Moving SAP From The Data Center To The Cloud Gets Automated


Cloud vendor AppZero is looking to ease SAP deployments and give VARs the ability to boost the speed of SAP installations while also reducing the costs. The vendor also aims to cut time and costs when dealing with SAP can give VARs an edge.

AppZero has just released AppZero for SAP, a solution that can chop the time it takes to deploy and install SAP applications and suites down from days to about 10 minutes across physical and virtual servers and to cloud environments like Amazon EC2.

Essentially, AppZero for SAP gives VARs, integrators and software vendors the ability to install SAP apps -- from SAP All-in-One to full ECC -- into an AppZero Virtual Application Appliance (VAA). VAAs decouple an application from the operating system and encapsulate it with all of its dependencies. Once a VAA is created, it becomes a gold image or single point of management that can be moved from system to system, stored anywhere and deployed among servers either physical or virtual and on-premise or in the cloud, said Greg O'Connor, AppZero CEO.

"You can pick up applications and move them from the data center to the cloud as one file," O'Connor said, adding that AppZero "encapsulates applications, in this case SAP" and that the process takes roughly 10 minutes.

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The ability to automate application release management and to quickly move applications, like SAP, through the various stages like development, quality assurance, testing and production, adds a new level of mobility. Applications can be quickly moved from the data center to the cloud and vice versa, O'Connor said.

"They can run an application wherever they need to," he said, adding that moving applications from the data center to the cloud is difficult and usually requires a full reinstall.

And for solution providers, swiftly moving SAP and other applications is a solid differentiator. Christopher Carter, CTO of HiLn, a Brookfield, Wis.-based solution provider, said as more of his clients look to upgrade SAP or move SAP to non-production environments like a staging area or sandbox, they're looking for easier ways to move between the data center and the cloud.

"Compared to the competition in the market, if you can take a standard SAP environment and encapsulate it we can go out to clients and say, 'in 10 minutes you can have a server running in one of our clouds.'"

Carter said SAP applications and deployment stacks are complex and must be tested under real world load conditions to assess how it will perform in production. AppZero enables a process that ensures systems are tested for the cloud.

HiLn's Silver Lining Cloud Solution lets users start, stop, reuse, throw away and start new SAP clouds in minutes. A full SAP ECC 6.0 ERP suite can be provisioned, cloned and moved to a pay-as-you-go cloud environment.

Carter said reducing SAP updates and moves from up to 30 days to 10 minutes without the setup of hardware can ultimately save customers tens of thousands of dollars and saves them from having to stop production systems.

"That's tens to hundreds of thousands in savings during an upgrade or installation, it's amazing," he said.

So far, HiLn has engaged several organizations about AppZero for SAP and has built a specific SAP-centric cloud as part of its two-month-old Silver Lining Cloud Solution.

While it's still in beta, AppZero for SAP is expected to be available for general availability in four to six weeks. Meanwhile, Andover, Mass.-based AppZero is working with just over a dozen partners.

"This focuses on a very niche component of the SAP landscape," Carter said. "Firms are looking to take non-production-based environments to the cloud."

O'Connor agreed.

"It can take months to create a copy of SAP for training or a sandbox for prep; any non-production use case," he said. "Now they can be set up quickly on premise or in the cloud."