By Hongzhu Qiao, Technical Architect and AWS SME – Deloitte
By Dylan Tey, Technical Architect – Deloitte
By Sachin Bhatt, Sr. Partner Solutions Architect, SAP – AWS

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The installation of highly available, scalable, and reliable SAP systems is a crucial aspect to consider for customers embarking on their greenfield, brownfield, or bluefield SAP projects.

Traditionally, these installation tasks have been performed manually and repeated across development, quality, and production systems for various SAP products such as SAP ECC, SAP S/4HANA, SAP HANA, and more. However, manual execution of repetitive tasks is not only time-consuming but also prone to errors.

To address these challenges, customers are seeking automated and customized solutions for swift deployment of SAP applications. In response to customer feedback, Amazon Web Services (AWS) introduced AWS Launch Wizard for SAP in 2019. Since then, this service is continuously enriched with new features and capabilities.

AWS Launch Wizard for SAP offers a guided wizard-based experience. It simplifies and accelerates the deployment of SAP systems based on HANA database by providing relevant inputs regarding the SAP application version, SAP HANA database, and application landscape settings, incorporating SAP and AWS best practices.

It identifies the appropriate AWS resources for compute, storage, and networking to efficiently deploy and run SAP applications in the AWS cloud. The service also provides an estimated deployment cost, enabling customers to adjust resources and instantly visualize the modified cost of running their SAP workloads on AWS infrastructure.

Deloitte is the key partner in testing beta features for AWS Launch Wizard for SAP and has done significant testing and provided feedback in enhancing the service features. An AWS Premier Tier Services Partner and Managed Service Provider (MSP) that holds the AWS SAP Competency, Deloitte has extensive experience in using AWS Launch Wizard for SAP in SAP implementation projects for many customers.

In this post, we will walk through the benefits, deployment models, use cases, and some best practices of AWS Launch Wizard for SAP, based on our learnings using this service internally and with customers.

Key Benefits and Features

  • AWS Launch Wizard for SAP provides a single interface to deploy all of the necessary resources like compute, storage, and networking that are required for an SAP system installation in an AWS account.
  • Based on CPU/memory or the SAP Application Performance Standard (SAPS) requirement, this service suggests appropriate AWS instances certified by SAP for applications as well as HANA database servers, thus taking away manual guesswork during deployment.
  • For operating systems supported for SAP deployments, AWS Launch Wizard for SAP provides flexibility to bring your own licenses (BYOL) or select OS images (license included) from AWS Marketplace.
  • AWS Launch Wizard for SAP suggests an approximate cost of the deployment for the AWS resources that will be used in deployment. This feature provides cost transparency and allows adjustment of resources to fit the budget requirement, if required.
  • The service helps in deploying monitoring capabilities like AWS Data Provider for SAP, which uses OS, network, and storage data that’s most relevant to the operation of the SAP infrastructure. Its data sources include Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and Amazon CloudWatch.
  • When it comes to business continuity planning and resiliency, AWS Launch Wizard for SAP helps deploy SAP in high availability mode in just a couple of hours. It takes care of setting up OS-level clustering and related tasks to set up high availability without needing manual setup, and deploys and configures AWS Backint Agent for SAP HANA, an SAP-certified backup and restore application for SAP HANA workloads running on EC2 instances. With this solution, you can easily back up SAP HANA databases on Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).
  • In addition to these features, AWS Launch Wizard for SAP supports custom pre- and post-deployment configuration scripts that can run on SAP application and database servers to allow customers to include additional tasks in the Launch Wizard itself.

Deployment Models

AWS Launch Wizard for SAP is a specialized version of the Launch Wizard service that’s designed specifically for deploying and configuring SAP environments on AWS. It provides a guided, automated experience for deploying SAP HANA and SAP applications based on HANA database on various Linux operating systems.

Supported operating systems:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux – 7.6, 7.7, 7.9, 8.1, 8.4, and 8.6
  • All SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP applications – 15, 15 SP1, 15 SP2, 15 SP3, 15 SP4, 12 SP4, and 12 SP5
  • All SUSE Linux Enterprise Server – 15, 15 SP1, 15 SP2, 15 SP3, 15 SP4, 12 SP4, and 12 SP5
  • Custom images built off of these versions are also supported

Supported database:

  • SAP HANA – 1.0 and 2.0

Supported SAP applications:

  • SAP NetWeaver – Versions 750 and 752
  • SAP BW4/HANA – Versions 2.0 and 2021
  • SAP S4/HANA – Versions 1909, 2020, 2021, and 2022
  • SAP S4/HANA Foundation – Versions 2021 and 2022
  • SAP Solution Manager – Version 7.2
  • SAP NetWeaver on JAVA – Version 750

Refer to version support for the latest as support matrix is constantly updated.

