Cloud4C holds webinar highlighting seamless migration of SAP to Azure
As the move to cloud has become more popular in the enterprise segment owing to the great advantages it offers, Cloud4C held a webinar on 30th September that discussed at length how Cloud4C can help customers move SAP workloads to Azure. The presenters of the day included Karim Kallawi, EVP, Alliance, Cloud4C; Ravi Tank, VP, CSP, Cloud 4C and Aseem Gupta, head, SAP Services Sales, Cloud 4C who delivered detailed presentations covering various facets of the expertise offered by Cloud 4C in taking customers through the migration journey of moving SAP workloads onto Azure.
The agenda of the day included giving an overview of Cloud4c’s Cloud Adoption Framework and taking the attendees through the three-stage approach that Cloud4C follows for moving SAP onto Azure. The sessions also provided insights into security & compliances on Azure as well as Data Localization Solution on Azure and detailing Cloud 4C’s SAP Services Portfolio. The session was well attended by a number of senior IT leaders from different verticals. Following the sessions, a brief Q&A session helped bring up the finale to the event.
Karim Kallawi, EVP, Alliance, Cloud 4C kick started the webinar with a brief overview of the credentials of Cloud4C with building solutions for SAP on Azure.
“Cloud4C is a born in the cloud partner. We are part of larger group and having started off in the datacenter space, Cloud4C was built as a subsidiary providing managed services in the cloud. Our specialized expertise includes SAP on cloud services and SAP on Azure is a part of this focus. We are managing more than 40,000 VMs, managing over 2000 TB of data for SAP HANA and we have delivered over 1 billion hours of managed services. This has been delivered through a team of over 1800 cloud experts. Our service delivery is based out of India with local presence in markets we address. In MEA, Dubai is the HQ and have satellite offices in KSA and Qatar, BDM coverage in Bahrain.”
He spoke about how Cloud4C works closely with hyperscaler vendors like Microsoft so whenever they launch a datacenter or a region, they are definitely there to support the hyperscaler and to implement their solutions.
“We are present in all continents. Probably our biggest presence is in the Asia Pacific region with the corporate HQ in Singapore and delivery arm out of India.”
As a leading services provider in the industry, Cloud4C has many certifications and industry specializations.
“Among the badges we are most honored to wear is that of Microsoft Azure Expert MSP. The process is complex and requires you to prove to a third-party auditor that you can deliver what you claim to be capable of. It requires a certain investment in resources and a proven track record. We achieved this certification in 2019 and renewed it this year as it is an ongoing certification. We decided to go beyond this and prove ourselves in other areas as well. Microsoft had come up earlier this year with advanced specializations. This is where they focus on specific skillsets. In terms of Microsoft Cloud, we are expert Migration partners and have achieved advanced certification for Windows and SQL migration. We are just about to be audited for the Linux specialization. More importantly, we have recently achieved the SAP on Azure advanced specialization.”
What it means to Cloud4C customers is that they can be assured of an end to end cloud lifecycle management with very in-depth technical expertise. Cloud4C delivers this through a team as big as 670 Azure certified experts. Recognizing Cloud4C’s capability in migrating to the cloud, Microsoft awarded it as partner of the year for Qatar last year, where they had successfully done the migration for a large entity based out of Qatar which in turn provides services to over 110 other entities. The migration included moving all workloads including Business applications such as Oracle and SAP based.
Ravi Tank, VP, CSP, Cloud4C was the second speaker and in detailed presentation, he covered many aspects of the migration and implementation journey. Below is a summary of his talk under various sub-topics:
SAP Workload Migration Roadmap
What are the things one should be looking at and how Cloud4C can help you take Sap and non-SAP workloads into Azure?
“The first step we recommend is you should move the SAP and now SAP workloads onto Azure with a lift and shift methodology. You can do some kind of enhancement in this stage one but not complete transformation. In stage 2, we encourage you to convert the SAP and non-SAP workloads into microservices and start using SaaS and PaaS platforms on Azure. In the 3rd stage, we will be deploying a Big Data platform and integrating it with IoT, Machine Learning and other data services. We recommend this 3-phase approach to any of our partners and customers.”
Ravi discussed the journey of moving SAP to Azure in 7 steps in stage 1.
“First you should be preparing a Cloud Adoption framework which focuses on doing the right assessment for your current infrastructure. Second, in the same framework, you should do an assessment of your SAP workloads- you should understand SAP Technical modules, understand modules and dependencies etc. Since you have deployed these workloads on premise over a period of times, if the dependencies aren’t understood well, the migration may not successful. The third stage in the journey is creating an understanding of the strategy, defining the scenarios of migration, mapping the likely outcomes and acceptance criteria. The testing of your workloads on Azure is very important. You need to ensure that whatever mapping you are doing is as per approved Microsoft Notes and SAP Best practices. In the fourth stage you should be looking at preparing a robust landing zone, where you look at aspects like deploying the policy as per the original SOP (standard operating procedures), availability & SLA, security & compliance as well as governance. Then you take your workload onto Azure through either the lift & shift approach, re-deployment or if you are running on a non-intel platform, through a re-platforming strategy. All these are decided during the early stages when we are doing the assessment and creating the blueprint. Then you enforce the governance check and be sure that whatever you have migrated has no other impact like on costs, security baseline etc. The last part is innovation wherein once you are on the cloud, you can start adopting the microservices and others such as Big Data platform, DevOps etc.”
Cloud4C Digital Transformation Framework
Cloud4C helps customers adopt the cloud with the right strategies and for this, offers a program covering four areas. The first is Infrastructure modernization, followed by application modernization, database modernization and then workplace modernization. So how Cloud4C help organizations reach into the digital age is part of the third stage of innovation.
Ravi said, “The first thing we do when we engage with a customer is planning and designing which is nothing but the steps including assessment, creating a blueprint, helping with the design of a landing zone. Once the customer has migrated to the cloud, we look at certain aspects before moving ahead. This include governance we look at from the cost management, security baseline, resource consistency and identity baseline perspectives and fix the issues. Then we look at the security posture and see if there are any gaps. We fix the compliance requirements and then we look at Business continuity, defining the right Business continuity from the SLA point of view of maximum availability and a zero-loss data solution from a data point of view.”
“After this, we can then do innovation like converting identified non-SAP workloads into containers, covert few of the modules to containers or cloud apps etc, which are native services.”
Once customers have migrated to the cloud, Cloud4C can help them through its managed services based on Site Reliability Engineering. As part of this, the first part is AI OPs.
“We monitor as per the SLAs the performance of the infrastructure. Any alerts coming from the application, platforms, security tools are recorded here and identified. We decide the actions to be taken, figure out if there are any false positives etc. Based on the plan, it would try and do auto remediation. Along with AI OPs, we also do the DevOps. For any Application lifecycle management, Once a POD is built, there is a need for testing it before moving it into production. We help build CI/CD pipelines through our DevOps process.”
Cloud4C has 22 centres of excellence focusing in well architected Best practices and operations management. They try and automate as many repetitive tasks as possible from SLA point, agility and automation points of view. This is how Coud 4C handholds organizations through their digital transformation journeys.
Cloud Adoption Framework
Cloud4C has created a robust framework through which it helps organizations create migration blueprints and migrate to the cloud. There are three stages part of this.
According to Ravi, “The first stage is Strategy and Planning where understand the vision, motivations, outcomes expected. Based on that we do an assessment of their current workload deployments. In Stage 2, which is the Readiness stage, we create the Migration blueprint. We identify the gaps, define the to be and as is landscape. Based on the analysis, we come up with recommendation as to whether have a lift & shift, redeployment or a re-platforming approach. The third stage is where we do the migration of the workloads, do the governance check and make it ready for innovation.”
Ravi also detailed how Cloud4C creates the landing zone and what the company encourage customers to do.
“In stage 1, as soon as you create a portal for users, also have policies in place as per standard operating procedures of the organization. So as per the policies, certain certified SKUs are allowed for SAP workloads from VM, Storage, security points of view. In stage 2, we create the Azure platform services. In Stage 3, we look at the security posture under landing zone readiness. So once your Azure components are defined and landing zone is defines, we look at security. We look for tools with first preference for available cloud native ones and if not look for tools from the marketplace. Once the landing zone is defined and tested, we migrate the workloads.”
SAP on Azure 5 day assessment workshop.
Ravi mentioned a 5 day workshop – SAP on Azure 5 day assessment workshop that Cloud 4C is running. This is based on the CAF framework (Cloud Assessment Framework) wherein Cloud4C gets a complete understanding of the complete posture of the client’s SAP landscape on premise and then come up with the right migration blueprint along with the TCO and ROI samples.
“It is like an end to end journey defined in a blueprint for you, for SAP and non-SAP workloads with a dependence on SAP.”
He cited an example to illustrate the TCO comparison done under cloud assessment, including the parameters taken into consideration. Without mentioning the name of the organization’s whose example is taken here, they were looking to migrate to SAP on Azure. They were running multiple workloads on premise consisting of 237 servers of which 130 can be migrated as is and the rest have dependencies. It was a case of primary and secondary sites. The key factors assessed under TCO comparison were hardware, datacentre, software and security tools as well as IT operations and labour costs.
