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Author's profile photo Sumit Jaiswal

SAP on AWS – Specialty(PAS-C01) : Insights

Recently, I appeared for and passed the SAP on AWS- Specialty (PAS-C01) certification examination.

In this article, I attempt to share the experiences and personal insights on the examination.

Background:

I have a decade of experience on SAP technology, worked with different suites and databases.I did first SAP implementation on AWS in 2016, when AWS was mostly focused on compute only.Since then my inclination has always been with SAP on Clouds.

Prior to appearing for this exam, I was already certified in AWS Solution Architect- Professional and AWS Solution Architect – Associate, thus, have a sound knowledge on AWS technologies.

Preparation:

While I am already working on a SAP project for Scale-out HANA migration, I did not have to look many of the stuffs to hands-on as i had already kept abreast with the latest updates and features supported by AWS for SAP projects.

However, to brush up the theories, I went through the Cloud Acedmy lectures by Danny Jessee and SAP on AWS documentations.

Insights:

The examination was mainly focused on a few specific topics of optimizations for migrations and HA/DR, that can be segregated into the three parts:

1. Cost Optimized approaches  : Include the replications methods such as

  • Application Migration Service (previously called Cloud Endure) that performs block-level replication i.e to be employed in Homogeneous migrations
  • HSR with preload off, replicating to DEV/QAS database server.
  • S3 replication(CRR) for data replication in case of passive DR.

2. Downtime optimized approaches :include the  methods such as

  • HSR i.e. can be set across HANA running on different supported Linux OS too.
  • Parallel Export/Import using SWPM.
  • Elastic Disaster Recovery (AWS DRS) if cost is not a concern.
  • XTTS for large oracle database migration along with Endian conversion.

3. Latency Optimized approaches : include the incorporation of

  • Direct connect set up between on-premise to AWS.
  • Storage gateways such as volume gateways and File gateways for low latency data access.
  • Cluster placement group for multi-node databases.
  • Enhanced networking for EC2.

The examination had a lot of stress on mere knowing the certain facts on the its favorite topics:

Overlay IP : It’s outside the VPC CIDR; accessed by NLB and Transit GW only; source/destination check must be disabled on underlying instances.

AWS/SAP Support requirements : Data provider must be in place; Detailed monitoring must be enabled; Enhanced Monitoring should be enabled.

GP3 EBS : Throughput and IOPS can be changed based on needs,making it less likely to use IO1 or IO2 disks unless very high performance is needed.Saves the management effort of disk striping too to some extent.

Oracle : Oracle server and clients are supported only on Oracle enterprise Linux at AWS.

Not to much surprise,the examination did not ask anything on the services such as:

  • Server-less : Lambda,API Gateway,EKS and ECS
  • Delivery services :Cloud-front and Global Accelerator
  • AWS RDS : They are often not supported for SAP databases.
  • Route 53 and Application Load balancer.
  • Security services such AWS WAF,GuardDuty and AWS Shield.

However, I was disappointed that there was no much stress on CloudFormation as automation is key for SAP on Clouds.

While AWS has come up with Launch Wizard for HANA and NW deployments, the exam did not go any depth on it.I believe that the wizard is still not a very stable solution e.g. it does not yet have an option for shared storage scale-out HANA, and many a times terminates with AWS backint agent due to lack of package.

I was expecting the exam to focus more on the services for which AWS has recently worked a lot to support SAP systems. For instance. AWS Backup supports HANA database on EC2 (although as of now, there is no support for multi-node HANA database) but there was no mention of AWS backup.

Similarly, FSx  for NetAppONTAP is being primarily used for large HANA databases for scale-up and scale-out deployments, but the exam is still limited to FSx for Windows server  and Lustre only.

AWS migration Hub now supports HA for HANA, but this service too did not get any attention.

With all honesty, despite being specialty exam, this certification exam does not match the standard that AWS sets in its Solution Architect professional examination. I had expected better from AWS, particularly when it has been updating with new services to support SAP implementations and migrations.

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