This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: New blog articles in Microsoft Community Hub.
We are thrilled to be a platinum sponsor at SAP TechEd 2023 in Bangalore. Microsoft and SAP have been in a longstanding partnership for more than 30 years and have been united by a common mission to help our customers accelerate their innovation and migrate their SAP environments to the cloud.
One of the ways we are supporting this mission is to make SAP a top-level workload on Azure by building a platform for SAP deployment and management. We achieved this objective when Azure Center for SAP solutions became generally available at SAP Sapphire in May 2023. Customers and partners are adopting Azure Center for SAP solutions to innovate and drive their operational efficiencies.
“Protera's CloudVantage platform is taking managed services to the next level, thanks to its close collaboration with Microsoft. Integrating CloudVantage with Microsoft's cutting-edge technologies such as ACSS, SDAF, and Azure Backup, delivers unparalleled SAP environment health and security assessments, reduces business risk, and ensures service stability with consistent delivery models.”
- Jeff Pierce, Senior Vice President of Engineering for Protera.
Our customers are embracing our vision and moving to Azure to run their SAP workload to achieve their modernization goals and innovative ideas. SA Power Networks, the key distributor of electricity to most of South Australia, is powering the future by building the next generation of digital utility with the migration to SAP on Azure to reduce its datacenter footprint.
“We wanted to avoid a simple lift and shift and take the opportunity to address pain points and modernize our architecture. Our SAP on Azure environment is resilient, scalable, and future proof,”
-Travis Smith, SAP Domain Architect, SA Power Networks
L’Oréal, a leading brand in the beauty industry, recently adopted SAP on Azure as part of its initiative to improve performance, lower costs, and support its sustainability commitments.
"We were able to speed up lengthy transactions by 10 and even 25 times with SAP on Azure. Something that previously took 3 hours now takes 5 or 10 minutes.”
-Susannah Greenberg, Chief Information Officer, L’Oréal Americas
We are happy to share here some of our recent product updates to help our customers realize business outcomes for their SAP workloads.
- Public preview of Mv3 Medium Memory Virtual Machine, the next generation of memory optimized VM sizes delivering increased reliability, faster performance, and lower total cost of ownership.
- Streamlined SAP workload data protection with public preview of Azure Backup integration with Azure Center for SAP solutions.
- Improved onboarding experience and regional expansion of Azure Monitor for SAP solutions.
- Further enhancements to the SAP Deployment Automation Framework with improvement for SAP software installations and support for Premium Storage v2 and VMSS Flex.
- A faster and more cost-efficient Azure Backup with general availability of SAP HANA snapshot backup and SAP HANA System Replication support.
- Expanded support of Microsoft Sentinel solution for SAP applications with the public preview of the Microsoft Sentinel Solution for SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP).
- Extend your SAP system with Teams support for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, Private Edition 2023 and Azure API Management that enables governance and best in class security.
- General Availability of Inventory Checks for SAP as part of Azure Center for SAP solutions tools and frameworks to drive quality for SAP on Azure deployments.
New SAP Compute Infrastructure
Mv3 Medium Memory Preview
M-series is the platform customers trust to run in-memory SAP HANA and SAP ECC/AnyDB workloads. Thousands of customers run large-scale mission-critical workloads on tens of thousands of M-series virtual machines. We are excited to have launched the preview of the next generation of M-series (Mv3) medium memory virtual machines. Mv3 has improved resiliency against failures in local storage, memory, and networking. Moreover, Mv3 medium memory virtual machines offer significant performance with up to 4,000 MBps throughput and 130K IOPS to remote storage. Mv3 virtual machines will also be offered in both high memory and very high memory variants up to 32TB of memory in 2024.
SAP on Azure Software Products and Services
Azure Center for SAP solutions
We launched the general availability of Azure Center for SAP solutions in May 2023. Azure Center for SAP solutions provides one place to deploy and manage your SAP estate on Azure and is now available in 21 Azure regions. Our customers and partners love that they can deploy a new S/4HANA system in a few hours, and we have continued to add capabilities to support more deployment options.
