The company’s goal is to become the leading Central European provider of virtual data centers, focusing on high quality and security. Similarly, Cloud4com has a true commitment to actively supporting its customers in boosting the productivity and efficiency of their businesses through the provision of world-class IT platforms.
A year after its establishment, Cloud4com chose to provide hosted infrastructure solutions for customers running SAP applications, and successfully deployed a cloud platform for this purpose. Following the introduction of the SAP HANA in-memory database, and in the light of SAP’s decision to end support for all other databases from 2025 onwards, Cloud4com saw a golden opportunity to bring the benefits of its services to a larger set of customers.
Jaroslav Hulej, Sales Director at Cloud4com, explains: “Currently, there are around 500 enterprises running SAP in the Czech Republic, and only a handful of them have already completed the challenging move to SAP HANA. This means that there is a huge potential clientele for Cloud4com.
“SAP HANA is an exceptionally resource hungry technology, which requires companies to deploy powerful and costly hardware platforms. In our experience, businesses are often advised to overspecify the hardware, such that it is never fully utilized within the lifecycle of the software. In this context, our economic model as a cloud service provider is very attractive: rather than investing in building your own on-premises infrastructure, you rent a share of a larger infrastructure in which there are greater economies of scale. And with the cloud model, you also get greater flexibility, because you can flex resources—and the corresponding contract fees—up and down as your requirements change.”
To capitalize on the opportunity presented by SAP HANA, Cloud4com set out to create a smart, cost-effective cloud platform for HANA, and began working on obtaining the SAP Tailored Datacenter Integration (TDI) certification.
“The secure shared infrastructure that we offer to customers is based on Cisco, Hitachi and NetApp hardware, and we believe it is currently the only certified TDI for SAP HANA in the Czech Republic,” says Jaroslav Hulej. “A critical element was selecting the right operating system—we needed to ensure that it would meet SAP’s standards and also maximize the availability and performance of our customers’ SAP landscapes.”
Solución de SUSE
Furthermore, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server includes the SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension—which enables the replication of SAP HANA environments within the same data center or across two data centers to boost resilience and protect against unscheduled downtime.
“Leveraging SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications was an easy decision, so we opted for this platform with great conviction,” continues Jaroslav Hulej. “SAP itself uses this OS for the ongoing development of its applications, so we get access to new features faster than on other platforms. This also means we have the reassurance of a high degree of compatibility with the SAP applications. What’s more, we really appreciate the flexibility that SUSE provides in terms of cloud licensing—our customers pay us a monthly fee based on optimized capacity and actual use of resources, and we then pay SUSE accordingly.”
Once all the specs of the new infrastructure were defined, Cloud4com teamed up with long-term partner Sabris to prepare a compelling proposal that would cover both the technical and the business features and advantages of the new offering.Jaroslav Hulej elaborates: “We are infrastructure specialists, so our sales approach is very much at the level of the platform. Sabris, on the other hand, specializes in the functional side of SAP solutions, so its consultants are able to articulate the business advantages of migrating to SAP HANA. Our joint approach means that our customers can be confident in accessing both the technical and the business benefits of adopting SAP HANA.”
PUTTING THE NEW INFRASTRUCTURE TO WORKOne of Cloud4com’s customers, leading retailer E-commerce Holding, was experiencing explosive growth. Jan Jírovec, the company’s CEO, explains: “Online shopping is constantly changing and you need to be ready to act on new challenges. One of the critical aspects is to try to ensure business continuity at all times—even when demand is high and customer queries flow in rapidly.
“This was precisely the challenge that we were facing, and as we expanded our business, more and more data and queries came in. That’s when we realized that we needed a smarter, more efficient way to manage our core SAP-based business applications.”
E-commerce Holding turned to Cloud4com to provide a reliable, powerful infrastructure that could underpin its mission-critical operations while helping to maintain continuous service delivery.
Jaroslav Hulej recalls: “This project validated our ability to provide a scalable cloud-based platform for E-commerce Holding’s SAP HANA environment, and to guarantee high availability, security and flexibility. Using our cloud-based SAP HANA solution running on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications gives E-commerce Holding the optimal platform to support its ongoing growth. In particular, our solution removes the need for the company to invest large capital sums in acquiring on-premises hardware. It also enables them to focus on the functional aspects of its SAP systems while Cloud4com keeps everything running smoothly underneath.”
BOOSTING DATA SECURITY IN THE CLOUDAs cloud technologies are leveraged by a growing number of businesses of all sizes and across different industries, companies are becoming more confident in the ability of external hosting providers to deliver effective data protection.
Czech consulting firm Adastra was evaluating whether or not to deploy cloud technologies precisely because it was concerned about security, as Lukáš Drbohlav, IT Director at the company, explains: “The security of corporate and customer data is one of our top priorities. The advantages of a cloud infrastructure—flexibility, cost effectiveness, scalability—were obvious to us, but we were nonetheless wondering if our data in the cloud would be protected against misuse, and if the security of corporate data in the cloud would be under our control.”
When Adastra approached Cloud4com for advice, it was immediately clear that security was not going to be a concern, as Tomáš Novák, CTO at Cloud4com, states: “Our SAP HANA cloud offering leverages Intel Trusted Execution Technology (TXT), which enables us to reassure our customers that their virtual servers run on a secure, reliable infrastructure.”
Intel TXT ensures that the infrastructure on which customers run their applications is trustworthy. The software verifies whether the basic components—including bios, firmware and hypervisor—of the host server remain unchanged, and if so, designates this host as trusted. If the host becomes untrusted, the tool will simply not allow customers to run their virtual servers on it.
As a core component of the cloud infrastructure delivered by Cloud4com, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications further enhances data security by offering a comprehensive security package to protect systems from all kinds of incidents. To provide an extra layer of protection, SUSE has developed the Operating System Security Hardening for SAP HANA guide. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications also includes a firewall solution specifically designed for SAP HANA in-memory data.
Tomáš Novák continues: “The combination of SUSE and Intel technologies for the delivery of cloud services, together with the ability to encrypt virtual servers, offers maximum levels of security for customer-operated applications. This solution enables customers like Adastra to keep the management of cryptographic keys on their premises under their full control, and we believe it truly sets us apart from the competition.”
ONE-STOP-SHOP FOR ALL IT REQUIREMENTSBesides delivering high availability and security, the SAP HANA cloud offering from Cloud4com allows customers to centralize and harmonize core functions on a high performance platform.
Marvinpac CZ, a company specializing in packaging goods for third parties, was struggling with fragmented systems, as Jan Vrátil, Managing Director, explains: “We used to run several different systems, which were not adequately integrated. This prevented us from gaining an accurate, trusted view of our business operations.” The company began looking for a robust platform capable of supporting all of its business processes. Marvinpac CZ engaged Cloud4com and Sabris to provide the solution.
Jan Vrátil continues: “Cloud4com and Sabris proposed a solution based on the latest SAP S/4HANA solution hosted by Cloud4com and running on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications. Initially, we had no idea what to expect from this type of deployment: the system was completely new on the market, and there weren’t many companies using it at the time.
“When we began working with Cloud4com and Sabris, we only had a rough idea of how our business would develop in the future, and were unable to define how quickly we would expand or what IT resources we would ultimately need. For this reason, cloud hosting was the ideal approach, as its flexibility allows us to seamlessly adapt to meet our changing requirements as they continue to evolve. “This is something that we have experienced first-hand, as our business basically doubled in size during the implementation period! If we had chosen an on-premises solution, it would have been much slower and more costly to upgrade the hardware during the project, and of course that is precisely the time when you need to be focusing closely on the functional aspects rather than worrying about the platform. Using the Cloud4com solution takes away any concerns about the underlying technology, which has enabled us to concentrate fully on building our optimized business processes in the SAP S/4HANA solution.”
Jaroslav Hulej comments: “For our customers and prospective customers, it’s the business functionality rather than the platform that is important. We take away the cost and the headache of needing to design, buy, deploy and manage a large in-house infrastructure for SAP HANA, so that they can concentrate on their core business activities. And in a similar way, our choice of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications helps us to focus on our core activity of serving our customers. The SUSE technology is optimized for SAP out of the box, and offers extremely low-touch management, so we don’t have to dedicate lots of time and effort to keep everything running smoothly.”
By successfully helping customers like Ecommerce Holding, Adastra, and Marvinpac CZ to adopt solutions based on the SAP HANA in-memory database, Cloud- 4com is establishing itself as a leading IT company in Central Europe.
Through the project with E-commerce Holding, for example, Cloud4com showcased its ability to seamlessly scale resources up and down, as Jaroslav Hulej explains: “Whether a company is expanding, downsizing, or even separating into multiple different entities, the infrastructure delivered by Cloud4com is flexible enough to easily and rapidly adjust. We have achieved this thanks to robust hardware systems and the ultra-efficient and highly available SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications.”
Furthermore, the project with Adastra demonstrates that the cloud infrastructure delivered by Cloud4com offers high security and data protection. The strategic combination of Intel TXT technologies, data encryption, and SUSE security hardening features significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access to data.
Finally, the solution created for Marvinpac CZ shows how Cloud4com is able to work with partners to deliver a one-stop-shop solution for running the latest SAP solutions—without requiring its customers to sink capital funds into complex on-premises infrastructure. Cloud4com provides a world-class, SAP TDI-certified platform for SAP HANA, leaving its customers free to focus on their business without concerns about the supporting platform.
Jan Vrátil remarks: “Our decision to deploy SAP S/4HANA in the cloud definitely paid off, as I am convinced that this is the solution that best meets Marvinpac’s requirements. Cloud4com and Sabris were among the key enablers of this success, thanks to their skills, expertise and ongoing support.”
Jaroslav Hulej concludes: “Choosing to run our SAP HANA cloud infrastructure on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications has been instrumental in building an efficient and robust platform that seamlessly adapts to the varying needs of our hosted SAP customers. With the SUSE technology as a core element of our SAP cloud platform, we are confident that we can bring the benefits of HANA to more and more businesses in the Czech Republic.”