Slay the dragon that bars your path to the new IT – Episode 1

By Frank Linker 

dragon.jpgI took a business trip a couple of weeks ago where I met with quite a few customers. The main thing I remembered about the trip was the many questions and concerns customers had about the transition of their current SAP systems into the new world of Hybrid IT. It all reminded me a bit of the story of Cadmus in Greek mythology.  His goal: to save his sister, Europa. His challenge: defeat the dragon that barred his path to his sister. His reward: the chance to build the mighty city of Thebes. 

So I decided to launch an HPE Pointnext campaign that focuses on fighting and winning against all the dragons and other monsters you will face on the way to the next level of IT. Of course, I have named my campaign “CADMUS/4SAP”? 

I’ll be one of the HPE SAP Gurus at the HPE Booth #P20 at SAP TechEd being held in Barcelona from November 14 – 16. If you like what you read below, stop by and let’s continue the discussion there.  

Evaluating the size and ferocity of the monsters you’ll face

Before I explain the different phases of my HPE Pointnext CADMUS/4SAP campaign and the steps that will lead to eventual victory, let us first take a look at the typical monstrous issues and challenges customers like you do battle with on your journey to Hybrid IT. Figure 1 below provides the details.PN CADMUS4SAP for BLOG1.jpg

 Figure 1 – A potentially perilous path 

A short list of the mayor pain points looks like this: 

  • Challenges from new market trends require fast action on IT changes
  • Access restrictions and Security requirements
  • Data & system distribution between Central IT, On-Edge Computing and Cloud
  • Maintenance and implementation for hundreds of systems
  • Uncontrolled growth on data volume comes with increased performance needs
  • Short-term requests from business and developers for new systems

These fearsome beasts are very often created … and fed … by the conflicting requests and priorities from internal IT, the business and your customers.

Mapping the way past or through the ogres and orcs

To deal with this frightening array of dragons and other monsters, HPE Pointnext has mapped a way through the forest, using a “C l O” (Collect – Implement – Operate) approach. An overview of the different Phases, Steps and Activities is shown in Figure 2 below.  PN CADMUS4SAP for BLOG2.jpg

 Figure 2 – Striding to success – safely, securely 

A very brief description of the different steps on our fight using CADMUS/4SAP is listed below:

  • Collect the Status Quo and the Customers demand
  • Architect a “best fit” Solution for the Customer
  • Deploy the designed solution On-Premise, in a Cloud or as a Hybrid of both
  • Move the Customer data into the future world
  • Unite the old and the new world into a single one
  • Secure the Customers environment 

Prepare for battle

Winning requires the best tools and tactics. That’s why CADMUS/4SAP starts with an advisory workshop that provides the weapons you need and shows you how to use them. You’ll come away with answers to the following 10 questions … and with total confidence in your ability to dispatch every monster with dispatch. 

  1. What is my HANA Strategy? – Get a solid answer on how the future environment will look like, e.g., Virtual vs. Physical, Appliance vs. TDI, Scale-Up vs. Scale-Out and, of course, if it runs in the Cloud, On-Prem or as a Hybrid of both. 
  2. How do I get there? - Smooth and slow via upgrade, migration and transition as a step-by-step approach? Or aggressive and fast with SAP Upgrade, migration to HANA and  transition to S/4 in a single step? We’ll help you decide what’s best for you, PLUS provide answer about timelines and the training and re-skilling required by the the IT staff. 
  3. What is the Impact? – We’ll discuss and evaluate the changes to expect in areas like business features and processes, self-development, IT operations, security and, of course, system behavior. 
  4. What and how do I connect? - The time when SAP was more or less running in an isolated tower is long gone. That means new IT connectivity topics become more and  more important. So you will need to ask questions like:

- Do my non-SAP interfaces and binaries still run on the new platform?

- Do I still need the middleware?

- Does the latency between sites or to the Cloud will cause any issues?

- What and how do I exchange data with non-SAP world (e.g. Hadoop) ? 

