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SAP’s Integration for Cloud Platforms on Hyperscalers: Part One – Hyperscalers and Cloud Platform Integration

Geoff Warriss
3 Dec 2021

Digital Transformation is reaching critical mass by the ability to scale, automate and innovate (at speed), your data driven enterprise. As such, there is a momentum and direction that a company who adopt a Cloud first strategy, can do this with greater efficiency and agility. They are achieving this with the help of Hyperscalers.

SAP’s Integration for Cloud Platforms on Hyperscalers

The following is part one of a two-part series of blogs that focus on the SAP Integration aspect for Cloud Platforms on Hyperscalers. The use of a Hyperscaler is a key driver towards cloud adoption and moving workloads to the cloud is primarily for a reduction in TCO, but the integration of your heterogenous system landscape is crucial to the continuous improvement, that a data driven enterprise of the future will need to adopt.

Part One – Hyperscalers and Cloud Platform Integration

Digital transformation is reaching critical mass by the ability to scale, automate and innovate (at speed), your data driven enterprise. As such, there is a momentum and direction that a company who adopt a Cloud first policy, can do this with greater efficiency and agility. They are achieving this with the help of Hyperscalers.

Introduction to Hyperscalers

Hyperscalers are public cloud service providers, like AWS (Amazon Web Services), GCP (Google Cloud Platform), Azure (Microsoft) and Alibaba Cloud (Alibaba Cloud Computing), these are the most common SAP approved Hyperscalers. SAP is also by definition a Hyperscaler.
In terms of the Cloud service model adopted with Hyperscalers, it sits primarily under the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) model, so the IaaS provided by the Hyperscaler, can run your PaaS (Platform as a Service) which is SAP Business Technology Platform and run your SaaS (Software as a Service), such as SAP S/4 HANA, SAP Datawarehouse Cloud (DWC), SAP Integration Suite, SAP Cash Application. The Hyperscaler can also offer PaaS and SaaS.

Where does the Hyperscaler sit with SAP?

SAP runs a Multi-cloud strategy with the Hyperscaler partners, as part of its new offering RISE with SAP (Business Transformation as a Service), which embeds its SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) architecture to bring together on-premise and cloud hybrid scenarios that can support automation and innovation within the enterprise. SAP applications can still be run on-premise, on-premise in private cloud, or it can be run on a private hosted cloud by SAP (via HANA Enterprise Cloud) or Hyperscaler/ Hosting Partner.

Hyperscaler Architecture

When running your platform on a Hyperscaler, there needs to be a general condition that the entire infrastructure of closely coupled (e.g. HANA DB, App, Fiori server) components of SAP software solutions, must be operated by the same IaaS provider and be in the same datacentre.
From a Hybrid or Multi-cloud perspective, it means that an SAP C4E (Cloud for Energy) system and associated components can run on one provider, an S/4HANA can run on another and SAP C/4HANA can run on another provider. All that needs to be ensured is that the interconnectivity is configured and it meets requirements including security.
The architecture can either be multi-tenant or single-tenant to improve performance (for the latter) with high availability front of mind.

Benefits of Hyperscalers

The benefit drivers that are marketed should be gained from running and deploying (at speed) your platform on a Hyperscaler from:

  • Cost – the company no longer has its own hardware or systems to manage and maintain. The cost reduction has parallel advantages with the investment from the Hyperscaler to improve services and architectures, like Google, where to improve uptime they provide the “Fast Restart” solution [1], that feeds into the High Availability criterion of a Hyperscaler.
  • Scalability & Elasticity – The hyperscale platforms provide the ability to quickly and seamlessly handle immense volumes of activity and data (automatically), but also ramping down when that capacity is not required.
  • Interoperability – The hyperscale provider’s cloud platform integrates with other systems; thus, it costs less for the customer to implement and integrate the platform.
    • This has a potential pain point of lock-in, If for instance, you have to use a certain product tool within the eco-system of the Hyperscaler and not a specific SAP product [2]

With Interoperability comes Integration

How does SAP provide integration and how does the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC) or Hyperscaler operate within this?

The key is an Enterprise Integration Platform (eiPaaS), this as per Gartner [3] is where SAP is leading through the offering of SAP Integration Suite (formerly SAP Cloud Platform Integration Suite) as the integration as a Service, through their “Business Technology Platform” (BTP). Gartner see the eiPaaS and iPaaS as interchangeable if they meet specific considerations.

Firstly, if you want to run SAP S/4 HANA Cloud and utilise SAP Integration Suite on a Hyperscaler you need to have either a PAYG, Cloud Platform Enterprise Agreement (consumption of credits) or subscription based, to operate SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) (the new licensing model with SAP) OR a “RISE with SAP” with Hyperscaler OR a BYOL.
SAP BTP Pricing for SAP Integration suite gives you a Standard or Premium edition, with add on’s centred around volume messaging.

In conjunction with running and integrating SAP into a Hyperscaler, you could also leverage some of the tooling within the Hyperscaler, say Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) with Google AutoML using Google BigQuery, which is relevant to the point of possible interoperability lock in of the Hyperscaler.

SAP Integration Suite and the Integration Solution Advisory Methodology (ISA-M)

The modern enterprise has a heterogeneous architecture of systems and hybrid landscapes, the key element to SAP BTP and the critical step for innovation, is the ability to Integrate. The “SAP Integration Suite” which comes with SAP BTP provides custom and out of the box flows for integrating on-premise with cloud Applications, which are either SAP or non-SAP, in the cloud.
There are four common problems with current architecture strategies:

  • Future Integration Architecture – how do you future proof? Can you?
  • Hybrid Integration Platform – with cloud scenarios for SAP and non-SAP integration technologies
  • Integration Governance – how to manage demand for integration and how to apply governance
  • Agility and Practice of Enablement – the ability to be agile to implement integration scenarios, such as bringing in Internet of Things (IoT) and scaling, while still providing immediate value.

The adoption of SAP’s integration strategy with SAP Integration Suite aligns with the ISA-M and enables the intelligent enterprise to challenge the above common problems with architecture strategies with the below four pillars [4]:

  • Out of the box integration – for the intelligent enterprise, that enables seamless connectivity to SAP S/4HANA, SAP Ariba etc via SAP Cloud Connector using SAP Integration suite and standard APIs.
  • Open Integration – open API’s (900+) to integrate to non-SAP solutions. The API’s follow the REST protocol, which from a SAC or DWC perspective is what oDATA is based on to query data.
  • Holistic Integration – integrate all SAP business applications on all dimensions not just from data, but processes and UI to IoT and hybrid landscapes, an example could be a conglomerate who has grown by acquisition but never re-platformed the companies into one landscape, but needs to align across the business as a whole.
  • AI Driven integration – with more embedded ML being applied to business processes, AI driven integration is key to maintaining integration across the enterprise by providing a coherent capability that automates and reduces complexity.
SAP Integration Solution Advisory – Methodology Cycle [5]

If you want to understand more of ISA-M then the below further reading can be used along with additional references at your leisure.

The next part to this blog will expand on the integration and a deep dive into the capabilities of SAP Integration Suite, the absolute key for the intelligent enterprises cloud strategy.

Further Reading:

From SAP: