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SAP Uses in the Cloud: Case Studies with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

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Businesses worldwide utilize SAP systems to streamline their business workflows, and with the new prominence of the cloud, many SAP users are migrating to use SAP in the cloud. As this shift occurs, more and more SAP users are looking for ways to ease the transition into the cloud and make full use of the latest cloud capabilities. Cloud Volumes ONTAP answers this need, providing powerful solutions for migrating and optimizing SAP cloud databases

In this blog post we introduce some SAP uses, SAP HANA—a popular SAP database—and take a deep dive into the benefits of integrating SAP systems with Cloud Volumes ONTAP, including several customer success stories.

An Introduction to SAP Uses

SAP (Systems Applications and Products) is one of the largest business software companies in the world. Serving 91% of Forbes Global 2000 companies, SAP has become a market standard in the industry, catering to businesses of all sizes. While its flagship product is SAP ERP (enterprise resource planning), SAP also offers a variety of other management solutions such as SAP CRM (customer relationship management), SAP SCM (supply chain management) and SAP PLM (product lifecycle management).

SAP HANA is an in-memory relational SAP database management system which enables SAP users to store and retrieve data for applications. Along with these capabilities, SAP HANA provides analytics, business services, IoT capabilities and more. It is particularly useful for handling big data, supporting data lakes, machine learning, and processing and generating insights from live data in real time.

SAP Storage with Cloud Volumes ONTAP Use Cases

With so many diverse and widespread SAP uses, transferring SAP to the cloud has become an important milestone for many companies on the cloud transformation path. NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP data management platform for hybrid and cloud storage can enhance the performance of SAP in the cloud. Cloud Volumes ONTAP eases migration of SAP into the cloud, and infuses SAP systems with benefits that aren’t available natively in the cloud, including high availability, data protection, storage efficiencies, automated backup and DR processes, file sharing, and efficient data cloning to help speed up development cycles.

Cloud Migration

SAP currently has over 200 million subscribers in its cloud user base. Many SAP users started their journey to the cloud by initially migrating their development and test environments. In recent years, more and more users are inclined to migrate their complete SAP infrastructure, including production environments. Cloud Volumes ONTAP can significantly ease this process by providing:

  • With Cloud Volumes ONTAP, lift and shift migration to the cloud is seamless, integrating with existing workflow and data protection solutions. In addition, running SAP systems on NFS shares with Cloud Volumes ONTAP is almost identical to the features, managing and operations on-premises.
  • Quick and easy data transfer through SnapMirror® replication technology, moving SAP systems data efficiently and securely to the cloud.
  • The replicated SAP HANA database always remains consistent with on-premises data centers. This is achieved through SnapMirror and SnapCenter®, which use incremental block-based updates and ensure application-consistent copies.

Backup and Disaster Recovery

Backing SAP databases can be an arduous and costly process which can negatively impact SAP HANA performance. File-based backup can take hours to complete and cause a heavy CPU load and can thus typically be run only once a day. With Cloud Volumes ONTAP, backup and restore operations become fast, seamless, and efficient:

  • By using cloud-based storage snapshots, backup is executed within seconds, no matter how large the database.
  • Since backup is executed on the storage layer, the operation does not affect SAP HANA performance and can therefore be executed multiple times a day.
  • Backup is updated incrementally, reducing CPU load and storage space, and saving users in backup time as opposed to file-based backup.
  • Any point-in-time volume can be restored quickly, shortening recovery time.

File Shares

Since files are typically a core part of business operations, most SAP users require a shared file system. Cloud Volumes ONTAP supports all file-sharing protocols (NFS and SMB /CIFS) whether files are stored on-premises, in the cloud or in a multicloud or hybrid environment. Many enterprises enhance their file sharing in the cloud by using Cloud Volumes ONTAP’s: 

  • Multiprotocol capabilities, giving access to file shares from both Linux and Windows-based machines.
  • High performance features such as file caching and increased write speed.
  • Cutting file storage costs and footprint through storage efficiencies.

