SAP Cloud Appliance Library

April 23, 2013 by Heather McIlvaine 0

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(istockphoto.com)

An overview of SAP Cloud Appliance Library:

Want to try out SAP Cloud Appliance Library for yourself? Check out the available virtual appliances in the SAP Store. SAP is now offering a 30-day free trial for one solution.

Next page: Why the new offering?

Why the new offering?

“We were talking to customers about what they needed to run their on-premise systems in the cloud. One thing we heard over and over was the huge amount of time and effort they had to invest in building on-premise SAP systems. This wasn’t actually quite the focus topic we were asking at the time, but that’s where the idea for SAP Cloud Appliance Library originated,” explains Markus Winter, chief product owner of the SAP Virtualization and Cloud Management product unit.

Non-production SAP systems are required for a variety of reasons. For example, when an updated version of an SAP solution is released, companies can try out the new functions in a test system first to see how the new version will affect existing corporate data and processes. Or when companies are training employees on a new CRM system, they’ll want to use a dedicated system environment, so that training activities don’t affect the live system.

Creating these new SAP system environments, though, is a multi-step process that can take months. IT has to prepare the hardware, install the software, and configure the system before the test environment is up and running. “A new version of an SAP product might be available for testing for a period of three months, for example, but IT could spend two months or even longer setting up the system,” says Winter. “That leaves very little time to actually try out the new functions and gain the required insights. And for other use cases, it means the provisioning of new SAP system environments has to be scheduled far in advance.”

SAP Cloud Appliance Library is able to shorten that initial deployment phase to a matter of hours through its use of preconfigured virtual software appliances – applications pre-installed and packaged by SAP to run on a virtual platform – and cloud-based infrastructures. As a result, companies are able to spend more time trying out new functionality for their on-premise applications and less time building the system.

Next page: Who is the target audience?

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(Screenshot: SAP Cloud Appliance Library)

Who is the target audience?

This offering is intended for companies who are interested in running existing SAP on-premise solutions in a cloud environment, or for those who would like to try out new SAP software offerings. Companies across industries can use SAP Cloud Appliance Library. The catalogue of available preconfigured solutions is constantly growing and can be browsed via the SAP Store.

Within the corporation, there is also a range of potential users. First and foremost, the IT department stands to benefit from a reduced workload. Lines of business will also see an advantage in being able to gain quick access to preconfigured SAP solutions. A third target group includes developers, who can use SAP Cloud Appliance Library to build and try out solution extensions in an online, scalable test environment.

Next page: What are the functions?

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What are the functions?

There are three components to the offering: SAP Cloud Appliance Library, the pre-installed SAP software product, and an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solution from a cloud provider, such as Amazon Web Services.

SAP Cloud Appliance Library is a Web application running in the SAP Cloud, operated by SAP. The library contains an ever-growing number of pre-configured SAP solutions in the form of software appliances, such as SAP ERP for Financials, SAP Customer Relationship Management, SAP Supply Chain Management, SAP Rapid Deployment solutions, SAP HANA, and many more. Access to SAP Cloud Appliance Library is free of charge. Interested users can simply request an account via their dedicated SAP account representative or the SAP Store. They can also browse and purchase all available pre-configured solutions there.

Users also need an account with an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud provider. As of April 2013, Amazon Web Services is the first provider supported for SAP Cloud Appliance Library – more will follow soon. The purchased software appliances are then installed in this cloud-based infrastructure. Since the solutions come preconfigured by SAP, companies can start using them right away. If users want to work with their own corporate data, they simply upload the information to the system running in the cloud. By installing software appliances in a cloud-based infrastructure, rather than directly in their own data centers, companies are able to avoid a lengthy and complex configuration process. Thus, the partnership with IaaS providers like Amazon is crucial to the success of SAP Cloud Appliance Library.

What about software licenses?

The licensing terms and conditions for the delivered SAP software products do not change with this offering. Users require a valid product license for each particular SAP software product they wish to consume pre-configured via SAP Cloud Appliance Library. Either they already have a valid product license (“Bring-your-own-license”), or they can request a trial license via their SAP account representative. All delivered virtual appliances come with a 30-day temporary license installed, to give customers enough time to apply either a permanent SAP product license or a trial license key.

Next page: What are the benefits?

What are the benefits?

The main benefits of the SAP Cloud Appliance Library include the ability to quickly and easily set up new SAP systems, try out new functionality delivered with new software versions, and carry out proof of concept projects. Because software appliances come preconfigured and are run in a cloud-based infrastructure, there is no complex configuration process and no hardware provisioning necessary. Companies – and IT departments in particular – can start their SAP projects with much less manual effort.

“It’s like buying furniture,” explains Winter. “You could purchase a kitchen and install it yourself, but because this is usually a one-time effort and you are probably not an expert, it would be a fairly complex and time-consuming process. Many different parts must be properly put together, and you might even have to customize it so that it fits in the space available. Or you could pay to have the kitchen delivered and installed for you. Experienced workers know how the kitchen goes together and can build it quickly and efficiently. Of course, you have to pay a bit more for this service, but you have less work to do yourself and you can probably start using your kitchen much sooner.”

An overview of the benefits:

  • Quick and easy access to new SAP systems for proof of concept, evaluation, training, test, trial, development, and other usage scenarios
  • Greater agility and less manual effort
  • No installation hassle or hardware provisioning
  • Reduced overhead for SAP basis work – more innovation on a business level
  • Overall lower costs and reduced time to value for SAP systems
  • Standard cost forecasting based on public cloud provider rates
  • Manageable risk and minimal disruption, resulting in higher customer confidence and satisfaction
  • Validation point to accelerate the transition to a cloud-enabled IT infrastructure

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