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Former Member
On-premises installs for SAP have been the go-to infrastructure since the inception of the system. However, as time goes by, we are starting to see more and more companies switch over to a cloud-based SAP system. The AWS cloud provides a lot of functionality in its basic services that SAP can employ to its benefit. These services range from a flexible file storage system to a private cloud system and logging that makes a note of all activity within the cloud, which can then be perused at a client's leisure. In order to start architecting within the AWS cloud, your mindset towards how we think about SAP systems must change drastically.

Automatic Resizing Without Hardware Dependencies

An on-premises install has the benefit of being a safe, secure site that a company can store all its data, but when building an SAP system, things like storage size and maximum available resources need to be determined beforehand, since these would affect acquisition costs. For an AWS server, these details are less significant since AWS is able to dynamically resize in order to support any type of SAP interaction. The major benefit comes from the knowledge that the client only needs to pay for the resources used. Resizing of the installation’s resource allocation can be done through the EC2 console with a few clicks of a mouse. AWS also supports data striping through RAID 0 mode, and stores data in an availability zone, which serves as added insurance against data loss.

Efficient System Administration

While developing applications on AWS it isn't a necessity that certain systems remain running. In order to preserve the amount of data being used by the system (and thereby controlling costs), a developer may choose to shut down non-essential services such as demo, sandbox and training systems.

Scripting and Automatic Server Processes

AWS has support for a number of different methods of scripting things like creation of SAP servers and taking snapshots of the currently mounted drives in order to restore them as a backup at a later date. There is also added support for virtualization with Amazon Machine Instances which can be used to create completely operation copies of SAP installs as well as AWS CloudFormation to create quick and easy SAP HANA deployments directly to the cloud.

Disaster Recovery Systems and System Availability

On-premises installations utilize a single data center which controls data flow to all different departments that need access to that data. In the event of a disaster, only the last version of the database that was saved offline can be restored. AWS by comparison uses a system that enables high availability of the database through multiple cross-connected, low-latency systems arranged by zones. The result is easy access to data when necessary as well as a contingency plan in case of on-site disaster. The data remains available even after the disaster allowing the company to resume operations much quicker.

Utilizing SAP on AWS

AWS offers a lot of coverage for SAP applications, even incorporating transparency and accountability through liberal application of the CloudTrail and CloudWatch modules. Security systems controlled by Amazon's IAM system allow for selective access to different data sets in keeping with how SAP views user access authorization, i.e. through roles. Amazon's S3 system allows for direct backup of database information on its servers, allowing for contingency in case of data corruption. AWS even includes handy calculating tools to determine how much a company would have to pay in order to use different volumes of AWS infrastructure.

AWS and SAP Cloud Development

Companies have already started to see benefits when adopting cloud processing when it comes to their SAP databases. However, AWS takes it a step further, allowing for a complete suite of cloud modules to be loaded and run alongside SAP, providing flexible and affordable alternatives to costly on-premises upgrades. If anything, AWS is the obvious choice for companies that need to replace their on-premises SAP server. While distinctly different from a typical SAP installation, with a little tinkering a company can easily have access to the power and security that comes with employing an AWS Cloud system to run their SAP installation on.
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