What could the cloud mean for an ERP system? What could be the best cloud for Hana and S/4? The answer can be found on one of my t-shirts: There is no place like 127.0.0.1! Translated loosely: Home Sweet Home! This IP address is found in every server and refers to itself. While the server finds a Google service under the internet address 126.96.36.199, 127.0.0.1 always leads back to itself. This can be quite important for testing, among other things.
The perfect cloud for SAP S/4 Hana has to be a safe haven for the ERP system. A place to relax, abundant with storage and computing power. Referring to 127.0.0.1: My home is my castle! Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) took that literally and built a safe home for IT applications like S/4 and database Hana – naturally using cloud technology. However, the result hasn’t been another cloud-cuckoo-land, but rather a very real IT infrastructure with built-in cloud functionality. The HPE cloud paradigm differentiates itself from other models by bringing the cloud functionality – the architecture – to the user and giving them the freedom of choice regarding their infrastructure. The S/4 cloud can therefore build a home in customers’ own data centers, in hosting solutions, in bought and leased hardware, at HPE itself… the possibilities are endless.
While this approach might seem logical, almost no one has dared to go into that direction yet. The underlying question: Why does cloud functionality, meaning the architecture concept, always have to be bound to a specific infrastructure, meaning hyperscalers or SAP? Owning hardware doesn’t have to be a disadvantage, and neither does building and optimizing your own data centers. Maybe a company has just built a new data center in close vicinity to its factory to keep the latency of its IIoT applications as low as possible. Why would this company now risk it all for a shiny new home in the cloud?
However, no one wants to miss out on the speed and flexibility of cloud deployment models. Hana servers for development and testing have to work in real time. When push comes to shove, S/4 needs enough hardware resources to scale according to demand. There are various examples of ERP requiring cloud functionalities. Granting S/4 Hana’s data structures and algorithms a secure and comfortable infrastructure as well as a state-of-the-art cloud architecture is a prerequisite for digital transformation. With GreenLake, HPE has mastered this cloud paradigm.
Conclusion: There is no place like GreenLake. Combining the cloud and S/4 Hana architecture with the perfect IT infrastructure regarding specific customer requirements is the perfect example for a successful digital transformation. If SAP stopped relying on “Cloud Only” and started thinking along those same lines, a lot more SAP customers might be willing to switch to “cloud” and accept S/4 and Hana.