SAP is critical part of the enterprise IT landscape and transformation of the SAP application is integral to accelerate their digital transformation. Enterprises are seeking to maximize their existing investments and rationalize costs by migrating business-critical SAP applications and workloads to a public cloud to get benefits of cloud-driven scalability and agility, which helps them become more responsive to business and client needs.
Leading cloud service providers (CSPs) not only address the maturity demanded by advanced SAP applications, but also offer a suite of services that enhance operations via superior reliability, security and governance. For instance, Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud provides 250+ discrete and integrated services for SAP systems. Since 2008, 5,000+ enterprises have hosted SAP installations, including SAP HANA on AWS Cloud.
A smooth migration of SAP services to the AWS Cloud demands rigorous planning and analysis as well as significant effort. Project teams should align the assessment, validation, implementation, and optimization phases with system-specific considerations to migrate SAP workloads with ease, speed and confidence.
As a AWS Premier Consulting Partner and a global strategic partner of SAP, Infosys has rich experience in enterprise-scale cloud migration. We have distilled best practices to chart a 5-step AWS Cloud migration roadmap for SAP systems. In this blog, we share the journey of how a manufacturing company in Europe achieved a seamless migration within 16 months.
Step 1: Create a business-specific plan
Since on-premises computing systems are characterized by complex technology stacks, an intimate understanding of underlying technologies, tools and services is imperative for a head start. On-premises services should be mapped with their cloud equivalent along with associated applications. A migration plan should:
- Assess dependencies on core services such as Domain Name System (DNS), email systems, and Active Directory
- Consider multiple deployment options based on requirements, such as system availability
- Split systems into manageable waves and clusters
- Include end-to-end testing across all the waves
- Align cutover window with a lean usage period
Our team developed a 4-wave migration plan for the European manufacturer, spanning data gathering and detailed analysis to systems deployment. The plan aligned the solution design with High Availability / Disaster Recovery (HA / DR) requirements of mission-critical systems in the initiation phase to drive a smooth migration.
Step 2: Prepare a secure landing zone
Typically, non-functional requirements — such as systems security, data encryption, access control, auditing, and logging — are well defined in on-premises workloads. To address these requirements in cloud services, our recommended migration framework should incorporate:
- Access control, preferably RBAC using IAM, which is integrated with Active Directory
- Data encryption for server disks and storage (EBS, S3 and EFS)
- Separate accounts for storing logs, shared components (firewalls), connectivity, and networking
- Dedicated connectivity routed via a highly available and configurable transit gateway
- Well-defined code for creating new accounts and services with repeatable configuration, preferably using CI/CD tools, such as Jenkins or AWS Native CICD tools
- On-premises core service integration for antivirus management, vulnerability assessment, log analytics, and SIEM toolsets
Prior to migration, our team configured AWS CloudWatch, AWS Config and AWS GuardDuty for monitoring and threat detection, and integrated them with a ticketing system. In addition, we integrated AWS Identity and Access Management with on-premises Active Directory to address organizational security and compliance mandates. The secure landing zone enabled stakeholders from security, business and operations groups to envision the multi-account cloud deployment.
Step 3: Validate the strategy
A proof of concept (PoC) helps identify focus areas, address stakeholder concerns, and estimate cutover timelines. It also validates critical components of the migration strategy, including:
- Viability of the cloud platform and migration plan
- Platform security, logs, access control, and integrations
- System sizing and application performance on the cloud
- Backup, recovery and systems failover (HA / DR)
Our SAP Solution Manager-based PoC for technical systems inspired confidence and provided inputs to fine-tune wave plans for other systems (BW, ECC, SRM, and CRM). The PoC was also used to test and sign-off multiple parameters across business applications.
Step 4: Migrate systems
Grouping of similar systems accelerates migration. For instance, systems using SAP HANA databases or with similar business criticality, or those from a specific geography or business unit, can be grouped together as part of Step 1. A robust cloud migration should:
- Ensure > 99.95% systems availability
- Minimize downtime to 24-48 hours during cutover
- Integrate on-cloud and on-premises SAP systems
- Adopt proven AWS data transfer tools like AWS DataSync and services to meet cutover timelines
Our team migrated 20+ SAP and related systems in eight months. We leveraged the AWS DataSync service and SAP HANA backup capabilities for extremely fast data transfer and reliable performance.
Step 5: Optimize operations
Automation-driven optimization boosts resilience and security, while ensuring consistent operations. The post-migration plan should:
- Incorporate a maintenance calendar for patching, backup and recovery testing
- Define cost optimization KPIs based on capacity utilization analysis
- Integrate ITSM tools for automated ticketing and SLA management
- Fine-tune system performance considering issues in the hyper-care phase
- Compile runbooks and infrastructure code
Visibility into capacity utilization enabled right-sizing during each phase of the migration, which delivered 20% cost savings. Further, automated incident management and prompt issue resolution enhanced system performance at the manufacturing unit.
Migration of SAP systems to AWS Cloud is effective when the transition strategy is backed by insights. A cloud migration need not be complex or littered with cloud services acronyms to be effective. In our experience, as along the key considerations for high availability, data transfer, and robust platform setup are taken care of, every SAP systems migration to cloud with rehost/re-platform would be seamless and can be completed with confidence. A robust migration roadmap ensures high availability, resilience, security, and performance of business-critical systems on the cloud, within months.