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Your SAP landscape won’t run to its full potential without SAP Basis support. SAP Basis is the technical foundation, the middleware, tools and administrative “glue” that allows SAP applications to function. It is also responsible for interoperability and portability of SAP apps as they migrate from system to system and across database platforms. What happens when you move SAP to the cloud? Does Basis still matter? Yes, it most certainly does and is a critical element of your overall success for SAP Basis cloud computing.

What is SAP Basis?

SAP Basis is the glue holding together your SAP landscape. Different divisions of a business use SAP to perform different jobs, such as shipping product, controlling manufacturing and tracking sales leads, but everything relies on the same core system.

As the name suggests, SAP Basis effectively serves as the sys admin underpinnings for virtually all SAP environments. Your Basis Administrator(s) exists to ensure that every SAP system in an environment is running smoothly and efficiently on a day-to-day basis. SAP Basis handles user access rights and authorization and enables installation and configuration of devices, apps and systems. Basis also drives the mechanics of backing up and restoring data as well as performance tuning.

How the Cloud Affects SAP Basis

You need SAP Basis when you’re running SAP on-premises, but what about when you move SAP to the cloud? If you migrate 100% of your SAP landscape to the cloud, such as with a “stackable service,” you won’t have to concern yourself much with SAP Basis cloud computing. But, someone else will. The team or partner maintaining your SAP cloud instances will pick up the responsibilities for running Basis on their end.

However, as you have probably realized, not every organization is comfortable placing their SAP landscape entirely in the cloud, at least for the moment. Many organizations we work with favor a hybrid cloud model where some of their SAP applications and data remain on-premises, and other parts are moving to the cloud.

Many factors can explain the preference for hybrid clouds. For one thing, it takes time, money and resources to migrate SAP into the cloud. While the benefits of the cloud are undeniable, there’s only so much time, budget and hands to migrate your SAP landscape at any one time. Also, the cloud may not be ideal for every workload. There are performance, security and compliance factors that might keep parts of SAP on-premises, depending on your organization’s needs.

The Importance of the SAP Basis Cloud Computing Administrator

Running SAP in a hybrid cloud deployment creates more, not less, need for a skilled SAP Basis administrator in your IT organization. Some companies make the mistake of treating Basis administration as a utility—an undifferentiated commodity that can be purchased from any provider. Low price is all that matters, but in our experience this is not a good practice. Focusing merely on cost in Basis admin will probably end up costing you more in the long run.

We say this because we have seen what can happen when a company loses a highly capable SAP Basis cloud computing administrator. It’s a role that is often most notable when it’s absent. Then, things start to fall apart. Typically, you’ll have performance lags or outages. You might have security or compliance (e.g. Segregation of Duties) issues. If you’re partially in the cloud, then your SAP admin will fall apart more quickly. And, some of the problems will be difficult to see because they’re originating in the cloud.

Your SAP Basis support administrator is responsible for the stable, secure operating of your SAP environments. He or she is responsible for meeting your users’ needs. This involves staying on top of system logs and knowing the difference between a minor glitch and a potentially serious incident. When part of the system is in the cloud and part is on-premises, the log analysis and troubleshooting skills have to be all that much more acute.

Today’s SAP Basis admin needs to understand how the behavior and architecture of cloud-based elements of a hybrid SAP landscape can affect the performance of the on-premises segments. Other duties of the SAP Basis admin in the cloud era include:

  • Architecting the Hybrid Cloud Environment: Your SAP Basis cloud computing admin has to identify resources like hardware, software, cloud assets and personnel that are required for successful installations as well as upgrades and future use patterns.
  • Implementing Best Practices for Hybrid Cloud:When cloud and on-premises elements of an SAP landscape intersect with business and Basis tasks, things can get complex, even affecting the way the organization itself runs. Your SAP Basis admin can work to streamline relevant tasks to achieve efficiency and ease of use.
  • User administration:Each user in your business and IT department must be assigned a role in SAP. The role is based on their job functions. The Basis admin takes care of requests for user and role management. This includes onboarding new people and changing or withdrawing access permissions. With the addition SAP in the cloud, there are now effectively two sets of user roles to manage, each with their respective positions. If the Basis admin is not on top of these privilege assignments, you may get into a situation where a former employee, or an employee in a new role, still retains cloud access rights that he or she is not supposed to have.
  • Disaster Recovery/High Availability: The cloud offers new methods for disaster recovery and high availability. Being able to failover to a cloud instance in case of an outage is great. It takes a skilled SAP Basis cloud computing administrator to devise the cloud-enabled backup and restore environment—and then oversee its regular testing and use. In some cases, it’s wise to outsource to a cloud disaster recovery These providers may be able to improve reliability and reduce costs.

Working with an SAP Partner for Basis Administration

We have extensive experience serving as contract-based SAP Basis Administrators for companies that rely on SAP. Now, with the growing popularity of SAP in the cloud and hybrid environments, we can apply our proven expertise in Basis admin to your unique hybrid SAP needs.

Matt Lonstine, Director of SAP Technology

A Leader and SAP technical veteran, Matt Lonstine oversees the SAP Technologists that make up Symmetry’s Delivery team, while providing strategic guidance to customers. Matt has managed and executed some of Symmetry’s most complex projects with a current focus on HANA, virtualization, disaster recovery, system hardening, and migrations to Symmetry’s SAP Cloud environment.