Moving SAP to the cloud is not a single option, but a continuum. Customers can choose anything from a quick, as-is migration to cut hosting costs, to a full upgrade to SAP S/4HANA. Here’s a quick guide to your options for SAP cloud migration.
Primary Options for Migrating SAP to Cloud
There are three primary cloud migration options: homogeneous “lift-and-shift” migration which transports your landscape as-is to the cloud; technical migration; and application migration.
Lift-and-shift is the simplest, requiring no significant changes to your landscape.
Both technical and application migration requires more work than lift-and-shift.In technical migrations, you move to HANA, while keeping the same operating system and application stack. In application migrations, you also change your operating system to one compatible with S/4HANA — SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (which we recommend) or Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
Application migration can go further than that if desired, up to a complete S/4HANA or BW/4HANA migration.
See our guide to cloud migration strategies to learn more.
Do I need to go to HANA first?
No. Nearly any SAP application that can be hosted on-premise can be hosted in the cloud — generally with lower cost, better scalability and security, and other cloud benefits.
However, there are good reasons you might want to combine your cloud migration and HANA upgrade. HANA is fast and will likely improve your performance. Additionally, moving to HANA is a good chance to audit your code and sanitize your data, which will shrink your landscape and decrease the cost of hosting.
Finally, with the SAP HANA 2025 deadline coming up, it’s a good idea to get started on your journey to S/4HANA. Moving to HANA is an excellent opportunity to get your feet wet, demonstrate ROI, and get preliminary work for your S/4HANA transformation out of the way.
How long will it take?
There’s no short answer to this. The timetable of an SAP cloud migration depends on many factors, including the:
- Size of your business
- The complexity of your SAP landscape
- Type of migration
- SAP migration partner
That being said, with the right partner, migrations can be rapid — particularly if you’re moving SAP to the cloud as-is. Even a complex SAP S/4HANA migration can be pretty quick with the right partner. For example, we performed a complete cloud migration and S/4HANA transformation for LB Foster in just 16 weeks.
What are the risks of cloud migration?
In Protera’s entire history, we have never had a failed migration. While there are theoretical risks to any project, a qualified partner can keep them extremely low. Part of the reason is how the process is designed. SAP migrations are iterative processes, with rounds of testing and debugging done at each stage.
That means that with a qualified partner, a failed migration is almost impossible. There are multiple redundant opportunities to catch any mistake, through both computerized testing and SAP expertise.
With a less experienced partner, risks become considerable — particularly for delays and cost overruns. Poor planning, casual project management, insufficient testing, and a lack of automation can lead to undetected mistakes, which will need to be fixed later on, requiring remediation.
In delaying migration, this will pose high costs from lost productivity due to unplanned downtime, remediation costs and the need to divert your internal resources to fixing the mess. Make sure you can absolutely trust your SAP migration partner — they’re the biggest factor in the success or failure of your migration.
Contact us to get started moving SAP to the cloud.
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