We are very excited to be part of this year’s Sapphire. As with all previous events, Microsoft continues to strengthen its partnership with SAP as a “Diamond” sponsor to engage customers on how to be more future proof. Whether it is moving SAP workloads into Azure or managing diverse SAP applications on Azure, Microsoft remains committed to providing solutions for making customers’ journey to cloud frictionless and, providing a platform to increase productivity and enabling innovation for better business outcomes.
A great example for this is the recent move by Unilever to SAP on Azure. Unilever needed to move its SAP landscape as quickly as possible without disruption within 18 months. Unilever was also looking to improve productivity with the suites of SAP on Azure services to run and manage their SAP workloads.
“Our teams have been able to run processes much faster and release time back to the business with an overall 20-30% improvement for critical business processes.”
- Sanjay Gandhi, Global IT Director – SAP Technology and Cloud Transformation, Unilever
Likewise, Hilti, a premier supplier for the construction industry, accelerated its innovation roadmap by migrating to RISE with SAP on Azure in less than a year, adopting our industry leading very high memory 24 terabyte (TB) M-series virtual machine platform to support its large-scale SAP S/4HANA deployment to enable rapid growth and minimize downtime.
"If we hadn’t scaled up, this would have had a significant business impact, so we’re happy we could do it in less than six months using RISE with SAP on Azure—in the middle of a global supply crisis, no less."
- Dr. Andreas Weiner: RISE Program Manager and Head of Strategic IT Projects, Hilti
These and countless SAP customer stories on Azure have been possible due to the breadth and depth of services from best practices, reference architectures, tools, and frameworks to unified end-to-end platform for deploying, and managing mission critical SAP workloads.
As we begin this year’s Sapphire conference, we are happy to share product updates built upon this framework to further help our customers improve productivity and business outcomes.
With that let’s get into the summary of product updates and services
Azure M series Mv3 families, powered by 4th generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors, are the next generation of memory optimized VM sizes delivering faster performance, lower total cost of ownership and improved resilience to failures compared to previous generation Mv2 VMs. The Mv3 VM family will scale for SAP workloads from less than 1TB to 24TB and beyond. The Mv3 medium memory (MM) offer VM sizes up to 3TB of memory and 4,000 MBps throughout to remote storage and providing up to 25% networking performance improvements over previous generations.
Based on intelligence gathered from supporting thousands of SAP deployments on Azure, the Mv3 platform has been built from the ground-up with significant investment in stability and reliability. The Mv3 VM family offers improved resilience against common failures in memory, storage, and networking, resulting in minimizing interruptions to your mission-critical workloads.
Thanks to the strong customer demand, we are excited to announce a preview of Mv3 medium memory virtual machines sizes in the second half of 2023.
We are introducing a new 8TB VM based on customer feedback. This VM offers an intermediate size to scale between 6TB and 12TB. The Standard_M416ms_8_v2 will become generally available in June 2023.
Additionally, to provide extra headroom for large SAP HANA scale-out OLAP systems, we have completed a workload-based sizing certification for our 12TB, Standard_M416ms_v2 VM. The certification enables our customers to scale out to 16 x 12TB memory or 192TB in total. We are positioning this VM as an option for customers that outgrow the smaller 6TB, M416s_v2 VM type and where the demand for memory is the main scale driver for many customers. This represents a great opportunity to expand their SAP HANA scale-out cluster without the need of repartitioning and rebalancing the data when adding additional nodes.
We are also announcing the general availability of Microsoft Azure Center for SAP solutions, an end-to-end solution enabling the deployment and management of SAP systems running on Azure. It provides a unified experience, bringing new capabilities and different existing Azure services together in one place.
Azure Center for SAP solutions is being used by many customers and partners today, including for their production SAP environments. We hear from customers that now with Azure Virtual Instances for SAP solutions which provides a logical representation of each of their SAP systems running on Azure, their infrastructure people better understand their SAP systems, helping to bridge understanding between disciplines.
With Quality Checks integrated with Azure Advisor, customers automatically can see when there are deviations from standards and best practices in their SAP environments, helping them to better manage their IT relationships.
“At Unilever, we started evaluating Azure Center for SAP solutions…. 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
When it comes to deploying new SAP S4/HANA systems, you now get repeatable deployments without having to maintain complex automation code, meeting project requirements while saving time and effort.
Please check out our Azure Center for SAP solutions general availability announcement to hear more about how customers and partners are using the product and to learn about new capabilities.
We are also announcing the general availability of Azure Monitor for SAP solutions, an end-to-end SAP technical monitoring service within Microsoft Azure. A couple of exciting product updates we want to share are SAP Landscape Monitor and SAP Insights.
SAP Landscape Monitor provides a one stop destination to learn about the health of your SAP systems. You can group SAP systems based on environment, domain or importance and be alerted to the status of the systems.
