Organizations running SAP’s enterprise resource planning (SAP ERP) have likely heard about the upcoming requirement to migrate to SAP HANA or SAP S/4HANA by 2027. SAP has announced that by 2027 it will end support for its legacy ERP applications on the SAP NetWeaver platform. In an effort to promote the adoption of SAP HANA and SAP S/4HANA, SAP will also discontinue support for other databases, including Oracle, DB2, Microsoft SQL, and MaxDB.
To fully understand the migration process and the benefits of making the move, it is important to look at why SAP is mandating this change.
What is SAP HANA?
SAP HANA is an in-memory database used for SAP’s ERP applications. It uses random-access memory (RAM) to help organize, analyze, and provide real-time information on big data. SAP HANA includes capabilities such as multimodel processing, database management and administration, application development, and data virtualization. SAP HANA also supports the Advanced Business Application Programming (ABAP) language.
SAP S/4HANA is a real-time ERP suite. It is faster and more efficient than its predecessor, and was built for organizations that want to take advantage of the cloud. It also only runs on the SAP HANA database.
More than 33,000 global customers currently use SAP HANA. As of January 2021, approximately 16,000 customers have migrated to SAP S/4HANA.
What is the SAP HANA migration?
While SAP HANA has run on Linux® since 2010, when the database was first released, SAP HANA now runs exclusively on the Linux operating system. This means that organizations that currently use an alternative operating system will not only need to migrate from their legacy ERP system, but will also need to migrate to Linux, the same OS that is used on the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers.
Linux is able to provide SAP HANA and SAP S/4HANA with a solid foundation to deliver stability, performance, greater security, flexibility, and availability at scale. The mandatory 2027 migration to SAP HANA and SAP S/4HANA will help organizations become more agile and competitive, as they modernize and find new ways to take advantage of the cloud and accelerate digital transformation.
What are the migration challenges?
Additionally, some organizations making the migration to SAP S/4HANA may also face a challenge when it comes to custom code. Because SAP S/4HANA is a completely new product version, legacy customizations for SAP HANA may lack compatibility with the new environment.
This complexity may be why, as of research published in March 2021, only 24% of SAP customers had already made the transition to SAP S/4HANA, with 23% stating they did not have plans for migrating.
What are migration considerations?
To help simplify and streamline your new SAP HANA and SAP S/4HANA migration project, account for the following considerations.
Choose the right Linux platform and migration tools. Don’t know how to evaluate? Use this checklist to help inform your decision and explore your database migration options.
Decide how you want to use IT automation. Automation can be a valuable tool—not only for your migration strategy, but once you have migrated to SAP S/4HANA. This report by SAPinsider outlines the benefits of automation from migration through to optimization.
- Determine if your team has the right skills to operate SAP S/4HANA on Linux. Consider training to ensure that your organization’s system administrators can install, operate, and get the most out of your SAP products on Red Hat® Enterprise Linux.
- Select a platform for your SAP workloads that will help to modernize your entire technology landscape. Look past your migration needs and consider how you may use your environment in the future. Find a platform that offers consistency and flexibility across public, private, hybrid, multi cloud, and on premise environments.
- Think beyond SAP. Consider standardizing on the same platform and tools for your SAP and non-SAP systems with a complete and consistent software stack. Build an extensible infrastructure that spans and benefits your entire organization.
Red Hat and SAP
Red Hat and SAP share a long and strong history, with over 20 years of co-innovation. Red Hat was selected as the first Linux to run SAP in 1999, and since then Red Hat and SAP have been customers and champions of each other’s solutions.
This deep relationship can provide SAP business suite customers with confidence when they choose Red Hat products, knowing that the two companies work closely and collaboratively. In fact, in 2020 it was announced that Red Hat is working with SAP on its own internal Kubernetes container project.
This close connection means that Red Hat understands both the current and future needs of SAP customers, and has a portfolio of products that can help SAP S/4HANA users build a foundation to achieve not only migration, but automation, and containerization.
Additionally, to best support SAP customers as they migrate to SAP S/4HANA, Red Hat is able to help with dedicated global SAP subject matter experts. These include:
- Red Hat Consulting for SAP.
- Red Hat SAP Technical Account Managers to help customers optimize the use of SAP solutions on Red Hat technologies.
Why run SAP S/4HANA on Red Hat Enterprise Linux?
Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a Linux distribution that is not only certified by SAP, but optimized for SAP. Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Solutions goes beyond providing an operating system.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Solutions delivers key features and benefits that meet the specific requirements of SAP applications by combining the reliability, scalability, and performance of Red Hat Enterprise Linux with content specific to operating SAP landscapes.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Solutions includes:
- The Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system
- High Availability Add-On for increased uptime
- Red Hat Satellite for life-cycle management
- Red Hat Insights for proactive issue identification and remediation
- Technical components to support SAP HANA, SAP S/4HANA, and business processes, applications, and workloads
- Update Services for SAP solutions for up to four years
Standardize on a single, open platform with Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Solutions, and build on a strong foundation to make the most of SAP S/4HANA well beyond migration.