The IT industry has been preaching the superiority of the cloud for years — if not decades, but many enterprise users have been reluctant to migrate their mission critical architecture. SAP ECC users may have years of experience running their landscapes onsite, and don’t quite trust the SAP HANA cloud with their mission-critical applications.
That caution is healthy — you shouldn’t migrate to a HANA managed cloud provider unless you’re absolutely sure they can nurture and safeguard your landscape like it were their own. But if you can find the right provider, there’s really no contest at this point. For all but the largest organizations, enterprise SAP cloud solutions are more agile, cost effective, stable and secure than on premises hosting.
SAP HANA Hosting: More than Cloud vs. On Premise
On premise vs. cloud may describe the main hosting debate, but there’s a lot more to hosting than where you put your data. Companies using on premise hosting are generally responsible for operating and maintaining their own data centers, but there are significant differences. Some handle everything in-house, from servicing hardware, to installing updates, to day-to-day administration of the network. However, most companies outsource at least some of the work that goes into hosting HANA and maintaining hardware.
The SAP HANA cloud also describes a range of service models. At the low end, companies may rent bare metal hosting or a public cloud platform, and handle everything else in-house. At the other end are enterprise cloud services, where the provider runs HANA, along with supporting services like SAP GRC, security, and disaster recovery. In the middle are Platform as a Service (PaaS) models like the SAP Cloud Platform that provide a versatile set of hosting, applications and development tools as a utility — either as a development environment to complement production, or as a complete solution.
SAP HANA Cloud vs. On Premise Solutions
The Economics of SAP HANA Cloud vs. On Premises Hosting
If you were a brand new company building a HANA landscape from scratch, the cost benefits of the HANA cloud would make your choice simple. Building and running your own data center would add a lot of cost and complexity — that could be easily avoided in the SAP HANA cloud — with few (if any) added benefits.
However, most HANA companies are established SAP users, moving from ECC to Business Suite or S/4HANA. They have complex legacy landscapes, existing hardware and software investments to harness, and a business to run. The cloud is still less costly overall for almost all users, saving about $150,000 (on average) over onsite hosting in the first three years (check out our SAP HANA Deployment Guide for a more detailed breakdown).
Yet, moving straight to the cloud might not be as cost-effective as migrating one piece at a time. Particularly for businesses with complex landscapes, a hybrid cloud bridging strategy is often the most economical option. By migrating a piece at a time, organizations can save money, minimize disruption, and maximize value from previous IT investments.
Core vs. Context and the SAP HANA Cloud
The core vs. context framework is crucial for IT outsourcing decisions, allowing companies to better focus on their key core functions — the things they do better than everyone else. They can avoid wasting money and resources developing a mature IT infrastructure by partnering with a company that already has it figured out. This is especially important for complex ERP solutions like HANA. SAP hosting and administration is core for SAP providers, but context for nearly everyone else.
In other words, you won’t gain a competitive advantage by running your own data centers or maintaining your own SAP Basis services. All you’ll do is distract your IT team from more competitive tasks, ensure you’re dependent on the one or two IT professionals who know your landscape, and increase administrative complexity. By moving to the SAP HANA cloud, you can free up internal resources to focus on the things that make your company great.
SAP HANA Cloud Security and Stability
One of the most common reasons for keeping SAP HANA solutions on premise is concern over its safety. This makes intuitive sense — who doesn’t want to keep their most valuable assets somewhere where they can keep an eye on them?
While HANA on premises might be comforting, your data is already accessible from the cloud, regardless of where it’s technically stored. When your team logs in remotely or your clients visit your site, your information is traveling across the open Internet. Having your SAP landscape onsite won’t stop a cyber criminal from intercepting sensitive financial data, or breaking into your network. In fact, with the right provider, SAP HANA cloud security will be much stronger than on premises.
SAP cloud solutions are designed and run with the needs of cloud security in mind. SAP HANA cloud hosting partners can leverage the economy of scale to provide a level of SAP and cyber security services that is impractical on premises. Network security practices like hardening and segmentation are major initiatives for a single-tenant landscape, but in an enterprise cloud, they’re routine. The same goes for monitoring and incident response — hiring security staff to watch your landscape around the clock is prohibitively expensive, but with many tenants sharing costs, it’s affordable in a managed cloud.
Your landscape is also more stable in the SAP HANA cloud for similar reasons. While most companies force IT teams to wear many hats, an SAP managed services provider can field a highly-qualified, full-time team. Patches and updates can be applied quickly and correctly, and there’s a tech standing by if anything goes wrong. As a Symmetry client, you’ll have a direct line to multiple SAP HANA technicians who know your landscape inside and out. If something goes wrong at 3:00 in the morning, we’ll be there to fix it before it leads to major performance degradation or an outage.
SAP Cloud Solutions Increase Flexibility
Being in the cloud makes your company more flexible and agile in a number of ways. Most obviously, there’s the scalability factor. With HANA on premise, a scale up requires a substantial investment in new hardware, and the time it takes to install it. But in the next generation cloud, you can economically host and scale both traditional workloads and hardware-dependent workloads like SAP HANA at will, and pay only for the compute you actually use.
The cloud also lets you adapt to new technologies, market trends or business strategies much more readily. If an on premise company changes their physical location, they’ll need to build or lease a new data center and potentially perform two SAP HANA migrations — first to a temporary hosting provider, and then to the rebuilt data center once the servers have been trucked over. Acquiring a new company is also a huge and costly logistical challenge, since you’re not just dealing with two different SAP landscapes, but two different sets of hardware.
In the SAP HANA cloud, moving you’re only dealing with software and data, so moving your office won’t even require a migration. Projects that do require it won’t have to wait on hardware projects, making change quicker, easier, and much less costly.
The SAP HANA Cloud Is the Right Solution
SAP HANA hosting is a core component of your IT strategy. Hosting your SAP landscape in the cloud will help you run a secure, stable, and flexible business, control costs, and focus on the things that make your company great.
Contact us to learn what Symmetry’s SAP HANA cloud can do for your organization.