influencers Q&A check here:

Extract of recording from panel during SAPPHIRENOW with Bernd Leukert and Sven Denecken …thanks you for the music

Read other relevant blogs:

Hybrid cloud

Cloud Extension program

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      Author's profile photo Andreas Huppert
      Andreas Huppert

      Meanwhile, there are also more terms used by SAP for different flavors:

      1. traditional on premise

      2. private cloud: located at customer and managed by customer. I am not sure yet what the difference to 1. is - maybe "private cloud" is used if the software is cloud ready, even if it runs in a on premise setting. Sven, maybe you have some information on that?

      3. managed private cloud: located at customer, but system managegement is outsourced (e.g. to SAP)

      4, outsourced private cloud: located at provider, management is outsourced. But it is a dedicated system for the customer and customer can decide about upgrade timepoints, modifications are still possible. This comes in flavors with and without virtualization. AKA as hosting before the term "cloud" was used for everything.

      5. public cloud: located at and managed by the provider. Ressource sharing by multi tenancy is the default. However, larger customers might have their own system and could be granted some control over update timepoints, and sometimes they even get their own modifications (blurring the line to 4).

      Am I correct? Techies have to invent new terms to express what type of cloud they exactly speak of.

      Author's profile photo Sven Denecken
      Sven Denecken
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Andreas,

      some thoughts:

      Public cloud Resources are shared between organisations for maximum cost-efficiency. The cloud service provider owns and operates the infrastructure and offers access via Internet

      Private cloud is cloud infrastructure operated solely for a single organization, whether managed internally or by a third-party and hosted internally or externally

      Hybrid cloud is a composition of more than one entity (private, public or on premise) that remain unique entities but are bound together. Hybrid cloud combines the benefits of multiple deployment models

      and as we are talking:

      SaaS In the SaaS model, cloud providers install and operate applications in the cloud and users access the software via the internet

      PaaS In the PaaS model, cloud providers deliver a computing platform, typically including operating system, programming language execution environment and database. PaaS delivers the set of Tools and Services designed to enhance, integrate and deploy SaaS applications

      IaaS is a provision model in which an organization outsources the equipment used to support operations, including storage, hardware, servers and networking components

      Also check for definitions.

      Author's profile photo Julie Plummer
      Julie Plummer

      "A public cloud service makes the most sense when you want to adapt or change."

      - When I read this, I was hoping for a later sentence explaining "Private cloud makes most sense when..." - could you please explain when private cloud is better?

      ALso, why is private cloud not so good if you want to adapt? what sort of enterprises _don't_ want to adapt?

      OTherwise, nice blog.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Sven,

      I know this is an old blog, however I still find the detail very useful!

      I have a few questions regarding S/4HANA in the cloud....

      1. Within SAP HEC (private managed cloud), the S/4HANA version is 'cloud edition', where quarterly updates are released. Customer has limited customization. Is this correct?
      2. Within a public cloud, S/4HANA version is 'public cloud edition'. If so, how does this differ from 'cloud edition'? How are often updates released and what is the level of customization available to customer?
      3. For a IAAS hosted platform (HW vendor/AWS), S/4HANA 'on-premise' version is used, with full ABAP customization and annual updates. Is this correct?

      Thanks and it was good to see you at SAUG this month!