New Guided SAP Deployment Features
- Support for software installation of S/4HANA 2022 exists today with S/4HANA 2023 support coming soon.
- When deploying infrastructure, customers can use their own custom Linux images (RHEL or SUSE) from the Azure Compute Gallery, allowing them to bring their own hardened image.
- Expanded list of virtual machine options for running the SAP database.
One of the first steps customers take after deploying an SAP system in Azure is to perform a data backup. Backup orchestration is now made simple with the integration of Azure Center for SAP solutions and Azure Backup (preview). This allows you to protect the SAP HANA database and all virtual machines for a specific SAP system with minimal inputs.
In addition to being able to monitor the status of the backups for your SAP system, we have also launched new management capabilities.
Intelligent Seamless SAP Management
- Easier discoverability of Azure Advisor recommendations right from the overview page of the Virtual Instance for SAP solutions.
- Support for soft shutdown of the SAP application including the SAP HANA database. Additionally, you can opt to shut down the associated virtual machines.
- Cost optimization for your SAP landscape through scheduled stopping and starting of your SAP systems that don’t need to run 24 x 7.
- Example automation to onboard SAP systems at scale to Azure Center for SAP solutions via Azure PowerShell.
During OS and application maintenance, customers are using Azure Center for SAP solutions to orchestrate the stop and start of SAP systems at-scale. Going a step further, based on customer feedback we have now released example automation that helps to optimize costs by scheduling when SAP systems are running, saving money by stopping the systems and the underlying virtual machines when they aren’t needed. The example automation runs entirely within your subscription, making it easy to customize to meet your specific needs. We have also introduced the capability to soft stop SAP application and HANA database using the Azure Center for SAP solutions PowerShell and CLI interfaces.
Along with all these new capabilities, we are excited to announce that Azure Center for SAP solutions is now available in South Central US, North Central US, West US, UK South, Sweden Central, Canada Central, Germany West Central and Brazil South. The complete list of supported regions is available here.
Please check out the product documentation to learn more or head over to the Azure Portal to try out the new features starting second week of November. You can find the scheduled SAP stop/start automation example on GitHub.
Azure Monitor for SAP solutions
We are thrilled to announce some major updates to Azure Monitor for SAP solutions. Firstly, we've improved the onboarding experience by clearly surfacing pre-requisites such as networking requirements. This means that users will have smoother and more efficient experience when setting up Azure Monitor for SAP solutions. Secondly, we have improved the scalability of the service to support monitoring of ~400 SAP systems with one instance.
Finally, we’re expanding regional coverage to include Southeast Asia, Sweden Central, UK South, West US 2, Germany West Central, Canada Central, and Brazil South along with existing 18 regions. You can check the complete list here.
SAP Deployment Automation Framework
Our recent enhancements to the SAP Deployment Automation Framework include support for Oracle Automatic Storage Management and support for Windows including Windows Server Failover Cluster. The Windows/SQL Server features have helped our customers like Rio Tinto to accelerate their SAP deployments on Azure.
“By utilizing the SAP Deployment Automation Framework, we have successfully expedited the deployment of our SAP applications on Azure in alignment with reference architectures and best practices. This has enabled the modernization of our SAP infrastructure on Azure, resulting in reduced project expenses and improved operational efficiency”.
Paul Harvey, Manager – Business Platforms & Services, Rio Tinto
We have also invested in refining and improving the SAP installation process and adding support for features such as Premium SSD v2, VMSS Flex and Azure NetApp Files. Our latest release of the SAP Deployment Automation Framework also enhanced SAP High Availability configurations with Linux Pacemaker for both SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). We introduced the simple mount scenario for SLES and added support for RHEL 9.
