Today I’ll be explaining you a story you may have heard of or even experienced yourself, if you are an SAP Basis admin:
“The end of the month is near. HR system is on fire calculating payrolls and letting the workforce know when they pay is ready. The ERP system is fully busy calculating god-knows-what that seems to be needed for this month closure process and you don’t want to think about the BW system, which has been busy all night long querying all its neighbors for data for its infocubes.
Your inbox is full of messages asking about why some of the systems’ response are so bad each end of the month/quarter/fiscal year.”
Sounds familiar? If so, probably, you may have put some solutions in place:
- Have some application servers for the peak periods deployed in infrastructure that is not used at 100%
- If you enjoy proper virtualization, probably you created clones of your SAP application servers and started them on peak periods, only to stop them afterwards because the VM farm is pretty overloaded and the VM platform team growls at you when you ask them for resources.
- Ask the business to distribute the processes in more extended timeframes, just to get a bad answer saying that IT should serve the business, and not otherwise (which is true, actually)
- Evaluate some very expensive solutions from some vendors that facilitate the deployment of new servers, but do not solve the fact that you don’t have spare servers and your VM farm is at 90%.
Here at Rocket Steam have seen this in a lot of customers of different sizes and sectors. And when we learned about AWS Auto Scaling features we wondered if it would be possible to adapt them to SAP workloads.
The idea behind ElasticSAP is to allow existing ABAP systems to grow as fast as possible in order to adapt to the real load. Just the way web application leverage resources thanks to AWS Auto Scaling, now SAP ABAP solutions like ERP, CRM, HCM… can adapt to their users demand based on customizable alerts.
ElasticSAP is a product based on two components:
- An ABAP transport file
- An AWS AMI image for each combination of platform/database (at the time of this writing, Linux/Oracle)
Currently, the setup of ElasticSAP needs you to have proper knwoledge of SAP BASIS and AWS, but during the following months we’ll integrate the product with our Rocket-Steam Console’s SAPFormation tool, which will allow you to deploy elastic SAP systems with just a few clicks.
So, what do you need to implement ElasticSAP?
- First of all, you need an SAP System deployed in AWS. If you don’t have one but want to try it, we invite you to test our SAPFormation tool, which will help you deliver a test system into the Amazon cloud in a few hours (please note that you need to be an SAP Customer with a current S account to use this tool).
- Second, you need to setup your SAP System to share your sapmnt and trans filesystems through NFS.
- Third, you need to perform some preparation tasks described in the documentation.
- Fourth, you define your autoscaling group the same way you would do for web applications.
Your ElasticSAP system is ready. With less than two hours of work you have provided your business with an adaptable SAP system.
You may be asking yourself what’s the advantage of using ElasticSAP rather than having spare EC2 instances stopped waiting to be started:
- Stopped EC2 instances still cost you something (EBS)
- With spare EC2 instances, you have to manage registration into logon and RFC groups for new clones of the instance (did we forgot to say that ElasticSAP automates this task?)
- The reaction time of ElasticSAP is immediate. Our test scenario shows that you can have a fully operative application server in 3-5 minutes, and if you need faster deployments, we can build custom AMIs for your system that will get you up in a minute or so.
- ElasticSAP customizes the amount of dialog and batch processes for you, depending on the size of the EC2 instance you choose for your ElasticSAP pool.
Having your SAP system Elastified won’t cost you much. It’s just a few cents per hour for each running ElasticSAP instance, so you will only pay for what you actually use.