What is the rating of your SAP data center when you cross-check it against the fundamental characteristics of a cloud data center? Which big topics need to be tackeled in order to build the SAP data center of the future? This post provides some crucial questions and helps you to define your individual roadmap.
Personally I like the following figure very much because it is completely product agnostic and provides a holistic view of all the disciplines where you need to have good fitness. During my service provider times I had the responsibiliy for an annual double-digit million budget for SAP basis services and was always looking for cost saving projects. In the beginning of the cloud era the main focus was at the virtualization layer of compute, network and storage. In the meantime there is much more to cover and this is good news, but very challenging at the same time. Good because you have the opportunity to start a lot of projects that will reduce cost and increase agility. Challenging because – like a decathlete – you need to be very versatile and pace yourself.
Below I am providing some crucial questions for the fundamental characteristics. You can use these questions to rate your SAP data center and optionally define where you would like to be in future.
Cloud Application Platform
- To what extent have you virtualized your standard Tier 1 applications environment (including productive database servers)?
- Have you checked your applications for suitability to be placed in the cloud?
- Do you use a library with already preinstalled applications for automatic deployment?
- Do you leverage your underlying infrastructure for replicating your applications?
- Do you have an authorization concept that helps SAP admins see what’s happening in the underlying infrastructure while on the other hand security needs of the compute/network/storage admins are also fulfilled?
- To what extent is SAP HANA integrated into your data center infrastructure?
- Do you have a map for data temperatures (hot – warm – cold)?
Automation, Orchestration, Management
- How long do you spend for provisioning a physical ESX/Windows/Linux server from the request to the delivery of all components (including network, storage, server/OS)?
- Do you automate mass start/stop/relocate of applications and infrastructure components?
- Do you use any orchestration tools allowing creation of workflows for requesting, provisioning and decommission of applications and infrastructure assets, both virtual and physical?
- How do you track your application and infrastructure assets? Are you using a CMDB?
- How do you manage capacity planning?
- Do you use centralized management tools able to cope with pooled resources?
- How can you map the dependencies between applications and virtual infrastructure components?
Self Service, Chargeback
- Do you provide a service catalogue to the business?
- Do you provide tiered levels of offerings (SLAs categorized)?
- Can users self-serve themselves today? If yes, to what level is it automated?
- Do you have a charging mechanism for the consumption of your IT services?
- How is consumption charged (metered, reserved, reported etc.) and is it reflected in the virtual infrastructure architecture (use of resource pools etc.)?
Cloud Infrastructure & Management
- How many percent of your servers are virtualized?
- What is the level of standardization of network infrastructure used for virtualization?
- What is the level of standardization of storage used for virtualization?
- Do you have reporting capabilities for your backup infrastructure?
- Can you describe your backup service catalogue (if you have one)?
- Have you implemented Deduplication? (Can you save space on your backup target?)
- What media types do you leverage for backups?
Multi-Site Cloud Technologies
- Do you have a high availability solution within one data center and across two sites?
- Are you moving applications non-disruptively from one datacenter to another?
- If a maintenance activity is to be performed at one location, can all resources be moved to the other location non-disruptively?
- Can you outbalance the resource utilization between sites with the help of an active/active data center solution?
- Do you have SLAs for disaster recovery (RTO/RPO)?
- How do you execute your disaster recovery plans?
- Do you test disaster recovery plans?
- Do you have to take services offline while doing DR testing?
- Do you automate disaster recovery?
Trust, Security, Compliance
- What technologies do you use to enforce and measure the governance throughout your enterprise?
- What is the compliance plan in place and how do you execute it?
- What is your current security acces control?
- What security measurements have you deployed on the application and infrastructure layers?
- What measurements have you deployed for authentication and to secure the end user?
- How do you assign and deliver applications to the end users?
The term ‘transformation’ can be interpreted in different directions (strategy, replatforming, system migration, …) and by intention I leave it in the grey area for now because from my point of view the most important thing is: the human factor. This is the only non-technical discipline but the most important one! So my last two questions are:
- Has your organisation changed to reflect cloud service delivery?
- Do you have a board-sponsored formal cloud transformation programme?
Use these questions to define your individual roadmap to the SAP data center of the future. There is a lot of work waiting for you, however, at the end there will be significant cost savings, more agility, quality, security, trust and fun! And you are not alone – I will provide possible solutions for those and many more questions in my blog.
So stay tuned – in the next post I’ll introduce different paths to build your SAP datacenter of the future…