With SAP insights (preview), troubleshooting and identifying the root cause of problems now takes significantly less time with access to all availability and performance related information. SAP insights not only provide SAP level metrics, but also shows the relevant Azure infrastructure metrics for a comprehensive cause analysis and faster problem resolution.
We have also added new alert templates to support more scenarios for OS and High Availability Cluster providers. Communication between SAP systems and Azure Monitor for SAP solutions is more secure by introduction of secure Transport Level Security (TLS >1.2).
Please see our Azure Monitor for SAP solutions’ general availability announcement to learn more about how customers and partners are using the product and to learn about new capabilities.
Azure Center for SAP solutions Tools and Frameworks help customers deploy and manage SAP workloads on Azure effectively. They provide visibility into Azure configuration, OS configuration, deployment, connects with critical design areas, and offer SAP on Azure best practices recommendations to ensure a high-quality SAP workload deployment on Azure.
Inventory Checks for SAP provide insights into your SAP workload through aggregated views including virtual machines, storage configuration, network information, and configuration checks for drifts from Azure best practices.
Here is what some of our customers have to say about Azure Inventory Checks for SAP
"Inventory checks of ModusLink’s SAP Azure and non-SAP Azure environments provides us reporting which enables us to effectively manage assets/resource utilization and make appropriate configuration changes. We have visibility to identify orphaned resources, configuration drifts from best practices which in turn helps us optimize the environment and cost.”
- Gita Karle, Director Cloud and emerging Technologies &
Alejandro Flores, Director IT Infrastructure
We continue to invest heavily on the SAP on Azure Deployment Automation Framework (SDAF), an open-source orchestration tool for deploying, installing, and maintaining SAP environments. The SDAF Framework helps our customers rapidly deploy SAP S/4HANA and SAP NetWeaver based systems at scale in a few hours. It supports standalone, distributed, and highly available SAP deployments using Linux Pacemaker or Windows Failover clustering. We recently expanded the scope of supported databases by adding Microsoft SQL Server and SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise (SAP ASE) to the mix of existing SAP HANA, IBM Db2 and Oracle databases. Importantly, our customers can also use SDAF to register the Virtual Instance for SAP and reap the benefits of the Azure Centre for SAP solutions management capabilities.
Business applications pose a unique security challenge with highly sensitive information that can make them prime targets for attacks. Microsoft has expanded its security solutions support for SAP business applications with Microsoft Sentinel.
We are pleased to announce that SAP has certified the Microsoft Sentinel solution for SAP® applications for integration with SAP S/4HANA®Cloud, private edition (RISE with SAP), SAP S/4HANA (on-premise software) and SAP ECC via the External Alert and Monitoring interface. The certified integration scenario is evidence of our deep commitment to providing security for SAP software products.
Expanded coverage for SAP includes a limited preview of the Microsoft Sentinel solution for SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP). SAP BTP brings together application development, data and analytics, integration, automation, and AI capabilities in one unified environment. The Microsoft Sentinel solution for SAP BTP collects audits and activity logs from Cloud Foundry infrastructure and apps of SAP BTP to monitor suspicious activities. Also released recently is the ability to monitor SAP for security misconfigurations and alert in case someone deliberately or mistakenly opens the door for an attack.
Providing up to 74% reduction in development costs, we see thousands of companies adopting low-code solutions – especially in the context of SAP. Microsoft has been a leader in the low-code space with the Power Platform for years and with acquisition of Clear Software end of 2021 has also doubled down on the integration with SAP.
Among other things, customers like Coca-Cola United implemented the Power Platform to reduce order validation time from half a day to seconds Coca-Cola United automates over 50,000 orders in complex SAP invoicing process with Microsoft Power ....
In the last months Microsoft not only released a new and enhanced connector for SAP solutions, but also released several new pre-built Power Apps templates and Power Automate flows to address some of the most common SAP business processes like Order to Cash and Procure to Pay. Check out more at Announcing Deeper SAP Integration for the Power Platform | Power Automate Blog (microsoft.com) and get started using the new Connector Overview of SAP integration with Microsoft Power Platform - Power Automate | Microsoft Learn
To enable ABAP developers to benefit from the transformative power of Azure OpenAI, Microsoft released the Microsoft AI SDK for SAP, AI SDK for SAP | AI SDK for SAP (microsoft.github.io). As an Open-Source project on GitHub it provides the ABAP developer an easy way to consume Azure OpenAI service using ABAP data types, supporting Azure Active Directory for authentication and even enterprise controls allowing fine-tuning of access to features of the SDK.
Microsoft and SAP's longstanding partnership has resulted in numerous joint innovations that have transformed our customers' business processes. Having worked together for over 30 years, the two companies are strengthening their partnership even further and are preparing to announce some exciting new developments at the Sapphire keynote on Tuesday, May 16, 2023. Whether you're a Microsoft user, an SAP customer, or simply interested in the latest advancements in business technology, be sure to check out our blog to stay up-to-date on these groundbreaking changes.
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