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Alibaba Cloud is an important partner for Red Hat and the choice of public cloud for many of our customers in the Asia Pacific region. For those customers looking to modernize and migrate SAP workloads to SAP S/4HANA we can offer several reasons to consider RHEL for SAP Solutions in the Alibaba cloud.

Moving to SAP S/4HANA by 2027

The year 2027 is an important one - modernizing legacy  SAP ERP solutions to S/4HANA means that organizations must standardize their underlying SAP databases to use SAP HANA running on Linux. 

This critical migration event presents an excellent opportunity for organizations to modernize their IT infrastructure, compelling them to not only decide on which operating system to pick, but also whether or not they should move to the cloud to further streamline costs and improve business agility. 

With Alibaba Cloud leading the pack among the cloud service providers in the Asia Pacific region and building on the successful availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1 on the Alibaba cloud, Red Hat, SAP, and Alibaba Cloud have been working closely to bring Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) for SAP solutions with High Availability and Update Services to the Alibaba Cloud Marketplace with on-demand pricing options for RHEL 7 and RHEL 8.

Here are 3 reasons why you should consider RHEL for SAP Solutions on the Alibaba Cloud

RHEL for SAP Solutions provides a consistent platform for SAP in the cloud 

When it comes to cloud workloads, having a consistent and stable platform is key. In fact, in a recent IDC survey1 consistency stood out as a key driver for customers deploying SAP workloads so that they can simply use the cloud as an extension of their entire existing on-premise environments. 

With Red Hat Enterprise Linux, you can get the consistency you need to conquer complexity no matter where or how you choose to deploy - on-premise, in the cloud, containerized, or all the way out to the edge. 

Here are a few benefits that organizations get by deploying a consistent platform in the cloud. 

Improved efficiency

Implementing a standard operating environment can greatly simplify your IT infrastructure while mitigating many of the challenges that cause inefficiency. With database workloads like SAP HANA, standardizing the approach of configuring your operating system to deliver the best performance for your database is key. 

With RHEL for SAP Solutions you can more easily optimize SAP HANA workloads running on RHEL, using our tools and customized profiles for SAP HANA workloads. RHEL has a number of customized profiles for workloads that we see across many of our customers..

Enhanced automation

Automating common administrative tasks reduces the amount of effort and time you need to provision new resources and services, enforces consistency across your environments, and requires fewer IT staff members to manage your infrastructure on a day-to-day basis. 

With RHEL for SAP Solutions system roles, administrators can eliminate error-prone manual tasks through automation and self-service. The RHEL system roles for SAP offer a prescriptive and automated way to more easily configure and validate SAP environments to ensure that they are configured correctly utilizing the best practices suggested by both Red hat and SAP.  For more information read our blog here.

Deeper insights across your organization’s IT estate

As your SAP environments grow across the hybrid-cloud, analytical solutions are needed to stay ahead of critical security, compliance and configuration tasks, as well as get deeper insights into your overall IT estate. 

Red Hat Insights is included in every RHEL subscription including RHEL for SAP Solutions. By using Insights you will be better able to proactively identify and can help remediate security, compliance, performance, availability, and stability issues before they result in unplanned downtime and other interruptions in mission critical environments. 

For SAP workloads running on RHEL, this means addition of several recommendations for SAP applications that can proactively alert you of system misconfigurations, and remediate them based on best practices. For more information read our blog here

These are just a few of the reasons how SAP on RHEL in the cloud can be a solid foundational environment.  If you need more, visit our 10 reasons to run SAP S/4 HANA on Red Hat Enterprise Linux infographic to help you understand how Red Hat can help you modernize your SAP systems and build a foundation for digital transformation. 

Mitigate risks and reduce expensive downtime 

There is no doubt that cloud customers can immensely benefit from the massive economies of scale. However, when running a mission-critical workload like SAP HANA, any downtime can be very expensive. To meet higher-9s of availability requires all elements of the stack including the infrastructure, operating system and database to be designed with high availability in mind.

Alibaba Cloud: A modern cloud foundation

Alibaba Cloud delivers a modern cloud foundation to help you quickly create innovative products, manage expenses, and mitigate risks. From an infrastructure perspective, Alibaba Cloud operates data centers in 23 regions and has 69 availability zones, each with their independent supporting facilities including power, networks, and security.

Customers can launch RHEL High Availability Clusters in the Alibaba Cloud using Alibaba Cloud’s instances as cluster members. At the core of this is Red Hat Enterprise Linux High Availability Add-On - included with Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Solutions on Alibaba Cloud - which automates the takeover process when critical underlying system components fail and  support several  SAP high-availability scenarios including scale-up and scale-out clusters. This is key to help minimize the recovery time objective (RTO), and lessen the possibility of data loss. 

At the database scope, SAP HANA provides its own system replication and failover mechanisms. Additionally, you can also integrate your SAP HANA database with Alibaba Cloud’s native backup recovery service (HBR)

Alibaba Cloud delivers a modern cloud foundation to help you quickly create innovative products, manage expenses, and mitigate risks.

Scale and connect digitally 

Whether it's supplier relationship management (SRM), customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM), product lifecycle management (PLM), or enterprise resource planning (ERP), SAP is at the core of making it possible to integrate these applications and deliver a unified, connected business experience. 

Building on the years of close collaboration between Red Hat, SAP and Alibaba Cloud, customers get a unified, connected experience and infrastructure that Alibaba Cloud provides to scale and streamline operations, as well as the ability to receive support from Red Hat’s award-winning Global Support Services organization — all while ensuring that their deployed solution is tailored to meet country-specific security compliance regulations

Isometric thumbnail image, abstractIt’s more than just the cloud infrastructure running an operating system 

Together, Red Hat and SAP technology on the Alibaba Cloud can enable you to meet a variety of different SAP use-cases including the simplification of SAP deployment through automation, and data intelligence, as well as extending SAP deployments through application platform modernization and integration. 

As SAP seeks to support customers in a hybrid cloud world, Linux containers and Kubernetes become key building blocks to support future analytics infrastructure. As a leader in open hybrid cloud solutions and one of the top contributors to the Kubernetes project, we’re pleased to collaborate with SAP on this work, including bringing more SAP workloads to the industry’s most comprehensive enterprise Kubernetes platform: Red Hat OpenShift. By adopting trusted technologies from Red Hat, you can focus on what matters to your business. 

If you’re looking to migrate your SAP workloads to the cloud,  we encourage you to give the  RHEL for SAP Solutions 8.1 Image on the Alibaba Cloud Marketplace a try! 

1 IDC White Paper, sponsored by Red Hat, For SAP Landscapes, Migration Means Much More Than Just Linux, February 2021

About the author

Don Pinto is a Technical Product Marketing Manager at Red Hat focused on helping customers understand why Red Hat Enterprise Linux is an ideal operating system platform for modern application workloads. Pinto is passionate about data management and operating systems, having authored several technical blogs and white papers on various tech topics. Pinto holds a Masters degree in Computer Science and a Bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Toronto, Canada.