Transitioning to SAP S/4HANA Part 1: SAP HANA and Linux Herald a New Era
It’s the dawn of a new era: SAP has announced that maintenance for its standard ERP systems (which typically run on Windows and UNIX) and for SAP Business Suite will end in 2025. And what’s arguably more important is that also the support for relational databases, such as Oracle, DB2, and MS SQL Server will end.
SAP S/4HANA introduces a new business suite and SAP HANA will be the only database with SAP support. SAP HANA runs exclusively on Linux, which makes Linux the operating system of the future in the SAP environment. Another decision that companies need to make is whether switching to cloud computing makes sense for the business. With so many cloud platforms based on open source solutions, this is yet another reason to consider making a change to Linux.
End of maintenance, migrations, Linux, the cloud: There are quite a few challenges for companies that use or want to use SAP software. Especially since, according to the IDC white paper “How SUSE Helps Pave the Road to S/4HANA”1, when many IT leaders think about migrations they also think of data disruption, project complexity, and high costs. Now add to that the lack of system administrators’ experience in the Linux environment, many responsible IT leaders remain cautious and may want to defer the migration to a later time.
In addition to all of that, from a business operations perspective, SAP S/4HANA behaves differently from traditional SAP R/3 applications and offers a role-based user interface (SAP Fiori) and in-memory data acceleration. This presents new and unfamiliar processes to the end users.
It Pays to Switch to Linux and the Cloud
It is understandable, that many IT people still have reservations about cloud computing. But SUSE is convinced that for SAP customers, switching to the Linux world is the most beneficial option, and the path to the cloud is the most rewarding – be it a public cloud, a private cloud, or a mix of cloud solutions. This is supported by IDC. The analysts point out that such a change is also a good opportunity to clean up the system landscape.
Other benefits include simplified maintenance, as well as faster backup creation and restoring active business data. In addition, the use of SAP S/4HANA significantly reduces the data footprint. As a result, the hardware required for an on-premise solution is smaller. When systems are run in the cloud, the CapEx is reduced.
IDC also found that the lines of business are very interested in the benefits of SAP HANA and SAP S/4HANA. For example, this next generation business suite provides a centralized data repository, accelerates processes, reporting, and transactions, and provides real-time insights into the business, which can be shared across business units who need it.
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server – Your Ticket to the Future
SUSE and SAP have been collaborating in the SAP Linux Lab for many years, and the first SAP HANA solution was developed on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. SUSE collaborates with and supports SAP in development and testing activities. When developing benchmark tests, reference architectures, best practices, etc., SUSE collaborates with other partners. One example to highlight is the SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension, which SAP emphasizes for its 99.999% availability in automated system replication in HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC).
SUSE also collaborates with SAP around OpenStack and Cloud Foundry. SUSE OpenStack Cloud and SUSE Enterprise Storage are also important components of the SAP Cloud Platform. OpenStack is used for the IaaS layer and is essential for non-SAP cloud environments such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Google Compute Engine, and IBM Cloud. According to IDC, it enables SUSE to support large in-memory applications and databases like SAP S/4HANA and SAP HANA in a non-SAP cloud environment.
Businesses that are contemplating a migration to SAP HANA should rely on service and integration providers with extensive experience in the Linux, SAP, and cloud environments. IDC believes that thanks to its SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications and close collaboration with technology leaders, SUSE has created the ideal environment to help customers meet the challenges of the future in the Linux and cloud environments.
The white paper “Migration to SAP S/4HANA—Master the Way into the Future with SUSE,” describes recommended approaches and solutions for transitioning to SAP S/4HANA. You can download it here.
Be sure to check back for Part 2 of this blog series where I talk about getting your infrastructure ready for the new era of SAP S/4HANA on Linux.
1 Peter Rutten, Henry D. Morris, How SUSE Helps Pave the Road to S/4HANA; August 2017; Sponsored by: SUSE and SAP
All of the thoughts and quotes featured in this post with IDC are from this white paper.