SAP in the cloud: Moving up from IaaS to PaaS

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David Weck has recently posted a very interesting blog article “What’s your favorite flavor? Using IaaS to host SAP in the cloud,” where he compares hosting SAP on cloud to buying ice cream. He discusses the deployment option of SAP on infrastructure as a service (IaaS), which is your basic plain ice cream.

But once your infrastructure is taken care of, you can also start thinking about the next level: managing the SAP applications on the cloud. We are now at the platform as a service (PaaS) level.

One choice would be to stop at the IaaS level and keep all the application management effort in house. That gives total freedom in terms of the application types and versions you can run, and it may be particularly appealing for running some of the more recent products such as the SAP Mobile Platform or Afaria. Running IaaS also gives you the freedom to combine SAP with products from other vendors. Typical combinations of SAP would be with tax calculation products, data archiving products or automated job schedulers.

IBM Cloud Managed Services for SAP Applications is the alternative that takes to you to the next level: full management services for the SAP applications hosted on Cloud Managed Services. The services are delivered with 24×7 coverage and governed by some of the industry’s most strict service level agreements (SLAs). All the services are requested and monitored by the customer from a web portal. Creating a new SAP system instance, ordering a system refresh or upgrading the SAP kernel are examples of actions that can be requested from Cloud Managed Services for SAP Applications. Once a request is triggered it follows a strict change management process from the planning phase until the execution and post-test phase. The customer will be notified on completion.

SAP in the cloud PaaS

The services available at the PaaS level can be split into three sublayers.

The database management services:

  • Monitoring and administration of the database
  • Database management software (DBMS) patch management
  • Performance analysis and tuning activities to meet the SLAs

The SAP application core services:

  • Monitoring of SAP servers, systems and instances
  • Configuration management for SAP system or parameters
  • SAP support package stacks; client copies or transports
  • SAP database (DB) refresh
  • Performance analysis and tuning activities to help meet SLAs

Additional and optional services:

  • SAP enhancement package installation and version upgrades
  • SAP manual transport management
  • SAP user administration
  • SAP homogenous and heterogeneous system migrations
  • Disaster recovery
  • High availability

So how do you prefer your ice cream?

It would very interesting to hear comments from customers who are faced with the multiple deployment options of SAP on cloud. Would you stop at IaaS and keep the basic services in house? Would you completely outsource all services? Would you choose something in between?

I can be reached @Sabin_Popa on Twitter.

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