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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert
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In a recent panel I moderated with  HPE and Equinix I was reminded of the saying “It’s about the journey, not the destination”.

When I was first learning about the cloud, and opportunities it presented for our customers, I understood it to be taking big systems and moving them (in big chunks) to the cloud. While elastic scale, paying for what you need, and moving from Capex to Opex were tempting, the idea of lifting and shifting everything was a bit too daunting for some to make the cloud-first journey.

We saw more variety in practice with many customers opting for hybrid. With SAP HANA, some customers decided to maintain their existing on-premises footprint, but set up new deployments in the cloud. Or certain workloads, like test and dev systems, or application extensions would sit in the cloud. SAP HANA has built in functionality like Smart Data Access & Integration to help these systems talk to each other, facilitating the hybrid approach.

Now we see more flexibility in what it means to be a cloud provider with solutions like HPE GreenLake, which sits in your data center (or a co-lo) but offers customers cloud benefits. It is a single tenant instance so you can count on full data privacy and achieving the performance required to run data rich SAP HANA instances. For many SAP customers this is the perfect choice for their mission-critical systems, including RISE with SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition, customer data center option. HPE GreenLake runs on Intel Xeon Scalable processors, the same processors used for on-prem/perpetual deployments of HPE, so you have have hardware continuity no matter where you deploy. You can also take advantage of Intel Optane Persistent Memory to improve scale up and shorten restart times for planned and unplanned outages.

I’ve often taken it for granted that customers choose where their IT systems live, but in the panel we explored how this wasn’t always the case. But some SaaS offerings (like Gmail and Concur) are only offered in the cloud. So, if you want to keep your mission-critical systems in your data center or as private cloud, are you doomed to slow connection times to the ancillary software you need to connect to?

Not at all! We were joined by Equinix, a global colocation leader. Since Equinix has over 10,000 companies inside a network of over 225+ data centers, you can connect to hyperscalers like Google Cloud, AWS and Azure.  You can host your SAP HANA instance (and the applications running on it, like SAP S/4HANA) in the same physical location as other SaaS applications. Equinix offers software-defined interconnectivity offerings to connect to other partners and providers in other Equinix data centers around the world.  This improves performance with low-latency private connections running over a purpose-built Layer 2 network. You essentially have a hybrid environment of private and public clouds in a single data center.

Here is an example that shows how this might look for a major US retailer.  This first image shows their legacy IT infrastructure with constrained, point-to-point connectivity, backhauling user traffic to a central on-premises data center.

Now, after running SAP on HPE GreenLake in multiple Equinix facilities, they’re shortening the distance latency-critical data must travel for things like customer credit card payments, or inventory updates.  They’ve moved from a centralized on-prem infrastructure to putting  their core infrastructure closer to their stores and offering them the ability to create an omnichannel environment with private interconnection to partners such as Visa and Mastercard.

As cloud becomes more pervasive, it is interesting to hear more about the models that our customers are leveraging to balance control, performance, and the load on their IT staff. You can learn more about this latest cloud (as an operating model not a destination) in our panel or by checking out this solution brief. And I’d love to hear from you in the comments on what cloud means to you!