“We also listed out the disadvantages if any and also built in any required assumptions. Based on these when we ran the comparison of on-premise vs on Azure, we got the results in tabular format in terms of monthly and yearly running costs. Typically, the range is 25-60% reduction in costs on Azure vis-à-vis the on premise and the more legacy infrastructure there, the range is towards the higher side. This is how we can come in and map out the right TCO for you along with creating the migration blueprint and readiness.”
Data Localization Framework:
Cloud4C has also developed a data localization framework. This is important for BFSI but even so, regulators are looking for some sort of data localization requirements being met by all industries.
Cloud4C SAP capability
Cloud4C is one of the premium suppliers for delivering SAP HAN Enterprise Cloud service and also support customers directly in select instances. As of today, it has more than 550 customers for SAP services, managing more than 2 petabyte HANA DB, supporting 6000 SIDs through its managed services
Ravi said, “From the perspective of an end to end SAP Management portfolio, we have all standard solutions as well support the third party extended portfolio. We help organization leverage true cloud readiness. Under the SAP service portfolio, we are offering Application Managed Service, SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, SAP Cloud Hosting, SAP Disaster Recovery and SAP Migration Service.”
A few case studies:
Ravi concluded his presentation with brief mentions of three recent case studies of Cloud 4c’s implementations.
Crescent Petroleum- It was a greenfield deployment of migrating legacy workloads into SAP. They needed a scalable and cost effective LaaS for hosting SAP workloads. Cloud4C did an analysis and designed a solution for them that is offering them 99.1% of uptime. The objective was that the uptime needs to be high and the cost lower. This migration was done in 6 weeks and it was a zero data loss kind of solution. Cloud 4C isoffering them end to end managed services.
RAK Ceramics – The second case study is of RAK Ceramics. Cloud4C helped them achieve 40% of TCO compared to on premise. They had SAP workloads already deployed in three different countries. The first step was to consolidate the SAP environment and migrate onto Azure. We helped create the Blueprint and the landing zone and supported during the migration. A DR solution with near zero RTO/RPO has been deployed for zero disruption in Business.
TASNEE – The third case was for TASNEE in Saudi Arabia. Cloud4C helped migrate workloads from HEC private cloud to HEC on Azure through our cloud adoption framework helping achieve 99.95% uptime.
The third presenter of the webinar was Aseem Gupta, head, SAP Services Sales, Cloud4C and he started off with explaining the advantages of looking at Cloud4C for SAP services.
“We have extensive application-based services and enterprise services we have built on top our key capabilities on cloud. We have over 200 customers across 25 countries using that kind of platform across various cloud platforms and majority of them are on Azure. Over the past one year of portfolio development we have taken a step further, focusing on our strength of automation and created an end to end enterprise services portfolio for SAP customers.”
The value propositions Cloud4C offer under this can be divided into four:
- A full stack automation of SAP Landscape.
- Implementation and migration with Devops.
- Application management
- Automated Business operations.
“We offer a full stack automation of SAP Landscape: This is purely SAP Managed services on Azure. We have mastered this and have many success stories in it. What we done is taking the concept of automation and DevOps further and started investing into Implementation and Migration factories. This mean we have created a center of excellence and factory-based approach, based out of our HQ in Hyderabad, India. With sales and pre-sales teams in various countries. We have heavily invested in certain proprietary tools, certain external tools to give the complete flavor of migration factory approach to our customers, who really want to migrate from ECC to SAP S/4HANA including upgrades, Unicode conversion, platform migration, everything included in a comprehensive way. That allows us to pass on the benefits of a faster implementation that is faster by approximately 50%. It is much cheaper because we use lesser number of resources. The whole change management process is automated. Testing is automated to a large extent, mostly in the regression testing phase. We have a shared resources delivery model. This is in partnership with some of the global S4 partners, with the biggest one being SNP.”
For implementation, it follows a similar methodology. There is a roadmap it has created to cover all SAP products as part of this automated migration and implementation.
“Application Management services is built on similar lines. We call it AI Operations based Application Management Services. This is a highly automated practice where human intervention is reduced to maximum possible extent. We continue to improve upon that and pass on the quality benefits of automating application management services. Finally, there is Automated Business operations, wherein it is concerned with Business process automation, leveraging the SAP IRPA product, and trying to automate all key Business processes across all departments.”
Cloud4C’s end to end SAP services are offered with the lowest cost and fastest delivery-based approach. Whether, it is infrastructure or Business process, its covers it all with respect to automation for SAP.
Cloud4C has predefined ECC to SAP/4 HANA Migration based on a ‘T-shirt’ scale size, from small to medium to large, depending on various factors including complexity of systems landscapes, starting from data size, number of simplifications required based on modules customers have implemented, the number of ABAP products to be adjusted based on the ATC toolkit report etc.
