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Building an SAP landscape for digital transformation


Digital transformation is necessary for companies to compete and thrive in today’s world. Across industries, companies face disruption and must adapt the way they do business. Research from MIT Sloan School of Management and Deloitte Consulting found that nearly 90% of the 1,000 companies surveyed believe their core business is threatened by new digital competitors that are challenging their products and services.

Even so, many organizations are not ready to compete in the digital economy. According to research from Oxford Economics, sponsored by SAP®, only 16% of companies report that they are prepared to successfully take on digital transformation.

IT organizations are adopting flexible, cost-effective cloud technologies to help them digitally transform their datacenters and operations. Wherever possible, they are looking for opportunities to improve performance, availability, and stability — all while reducing operational overhead to accommodate resource constraints. For many, this means IT modernization. 

Companies running SAP business applications have additional impetus to modernize their infrastructure. The SAP landscape is changing: SAP customers currently running SAP’s business applications on a non-SAP database must migrate to SAP S/4HANA® by 2027. Many SAP customers are already preparing for this transition while also optimizing their environment to support additional digital transformation initiatives.


Red Hat and Microsoft are leading providers of enterprise-grade environments, platforms, and tools. Working together, Red Hat and Microsoft offer an ideal high-performance, stable, cloud-based platform to support your SAP environment while preparing you for digital transformation.

The result of a long-standing collaborative engineering relationship between Red Hat and SAP, Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® for SAP HANA® is built on the same foundation as the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform, Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It combines the reliability, scalability, and performance of Linux with technologies that meet specific requirements for running SAP HANA. Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP HANA delivers stability, speed, and elasticity for your SAP HANA environment.

Microsoft Azure provides a powerful and scalable cloud foundation to support the most memory-intensive SAP HANA workloads. It offers a broad selection of compute resources, including SAP HANA Large Instances. These purpose-built, SAP HANA-certified instances are fully managed with a 99.99% availability for a high availability pair service level agreement (SLA). With up to 20TB of RAM per node for scale-up OLTP workloads like SAP S/4HANA and SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA and up to 60TB of RAM for scale-out OLAP scenarios like SAP Business Warehouse, SAP HANA Large Instances have the memory capacity required to run the largest workloads.

Additionally, Red Hat, SAP, and Microsoft offer a simplified, hassle-free support model that covers your entire environment with comprehensive, integrated, global service. Contact any of the companies with a related issue. Red Hat, SAP, and Microsoft work together to identify the problem and resolve it quickly and efficiently.


SAP HANA is an in-memory platform for running transactional applications and analytics from a single copy of data. Even so, applications must be specifically written to take advantage of this power. SAP S/4HANA takes full advantage of SAP HANA’s architecture. Not only does SAP S/4HANA run in-memory, it also eliminates the need for lengthy processes, such as financial reconciliation, by using a single copy of data. Rather than relying on sales reports or projections from a data warehouse, SAP S/4HANA computes analytics in real time from live data.

SAP S/4HANA offers a new, modern way of integrating your operational and analytical worlds. With SAP S/4HANA, operations teams have access to analytical context to help them improve SAP performance and efficiencies. To realize these benefits, however, you need to first upgrade to the latest versions of business applications, then migrate your database to SAP HANA, and, finally, migrate existing SAP applications to SAP S/4HANA. When these requirements are considered, the 2027 migration deadline does not seem far away.

Because SAP S/4HANA supports transactional applications as well as analytics from a single copy of data, it increases demands on your infrastructure. Preparing your SAP landscape through IT optimization can make the transition to SAP S/4HANA smoother and more efficient.

The following sections outline requirements and considerations when preparing for SAP S/4HANA migration.


Regardless of which operating system you currently use to run SAP applications, the transition to SAP S/4HANA can be made easier by standardizing on a single operating system. Standardizing also improves stability, which is essential for core business applications.