5. How do I move my data? - Even though the actual data move may not happen for some time, it is essential to plan the right strategy from the beginning. You want to make sure that you don’t discover that the transition requires different tools or will take much more time than anticipated and does not fit into the given downtime window. Better to determine questions like the following right up front:

- Do I run a classic migration of the full data volume or load only dedicated data?

- Can I go with a “Big Bang“ approach or do I need to split into waves of migrations?

- Which migration method is suitable?

- Do I need special tools to finish within a certain downtime or handle non-SAP data? 

6. What external support do I need? - If you do not have the luxury of calling in an army of IT consultants and experts, you will definitely need to ask yourself what topics you can cover with the in house IT and where you need some SMEs to support you during the transition. And as in the above questions, with each consideration there come more questions. Typical ones are:

- What skills around HANA and the new platform are available to me in house?

- Do I have enough resources?

- Will my resources be available for such a project?

- Do I prefer a turn-key solution or do I need only dedicated support on specific tasks?

- What risks do I add by running the transition with a staff that is less experienced on the one-time topics during such a project?

- What additional consulting or developing services on the Application Layer do I need? 

7. How do I test? – This critical topic is often not taken as seriously as it should. I’ve seen customers who have lost thousands of dollars or even more because of a lack of testing or who spent just as much on short-term to fix issues that could have been identified long before the Go-Live. So start thinking early on:

- How to simulate Production processes in an isolated environment

- How to test the different on behavior under a high workload

- What is needed to modify on my IT processes? 

8. How do I secure my environment? - With the increasing number of attacks and the headlines in the news around the world, the topic “Security” has moved much more into the spotlight. The topic encompasses not only viruses and other vulnerabilities, but also includes how to secure the environment for a light-out in the primary DC and how to achieve a similar RTO/RPO with the new environment. How does this impact my agreed SLAs and what changes are required, e.g. on the Patch and Service Pack deployment. 

9. How do I integrate with the non-HANA IT? – As we saw in dealing with monster No. 4, you also connect to a world that does not contain only the 3 letters “S”, “A” and “P.” So a few minutes of your brain-storming should also be spent on defining the differences between the HANA environment and the non-SAP world. How will you handle those differences in daily operations, and what synergies can you get by bringing them together?

 Last but not least and a very tricky monster to slay is:

 10. Why do I want to move now? - I’m sure you invest hours to define the exact benefits of your new environment? Make sure this is a 360 degree view that includes all areas and does not focus only on the business or financial view. It should include the IT & Operations view as well. It must determine the latest possible start date – remember, SAPs support deadline is 2025 for all non-HANA based systems – and define a realistic timeline, while it also defines the business impact of any delays. 

Build your own City of Thebes

So, we have now identified the monsters we have to slay before we can build our City of Thebes. What we need now is a strategy on the best ways to slay them. That’s the next step in the HPE Pointnext CADMUS/4SAP approach … and the topic of my next blog in this series. Look for it soon. However, if you’d rather not wait or prefer an in-person discussion of CADMUS/4SAP, you can:

  • Stop by the HPE Booth #P20 at SAP TechEd EMEA and speak with me in person
  • I will also be presenting a “Slay the Dragon…” session at TechEd with my HPE Pointnext colleague, Frank Wagner on Wednesday, November 15 from 10:30 – 11:00. Networking Session 4, Show Floor.  
  • Attend my Demo session 1102 (ID 14256) at HPE Discover Madrid
  • Contact your HPE representative and set up a face-2-face meeting at your site

 One last thing. Throughout your journey to Hybrid IT, please remember that HPE Pointnext is there to support you as the dragon slayer. We’ll do everything in our power to help you become the hero, build your new City of Hybrid IT and reign successfully and profitably for years to come.

 - To be continued –

Frank Linker is an SAP Solution Architect with HPE Pointnext – Consulting.  He has 30+ years of IT experience, including 22 years with an SAP focus. Frank has international project experience in the implementation and migration of SAP systems across all continents. He is also the EMEA lead for Consulting Pursuit and serves as Business Development Manager for SAP.  

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