“These are fixed price, fixed scope, fixed timeline offerings. It has a questionnaire-based approach and based on questionnaire filled out which includes a S4/HANA readiness report, Cloud 4C gives the proposal within no time and passes on a real value proposition based S4/HANA migration, which is a completely automated service.”
Details of SAP S/4 HANA system conversion service in a standard package.
Cloud4C does the readiness check and assessment based on the questionnaire.
Aseem said, “We convert all the systems, do the custom code adjustments, adapt the functional modules through the simplification formats. We do the user experience enablement for the standard Fiory apps. The integration is taken care of and there is documentation and sign off. Any S/4 HANA migration is not complete with these steps alone. So we have to include the optionals based on customer requirements. These could be upgrade and migrations of other systems in the landscape because when you are migrating and upgrading S/4 HANA, the other systems also need to be of a particular release level. Then there is HANA optimization service and UX enablement for customized apps. There is activation of additional modules that were not included previously and there are security adjustments- both front end and backend. Finally, there is room for any additional scope desired in an S4-Hana move project.”
Cloud4C also has custom packages which cannot be predefined but will be defined as it proceed further with a customer. It is a global partner with SNP, a very strong S4/HANA services provider based out of Germany, who deal in large transformation projects and specialize in selective data migration. Whenever there is a selective data migration requirement, Cloud 4C have a strong team that is experienced in SNP Methodology to help navigate the complex requirements of the customers.
SAP AMS practice
Cloud4C has been a pioneer in the managed service space, predominantly technical managed services. We have taken a step further and cover the functional and Application support as well.
Aseem said, “We follow the traditional ITSM methodology with regards to incident management, change management, request management etc. We cover almost all verticals and all the lines of Businesses of SAP. We have packages defined from as little as 50 hours per month to as high as over 1000 hours a month. It is cost effective approach because of the automation capabilities we have incorporated.”
Cloud4C use the SAP intelligent RPA for RPA deployments.
“Cloud4C has defined T-Shirt size packages, of fixed scope, fixed price and fixed timelines, from XS (extra small) to XL (extra-large), where under XS we cater to 1 department and 3 processes and in XL, we cover as many as 50 processes across all departments. . Depending on the number of processes to be automated, there is a feasibility study and demo, which is free of cost. Only when the customer is happy with the demo, we move on to a paid implementation service. That is quite a cost-effective package. “
Switch to cloud
In addition, Cloud4C has launched a switch to cloud package to accelerate the customer adoption of SAP S4/HANA on cloud. This includes SAP Managed Services, S4/HANA transformations and SAP Application Management including Business process automation, all together for customers who are still on ECC and looking to migrate to cloud and S/4 HANA.
Aseem said, “We try to amortize the initial cost, looking to provide a high ROI with a very low TCO and lowest upfront investment. This is where we are seeing a lot of traction in the market and this where customers see a lot of value in what Cloud4C offers, wherein we bring all the pieces together and offer them a very simple way of delivering the services. This allow customer to take quick decisions, allows them to spend lesser money, and makes them very comfortable in the journey as well.”
Following the conclusion of the presentations, a few questions were raised from the audience and answered:
What is the testing methodology during Migration of the workloads?
Aseem: We follow the standard Activate methodology from SAP. There is a testing mechanism as well which goes through unit testing, integration testing, regression testing and user acceptance testing. We follow the typical SAP migration methodology in this case. We have automated the regression testing. The other tests are still manually done.
Do you still need local data backup after migration?
Aseem: As a vendor, we do not have this requirement after migration. However, there are customers who have local data requirement regulations to meet and need to keep it separately.
Do you offer invoice automation?
Aseem: This is one of the key use cases we have delivered umpteen number of times. This is one of the most common use cases.
How do you support hybrid migration?
Aseem: Perhaps there are certain scenarios where customers either want to keep the workloads in different cloud or they have certain instances on a private cloud and some on public cloud,
The methodology is the same. As we have the migration automation factory in place, what we have to worry in these cases is change management process. With the dual maintenance methodology, we have implemented in the migration factory, change management has been simplified. Hence if customers want to keep some instances on premise and some on cloud, as far as they are linked to the change management principles, we are able to ensure that all the systems re in sync before, during and after the migration phase.
Do you recommend DR on premise after cloud migration?
Ravi: We would recommend having DR on Azure in a different region rather than having on premises because you would still then need to maintain the hardware on premises for the DR. From a TCO perspective, it would be expensive. There are multiple ways you can have DR In different regions. If you can afford an RTO of 24 hours, then you can have an offline or cold DR kind of solution. Whereas, if you need a stringent RTO, you can have a hot DR solution. There are three kinds of DR we offer on Azure- hot, warm and cold. We encourage customers to move to Azure or any other cloud platform for DR but not on-premise.