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There had been instances where many of our customers and partners find it difficult to understand several deployment options offered by SAP and even more confusing is the buzz words like SAP Cloud, Public Cloud, Private Cloud, On-Premise, Enterprise Cloud, Cloud Platform, Cloud Products and so on..  ? I would like to give clear possible perception here with.

Traditionally SAP has been offering its products to with client server 3 tier architecture wherein customer installs the same in high-end servers and maintains in his premise. On-premise HANA is called as HANA Appliance.

SAP offers S/4HANA in two editions: On-Premise and Cloud Edition.

On-Premise: The on-premise edition is nothing but the traditional 3 tier client server architecture. It has been the only deployment option till the evolution of cloud computing. At a broad level below are the few Con's for On-Premise edition:

1. The initial investment on Infrastructure hits the small and medium scale organizations.
2. Overhead cost likes setting up Data Centers, additional cost for backup servers, UPS etc.
3. Ownership cost and maintenance cost, a team for regular monitoring and maintaining is required.
4. Disaster recovery / Business continuity plans have to be considered.
5. Upgrading both software and hardware as and when SAP releases the new versions to be in pace with technology.

The only advantage that customer would get by overcoming the above challenges is a better control over the customization required for their business process.

HANA Enterprise Cloud (IaaS): 

This is where exactly HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC) Edition comes as a savior. It was not until evolution of cloud computing, SAP could offer cloud solutions to simplify the customer's initial investment and ongoing maintenance cost. SAP offers secure, scalable, private cloud offering thru HEC. It includes a SAP HANA software license, underlying cloud infrastructure, and SAP-managed services.  This is also called Private Cloud, Managed Services.

Again a new term, huh? what is Managed Services? SAP manages services like HANA DB management like backup, upgrades, monitoring, restore. Infrastructure and Operating System management and monitoring, Dedicated technical support specialist, dedicated technical landscape owner & customer engagement manager.

SAP also offers its solutions to its cloud partners like AWS, Azure & Alibaba. In this deployment option, the customer would buy the license from SAP and hosts on the above-mentioned vendor's infrastructure. This is called as Public Cloud or Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

"S/4HANA Cloud Edition" means hosted by the third party like can be Amazon Web Services(AWS) or Microsoft Azure or SAP by itself. As on today, SAP is offering the below list of products with cloud editions ( referring SAP Note 1656099).

  • SAP Business Suite

  • SAP BusinessObjects


  • SAP Afaria

  • SAP Business All-in-One

  • SAP Mobile Platform

  • SAP NetWeaver

  • SAP Business One


  • SAP Hybris


  •  SAP Replication Server

  •  SAP IQ

  • SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions

SAP provides the same level of product support for SAP systems running on certified third party that it does for On-Premise Edition.

Advantages of enterprise cloud edition.
1. Pay for only what you use.
2. Rapid Deployment & select the capacity as and when you needed.
3. Cloud works with Economies of scale result in low cost.
4. The customer has got an option to choose the cloud vendors.

So, to summarize in a single statement, HEC is nothing but the S/4H hosted in Private cloud environment hosted by SAP cloud Infrastructure. You just have to access your systems with "Internet" instead of "Intranet". This is not SAP cloud solution, it's the on-premise edition hosted on a cloud platform.

HANA Cloud Platform / HEC (PaaS):   While HEC is IaaS, HEC is considered to be PaaS (Platform as a Service). Which means, a customer can perform their business operations only thru SAP provided Fiori Apps / can build their own Apps / Extend the Apps for their line of business.

HCP would not support traditional SAP GUI or transaction codes as it is a service platform. HCP is all together a new ball game, with HCP development environment, it opens up opportunities to integrate with third party Applications by consuming the API's from SAP API Hub.

What exactly consuming of 3rd party API's ?? SAP provides the API's in SAP Cloud Integration.Just to quote few examples:

SAP Hybris marketing cloud can connect with API's provided by twitter & facebook to understand the market trend and can help customers in campaigning their product.
A job posted in success factor can be listed in job portal automatically and the same can give you the search results back into success factors based on the skills.
SAP Hybris marketing edition can consume google API to create, read and analyze the performance of google Adwords campaigns.

These apps can be launched thru Laptop / Tablet / Mobile devices. HCP has a tight integration with other SAP core products like Concur, Success Factors, Ariba, C4C, Field Glass etc. SAP has created an ecosystem where partners/customers & developers can build Apps and Integrate with HCP.  Customers can choose from hundreds of apps available at SAP App Center. HCP can change the way organizations work, HCP brings the data and business processes together.

For e.g:  Customer can use predictive analytics for the new product launch sales for a given region from the response thru social media and youtube and can plan the production accordingly.

SAP Cloud Apps (SaaS):

SAP has not left any stone unturned in connecting every business in the world. In recent past SAP has acquired cloud companies like Ariba, Concur, Success Factors, C4C, Fieldglass etc to establish as market leader complemented by these surrounding systems.

Ariba: Ariba is an platform to bring a suppliers and buyers together right from sourcing till settlement.

Concur: is an organizational app to integrate the travel bookings, categorizing managing expenses

Successfactors: SuccessFactors helps organizations simplify HR processes, support talent development, and maximize employee engagement.

I am not getting into depth of our SaaS platform as its not my intend in this blog.I hope it is clear between all the deployment options.