RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • Accenture selected Google Cloud for the specific SAP environment hosted by the Accenture Innovation Center for clients using SAP HANA (AICS HANA).
  • This paper details Accenture’s hands-on experience and insights resulting from the migration of an existing SAP system landscape to Google Cloud.
  • It describes how the AICS HANA applied its broad technical expertise and experience to achieve a successful migration.
  • In the paper we also showcase the value Google Cloud is bringing to the AICS HANA when embracing cloud to drive innovation.


Accenture’s Innovation Center (AIC) and Global Center of Excellence for clients using SAP HANA provides research, training and support for the company’s customers and its own experts around the world. When it came time to migrate the AIC’s own SAP HANA system to a public cloud environment, Accenture chose Google Cloud. “Accenture has been a Google Cloud partner for many years and brought a lot to the table with their SAP capabilities, so it’s especially gratifying that they chose Google Cloud to host their SAP environment,” says Snehanshu Shah, Managing Director for SAP at Google Cloud.

The AIC faced challenges familiar to many companies running on-premises deployments of SAP: a relatively high effort to manage and secure its infrastructure, costly operations, and limited flexibility for sandboxes, backup and piloting new capabilities. The Center’s SAP HANA hardware was also nearing the end of its lifetime, and Accenture wanted to shift its IT spending away from CAPEX ownership to an OPEX model in the cloud.

Beyond these factors, a key reason for choosing Google Cloud was gaining access to Google technologies such as BigQuery, AutoML and Anthos, as well as advanced AI, machine learning, and data analytics services. Combined, these tools provide the AIC with an innovation platform to extend SAP workloads and complement existing SAP software functionality. “With more than three years of experience running SAP applications in the cloud, the choice of Google Cloud was an easy one,” says Prof. Dr. Alexander Zeier, 1st Cloud Fellow at Accenture.

Accenture also looked forward to leveraging the scale and flexibility of Google Cloud to right-size its environment depending on workloads; re-size VMs quickly and easily; create additional SAP system instances when needed; and automate SAP landscape management and provisioning.

"Accenture has been a Google Cloud partner for many years and brought a lot to the table with their SAP capabilities, so it’s especially gratifying that they chose Google Cloud to host their SAP environment."

— Snehanshu Shah, Managing Director – SAP, Google Cloud

A textbook migration

The Global Center of Excellence serves as a lab where Accenture clients using SAP HANA can experience the latest innovations from SAP. The Center chose a “lift-and-shift” migration approach, in which all components are moved as they are, with no changes to the application or underlying databases. This differs from a “rebuild-and-reinstall” approach, which involves creating an environment in which relevant files and databases may be restored.

The migration proceeded in four phases over a 10-week project cycle:

  1. Discovery: The team assessed its current SAP landscape, gathered all the requirements for the migration, and familiarized itself with the tools it would be using.
  2. Planning: The project team and other stakeholders aligned along the planned sequence of the migration.
  3. Build: The team created and configured the new Google Cloud environment and set up roles and permissions. They then migrated the servers in sequential waves, validating the SAP application after each wave. Accenture orchestrated many of the migration processes with Migrate for Compute Engine from Google Cloud and Cloud Suite automation from Accenture.
  4. Validation: Once the migration was complete, the team and stakeholders confirmed that the new, migrated environment met all requirements and was fully functional.
"Not only did Google Cloud offer Migrate for Compute Engine to facilitate migration, but it also provides tools that will extend SAP with robust data analysis capabilities."

– PROF. DR. ALEXANDER ZEIER, Accenture

Results

The migration proceeded smoothly, offering a number of insights to guide other companies in their own SAP migration. It also resulted in a number of tangible improvements and benefits for the Accenture Innovation Center:

Increased storage IOPS

which speeds up technical operations.

Lower latency and higher performance

Latency declined by half, which sped up application response times and data transfers between applications.

Reduced costs

Re-evaluating the size (CPU, RAM, disk) of each instance and optimizing the sizing for Google Cloud reduced overall cost for the AIC of about 20%.

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Insights

An important secondary purpose of the migration was to determine best practices for planning, designing, and executing a similar lift-and-shift migration of SAP systems to Google Cloud in order to facilitate the process for other companies. Given its educational mission, it makes sense that the AIC documented the entire experience in a white paper, which is now available from Accenture and Google Cloud. Here are just a few insights the team reported in the white paper:

To minimize downtime and conserve bandwidth, migrate servers in waves according to dependencies and use, starting with support servers, then application servers, and finally database servers.

Shut down source instances and applications before starting the migration to avoid inconsistent states and data loss.

Establish sufficient network bandwidth between both environments.

Avoid parallel waves so as not to stress the network, especially if using a VPN connection.

Use multiple cloud extensions (conduits for VM storage between two hosting environments) to accelerate migration.

Reconfigure the SAP applications after each wave to align hostnames, IPs, and environment variables to start up services and SAP HANA databases (process can be automated for larger system landscapes).

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As an SAP and Google Cloud partner, Accenture has executed many cloud migrations for its clients around the globe. This time, the company did so for itself, and the fact that it chose Google Cloud is a vote of confidence. Even better, the AIC team took the time to document the process and record lessons learned into a set of insights that other companies would be wise to follow. With its SAP system now hosted in Google Cloud, the Accenture Innovation Center has positioned itself to take advantage of Google Cloud’s powerful technologies such as BigQuery, AutoML and data analytics. Isn’t it time your organization did the same?

Tom Stuermer

Global Managing Director


Heiko Steigerwald

Principal Director SAP with Google Cloud

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