Yesterday SAP released SAP Notes around Azure as IaaS platform for SAP software. With the release of these SAP Notes SAP officially supports Azure as a platform for production systems with a combination of SAP products, Operating Systems and DBMS systems.
Let’s go through the information briefly and comment on it.
First SAP Note to read is Note 1928533 – SAP Applications on Azure: Supported Products and Azure VM types
This Note gives information about the SAP products (currently restricted to certain releases of SAP NetWeaver based applications), Guest OS releases (Windows Server 2008 R2 and more recent) and DBMS (SQL Server 2008 R2 and more recent). Please understand this as a start. We will add more SAP applications, OS and DBMS over time.
As of VM types, you might be surprised only finding the A5 VM type being supported and described in terms of sizing. Some of you are running larger VM types for non-productive SAP systems in Azure already. The restriction on A5 is temporary and is not motivated by scalability concerns at all. SAP and Microsoft decided on such a restriction for the first 2-3 months to evaluate all the processes around deployment and support. As soon as SAP and Microsoft sees everything running fine, the SAP Note will list larger VM types with the sizing information around those larger VM types.
Second SAP Note to read is Note 2015553 – SAP on Microsoft Azure: Support Requirements
In this note, we go through some of the requirements to be supported by SAP running productive SAP systems on Azure. Most important requirements (but not all) commented on here are:
- We will require you as a customer to have a Premier Support contract with Microsoft. Reason is that the Microsoft Technical Account Manager function which comes with a Premier Support contract has an important role in eventual support processes around running SAP applications on Azure.
- There are specific monitoring components for SAP. These need to be installed in each of the VMs. See later comments on the Monitoring subject.
- Productive SAP systems are supported only with having either VPN (http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/services/virtual-network/) or Azure ExpressRoute connectivity (http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/services/expressroute/) between your on-premise datacenters and Azure. This requires that the on-premise domain (AD) and DNS functionality is extended into Azure. The VMs in Azure need to be part of the same on-premise domain as the on-premise located SAP systems are part of. The goal is to have complete transparency in terms of location of the SAP systems. This transparency is very important when you deploy parts of your SAP landscape, like SAP development systems into Azure, but leave the productive systems on-premise. The VPN connection to Azure or the private connection through ExpressRoute gives you the network integration, so that Single-Sign-On can be used with the systems in Azure. STMS system of SAP can work as before and resources like files shares and printers can be used by the SAP systems located in Azure without large efforts. The documentation provided (see next section) will assume that such VPN connection or ExpressRoute connection exists in cases where communication between SAP systems in Azure and on-premise exist or where services located on-premise are used by the SAP systems located in Azure.
- The requirement for VPN or ExpressRoute connectivity does not exist for demo, trainings or sandbox systems where the fact that such systems are isolated from the on-premise network and accessible from the Internet due to a deployment in Azure is the big advantage. Azure as platform for SAP trainings or demo systems is ideal because those systems can be made accessible straight through the internet while remaining isolated from the on-premise network. Especially for the case of trainings and demo systems, Azure allows easy redeployment of the origin state of such systems or whole trainings or demo landscapes.
- SAP NetWeaver systems and the two layers of such systems can be deployed in one location or Region only. Means both the DBMS and SAP application layer are completely deployed in Azure or on-premise. A split of these two layers or the SAP application layer between on-premise and Azure is not supported at this point in time. Additionally the SAP application layer needs to be deployed completely in the same Azure region as the DBMS layer of the SAP system.
The second SAP Note mentions three different pieces of documentation that is released. The documentation can be found here:
Study all of the required documentation thoroughly in order to deploy SAP software as specified in SAP Note 1928533 – SAP Applications on Azure: Supported Products and Azure VM types. There are a lot of specifics documented which address the supported configurations and the monitoring aspect for SAP with Azure deployments.
First guide to read is titled: ‘SAP NetWeaver on Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine Services – Planning and Implementation Guide’. This guide presents details about:
- Azure-Only and Hybrid-IT deployment scenarios
- Components of Azure leveraged for SAP deployments
- Decision Trees around deploying SAP systems in Azure
- Ways of deploying SAP systems in Azure
- Monitoring Architecture for SAP in Azure
- High Availability considerations of SAP system in Azure
It is vital to study the guide to get knowledge about specifics of Azure related to SAP deployments. After studying this guide and taking SAP Note 1928533 into consideration you should be able to qualify which existing or future of your SAP systems are able to be deployed in Azure Virtual Machine Services.
Second guide to be studied would be: ‘DBMS Deployment Guide for SAP on Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine Services’. This guide will document details about deploying SAP related DBMS systems in Azure. The guide is separated into a generic part and a DBMS specific part. In the DBMS specific part, the only documented DBMS system is SQL Server. However the guide will be extended as soon as there are other DBMS systems supported by SAP as well. Aspects of:
- I/O volume and capacity
- Reference structure of a DBMS VM
- High Availability considerations
Are discussed in general and in details for the different DBMS systems.
The third guide is called ‘SAP NetWeaver on Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine Services – Deployment Guide’. This guide is a hands-on guide that describes in detail how to deploy VMs that are used for SAP applications. The guide covers:
- Three different ways of deploying VMs that are meant to run SAP applications
- Installation and configuration of the Azure Monitoring extension for SAP
- Checking the successful installation and configuration of the Azure Monitoring Extension for SAP
- Troubleshooting steps of the Azure Monitoring Extension for SAP
This guide will refer to PowerShell scripts which were developed especially for the purpose of deploying and configuring the Azure Monitoring Extension for SAP. The scripts can be downloaded here:
The architecture and design of the Azure related monitoring for SAP is already described in the ‘SAP NetWeaver on Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine Services – Planning and Implementation Guide’. As you see the guides are building up on each other.
In all the guides you will find many links to general Azure documentation or SQL Server/Azure related documentation which will give you further background on different specifics of Azure.
Please study the information well. The deployment of SAP systems into Azure does not start with the Azure Portal, but with collecting enough background on Azure and solid planning. We will keep you updated and will dive into different aspects of deploying SAP systems on Azure on this blog site in the future.