Cloud Technology

5 Questions You Need to Ask Before You Migrate SAP to Microsoft Azure

Moving your SAP systems to the public cloud can increase your agility while reducing your costs. Here’s why global enterprises trust Microsoft Azure with their most valuable SAP data.

More enterprises are migrating their data to the public cloud.

According to the latest RightScale State of the Cloud Report, 66 percent of enterprises will increase their public cloud spend by at least 20 percent this year.

The public cloud offers benefits that you can’t achieve with traditional IT services. For example, you can rent compute, network, and storage resources on an as-needed basis without making a long-term financial investment. This allows you to scale your services in near-real time so that you can meet business demands and gain a competitive edge.

Despite these advantages, many enterprises are hesitant to move their SAP systems to the public cloud. In particular, they are reluctant to migrate their mission-critical production systems.

Some CIOs think that SAP systems aren’t “cloud-ready” and won’t transition to the new environment smoothly. They also voice concerns that the public cloud isn’t reliable or secure.

However, both SAP and the public cloud have come a long way in addressing these concerns.

During the past few years, SAP has made significant investments in the cloud. Its core product, SAP S/4 HANA, runs in the cloud. SAP has also acquired cloud solutions, such as Ariba and Success Factors. In fact, you can deploy almost all of SAP’s new products in the cloud.

Meanwhile, public cloud providers are making continuous improvements to their offerings in terms of size, capacity, scalability, reliability, resilience, and security. Many public cloud providers now offer large enough compute instances to accommodate even the most demanding SAP systems.

Should You Move Your SAP Systems to Microsoft Azure?

Microsoft Azure is the fastest-growing public cloud. According to the State of the Cloud Report, 45 percent of enterprises are running Azure apps – up from the 34 percent of enterprises that used these apps last year. Azure also recently surpassed Amazon Web Services (AWS) in terms of revenue, which makes Microsoft the “world’s leading enterprise cloud provider” according to an article on

With Microsoft’s rapid growth, it’s not surprising that global brands are migrating their SAP systems to Azure. The platform has the capacity to support mission-critical SAP workloads while delivering high levels of security and performance. Here are some reasons why Azure is uniquely suited to SAP:

  • Azure has a high capacity for SAP compute. It offers 24TB for online transaction processing (OLTP) to support S/4 HANA. It also offers 60TB for online analytical processing (OLAP).
  • Using Azure will modernize your IT environment. Azure runs the latest hardware, virtualization software, and operating systems. It will support the newest version of your SAP databases.
  • Azure offers premium storage for running HANA and other databases. You can build your S/4 HANA system for what you need today and quickly scale on Azure as you grow.

5 Questions to Ask Before You Migrate SAP to Microsoft Azure

Since your SAP systems hold your most sensitive data, you must take extra care when planning your cloud migration strategy. A comprehensive strategy will help you minimize your risks and avoid unplanned downtime during your migration.

Here are five questions to ask before you begin your migration:

1. What are your cloud goals?

Although you are migrating your SAP systems to the cloud, you should step back and consider your overall cloud strategy. What results do you want to achieve with the cloud? How will migrating your SAP systems to the cloud help you achieve these goals?

Also think about your non-SAP environment. For example, your migration may impact any on-premises systems that connect to SAP. To ensure that everything works seamlessly, you may need to move these systems to the cloud at the same time.

Also understand that you can’t just “lift and shift” applications to the cloud to achieve cost savings. If you try to run your Azure environment the same way you run your legacy environment, you will increase your costs and complexity.

2. Which SAP systems should you move to Azure first?

SAP systems run mission-critical areas of your business. If they crash during a migration, your ability to operate can come to a standstill. Reduce your risks by moving the systems that have the least impact on your users to Azure first. For example, you can start by moving your planning applications and development/test systems to Azure. Then, you can migrate your business-critical applications.

As you transfer your less critical systems to Azure, you can create migration best practices. Then, you will have the proper systems and processes in place before you touch your production systems and vital workloads.

Microsoft also offers this advice, “as you gain experience with running, hosting, and administering SAP systems in Azure, apply what you’ve learned to the next layer of systems up the stack.”

3. Which cloud operating model is right for you?

The cloud gives you a lot of flexibility in how you operate your SAP systems. Before you migrate anything to Azure, get clear on what you want to manage in-house and what you want to outsource.

Do you have the right skill sets and certifications to manage SAP in the public cloud? Or do you want to work with a partner who can manage your SAP systems in Azure? If so, what will they manage?

A managed hosting partner can handle your SAP migration and management – freeing your internal team to focus on innovation. Look for a partner who offers the right combination of technology and people. This will help you ensure a smooth migration – without sacrificing your security or availability.

Another emerging trend is IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS). In this model, your hosting partner manages everything from your infrastructure to applications. The public cloud is well suited for an ITaaS model. Look for a hosting partner who can manage both your SAP systems and support ITaaS, as this will allow you to achieve greater value from the cloud.

4. What is your risk profile?

Before your migration, decide how much risk you can accept. How will you manage your risks when you move your mission-critical SAP data to Azure? How will your risk profile and ability to meet your SLAs change after the migration? For example, you might have more high availability disaster recovery options, such as redundant hardware, than you had with your on-premises SAP implementation.

5. Do you have the proper security tools?

Any security measures that you take on-premises must also be applied in the cloud. Which tools do you currently use on-premises? Are they powerful enough to protect you in the cloud? If not, you might need to put new security measures in place to keep your SAP data secure in the public cloud.

A common mistake that enterprises make is failing to design and implement security on their cloud resources, such as their network and tenant. Many IT teams are aware of their cloud security risks but don’t have the time or resources to take these steps.

Outsourcing your security to a managed services partner can give you a full circle of protection around all of your SAP infrastructure and applications.

A Partner Can Help You with Your Migration

SAP is often the largest IT system within an enterprise. However, SAP and the cloud is still in its infancy, and it’s hard to find information on how to migrate SAP to Azure. This can make it challenging to perform a migration using your limited, in-house resources.

Working with a partner who has close relationships with both SAP and Microsoft can ensure that you put best practices in place when you move mission-critical systems to the cloud. The right managed cloud partner can make your deployment seamless, so you achieve immediate value from your Azure investment.

Download your free guide on how to move SAP to Microsoft Azure.

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