SAP has chosen two enterprise distributions of Linux as the operating system for SAP HANA and SAP S/4HANA. As a leading operating system for servers and other large-scale systems, Linux provides the power, flexibility, and reliability needed for critical applications. More than 90% of today’s 500 fastest supercomputers run a Linux distribution, including the 10 fastest.

It matters which Linux distribution you choose for your SAP environment. Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP HANA provides a reliable and scalable foundation for your SAP operations. It also includes specific features and optimizations for SAP environments to provide better performance and stability. Additionally, Red Hat provides production-grade support and services to ensure business continuity.


Research from IDC on the SAP HANA appliance market shows that customers demand more capabilities to help them manage complex environments. Companies seek automation of routine tasks like resource allocation, provisioning, and monitoring; simpler maintenance; easier life-cycle management; and better management software.6 In all of these areas, customers ranked the importance of these capabilities higher than their current satisfaction level.

A modern approach to systems management uses enhanced analytics and environment-specific knowledge. Because SAP environments are complex, the move to SAP S/4HANA requires visibility and insight into your environment and operations. To achieve this and optimize performance and system health, you need a tool that can use data analytics to predict workload needs and automate management of your SAP environment.

Red Hat and Microsoft offer advanced management tools and capabilities to help you manage your SAP environment more effectively. Through integrated services and features, Microsoft Azure lets you simplify resource management; monitor, collect, and analyze performance and use data; automate cloud management; and detect and diagnose application issues.


Your critical systems must be secure and up-to-date at all times. Many issues within SAP environments arise because services do not have the most current security patches and updates. Control of security updates and system patches is essential as you move to SAP S/4HANA. Automated detection and notification capabilities can alert you of systems and software that require updates, improving system security and compliance.

Red Hat and Microsoft deliver a security-focused foundation for your SAP environment. Red Hat Enterprise Linux includes advanced security features to protect your environment and your business. Integration with Red Hat Satellite and Red Hat Insights delivers increased monitoring and remediation capabilities and proactive compliance controls. Plus, Red Hat’s dedicated Product Security team continually scans for and responds to emerging threats, providing patches for most vulnerabilities within one day of public knowledge. At the cloud level, Microsoft Azure also delivers integrated security services and features — including Active Directory synchronization, key-based access, multi-factor authentication, and unified cloud security management — that work in conjunction with Red Hat products across your environment. Additionally, rigorous third-party audits verify compliance of Microsoft Azure with strict security controls mandated by a broad set of international and industry-specific standards.


Migration provides you with an opportunity to optimize your environment to achieve the best possible performance. SAP HANA requires massive amounts of data to be held in-memory. Accordingly, the settings and parameters of the underlying operating system must be appropriately tuned for maximum performance.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP HANA and Microsoft Azure provide a high-performance foundation for your SAP operations. Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP HANA includes SAP-specific features and optimizations to meet the performance demands of complex SAP environments. Microsoft Azure fully supports a broad array of SAP applications across development, test, and production environments. Tuned, purpose-built hardware and SAP HANA-certified virtual machines deliver unparalleled workload performance. And, with SAP HANA Large Instances, Microsoft Azure supports memory-intensive SAP HANA workloads with ease.


In addition to high performance, database scalability is required to support large datasets. SAP HANA can handle several hundred terabytes of data, and its performance depends on the scalability and performance of both the operating system and the underlying infrastructure.

Red Hat and Microsoft provide massive, dynamic scalability for your SAP environment. Add more resources in minutes to meet demand. With Microsoft Azure, you can scale your SAP HANA workloads up to 20TB for OLTP and 60TB for OLAP, enabling the largest SAP HANA workloads.


Red Hat and Microsoft work closely with SAP to deliver a high-performance, security-focused foundation for SAP environments. Deploying SAP S4/HANA on Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP HANA and Microsoft Azure can help you support today’s business needs while preparing for future change and success in the digital economy. Learn more about Red Hat, Microsoft, and SAP products and partnerships at the following web pages.


Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP HANA:

Microsoft Azure:

Red Hat and Microsoft partnership:

Red Hat and SAP: