Announcing General Availability for Microsoft Azure Center for SAP Solutions
Published May 15 2023 07:20 AM 9,684 Views

Last year we announced the public preview of Azure Center for SAP solutions which brings together an integrated set of capabilities for deploying and managing SAP landscapes by making Azure SAP aware. Today we are excited to announce the general availability of Azure Center for SAP solutions along with key product updates delivered over the months since the Microsoft Ignite 22 update.

 

With Azure Center for SAP solutions, one of the key capabilities is a logical representation of your SAP system or what we call a Virtual Instance for SAP solutions. Now you can see and interact with the SAP system as an entire entity instead of its individual components.

 

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The virtual instance brings SAP awareness to Azure, unlocking new intelligent SAP management and guided deployment capabilities.

 

Product Highlights

Intelligent Seamless SAP Management

  • Register existing Windows and Linux ABAP based SAP systems running on Azure.
  • Search across your entire SAP estate with Azure Resource Graph. 
  • Start/Stop the entire SAP system and (NEW) individual instances, including SAP HANA directly from within Azure.
  • Azure Monitor for SAP solutions – integrated to provide deep monitoring capabilities for your SAP system, including SAP HANA and SAP NetWeaver.
  • Azure Cost Management & Billing – Summarized cost of the non-shared resources for an SAP system in Azure Cost Management.
  • Quality Checks through Azure Advisor – Hundreds of quality checks integrated with Azure Advisor automatically detecting if the SAP system deviates from documented standards and best practices.

Guided SAP Deployment

  • Deploy infrastructure for single, distributed or High-Availability SAP systems and install S/4HANA on top through the automated installation experience or manually depending on your requirements.
  • (NEW) Ability to customize the disk layout and names of Azure resources.
  • SAP Deployment Automation Framework (SDAF) – Automatically register SAP systems deployed with Microsoft’s open-source deployment automation framework.
  • (NEW) Get a visual representation of the SAP system you are about to deploy.

General

  • Built-in roles and ability to create custom roles to manage who has access to specific Azure Center for SAP solutions capabilities such as start/stop.
  • Support for Azure CLI, (NEW) PowerShell, and SDKs.

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“The demand for a unified platform to deploy and operate SAP has been widely recognized by the larger ecosystem. Microsoft's latest innovation in this space, Azure Center for SAP solutions, provides exceptional capabilities to seamlessly deploy and operate SAP systems on Microsoft Azure and includes powerful automation and integration to key Azure native solutions."


“TCS is thrilled to collaborate closely with Microsoft to share the benefits of Azure Center for SAP solutions along with TCS’s proven portfolio of solutions and leverage its deep expertise to help its customers accelerate digital transformation with SAP and Azure.”
- Chandrashekar Saligram, Partner – Cloud Transformation and Advisory, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)

 

Customers and partners are free to use all or just some of the capabilities depending on where they are on their cloud journey.

 

Continue reading to hear more on:

  • How Azure Center for SAP solutions is being used by many customers and partners today to help them achieve their business objectives.
  • Detailed product updates.
  • Links to resources, overview, and demo videos.

It is generally available today in 13 Azure regions with no additional licensing fee.

 

What we have heard from customers and partners

If you have ever been involved in a project to deploy a new SAP system, you know how complex it can be. As customers move to S/4HANA they have been looking for a complete automated solution that lets them deploy systems quickly with little maintenance overheard. With Azure Center for SAP solutions, customers can deploy a new S/4HANA system in a matter a few hours directly within the Azure Portal or using Azure CLI, including integrating it into their existing deployment pipelines.

 

“Using Azure Center for SAP Solutions we found an efficient service to deploy complex SAP S/4HANA systems that meet our project requirements. Using ACSS, we can now carry out repeated deployments of SAP systems in just a few hours without the need to maintain complex automation code.” – Steelcase, Inc 

 

Managing an SAP environment can be complex, often requiring coordination between many different groups with a company. With the registration of existing SAP systems running on Azure, customers benefit from the Virtual Instance for SAP solutions. The logical representation of their SAP system enables both SAP and non-SAP experts to have the context they needed when working across different areas of responsibility, such as the infrastructure and Basis administrators.

 

It also allows them to take advantage of the built-in capabilities of Azure now that SAP is treated like an Azure-native resource.

 

“At Unilever, we started evaluating Azure Center for SAP solutions for the End 2 End capability to monitor SAP technical stack. The ability to view all of Unilever’s SAP systems in a single pane of glass and with a representation on Azure that is SAP aware makes it easy for SAP Technical teams to manage & monitor our systems. The automated cost analysis at SAP Instance level makes it easy to keep track of costs of running SAP systems and make informed decisions. The Azure advisor recommendations on any deviations from SAP on Azure best practices have been invaluable in ensuring that our systems are running optimally. The ability to easily start and stop SAP instances at scale during maintenance saves us a lot of time and effort.”

