SAP S/4 HANA Conversion and Migration to AWS Cloud without the SUM DMO “System Move” Option

4 min read

This blog post aims to address the challenges faced by customers running legacy SAP ECC systems who are transforming to S/4 HANA on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The classical migration approach (SUM DMO “System Move” option) is often complex and requires longer or multiple downtime windows.

The IBM HANA Migration Centre (HMC) is a next-generation migration factory designed to further automate and accelerate the journey to an intelligent enterprise and give clients more predictability on their path to SAP S/4HANA.

HMC works with customers running legacy SAP ERP applications to reduce project and prep timelines, maintenance team effort and system downtime:

  • 50% automation for code remediation – reducing project timelines
  • 15% downtime reduction through the usage of reconciliation tools
  • 20% reduction of preparatory work through tools in finance and master data
  • 25% reduction of time in managing fixes and code changes in a dual maintenance mode — reducing effort for the maintenance team

Utilizing IBM HMC’s experience and tooling an S/4 HANA conversion and migration to AWS can be completed in a single step.

IBM is an AWS Premier Consulting Partner with 13 AWS Competencies (including the AWS SAP Competency), 16 AWS service validations and over 10,000 certified AWS practitioners. IBM participates in AWS Partner programs like the AWS Migration Acceleration Program (MAP), which offsets the migration costs of cloud adoption for customers and accelerates migration with additional AWS resources.

Our customers

Customers face several challenges when modernizing SAP systems, including years and years of legacy data, old database versions, performance issues and the cost of running systems on-premises. These factors contribute to lengthy downtime windows when transforming to S/4 HANA.

HMC has developed tooling and processes to help address these challenges, coupled with the standard SAP migration approaches.

The classical migration approach

There are various Migration Scenarios when migrating from any database to HANA on AWS. One of the most common approaches used for S/4 HANA conversion and migration scenarios is using SAP SUM DMO with System Move:

Figure 1: Classical S/4 HANA conversion using SUM DMO with the “System Move” option.

Figure 1: Classical S/4 HANA conversion using SUM DMO with the “System Move” option.

  • Prepare the target AWS infrastructure. For a more guided deployment option, the AWS Launch Wizard can deploy a target S/4 HANA environment in less than two hours.
  • Set up the connectivity between the customer’s on-premises systems to AWS. This can be done via AWS Site-to-Site VPN or AWS Direct Connect.
  • Start the SAP SUM Tool on the on-premises SAP ECC primary application server.
  • Before the downtime window, transfer all the required directories — including the SUM folder — to the target application server in AWS.
  • Keep running the synchronization between on-premises and AWS.
  • Start SUM downtime on the target application server on AWS.

The classical migration approach needs meticulous planning, including copying and synchronizing files between source and target systems. Additionally, the speed and performance of the migration can be significantly impacted by network connectivity and database size.

The solution

IBM HMC team utilized AWS services and SAP’s SUM Tool to execute an innovative approach to eliminating the above complexities involved with the classical migration approach:

Figure 2: S/4 HANA Conversion using DMO without the “System Move” option.

Figure 2: S/4 HANA Conversion using DMO without the “System Move” option.

  • Set up a VPN connection between on-premises systems to AWS.
  • Prepare the target AWS infrastructure. For a more guided deployment option, the AWS Launch Wizard can deploy a target S/4 HANA environment in less than two hours.
  • Install an additional application server for the source SAP ECC system on AWS.
  • Execute the SAP SUM Tool with standard SUM DMO option on an additional application server running in AWS.

The key difference here is the elimination of the System Move aspect of the approach, thereby reducing overall complexity. This was developed based on SAP Blogs and is supported by SAP for AWS.

The following are some benefits of this approach:

  • There is no need to export the source database to the file system.
  • You can run the conversion on larger AWS EC2 instances for a quicker transformation. Once the transformation is complete you can downsize to the correct production sized instance.
  • You can utilize AWS services like the AWS Launch Wizard to minimize the time taken to build out a target system on AWS.
  • The conversion and migration can be completed using AWS Site-to-Site VPN and AWS Direct Connect.
  • Total technical downtime is further reduced using downtime optimization techniques like Downtime Optimized DMO, Data Archiving, and Downtime Optimized Conversion.
  • You can reduce business downtime and complexity by utilizing the above steps.


The IBM HMC team successfully converted an ECC6 Ehp8 system running on the SAP ASE database on-premises to the target S/4 HANA system running on AWS without using the SUM DMO “System Move” option.

Using this approach, we found a reduced level of complexity, thereby reducing the time taken to complete the migration and transformation procedure. Since manual intervention required for DMO File Transfer is eliminated, there is no need to run the rsync utility or manually copy files. This simplification of the process minimises the need for continuous monitoring and the potential for human error.

We would recommend this approach for our customers going forward depending on their requirements.

IBM has over 50 years of experience in the industry, where no other SAP partner has more Global Partner Program Certifications. IBM has also completed over 6,500 SAP projects including hundreds of SAP S/4HANA implementations.

Please contact the IBM HANA Migration Centre team at to find out how IBM and AWS can support the migration and modernisation of your SAP estate.

As a follow-up to this blog post, we are currently drafting a SUM DMO without System Move whitepaper, so keep your eyes peeled.

Many thanks to the following additional contributors for their help in this blog post:

  • Arvind Deshpande, Sr. Managing Consultant - HANA Migration Centre
  • Aniruddha Deshpande, Sr. Managing Consultant - HANA Migration Centre
  • Naeem Asghar, AWS Sr. Partner Solution Architect
  • Vamsi Yanamadala, AWS Sr. Partner Solution Architect
  • Sachidananda Sahoo, AWS Sr. Partner Solution Architect

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