DevOps Requirements

SAP lifecycle management can frequently become cumbersome, expensive, error-prone, and time-consuming. SAP landscapes often overflow with system copies for testing and development. These copies take up extra space and capacity, take time to create, and often pile up, making them challenging to manage and refresh. When DevOps, who are charged with this task, lack efficient tools for this process, delays are created which affect the entire product lifecycle. When integrated with SAP HANA, Cloud Volumes ONTAP equips DevOps teams with the tools needed to better manage system copies, accelerating overall SAP lifecycles:

  • Development cycles are faster and less expensive with NetApp’s FlexClone® data cloning technology, which creates instantaneous zero-capacity clones of environments.
  • Systems are provisioned and prototyped in minutes instead of days, resulting in a dramatic decrease in time to market.
  • SnapCenter automates the management of system copies, easily moving projects from on-premises to Cloud Volumes ONTAP and back, as needed.

SAP Case Studies with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

A number of companies are transforming the operation of their SAP in the cloud with Cloud Volumes ONTAP. In this section we dive into some prominent case studies.

Human Capital Management Company

The first SAP case study involves a multinational human capital management company based in San Francisco which provides cloud-base SaaS software solutions. The company turned to NetApp with the goal of transferring operations to Azure, without losing its existing SAP functionality. By using Cloud Volumes ONTAP the enterprise:

  • Easily migrated its production environments to Azure, with Cloud Volumes ONTAP lift and shift approach.
  • Leveraged Cloud Volumes ONTAP to move its production environment, as well as its DR operations, to Azure.
  • Retained all its existing SAP functionality and ONTAP’s familiar capabilities and design, which Cloud Volumes ONTAP made available in the cloud.

Financial Services Company

One of the largest retirement plan providers in the US, this company serves nearly 40,000 plan sponsors, adding value to their customers through mutual funds, managed accounts, capital preservation products, and retirement income solutions. As part of its cloud-only strategy, the company turned to Cloud Volumes ONTAP to migrate its core applications to AWS. With Cloud Volumes ONTAP the company gained:

  • Simple and fast migration of its SAP application to AWS.
  • Increased data protection and high availability across availability zones.
  • Used NetApp Cloud Sync and Cloud Volumes ONTAP to migrate multiple PBs of old data to AWS Glacier.

Multinational Retailer

With over $500 billion in revenue, this international American retail giant operates a chain of big-box department and grocery stores and employs 2.2. million employees. With a hybrid cloud infrastructure that includes Azure and Google Cloud, the company was looking to migrate its SAP HANA instances to Azure. In using Cloud Volumes ONTAP it achieved:

  • SAP HANA data was replicated in Azure with SnapMirror.
  • The SAP HANA migration was executed in a way that was not possible using Azure native tools.
  • DR was enabled for SAP HANA in Azure and enhanced with Cloud Volumes ONTAP capabilities.

Energy Company

Headquartered in Sydney, this company is one of Australia's leading integrated energy companies, covering energy exploration, generation, distribution, and retail. The company turned to NetApp in need of a multi-protocol shared storage service for their SAP migration to AWS. The company is currently leveraging Cloud Volumes ONTAP for a wide array of benefits: 

  • Migrating on-premises SAP workloads to Cloud Volumes ONTAP on AWS.
  • A shared file storage service which supports both NFS and SMB /CIFS protocols for Linux and Windows workloads.
  • Enhancing DevOps operations.
  • Using persistent data for Kubernetes clusters in AWS.
  • Enable data usage across hybrid cloud architecture environments.


SAP provides an incredibly widespread suite of tools which allows companies to better manage multiple facets of their business. More and more SAP users are looking to transfer their SAP systems into the cloud. Cloud Volumes ONTAP eases this transition.

Once in the cloud, Cloud Volumes ONTAP offers an array of features, including backup, DR, cloning and file sharing which enable SAP users to meet even the most challenging of business requirements.

Start a free, 30-day trial of Cloud Volumes ONTAP to move your SAP workloads to the cloud today.

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Yifat Perry, Technical Content Manager

Technical Content Manager