For the vast majority of businesses, the future they see today is very different than the one they saw before the global pandemic: different priorities, different resources, and different approaches to risks and rewards.
Thinking about the future can be especially challenging for our enterprise customers running SAP applications. Many kicked off 2020 with their plans for digital transformation in full swing, including long-awaited migrations from legacy SAP instances onto modern, cloud-native S/4HANA environments. Many other enterprises were at least considering similar initiatives, based on Google Cloud’s ability to enable, support, and drive new sources of innovation for customers pursuing SAP HANA migrations.
New concerns about business continuity
Almost all of these companies have something in common: They’re deeply concerned with recognizing and responding to the business technology challenges that emerged and continue to emerge from the pandemic—and which, in some cases, exposed them to significant and costly disruptions.
Based on our conversations with customers running SAP environments, three of these challenges stand out as especially important and impactful:
- Managing and minimizing infrastructure risk: Beginning in March of this year, IT departments learned what happens when their supply chains get stretched past the breaking point. As network and storage hardware suddenly grew scarce, so did access to the onsite IT staff required to install and maintain these systems. And today, as a result, operating and maintaining an on-premises SAP environment looks quite a bit riskier than it once did.
- Adapting to new realities for elasticity and scale: The height of the pandemic featured extremes in scale and demand; some businesses shut down unused data center infrastructure, while others raced to keep up with massive, yet highly unpredictable, surges in demand.
- Retooling for faster, smarter business analytics: Many enterprises were confronting market disruptions and business-model shifts even before the pandemic. But the past few months accelerated the evolution of new business models and competitive landscapes. Winning in this environment will be much easier for enterprises equipped with smarter, faster, better-integrated analytical capabilities.
Today, we’re sharing a number of ways we’re helping SAP customers address these challenges.
Announcing Mission Critical Support for SAP customers
To address the support requirements for businesses running SAP, Google Cloud launched Premium Support earlier this year. Premium Support provides third party support of applications like SAP to meet the unique needs of these applications, including a specialized team of Technical Solution Engineers with the right expertise to support SAP customers running on Google Cloud. This global team of experts will offer 24/7 support, brings deep SAP and Google Cloud Platform knowledge to customer inquiries, and can assist with higher quality and more timely issue resolution.
For customers who require an even greater level of support, Google Cloud is announcing Mission Critical Support to help SAP customers that cannot tolerate any type of downtime. When your business can’t afford to be down, our Mission Critical Support provides:
- Fastest response time with a 5 Min Service Level objective response. We work to thoroughly understand your environment ahead of time so if an incident arises, we are prepared to act.
- Proactive and preventative engagement with support experts that can navigate your issues quickly. Mission Critical Support teams know your architecture, which partners you work with, your workloads, the areas of the world in which you operate to help inform their response.
- A collaborative approach for continuous improvement of your environment.
Mission Critical Support involves a deep understanding of your SAP environment. Through an Assessment, Google Cloud’s Professional Services Organization (PSO) will evaluate your environment. Based on the assessment findings, you will take corrective action during Remediation to ensure your SAP environment is ready. On Boarding entails Google Technical Solutions Engineers (TSE) working to determine your Service Level Indicators. Customers running Mission Critical support can file priority zero (P0) cases. The ongoing benefit is Google Cloud’s partnership with you to deliver continuous improvement for your Mission Critical SAP environment.
Enterprise grade business continuity
FFF Enterprises, Inc. has been a trusted name in wholesale pharmaceutical distribution for decades, serving over 80% of US hospitals. After encountering outage issues running SAP on a legacy infrastructure and hosting provider, FFF Enterprises recognized the need for a change, and transitioned their critical SAP S/4HANA environment to Google Cloud. This move has provided FFF with higher performance and more robust and dependable infrastructure than their legacy systems at a comparable or lower cost.
For SAP customers, our robust support offering is underpinned by highly reliable infrastructure capabilities. Google Cloud’s rugged infrastructure maintains business continuity for all of Alphabet’s applications at massive scale; we are ready to help keep your SAP environment up and running with these key capabilities:
- Multilayer infrastructure high availability (HA): Google Cloud is highly available by design, with a redundant infrastructure of data centers around the world that contain zones designed to be independent from each other. Live Migration keeps virtual machine instances running through planned host system events, such as hypervisor or hardware updates. VM instances also have the ability to restart automatically in the event of unplanned downtime.
- Fast, flexible, reliable disaster recovery (DR): Many SAP enterprises learned during the pandemic just how vulnerable their data centers can be to supply chain disruptions. Using Google Cloud for DR ensures that critical SAP workloads and data sources are protected.
- Efficient and reliable data protection: Creating a backup strategy and choosing suitable services for backup are key to protecting your SAP systems. Google Cloud offers several native capabilities for automated, cost-effective SAP system backup. You can also use the backup options and interfaces that are offered by applications (for example, SAP HANA Backint) or managed backup solutions from third parties such as Actifio, Commvault and Dell EMC.
- Simple, cost-effective ways to scale fast while minimizing risk: For many SAP enterprises, managing risk comes down to ensuring that one or two business-critical apps are available and securely running at peak performance. A common solution here involves “lift and shift” projects that migrate applications to the cloud as quickly and simply as possible, while trading off some of the advantages of more complex migrations.
Learn more about how SAP customers can ensure support, and business continuity with Google Cloud—read “How to run SAP on Google Cloud if high availability is high priority,” and visit SAP on Google Cloud.