Lemongrass Consulting Ltd is an AWS Partner Network (APN) Advanced Consulting Partner with SAP Competency based in Reading, England. Founded in 2008, Lemongrass began as a technology consultancy specializing in SAP. As the public cloud market emerged, Lemongrass saw the advantage of infusing cloud benefits, including greater agility, efficiency and reduced costs with monolithic on-premises SAP landscapes. Since 2010, a large part of Lemongrass’s business has focused on moving SAP customers from on-premises and other cloud environments to AWS. As of 2018, they have migrated over 1,500 SAP systems.
Lemongrass Consulting Ltd combines SUSE and AWS for greater agility, efficiency and reduced costs with monolithic on-premises SAP landscape. Using SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) and SUSE Manager, Lemongrass enables customers to smoothly transition workloads from on-premises to the cloud.
Why Amazon Web Services
By offering this expansive collection of cloud services — and continuously updating offerings based on customer feedback — AWS services help reduce barriers, such as risk, cost and the complexity of integrating new technologies with SAP workloads. Ben Lingwood, CTO of Lemongrass says, “[AWS] continues to be, in our view, the market leader in size, scale and innovation pace of technology.”
One key area that AWS has focused its innovation on is Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances. AWS and Intel have collaborated on Amazon EC2 instances that are designed to meet the strict performance requirements for in-memory databases, such as SAP HANA. Powered by Intel Xeon Scalable (Skylake) processors and certified by SAP, these resources enable customers, like Lemongrass, to more reliably migrate and run mission-critical SAP landscapes on AWS.
In addition to its pace of innovation, Lemongrass prefers AWS because its services help Lemongrass to heavily automate SAP capabilities, so that customers can operate and scale their SAP systems in a repeatable and predictable manner. This is beneficial to customers because it helps reduce costs and prevent human operational errors.
Since Lemongrass’s inception in 2008, the company has been leveraging SLES for SAP Applications — both to support its own SAP usage and its customers’ workloads. There are two key reasons for this: first, the SUSE operating system is commonly used to develop SAP solutions; and second, it is certified to run mission-critical SAP workloads, including memory-intensive SAP HANA applications. These points exemplify the reliability SUSE delivers when running SAP landscapes of all sizes.
Furthermore, by providing a compatible platform for virtually all SAP systems, SUSE makes it easier for Lemongrass to transition customers from their legacy solutions to SAP HANA. Nearly all of Lemongrass’ customers run on SLES for SAP Applications: “It’s the platform of choice that we migrate customers onto, especially when you look at in-memory applications, such as SAP HANA,” explains Lingwood.
Aside from the technological advantages, Lemongrass also cites its working relationship with SUSE as a key benefit — Lingwood calls the relationship “dynamic and responsive.” In practice, SUSE maintains an open culture with Lemongrass, providing additional support when needed, helping Lemongrass develop new solutions and even implementing recommendations based on feedback. Both Lemongrass and their customers benefit from these outputs.
AWS and SUSE Together
By combining SLES for SAP Applications and AWS, Lemongrass can alleviate much of the operational overhead that drives up costs for SAP customers. Lingwood explains, “If you look at what most organizations spend, typically 60-70% of the cost of an SAP solution is keeping the lights on, keeping it running and maintaining the landscape.”
Furthermore, many large SAP customers run extensive SAP landscapes, consisting of countless production workloads, as well as non-production workloads that need to be maintained even when they’re not in use. Operating in this manner creates costs that can be significantly reduced with Lemongrass’ solution leveraging SUSE and AWS.
Lemongrass focuses heavily on automating common SAP operations and procedures, and it implements DevOps practices built on the aforementioned AWS automation capabilities, as well as scripts provided by SUSE Manager — an open source infrastructure management solution that works in tandem with SLES for SAP Applications. Using SUSE Manager, customers can manage and update their SAP HANA resources while incurring near-zero downtime.
The DevOps implementation by Lemongrass enables customers to:
- Spin up specific SAP systems in a self-service, on-demand manner with daily cost transparency.
- Recover SAP data and systems builds from a specific point in time via continuous backups.
- Work off the most recent and most accurate copies of production data.
- Automate business operations and thus, maintain and patch systems without having to shut them down.
“That’s a real paradigm shift because what used to be the slowest thing in the SAP ecosystem — waiting for hardware to be racked, stacked and built, and operating systems to be installed, and all of that — suddenly becomes the fastest,” says Lingwood.
The combination of AWS and SUSE also gives Lemongrass a reliable solution for running resource-intensive SAP systems, helping more and more enterprises move their large-scale SAP environments to the cloud. In May 2018, AWS announced the general availability of Amazon EC2 Bare Metal instances, which deliver 6TB, 9TB, and 12TB of memory and are designed to run mission-critical deployments of SAP HANA. Since then, Lemongrass has been contacted to migrate expansive SAP HANA landscapes to AWS, leveraging the instances. Given the reliability and performance of running SAP HANA on SLES for SAP Applications, all these environments will run on the SUSE operating system once the projects are underway.
The fact that these resource-intensive environments are tested on and certified for SLES for SAP Applications gives Lemongrass even more confidence: “It’s a testament to the fact that that’s where the innovation development is happening,” says Lingwood.