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S/4HANA signals an approaching wave of technology for SAP customers. The announcement regarding the maintenance renewal for SAP ERP until 2025 was a clear indication from SAP that this will be the final renewal. The clock is ticking. Companies are well advised to address issues of the data center readiness of the new SAP Business Suite flagship in good time.

Software and Users Closely Networked

“SAP S/4HANA is about uniting software and people to build businesses that run real-time, networked and simple,” emphasized Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP, at the market launch of the Business Suite, which is based on the in-memory platform. This accelerates the development of new business models as well as access to the Internet of Things and big data. At the same time, users benefit from a simplified data model and from the SAP Fiori user interface, which also allows S/4HANA to be used on mobile devices. Furthermore, customers can choose from several operating concepts: cloud, on-premise, or hybrid.

Five Subject Areas

Even though previous SAP HANA-based products like SAP Business Warehouse and SAP Business Suite on HANA have placed special (IT infrastructure) requirements on operational reliability, S/4HANA focuses even more on data center readiness. This entails five subject areas and a short checklist to look at:

  1. 1. Backup and recovery: With third-party back-up tools, a data and log back-up can be used and storage snapshots created, both with the option of point-in-time recovery.
  2. 2. High availability: Standby hardware and software systems using storage, a standby database, or a cluster solution are effective instruments.
  3. 3. Disaster recovery: The same applies to disaster recovery, whereby the focus is on a failover switch to another available SAP HANA instance that can also be outside the data center.
  4. 4. Design and setup: Here, users have the option of setting up multi-tenant containers, implementing a NetWeaver central instance on an SAP HANA server, operating SAP HANA virtually, or via TDI (tailored data center integration) storage systems as required. A new feature is dynamic tiering, which defines data as hot, warm, or cold for use in in-memory database processing. 
  5. 5. Security and auditing: A comprehensive security framework is provided for this purpose in addition to IDM and GRC integration, as well as the inclusion of third-party solutions via interfaces.

Further Linux Expansion  

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications provides effective solutions for the aforementioned topics, such as SUSE High Availability Extensions, automatic software setup for SAP Application Server Base, kGraft (live kernel patching), and the SAP HANA Security Hardening best practices guide.

One thing is already certain: Because S/4HANA is only available on the Linux operating system platform, its expansion is sure to increase in the SAP environment.