Future Tech

SAP customers warned on hidden risks in the unofficial route to the cloud

Tan KW
Publish date: Wed, 26 Jun 2024, 05:47 AM
Tan KW
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Future Tech

SAP customers looking for infrastructure support for ERP software from community cloud, cloud-like, or former co-location providers should do so with care, as they could take a hit on risks and TCO in the long run.

In a research note published this week, Gartner pointed out SAP customers often find it difficult to differentiate between cloud IaaS providers certified by SAP and community cloud that offers hosting for SAP workloads. "Customers' initial focus often leans toward pricing only, unintentionally increasing their risk exposure and potentially leading to a higher total cost of ownership (TCO) in the long run," the note says.

Alessandro Galimberti, a Gartner senior director analyst and report co-author, said SAP certifies public cloud providers to run its workloads. They include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud, Google Cloud, Oracle Cloud, Alibaba Cloud and Huawei Cloud.

"When you deploy an SAP on those cloud providers to build an SAP environment which is totally certified by SAP also in terms of performances, you need to use a certain virtual machine, certain kinds of storage, a certain kind of configuration, and so on," he said.

However, there are other community cloud providers that can host SAP on shared infrastructure. This is not supported by SAP and might involve unexpected costs and risks, Galimberti added.

The research note says that some managed service providers and specialty cloud providers offer managed or unmanaged shared infrastructure "aimed at running SAP-based software in a cloud-like model."

"While these providers use SAP-certified hardware and software stacks, not all providers are able to provide different customers with end-to-end quality of service on all components. SAP does not support a shared, cloud-like deployment model. Gartner has tracked multiple cases in which, before receiving support for a specific issue, SAP has asked the customer to move the systems into a dedicated tenant, then recreate the issue," the note says.

While it is not a common practice to opt for a community cloud provider, it was not unknown, Galimberti added.

Although it might seem an option to avoid, the community cloud could work well for organizations that need to keep historic application data available for regulatory or compliance issues, which means performance is not an issue, he suggested. Meanwhile, smaller businesses with restricted budgets also might consider it.

"It is not something that I would advise, but if you need to cut somewhere, you need to cut things you don't perceive as necessary," he said.

Yet some customers opting for community cloud hosting were surprised by the lack of support from SAP when they came across issues, he said, "There are many vendors selling it, you can use any search engine on the internet,” he added.

Since the beginning of 2021, SAP's goal has been to get customers to move to the cloud and, in some cases, upgrade their main ERP application from the legacy ECC system to the current S/4HANA. Effectively a managed service provider, RISE with SAP offers users a single relationship with the German software vendor while it manages relationships with cloud providers, consultancies and systems integrators involved in the user's project.

"RISE is a good offering because it shields you from a lot of the complexity, but before signing, you need to be sure of what you are signing. It is a complex task to analyze what MSPs offer. Maybe it's the best MSP in the world but it's not tailored for a customer of your size, or in your geography or in your industry,” he said.

Meanwhile, RISE is more rigid in terms of the choices it offers customers, he said. "Most of the customers have the feeling that it's just another MSP, but it is much more rigid in terms of what is possible and not possible compared to any other competitor in that space," Galimberti said.

Gartner advises users to reduce risk and increase operational excellence by working with an MSP that is "able to master SAP on the public cloud." Customers should be prepared to leave the current MSP if it doesn’t fit their needs.

"The idea is, customers need to understand what are the implications of all the models and all the models [have] good and bad parts at the same time: the community model, RISE with SAP, and each cloud provider… everybody needs to choose the best for them," Galimberti said. ®

 

https://www.theregister.com//2024/06/25/sap_customers_warned_on_hidden/

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