SAP is a strategic enabler of business, the heartbeat of processes, indeed the circulatory system for enterprises. The ASUG community is steadily increasing their investments in the SAP portfolio—and realizing more value--as they shift systems, processes, and workloads to the public cloud. The focus is broad and deep—reduce expense, improve user experience, streamline operations, achieve both quick wins and drive long-term business success.

Yet, many organizations are finding that moving core systems and business transformation based on SAP S/4HANA and the public cloud, as part of a cloud-first initiative, are not—or at least not yet--returning the expected outcomes and planned results. This is because integrated, holistic SAP cloud ecosystems consist of many SAP and non-SAP software applications, some of which are only available as SaaS and some of which are only available at the edge, see figure 1.

This eBook provides the context to these dynamics, then delivers recommendations and options for effectively architecting SAP deployments. The content draws on findings the ASUG Pulse of the SAP Customer 2022 report that explored members’ responses related to cloud-as-a-service solutions for SAP and other applications.

Public cloud limitations for SAP S/4HANA

Systems integrators (SIs), consultants, and partners have promoted an “all or nothing” migration of SAP workloads to the public cloud, promising cost savings, improved user experience, streamlined operations, and long-term business success. While these same organizations have benefited from substantial increases in cloud migration service revenues, many clients have not seen the outcomes that were promised.

SAP also promotes their own SaaS offering called SAP Cloud ERP, whereby SAP-managed SaaS is heavily promoted toward deployment into hyperscale public clouds and alternative deployment locations (such as on-premise or cloud-adjacent data centers) are not often discussed as part of that SaaS cloud solution.

Breaking through the marketing hype, organizations are increasingly recognizing the limitations of running business-critical workloads like SAP S/4HANA entirely in the public cloud. Application dependencies and
extended data transmission times can cause latency and application failure when integrated applications can’t keep up with preset SAP remote function calls and timeout settings. This often causes high hyperscale data transfer and egress charges. See figure 2.

Unlike colocation data centers, public cloud providers charge variable fee premiums for ongoing data movements that make operational budgeting unpredictable. Examples of such fees are data bandwidth charges between high availability (HA) zones and between disaster recover (DR) regions, as well as egress fees for any data leaving that particular public cloud provider. Many enterprises end up paying more for storage, compute, and data movements, as well as for overprovisioning unnecessary resources that often sit idle often outside of IT’s control/vision.

Looking for a deep dive? Download the e-book now.

An all-or-nothing cloud strategy vs. a more inclusive cloud strategy

True cloud agility provides freedom of choice, and the debate is no longer simply “public cloud vs. on-premise” as cloud IaaS is available in any location, including on-premise. Enterprises have multiple cloud options that span multiple clouds and potentially on-premise and edge applications, to maintain cloud agility, speed, cloud cost-effectiveness, and cloud vendor neutrality.

Building a flexible solution

Enterprises need expert guidance and modern, proven solutions to efficiently architect an agile, cost-efficient holistic SAP S/4HANA cloud ecosystem using the most appropriate hybrid cloud options.

For many, the best solution incorporates
three elements:

  • Proven expertise from an established SAP partner
  • Flexible hybrid multi-cloud architecture
  • Standardized, automated processes for smooth
    transitions and operational ease

Today’s digital-first businesses demand high performance that advanced data center solutions specialize in. Large capacity and high-density solutions are needed to accommodate massive data stores and energy-hungry processing. Other requirements include proximity and easy connection to neutral cloud on-ramps, which will enable additional storage and integration with SaaS, as well as Advanced Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) to maximize availability and resilience.

Colocation datacenters can be a viable option that enable customers to escape the burden of running their own data centers, helping them simplify IT management operations while reducing cost and risk. For many, a neutral colocation datacenter with cloud on-ramps to multiple destinations is a prudent cloud strategy for the future. By using a neutral cloud entry point, latency remains consistent and low between connected hosting providers and SaaS providers in that geography, providing true cloud agility and preventing hosting provider lock-in for the holistic integrated SAP ecosystem.

Most customers that have extensive experience with SAP HANA in the public cloud have found the most efficient strategy is a multi-cloud strategy.

Solution spotlight: HPE GreenLake with Equinix

HPE with Equinix specializes in proving available, resilient, flexible, agile, and
cost-effective multi-cloud environments.

HPE is the leading SAP HANA® hardware provider with a full set of infrastructure offerings that enable SAP customers to start small and scale infinitely. Over 5,000 customers run SAP on HPE with over 34,000 servers deployed for SAP HANA worldwide and 46% of SAP licenses run on HPE systems.

HPE GreenLake with Equinix supports a hybrid and multicloud infrastructure approach through an elastic as-a-Service offering for over 70 cloud services that can run on-premise or at the edge in one of Equinix’s 240+ global colocation facilities

Equinix is a global leader in data center solutions. Its expansive footprint enables a true edge-to-core strategy enabling HPE GreenLake customers to deploy SAP S/4HANA in proximity to cloud providers, providing low latency access to SAP ecosystem partners and integrated SAP applications.

HPE GreenLake with Equinix for SAP features:
  • Fully managed, flexible consumption that scales up or down with your business needs
  • Single tenancy on SAP-certified infrastructure
  • SAP-certified, market-leading infrastructure, deployment, and ongoing run-book maintenance
  • Low latency connections to leading SAP ecosystem partners and to your own unique set of integrated SAP applications
  • Fully automated/orchestrated SAP HANA full landscape deployment to lower deployment costs and to create standardization/predictability between landscapes

HPE offers data center advisory services provide organizations with the necessary expertise to guide geographic location strategy, colocation design, network integration advisory, and management. Legacy data centers are either replaced with cloud or, if desired, modernized to cloud through facilities and impact assessments, operations consulting, and expertise across design, building, and integration.

Looking ahead

As organizations look ahead to the end of SAP ERP legacy DB support in 2027 and migration to SAP S4/HANA, it’s important to conduct extensive planning to navigate the complexities and ensure the desired outcomes.

Keeping up with global tax law changes, including sales tax, invoice, compliance, and reporting requirements, is an insurmountable challenge for many SAP users. Enterprising companies are upgrading their time-consuming, error-prone, and narrow-scoped manual tax engine testing and implementation procedures to automated workflows and solutions.

Organizations should look beyond the public cloud to achieve their desired outcomes. A multi-cloud strategy that blends private cloud HANA with public-cloud-based supporting applications and third-party solutions can help organizations overcome the limitations of the public cloud and the challenges
of potential repatriation.

Enterprises across all industries can meet rigorous standards for availability, security, and reliability without the high capital expenditures and burden of running an internal data center. By partnering with a multi-cloud infrastructure expert to help with consulting, design, implementation, and management, organizations can unlock the innovative opportunities SAP S4/HANA offers — and discover the best of
all worlds.

Planning for SAP S4/HANA implementation?

Schedule a free, virtual SAP planning workshop with HPE GreenLake and Equinix to discuss functional and technical considerations you can use while creating a cohesive strategy in preparation for legacy ERP migration to SAP or SAP applications/ HANA transformation.

Learn more about scheduling a FREE SAP Planning Workshop.

Together, Equinix and the HPE GreenLake platform help solve the complexity of purchasing, regulating, and managing owned digital infrastructure. At the same time, the partnership improves application performance by providing low-latency connectivity to leading network and cloud service provider ecosystems.

Enterprises benefit from convenient monthly billing for SAP related infrastructure demand and SAP HANA workload requirements that scale up and down based on metered usage, reducing the cost and effort of owning and managing IT infrastructure.

ASUG is the world’s largest SAP user group. Originally founded by a group of visionary SAP customers in 1991, its mission is to help people and organizations get the most value from their investment in SAP technology.

ASUG currently serves thousands of businesses via companywide memberships, connecting more than 130,000 professionals with networking and educational resources to help them master new challenges. Through in-person and virtual events, on-demand digital resources, and ongoing advocacy for its membership, ASUG helps SAP customers make more possible.

ASUG develops and publishes case studies regularly in partnership with its members and customers. For more information on ASUG Case Study content, contact

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