A different perspective
Let’s reverse the perspective of looking at the cloud.
Public cloud providers draw their customers’ attention to the infrastructure that is necessary for efficient operation of SAP systems and compliant with the manufacturer’s recommendations. This perspective is understandable for the IT world, but the question is: is it useful for the business that expects other solutions?
The business does not want to know about the speed of drives, the number of IP addresses, the bandwidth needed, the type of backup system that needs to be provided, and this type of data is expected by the public cloud providers from customers. The business wants to have an SAP system – available, efficient and secure. And in addition – in case of questions or problems, it wants to talk to a competent consultant, and not fill in a form that is sent to a highly anonymous service cloud…
When creating the SNP Cloud Platform, we took over the perspective of the business and its expectations in the context of cloud solutions as our own. We do not require an understanding of infrastructure complexities, we do not require the competencies of a cloud solution architect or SAP system administrators to be maintained by the customer.
We focus on providing what the business requires – the availability, performance and security of SAP on HANA systems. However, since “technicalities” are an important issue, we do not forget about them.
SNP Cloud Platform – what’s underneath
What is the technical side of the SNP Cloud Platform? The infrastructure is built exactly on the resources that are expected and supported by SAP, especially for S/4HANA systems or more broadly – systems based on SAP HANA.
We use virtualization, maintaining systems in the Tailored Datacenter Infrastructure variant. The backup system is integrated with the SAP HANA databases, and the backups themselves are maintained on dedicated data carriers. Backups of production systems are maintained in at least two copies, on two separate carriers, in two locations making up the twin infrastructure of SNP Data Centers. The SAP system can be restored to any indicated point in time up to 14 days back.
In addition to the infrastructure layer, there is a team of SAP consultants and administrators who administer the systems entrusted to us, and who ensure the availability, performance and security of SAP systems at the system level.
They perform both proactive tasks related to the daily monitoring of SAP systems, verifying the correctness of operation and proposing optimization and correction actions, as well as reactive tasks related to the needs or requests of the customer’s users. Consultants are available 24/7/365 for critical requests related to production systems.
Requests are recorded, processed and handled in accordance with good practices by the SNP service organization – we have a service application SNP Service Desk, an on-call team that directs requests to appropriate specialists, the ability to monitor the handling of requests both at the level of a single service request and maintenance of SLA for all requests. At the same time, there is no anonymity that is common for many cloud solutions. The customer can contact specialists known by name, and a dedicated contract coordinator supervises the whole service process.
Many providers, one SLA
Operating on the international scale and legal regulations give rise to new challenges for companies in the context of the physical location of systems. Whether for legal, business or technical reasons, some enterprises need additional services for the SAP environment.
Data of a Germany-based company must be located in Germany? The company’s security strategy requires a full copy of data to be maintained by two independent cloud providers? It is possible, but it creates an additional problem with responsibility for ensuring the failure-free operation of such a landscape.
At the SNP Cloud Platform, we use third-party resources at the customer’s request. An individually composed mix of services can include, for example, hosting and administration of the main SAP S/4HANA environment at SNP Data Centers, data replication to the third backup data center of another provider, and administration of another SAP system – for example, a global HR system maintained in the public cloud. All these elements are guaranteed and billed under one SLA with SNP.
Availability of the system rather than technology
The change in the perspective of looking at cloud services in the case of SNP Cloud Platform results in a completely different approach to the pricing of services than the one prevailing on the market.
The most common approach on the market is billing the customer for the infrastructure resources used in the service provision (i.e. the number of processors, the amount of RAM, disk space by speed classes, etc.).
In the case of the SNP Cloud Platform, the default approach is the pricing based on the number of SAP users in the production system and the total amount of disk space used by servers dedicated to SAP systems. What counts is the final effect for the customer in the form of system availability, and not the resources used. Nothing more.
It is worth noting that SAP on HANA systems use large amounts of RAM space or processors, which can translate into high costs of the cloud service. In the SNP Cloud Platform approach, there are no upper limits, and SAP systems and databases are assigned an amount that guarantees their optimal operation in accordance with the agreed SLA parameters.
Increasing the amount of RAM and the number of processors during the system life cycle and increased demand does not result in any additional fees to be paid by our customers. This business model means full cost transparency. Maintenance costs are known in advance, and are easy to plan and budget. Finally, there are no misunderstandings when it comes to the monthly billing of services.
Infrastructure is not enough
For more than a dozen years, until 2017, under the BCC brand, we provided SAP managed hosting and administration services. A private cloud is based on two SNP Data Centers. There are no two identical SLAs among dozens of our customers – we approach each of them individually, together constructing optimal SLA parameters for a given SAP environment.
Today, in the era of globalization and the growing popularity of public cloud offerings, we are going one step further. We want to provide our customers with everything that cloud technology has to offer, while maintaining the quality of an individual approach. We take a comprehensive approach: we are responsible for the availability of infrastructure and, at the same time, for its administration. If these are business or legal needs of the customer, we include the IT resources of other providers – for example, providers of public clouds – in the scope of our responsibility. And we price all services based on what the customer is most interested in – system availability for a given number of users. That’s how we have created the SNP Cloud Platform.
Tomasz Wawrzonek, IT Deputy Director, SNP Poland