Cloud solutions are becoming more and more popular. The list of benefits of using these solutions seems to be constantly growing, and this trend will certainly continue.
Microsoft and Amazon solutions have extensive geolocation features for individual cloud fragments. This offered the key advantage needed in the project of placing SAP system data in Germany. In this way, the process of implementing the SAP system replica in the commercial MS Azure cloud began.
SNP also used the Microsoft Azure infrastructure and Amazon Web Services in this project to complement its own SNP Data Centers.
Microsoft Azure is a cloud platform that provides services in PaaS (Platform as a Service) and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) models, based on technology similar to the popular Hyper-V virtualizer.
Compared with traditional IT solutions, in the IaaS model, the provider is responsible for maintaining the physical infrastructure in good condition. Going a step further, in the PaaS model, the provider also guarantees the maintenance of a virtualization environment where ready-made IT solutions such as SAP operate. As an experienced player in the market, SNP decided to use Azure in the IaaS model while maintaining full control over virtual environments. This decision was mainly influenced by the fact that SNP has a wide range of specialized employees experienced in maintaining the virtual infrastructure in their own data centers.
The main location requirement was met by the Microsoft Azure cloud architecture itself, maintained in 36 server rooms located around the globe. It is worth noting that, due to German law, MS Azure server rooms located in Germany form a separate cloud that is not connected to the native MS Azure.com, called MS Azure.de, which was used in this project. This is due to the same provisions that obliged Cersanit to maintain data in Germany. According to the Azure documentation:
The Azure platform (Germany) provides services in the data controller model. Customer data remains in Germany under the control of T-Systems International GmbH, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, which acts as a German data controller.
Planning and Implementation Process
During the project planning, steps were taken to use the MS Azure.de cloud. A contract providing SNP with access to a powerful cloud located in Germany was quickly finalized.
It was necessary to design the whole necessary infrastructure, which also had to be prepared in the context of future projects. It included a virtual LAN, a VPN connection, a set of firewall rules, a naming concept and management of infrastructure changes. After the completion of the work, SNP had a ready-to-use and tested environment. SNP was influenced by the possibility of transferring already proven solutions and standards developed in its own data processing center.
Twin SAP System
The next step was to build the twin SAP system concept and development scenario, and finally to prepare replication procedures meeting the customer’s needs. Due to the previously prepared virtual environment, we could approach the migration as if the target system were located in our own infrastructure. Using the knowledge and experience of our infrastructure engineers and the experience of SAP consultants, an optimal virtual environment was prepared that met the conditions set by Cersanit – it was located in Germany, and at the same time it was managed and operated by engineers and consultants familiar with the specific features of the solution and the customer’s needs. A twin environment managed and monitored by the current outsourcing partner was created.
Power of the Cloud with a Management Guarantee
Is cloud computing what Cersanit was looking for? No. A solution to the problem was sought in which the use of the cloud was one of the elements of finding computing power, RAM and disk space that met the key condition – it must be located in Germany. The value of the solution prepared by SNP lies in the comprehensive approach to delivering it. It resulted in creating a twin system, administrative services, monitoring, and providing a knowledge of cloud management in such a way as to make it as cost effective as possible. This was possible thanks to the combination of two elements – firstly, the knowledge provided by a tried-and-tested partner, and secondly, the technical capabilities of cloud computing. In the joint opinion of Cersanit and SNP, the first condition is definitely more important.
With the project for Cersanit, SNP verified its own approach to innovative solutions and flexibility in a practical way, while maintaining the expected standard. The greatest added value after completing the project was the customer’s satisfaction with the work done, as well as the experience gained during the project.
When Cersanit took over the German company Meissen Keramik, we decided to entrust the maintenance and administration of SAP systems implemented and used in MK to SNP. We started the cooperation with the migration of the entire environment of our SAP system to the data center at SNP in 2014, and other areas of cooperation soon followed. The implemented solutions proved to be beneficial for us in both organizational and financial terms.
When the obligation to maintain financial corporate data in the server room located in Germany was legally imposed on MK, we asked SNP how they could help us solve this problem. SNP approached the issue very flexibly, and we agreed that the best solution would be to create a twin SAP system based on the Oracle database and located in the German Microsoft Azure cloud. SNP offered to perform all actions related to this operation within the time we expected, which was an extremely important element for us. This approach allowed us to maintain the current, effective model of maintaining SAP systems on the SNP side, and at the same time move the storage location for MK’s financial data in SAP to Germany according to legal requirements.
SNP carried out this project quickly, efficiently and on time, without causing disruption to the daily work of system users. The implemented solution is optimal for our company.
Paweł Polski, IT Director, Cersanit SA
CERSANIT is a leading manufacturer of bathroom furnishings and ceramic tiles with headquarters in Kielce. It is active in the Polish and foreign markets. The main foreign sales markets are the European Union and Eastern European countries. Cersanit also offers its products on the market in the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa.