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The Smart Path to the Cloud

November 18, 2019

Blog
Author
Bill Zhang Bill Zhang
Bill Zhang is currently the Head of Product Strategy and Solution Management for SAP HANA Cloud.

A hybrid environment powered by SAP HANA Cloud lets you seamlessly extend your current environment to the cloud.

The Big Move to the Cloud

Moving to the cloud: it seems like everybody is doing it. Over the past few years, a growing number of businesses have migrated their data, their systems — sometimes even their entire operation — to the public cloud. It’s a significant shift and a trend that shows no sign of slowing down. Industry analysts predict that anywhere from 70 to 90% of all businesses will engage in some form of cloud migration in the coming years.

On the one hand, this should come as no surprise. For years we’ve been hearing about the tremendous cost savings, performance boost, and flexibility that businesses can enjoy when operating in the cloud. And of course, we all want in on that. But it isn’t quite that simple. While the stories of successful cloud migrations are celebrated and highly publicized, there are other stories floating around out there. We hear about cloud solutions that underperform. We hear about cloud solutions that contribute to complexity and confusion for the organizations that adopt them.

Learn how to extend your on-premise investments today in this SAP HANA Cloud use case.

 

Clouds on the Horizon?

If your business is considering a move to the cloud, chances are you’re already facing numerous challenges in your home-grown environment. Most likely, your on-premises data center is tasked with vastly bigger workloads and data volumes than it was in even the recent past. At the same time, you’re working with an increasingly wide variety of data types. And then there’s the problem of siloed data across different locations (or even different departments within the same location). This is hardly a new problem, but it takes on added urgency in the face of these other challenges.

On top of these challenges, there’s a good chance your environment is already a multi-cloud hybrid. Although you have an on-premises data center that includes your database and applications, chances are you already have web applications running on one cloud provider
and possibly a data lake running on the same (or even a different!) cloud provider. Such disparate environments, often accompanied by third-party databases and other external data sources, tend to be complex and labor-intensive for the organizations managing them. And they raise significant questions about data governance and security.

So even as you try to take advantage of the benefits of the cloud, you are rightly concerned about finding the right path forward from your current infrastructure. Your existing on-premises data center represents a significant investment. Plus, depending on your industry, regulatory and other constraints dictate what data you are permitted to move offsite. Ideally, you want to extend the environment you currently have to the cloud in order to leverage its benefits while not exposing your business to undue complexity, risk, or disruption.

SAP HANA Cloud Brings All Your Data Together

SAP HANA Cloud cuts through all that confusion by enabling unified access to all your enterprise data sources. It serves as a general-purpose data management platform for SAP, non-SAP, third-party, and custom applications. Application data, analytical data, structured data, unstructured data — it’s all there and seamlessly available.

SAP HANA Cloud serves as a single source of truth and a unifying point of access for data across your premises and in the cloud. Your business can painlessly integrate on-premises application and analytical data with external and cloud data sources. So your move to the cloud can happen exactly as and when works best for your business. If an application or data source needs to be in the cloud, no problem. If it needs to be on-premise, it can stay where it is. No matter what the configuration, and even as the configuration changes, with HANA Cloud you get the same seamless experience.

A New SAP HANA for the Cloud

SAP HANA Cloud is more than just an instance of SAP HANA running in the cloud. The platform provides all the features and capabilities of SAP HANA reimagined and rearchitected as a cloud-native data platform. So you get the in-memory processing and unmatched speed and performance of SAP HANA, only now delivered as a fully managed service. In keeping with a true cloud architecture, SAP HANA Cloud licenses compute and storage separately, providing your business maximum flexibility in deploying applications and analytics.

With SAP HANA cloud, you can run powerful applications while managing data storage and data integration all within a single cloud solution. Now you can simplify data management with multi-temperature storage tiers, accessible within a simple, single interface. SAP HANA Cloud offers two new data storage options which expand the flexibility and affordability of your SAP HANA environment:

  • The SAP HANA native storage extension is a new disk-store option for SAP HANA Cloud. Of course, SAP HANA remains, at core, an in-memory data platform. In-memory data processing will continue to be the preferred model for your most critical data — that is, the “hot” data. However, disk storage provides an affordable alternative for fast access to data that is important, but no longer as urgently needed. With the native storage extension, you can now store data on disk without having to integrate with a separate, external database. Your hot in-memory data and your warm data on disk will be seamlessly integrated in a single SAP HANA environment.
  • The SAP HANA Cloud data lake is an SAP HANA-native data lake environment built on a database framework that can store large volumes of data for rapid access. The Data Lake may include cold data that is no longer as urgent as the warm data stored via the native storage extension. Alternatively, it may be a repository for large volumes of incoming data such as sensor data from IoT (Internet of Things) systems. For either or both kinds of data, the Data Lake provides quick access to very large volumes of data (up to petabyte scale) in a structured, database environment. In contrast with the unstructured environment of most data lakes (or data swamps?), data in the data lake is ready for action. You can deploy it in operational or analytical applications immediately.

SAP HANA Cloud supports a full range of HTAP (hybrid transactional-analytical processing) solutions. SAP HANA Cloud provides a simplified gateway to all enterprise data, including both structured and unstructured data from multiple sources. And it can easily output data to third party applications, SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, SAP Analytics Cloud, and third-party BI Tools.

Moving to the Cloud Your Way

SAP HANA Cloud supports a move to the cloud customized to where your business is today and where it needs to go next. With SAP HANA Cloud you can extend assets to the cloud to get started and build experience while developing a long-term strategy for assets that are more sensitive or otherwise constrained. The key is the seamless connection between SAP HANA Cloud and SAP HANA running on premises in your data center. These two effectively become a single data platform through which you can manage cloud and on-premises assets together. SAP HANA Cloud eliminates much of the complexity associated with hybrid environments, simplifying management of the environment and enabling sound data governance practices.

One of the key features supporting this seamless integration is data virtualization. SAP HANA Cloud data virtualization removes barriers between complex, siloed data environments to enable aggregated transactional processing and analysis. This means that, while leaving your most sensitive and secure data where it is, your business can now seamlessly integrate it into modern applications and analysis – while mitigating the security concerns noted earlier. Another key feature is the user interface, which provides a powerful and elegant user experience.

Bringing all these capabilities together, SAP HANA Cloud opens up new worlds of possibility for your data and your business. One example is cloud bursting. A traditional established on-premises environment cannot support much in the way of temporary performance boosts. Businesses often find, at the end of the month or quarter, that they lack the capacity to carry out a timely closing while also meeting all their normal operational requirements. The existing fixed infrastructure will not support it. However, expanding that infrastructure to support temporary requirements is not economically feasible.

Now your business can have all the capacity it needs to manage your most challenging times without compromising performance and without investing in infrastructure that you can’t afford and that would be severely underused. Businesses can use this flexibility to support the roll-out of a new campaign or new product / service offering. It will also support seasonal changes in demand such as holiday shopping.

This is the power of the cloud that SAP HANA Cloud brings to your business. Yes, it seems these days that everybody is moving to the cloud. Your own move to the cloud is inevitable, but you want to do it in the best way for your business. With SAP HANA Cloud, your business can make a smart move of its own — one that delivers on the tremendous promise of the cloud while maximizing the value of your current assets and ensuring the best possible return on investment.