Architect SAP on Azure
This chapter will walk you through the steps required to plan your SAP on Azure architecture. As the title suggests, the focus is on the what and the why, how you architect SAP in Azure, not the how of building it, which is in the following chapter. Depending on where you are on your journey to Azure may influence which sections you need to read. We'll begin from the initial planning stage – landscape planning, where we design the structure of basic cloud artifacts. We'll call it the landing zone. It's a set of Azure resources that allows your company to build solutions in the cloud. It includes virtual networks and connections to your on-premises data centers but also the hierarchy of resources for effective management and simplified billing.
If SAP is the first or only workload in Azure, then this project will need to consider all aspects of governance, security, network design, cost management, monitoring, and so on. If your organization is already running other workloads in Azure, then most if not all this work will already have been completed, and SAP will become just another workload in Azure conforming to the standards already agreed. That said, as always SAP is slightly different to many other workloads, and we will cover some of those difference as the chapter progresses.
Most organizations will have teams of people in IT responsible for each of these areas, and it will be for those teams to make many of the decisions. If SAP is the first workload, then you will need to work with all the relevant teams to create your initial migration landing zone, what Microsoft used to call the Azure enterprise scaffold.
If your landing zone is already in place, then you may want to...
SAP NetWeaver-based systems
In this section, we will look in more detail at specifics relating to architecting SAP NetWeaver-based systems that run on a non-HANA database, generally now referred to by SAP as AnyDB. These SAP applications use one of the SAP-supported DBMS: IBM Db2, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle Database, SAP ASE, or SAP MaxDB. With the exception of the details of how each DBMS handles high availability and disaster recovery, all other aspects of the architecture are similar.
The SAP Note 1928533 - SAP Applications on Azure: Supported Products and Azure VM types lists the SAP software versions supported to run in Azure. You should always check the latest version of this SAP note to get the most up-to-date information, as it changes regularly....
SAP released its new SAP HANA in-memory database in 2010. It was initially supported for use with SAP BW as an additional DBMS alongside the existing supported AnyDB, and over the years support has been extended to most SAP Business Suite applications. In 2015 SAP announced its next generation ERP system called SAP S/4HANA, which only supports the SAP HANA database as the data storage and processing layer, and for which some of the code has been reimplemented to take maximum benefit from SAP HANA's in-memory capabilities. To ensure the best performance, SAP works with hyperscalers to provide certified reference architectures that should be adjusted and implemented by customers. In the next section you'll understand the best practices to deploy SAP HANA on Azure.
SAP Data Hub
With the massive grow in the amount of data that is now being processed and stored, data management is a common and difficult issue. Multiple systems in your IT landscape work in isolation and there are no data governance processes established. If the source information is changed, there is no single place that can answer two basic questions – who changed it and why? In large organizations, the structure of the data is an additional challenge. It is quite likely that you have multiple data marts, or even multiple data lakes, and you are probably also using multiple different analytics and visualization software. Each solution is managed by a different team that uses different toolsets, and getting a holistic view of your data is a big challenge, if not impossible.
The SAP Data Hub, which is one of the newer SAP products, tries to address these issues and provides a common platform for data governance and data orchestration. It implements a data catalogue...
SAP Hybris commerce
SAP Hybris is now the umbrella name for a number of software solutions, and we don't intend to discuss them all here; our focus is on the SAP Hybris Commerce Platform, which is a leading e-commerce solution. After the acquisition of Hybris in 2013, SAP decided to discontinue their own WebChannel platform and focus on the Hybris Commerce Suite, which is currently known as SAP Commerce. It is an omnichannel sales platform that provides a consistent user experience across every sales channel.
SAP Commerce is not based on the SAP NetWeaver stack, and not written in ABAP. The execution environment for the SAP Hybris Platform is a Java EE Servlet Container. The platform and all extensions to it run within the Spring environment, which allows easy wiring and configuration of each component. It provides generic logic such as security, caching, clustering, and persistence.
SAP Commerce is available in two editions:
In this chapter we have looked in detail at hot to architect SAP on Azure. We have considered both traditional SAP applications running on AnyDB (IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle Database, SAP ASE, and SAP MaxDB) as well as applications running on the SAP HANA database, which can be either the traditional SAP Business Suite applications or the newer SAP S/4HANA and BW/4HANA. We have covered all the key areas of sizing, high availability, disaster recovery, backup, and monitoring. We have also looked into two of the non-SAP NetWeaver-based applications, namely SAP Data Hub and SAP Hybris Commerce. These use totally different architectures to the core SAP applications, and in many ways are more cloud friendly.
Having now learned how to architect for SAP on Azure, in the next chapter, we will look at the options for actually migrating existing SAP workloads to Azure. The solution will depend on both the source platform on which you run SAP today as well as the...