Azure Backup for SAP
We are excited to announce the general availability of SAP HANA instance snapshot integrated with backint logs for Azure Backup. Since we released the preview, customers have leveraged the capability to backup larger SAP HANA databases at a faster rate with instant restore, significantly improving recovery time objectives. The snapshot capability also provides point-in-time log restore and cost-efficient backups by taking increment storage snapshots.
Likewise, we are also announcing the general availability of automatic backup support for SAP systems with SAP HANA System Replication after a failover or failback event without manual time-consuming tasks of restarting backup. This provides instant and continuous protection after a failover and failback events, simplifying the restore experience with a single backup chain.
Previously, Azure Backup for SAP HANA supported backing up a single SAP HANA instance within a VM. Now, with the preview of backup support for Multiple Components on One System (MCOS), multiple SAP HANA instances on Azure VM can be backed up at the same time. This improvement is especially beneficial in scenarios where a single VM is shared by multiple users, such as non-production environments or dev-test setups. The ability to support multiple instances improves resource utilization and simplifies the backup process.
Microsoft Sentinel Solution for SAP
Beyond cloud and infrastructure protection, Microsoft is ready to address the growing need for business application security solutions for highly sensitive information, with expanded support for SAP application-level security monitoring within Microsoft Sentinel.
“Microsoft Sentinel for SAP feels like a tailored security solution which helped us enable real time threat detection and incident response for our SAP environment. We were able to confidently streamline our SAP security operations.”
- Akshayhari Rajan, Cyber Security Engineer, KMart Australia
Recently, we announced the preview of the simplified GUI based deployment that allows collecting data from multiple SAP systems using a single client with improved health monitor. With a new out-of-the-box playbook bundled along with Microsoft Sentinel solution. Customers can now automatically respond to threats in their SAP applications and include stakeholders in the workflow through Microsoft Teams channels. Along the same line, SAP security Controls is a new dashboard (workbook) bundled along with the solution which allows customers to easily configure the needed security controls, visualize, and monitor those controls in a way that mapped to NIST/SOX or custom compliance standards.
Expanded coverage for SAP now also includes a public 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. Business users can automate tasks, create fast, flexible workflows, and personalize interfaces without coding.
Azure API Management enables governance and best in class security with Microsoft Entra ID (formerly Azure AD) as API identity provider for SAP APIs. To simplify the integration further native OData support has been in public preview since July 2023. Learn how to uplevel your SAP OData APIs with Azure here.
Using SAP’s Cloud SDK with Azure App Service, Function or Container Apps simplifies the SAP integration with the Microsoft ecosystem even further. Learn more here.
SAP Principal Propagation (mapping the Azure AD known identity to the SAP backend identity to retain authorizations) for popular consumers like Power Platform can be implemented with a pre-configured API Management policy today. Have a closer look here.
After the release of native Teams integration in SAP S/4HANA Cloud, Public Edition, the support for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, Private Edition 2023 was just released.
This release allows customers to leverage a native integration of Chats and Tabs directly from their SAP S/4HANA System. For more information check out the documentation on help.sap.com or install the App via the Microsoft App Source.
Azure Center for SAP Solutions Tools and Frameworks
At the heart of our commitment to simplifying SAP migrations and operations on Azure is the Azure Center for SAP solutions Tools and Frameworks; it is a comprehensive suite designed to ensure the seamless, secure, and efficient deployment of SAP workloads. One standout feature of this initiative is its focus on providing visibility on platform configuration checks. With real-time data on configuration changes, users can swiftly address deviations, minimizing risks related to performance, security, and compliance. We are thrilled to introduce the general availability of Inventory Checks for SAP. This feature offers a holistic view of SAP deployments on Azure, streamlining resource management. Notably, the Virtual Instance SAP view, accessible upon registering SAP systems with Azure Center for SAP Solution provides detailed insights into your SAP system's deployment, from kernel versions to OS configurations.
To learn more, visit the Microsoft booth and session at SAP TechEd Bangalore and check out our SAP on Azure learning page.