– Sanjay Gandhi, Global IT Director – SAP Technology & Cloud Transformation, Unilever

 

Nearly all SAP projects involve the rich ecosystem of partners who help customers accelerate their digital transformation journey. Partners recognize the benefits of adopting Azure Center for SAP solutions into their own practices which creates a foundation for consistent deployment and management of SAP systems. Subsequently, this allows them to bring their own portfolio of products to further drive value for customers who run their SAP systems on Azure. Here are some of the most impressive capabilities, according to TCS customers:

 

“Quality insights that help detect and remediate misconfigurations, the ease of deploying new SAP systems, the user-friendly registration process for existing SAP systems, and the ability to see relevant SAP metadata directly in Azure.”

- Chandrashekar Saligram, Partner – Cloud Transformation and Advisory, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)

 

Product Updates

In October of 2022 we announced many updates. Since then, we have worked tirelessly to get additional feedback from our customers and therefore now provide even more flexibility in deploying and managing SAP systems running on Azure.

 

In addition to the product updates covered below, we are also happy to announce the preview of Azure Backup integration with Azure Center for SAP solutions is coming in June. With this preview you will be able to protect your SAP systems with automated setup of Azure Backup and get a current view of the backup status. Stay tuned for more details coming soon.

 

Guided SAP Deployment: Additional flexibility

 

(Preview) Architecture Visualization

Now when deploying a system, you get a visual representation of the architecture which shows the resources that will be deployed and their relationships. The visualizations are based on the inputs provided, allowing you to go back and make adjustment if something is not as expected before starting the deployment or simply download a copy to use it in your documentation.

 

ArchVizV2.png

 

Disk configuration and Azure resource name customization

Based on the size of the Virtual Machine running the SAP HANA database, Azure Center for SAP solutions configures the storage layout based on documented best practices. Now customers can customize the disk layout to further meet their requirements directly when deploying SAP instead of doing it after the system was already deployed, this saves time and effort.

 

Not having to input names for all the resources that are going to be deployed with the new SAP system saves time and is great for environments such as demo landscapes, but typically doesn’t work when it comes to productive environments which need to comply with company naming standards. Customers now have an option to specify the name of each of the resources they deploy when using

 

Automatic registration of SDAF deployed SAP systems

For more complex SAP deployments or deployments not currently supported by Azure Center for SAP solutions, please check out the Azure SAP Deployment Automation Framework (SDAF) an open-source orchestration tool for deploying and installing SAP environments. Now with the SDAF 3.7 release, deployments will automatically be registered as a Virtual Instance for SAP solutions, allowing you to take advantage of the management capabilities that Azure Center for SAP solutions provides.

 

Intelligent SAP management: More control and integration

 

SAP Operations: Start and Stop individual instances

Previously customers could start and stop the entire SAP system as a complete system and we have now added the capability to start and stop individual instances, including the SAP HANA database. Any start/stop operation gets logged in the activity log, along with all the other operations within the Azure subscription, including when VMs are started or stopped, providing a full audit trail in a familiar location to subscription administrators.

 

Manage resource access with role-based access control (RBAC)

 Azure provides role-based access control (RBAC) which helps you manage who has access to Azure resources and what they can do with those resources. Azure Center for SAP solutions now provides built-in roles like an administrator role that allows a user to perform all activities, such as deploying, registering, or starting/stopping an SAP system along with other roles, like a reader role. The reader role only allows the ability to view virtual instances, but not start or stop the SAP systems. You can also create custom roles, with further granular control, such as providing permissions to start an SAP system, but not stop.

 

Foundation for Innovation

Azure Center for SAP solutions and the introduction of Azure Virtual Instance for SAP solutions provides new Azure-native capabilities for managing and deploying your SAP systems on Azure, while being able to leverage common Azure tools in ways not previously possible. Besides the Azure Portal experience, customers and partners can use REST APIs, Azure SDK, Azure CLI, ARM templates and now PowerShell, just as you can with other Azure services.

 

By incorporating Azure Center for SAP solutions into your own products, tools, and frameworks, you can take advantage of all or some of the capabilities in a way that makes sense for your business.

 

“Lemongrass is very pleased to work closely with Microsoft to bring their cloud innovations to our customers through the integration of Azure Center for SAP Solutions with Lemongrass Cloud Platform, our SAP-centric automation orchestration platform. 

With enhanced analysis, visualization, and context-sensitive actions enabled by this integration, our customers and delivery teams now get automatic detection of existing Azure-based SAP systems, simplified registration of new SAP workloads, and can benefit from Azure-native capabilities.”

Kausik Chaudhuri, Chief Innovation Officer, Lemongrass Consulting

 

Pricing and Availability

  • Azure Virtual Instance for SAP solutions is available in West Europe, North Europe, East US, East US 2, West US 2, West US 3, Central US, South Central US, East Asia, Central India, Southeast Asia, Australia East and Australia Central.
  • There is no additional licensing fee for the product. Customers only pay for the underlying infrastructure which is deployed as part of the product or services they enable.

 

Learn more

If you plan to attend SAP Sapphire 2023 in-person, please stop by the Microsoft booth to learn more about Azure Center for SAP solutions or check out the following updated resources or head over to the Azure Portal to get started.

Please also check out the Sapphire blog to get a summary of other product announcements, such as the general availability of Azure Monitor for SAP solutions.

 

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‎May 14 2023 07:58 AM
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