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Best Practices for Migrating SAP HANA to a Cloud Environment

By Sean Donaldson, CTO, Secure-24

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Sean Donaldson, CTO, Secure-24

SAP® HANA, a world-class in-memory computing platform, has revolutionized business operations by streamlining transactions, analytics and data processing on a single in-memory database, allowing delivery of information at unprecedented speeds and providing real-time insight into business operations.

“With data tiering customers determine critical “hot” data that must be in memory other “cold” data can be stored on an extended data storage host.”

Large enterprises have implemented SAP HANA to dramatically improve transaction times and provide real-time data analytics functions. When SAP introduced HANA into the marketplace, a physical appliance was required. Realizing the technical, and financial, limitations of this approach, SAP expanded the supported platforms to include virtualized cloud environments, which combine the power of SAP HANA and the solutions powered by it with the flexibility of a cloud platform. Deploying SAP HANA in a virtualized cloud environment is an attractive and cost-effective option, whether it’s Public, Private, Hybrid or a Virtualized Cloud Infrastructure.

Roadmap to a Successful Migration

Executing a migration to HANA requires detailed upfront planning and a thorough understanding of the application and data requirements. Businesses must determine when and how they will migrate, and what they will insource and outsource. Each company’s ability to successfully transition depends heavily on many variables, including internal IT resources and capabilities.

A key migration consideration understands that HANA capabilities are constantly and rapidly advancing. One example is Dynamic Data Tiering, recently released for SAP HANA environments. With data tiering, customers determine critical “hot” data that must be in memory other “cold” data can be stored on an extended data storage host. This significantly reduces the size of the HANA environment which enables customers to deploy a smaller instance at project onset and scale up as needed without needing to purchase costly appliances. Assessing the data tiering model during the design and planning phases can provide cost and operational efficiencies over the life of the project.

Successful migration to a virtualized HANA environment also requires an understanding of the disaster recovery requirements and features in a cloud-based model. With the appliance or physical server model, only the data was backed up to a disaster recovery site. With a virtualized approach, the entire virtual machine is replicated not just data. Moreover, this disaster recovery strategy is operating across the enterprise’s virtualized infrastructure and offers the automated failover and failback inherent with a virtualized environment. These efficiencies must be understood and addressed to ensure a streamlined, cohesive landscape.

Virtualization of SAP HANA will continue to gain traction as VMware® and SAP increase the memory footprint allowed for virtualization and scale out deployments in a virtualized environment become more commonplace. Businesses can virtualize production SAP HANA landscapes to speed adoption and achieve faster time-to-value through rapid deployment, better service levels and lower TCO.

When migrating SAP HANA to the cloud, proven best practices also include: 

• Evaluating IT and business needs and developing a migration plan for applications, workload or full data center transformations.  
• Understanding cloud options: Public, Private, Hybrid or Virtualized Cloud Infrastructure
• Considering who will maintain and manage SAP HANA environments: your IT team or a Managed Cloud Services provider.
• Considering a certified by SAP Cloud Hosting and Cloud Services partner. These teams have the trusted expertise to save you time so you can do what you do best.

Value and Benefits of a Cloud Infrastructure

• Speed and Agility. Experience the entire SAP landscape running 7x faster.
• Faster Time-to-Production. Eliminate the delays of purchasing and installing on-premise hardware.
• Predictable Costs. Transform large capital expenditures into a single monthly operational expense. 
• Lower Total Cost of Ownership. Lower costs by simplifying complex and expensive IT architectures hardware cost avoidance.

Bottom line: through a phased approach, SAP HANA users must define and achieve a cloud transition roadmap to realize reduced time to value, save money, mitigate risks, and overcome valuable internal resource constraints.

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