AWS Launch Wizard for SAP also offers pre-defined deployment models for SAP environments, including:

  • Single-instance deployment – If we choose this option, all SAP components such as ASCS, PAS, and DB will be on one EC2 instance.
  • Distributed instance deployment – In this case, ASCS/PAS are on one EC2 instance, and DB is on a different instance.
  • High availability deployment – Two pacemaker clusters (four nodes total) will be configured: ASCS/ERS and HANA Primary/Secondary. PAS will be set up on an EC2 instance outside the cluster. For step-by-step information on this particular deployment option, refer to this SAP blog post.

There’s also the option to install Additional Application Instance (AAS).

These deployment models are optimized for SAP workloads and follow AWS best practices for deploying SAP applications. For more information on supported deployments, refer to the documentation.

AWS Launch Wizard for SAP includes automated validation checks to ensure the deployment meets SAP requirements, as well as integration with other AWS services such as AWS CloudFormation and AWS Systems Manager.

Use Cases

Accelerated deployment of SAP systems on AWS during SAP implementations:

Customers who are migrating their existing SAP workloads hosted on-premises or on other cloud providers often start with installing different SAP products on AWS. Defining networking, storage, and compute prerequisites is one of the first steps before SAP systems based on HANA DB need to be installed.

AWS Launch Wizard for SAP provides a wizard-based interface that guides customers and partners to define, create, and configure those prerequisites along with SAP system installation. This takes out a lot of guesswork and helps accelerate the deployment of SAP systems based on HANA DB on AWS.

Repeated SAP system deployments:

Many customers don’t need testing and training systems all of the time to facilitate multiple projects, and may want to spin up additional project landscapes and additional testing and training systems. There could be a need to decommission and commission the same systems depending on the project needs.

For every SAP application deployment based on HANA DB, AWS Launch Wizard for SAP will create an AWS Service Catalog product which contains CloudFormation templates and configuration scripts, which can be used to deploy consistent SAP applications without going through all the input parameters provided during the initial installation. This increases productivity and reduces complexity and errors, while also helping project teams to keep their project cost low by not having systems up and running all the time.

Finally, AWS Service Catalog products provide integrations with third-party products such as ServiceNow, Jira, and Terraform. To understand various use cases, refer to the AWS documentation.

Lessons Learned

Deloitte is using AWS Launch Wizard for SAP in proof of concept (PoCs) and real customer engagements, here are some recommendations to follow:

  • Planning is key: Taking the time to plan and properly assess the requirements can help avoid mistakes, and save time and money in the long run. Make sure to prepare a worksheet to record all required info in a detailed parameter list.
  • Test thoroughly: It’s important to test your systems thoroughly to ensure they work as expected and can handle different failure situations. When using a custom Amazon Machine Image (AMI), it’s required to do a test run before doing it for actual implementation. Custom AMIs may include restrictions or extra software packages which affect the Launch Wizard run.
  • Monitor the Launch Wizard process: If it takes a long time for the Launch Wizard for certain phases, check for signs of alerts or errors. Here are a few common issues seen:
    • EC2 instances are not created or terminated/stopped – Check to see if the AMI used is a working version. Manually create an EC2 instance with the same AMI to test it. At times, a policy from the account or organization level might prevent the creation or functioning of EC2 instances, so be sure to follow the policy guideline, if any, to select instance types and maintain tags.
    • Launch Wizard stalls or fails with error – Check the processes on CloudFormation, especially wait condition and dependencies. It’s good to log in to the HANA or SAP instances and check the logs and traces. Here are the common places: /var/log/messages;/root/install/scripts/log
    • Communication or authorization issues – There could be times security groups or firewalls block traffic and you need to open the ports for SAP communications.

Refer to Security Groups in AWS Launch Wizard user guide for details. Also, check AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) roles to see if it has enough required authorizations to access Amazon S3 and other resources.

Conclusion

Customers are looking to reduce their SAP project implementation timelines, while at the same time automating repeated tasks and lowering complexities in their cloud SAP deployments.

With the AWS Launch Wizard for SAP, customers can reap the advantages of a streamlined, rapid, and consistent deployment process for SAP systems running on the HANA database on AWS. Moreover, this service facilitates the seamless expansion of the initial deployment by swiftly and efficiently adding extra application servers and database nodes.

AWS Launch Wizard for SAP continues to evolve to support more SAP modules such as SAP NW Java, and on more AWS instance types such as 18TB and 24 TB memory instances. As a result, it significantly contributes to time and cost savings and reduces the potential for human errors.

The combination of AWS products and services such as AWS Launch Wizard for SAP, and Deloitte’s expertise in leveraging this service for client engagements, can benefit customers during various phases of SAP implementation projects and during the run and operate phases.

Resources:

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