Alliander Powers Applications with Migration to SAP HANA Cloud

Alliander provides over three million customers in the Netherlands with gas and electricity. To continue operating at the forefront of one of the world's most dynamic industries and to handle future developments, Alliander needed a scalable database and stable applications. To achieve this, Alliander used the SAP HANA Cloud Migration Service to migrate to SAP HANA Cloud from SAP HANA Service on Cloud Foundry. Now, SAP HANA Cloud is a crucial part of their new application landscape.

3 million customers
130,000 combined km of gas network and electricity grid
7,000 employees

As a part of their new landscape, SAP HANA Cloud is the key cloud-native database to support Alliander’s applications. These applications assist Alliander’s customer service employees in technical call centers in identifying outages and helping Alliander’s field service engineers quickly get the power back.

All these critical applications must be fast and, most importantly, stable. As the number of Alliander’s applications grow, and more people begin using them, their database needs to be able to scale as their needs change.

With SAP HANA Cloud, we can scale quickly when the number of applications we develop grows, or more people start using them. Being able to scale our database quickly without a complicated migration is a massive benefit to our business.

Pieter Kruk, Product Owner Digital Core and Integration Services at Alliander

Defining the Data Problem

Before deploying SAP HANA Cloud, Alliander’s applications ran on SAP HANA Service on SAP Cloud Foundry. Alliander had multiple SAP Cloud Foundry sub-accounts, spaces, and applications running on SAP HANA Service on AWS with a total size of 550GB.

However, their SAP HANA Service on SAP Cloud Foundry landscape had two fundamental and interrelated limitations: it was difficult to scale the database, and this inability to quickly scale could affect database stability. If Alliander wanted to scale up their database, they had to create a new instance, migrate their data, and then drop the old instance. This entire migration process required a lot of time and development resources. When it came to application stability, Alliander’s rapidly growing number of applications and users meant they were often in danger of hitting the limits of their database, which could affect its stability.

Ultimately, this setup limited their flexibility to quickly scale their storage and computing needs as their business demands changed.

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To solve these issues, Alliander laid out these goals for their new application landscape with SAP HANA Cloud:

  • Leverage flexibility to scale computing and storage resources as their business needs change to avoid stability issues.
  • Utilize a developer-friendly environment to develop and model custom applications.
  • Create a stable and fast environment for their applications using fast processing speed.

Here’s how SAP HANA Cloud, a fully managed cloud-native database as a service, achieved all these goals.

Leveraging SAP HANA Cloud’s Scalability

Anticipating future growth isn’t easy, and when you overestimate, it can be costly. When Alliander started with SAP HANA Service on SAP Cloud Foundry in 2019, they initially had between 20 and 30 applications. Within one year, the number of applications had nearly doubled. Alliander’s previous landscape meant they had to predict their data requirements when they established a new database instance instead of scaling as their needs changed.

With SAP HANA Cloud, Alliander establishes a database that meets their current requirements. If their needs change, they can quickly scale their data storage and computing capabilities up without having to migrate to a new database instance. As a cloud-native database as a service, SAP HANA Cloud is flexible in nature. It was designed to scale the size and processing units of a database or data lake instance within minutes, if not seconds. SAP HANA Cloud’s flexible scaling means Alliander can quickly scale based on their needs, and they will only ever pay for what they use.

With SAP HANA Cloud at the center of Alliander’s new landscape, they will lower their costs and be ready for future growth with the ability to scale their database up.

We have a lot of critical applications. Our critical applications run 24/7, and they must be stable and fast. The stability and speed of SAP HANA Cloud are essential to our business.

Pieter Kruk, Product Owner Digital Core and Integration Services at Alliander

Building Custom Applications with Superior Stability

Building applications in a stable environment was another key requirement for Alliander’s new application landscape. Alliander has several applications that are critical for their engineers to solve problems in the field like power interruptions and gas leaks, and these applications must be stable at all times.

SAP HANA Cloud provides a developer-friendly environment to build custom applications and is open to all applications, including SAP, custom, and third-party applications. SAP HANA Cloud’s high performance from SAP HANA and its market-leading data processing means that Alliander’s applications will run faster. The multi-cloud capabilities also give Alliander the ability to move their applications to the cloud vendor of their choice – they currently use AWS – at any moment.

As a part of the SAP HANA Cloud Migration Service, Alliander has so far enjoyed a smooth migration of 18 applications from SAP HANA Service on SAP Cloud Foundry to SAP HANA Cloud. Going forward, with SAP HANA Cloud, Alliander can further develop robust applications that can be run on-premise, in the cloud or a hybrid scenario and scale as needed to maintain perfect stability. SAP HANA Cloud’s flexible scaling means that Alliander’s applications can grow without any fear of hitting the limits of their database.

Future Opportunities With SAP HANA Cloud

Alliander plans to explore other SAP HANA Cloud features, such as the replication capabilities that would bring in data from their on-premise SAP HANA systems. SAP HANA Cloud can also act as a central point of access by easily connecting to different data sources through virtualization. It connects to all data sources, whether they are on-premise, remote, structured, or unstructured, SAP or non-SAP, to provide streamlined access of all data in a single storage solution.

SAP HANA Cloud’s data lake is another feature on the horizon for Alliander to lower the costs of managing their growing data warehouse. The data lake can manage large amounts of cold data cost-effectively and offers fast analytic processing.

For now, as a new addition to Alliander’s application landscape, SAP HANA Cloud accomplished everything that they wanted. With SAP HANA Cloud, Alliander can scale up quickly to maintain application stability, develop new cloud-native applications, and enjoy SAP HANA’s incredible processing speed.

Simple Migration with SAP HANA Cloud Migration Service

SAP HANA Cloud Migration Service simplifies the migration of SAP HANA Services databases on SAP Cloud Foundry to SAP HANA Cloud using automation. An entire migration can be completed in a few days with a low risk of error after an initial analysis identifies objects that can migrate automatically and those that require manual work. For Alliander, the SAP HANA Cloud Migration Service has made the migration from SAP HANA Services on SAP Cloud Foundry to SAP HANA Cloud smooth for their 18 applications.

Our migration experience has been great so far. The time per application is continuously decreasing, and we are currently migrating one application per day, which is fantastic.

Pieter Kruk, Product Owner Digital Core and Integration Services at Alliander

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