Mission and business critical can mean different things to different organisations, operating in various verticals, however here I am referring to an enterprise’s ‘core system’ that they effectively rely on. I consider business critical to mean when such a core system is not available that there would be a revenue impact, or a reputation loss, and it could affect many of their customers or cause a significant operational downtime.

We know that most organisations already use cloud as part of their business. However, if you look at the type of workloads that have already moved to the cloud, for many organisations this started with desktop type workloads, then general purpose type workloads, and only now are most organisations considering how they move their ‘mission’ or ‘business-critical’ workloads to cloud.

Microsoft-commissioned research from Forrester – which was published in March 2020 and interviewed over 400 IT decision makers at organisations already using public cloud – found that 70% of these companies are still yet to move their mission-critical systems to loud. The majority of these companies will be comfortable to move their SAP to Azure when the time is right, however a significant proportion may choose instead to move their critical workloads to other cloud vendors and also consider including the option of private cloud to host their core systems.

Moving your critical workloads to Cloud

If you look at the analyst predictions, public cloud spending is expected to double over the next five years, however private cloud is forecast to quadruple over the same period. For many organisations, private cloud delivers all the benefits of public cloud but arguably can also provide them with improved data security and privacy protection.

All types of cloud can provide most of the main benefits desired by enterprises. These include scalability and performance, business continuity and disaster recovery, and cost-effectiveness, which would also be essential when considering moving their business-critical applications. The top benefit requirements highlighted from the respondents in this Forrester research were:

  1. improved security and compliance
  2. improved performance/latency of mission critical system
  3. improved agility for modernising existing systems and developing new ones.

Of course – being the number one priority – security is an important area of focus for Microsoft, who claim to invest over a billion dollars a year just on security, employing over 3,500 people.

SAP is traditionally run on-premises or at customer co-location data centres. However, Microsoft Azure provides an impressive SAP compliant offering with over 30 SAP certified IaaS services in 34 regions worldwide – offering virtual machines as well as SAP TDI certified bare-metal appliances.

Technically Azure’s SAP offering is also very impressive, supporting the biggest compute options. They can support very large VMs that can have up to 12 TB of RAM as well as offering high performance HANA database storage [Azure Ultra SSD] that delivers impressively high IOPS and ultra-low latency.

Although if you want to take advantage of some specific advanced features – like Intel Optane™ DC persistent memory, now supported by the SAP version of the SUSE Operating systems – or you have a particular bespoke technical requirement you want to implement, you may need to choose a private cloud solution to take advantage of these benefits with your business-critical applications.

There are already dozens of companies that have chosen to move their SAP to Azure in many verticals including retail, chemicals, manufacturing, mining, oil & gas, energy and pharmaceutical services. Azure claims to be the public cloud of choice for hosting SAP through their project Embrace programme which develops SAP orientated VMs and profiles. SAP and Microsoft also work closely together on specific security details, like Active Directory integration that can allow single sign on (SSO) and identity access control in order to enhance the user experience.

Moving to the cloud, as many organisations have already found, is a big step and one that needs careful planning, migration and validating to make sure you get the best performing and most cost-effective solution. When it comes to moving mission and business critical workloads like SAP to the cloud, the stakes just got a lot higher.

Learn more about Opal Wave’s private and public cloud SAP Platform services. PaaS is ideal for users that want to manage their own SAP Apps without the costs and hassles of running the SAP NetWeaver or HANA BASIS middleware.