The Problem with the S/4HANA Trial on AWS

Executive Summary

  • SAP offers trials of its products that can be brought up on AWS, GCP, and Azure.
  • However, there can be issues with bringing these trials up and working.

Introduction

SAP images on AWS or GCP are quite limited. This is something which should give one pause given the promotion of SAP on the cloud. A while ago in the article How to Best Understand SAP’s Multicloud Announcement, SAP announced a multicloud strategy, which means that it would begin supporting its applications and databases on multiple cloud providers.

The Benefits of Cloud Service Images

Images are preconfigured items that can be quickly brought up and can have anything from a pre-configured Linux environment setup for SAP to fully functional application. These images are normally set up by third parties and the images can be found on the marketplaces of either AWS or GCP. This is highly appealing both from the perspective of testing, as well as being able to use images for production, development or testing. When are plentiful, this allows those that use cloud services to pick and choose the image that best suits their needs through testing. We often test an image, and then pause or delete the image once the testing is complete.

Licenses

Most of the images for SAP (outside of HANA and SAP Adaptive Server, which SAP is very much trying to promote), most of the images are BYOL, or bring your own license. This reduces the usefulness of the image as you cannot test without already owning a license. Notice the listing below, where the three images install the software, but not the license for S/4HANA, so as we do not posses an S/4HANA license we were not able to test any of these.

We found only thee images on AWS for S/4HANA. And all of these are older versions, as 1809 was the present release as of the time of this publication. 

One of SAP’s most popular applications, SAP BW, has only one image on AWS. And it is for BW/4HANA which only runs on HANA. Therefore the price will be higher than if one does not use HANA (with no loss in performance by the way as we cover in the article What is the Actual HANA Performance). 

This image is returned in the search, however, it is not much more than a tuned Linux image for SAP applications. This is a BYOL and also IYOS (install your own software) requiring you to perform your own installation of SAP products image. These images are a bit misleading because they bring up environments rather than functional items. They are S/4HANA or HANA “ready” rather than the complete image that includes the software. But a license is necessary unless the item comes as part of a trial, which brings us to our next sections. 

Using Trial SAP Products through SAP Cloud

However, while the images within AWS are very limited (and near non-existent on GCP), there are many trials available through SAP Cloud.

The trial versions can be spun up on your choice of cloud service providers. We brought up the SAP S/4HANA 1809, Fully Activated Appliance. It took roughly 1.5 hours to activate. 

For all the talk of the Fiori interface, most of S/4HANA on premises uses the SAPGUI. First, Fiori must be brought up on its own server, an we could not find any Fiori trial (and this would have further complicated the test even if it did exist). So our only ability to access this instance was to use SAPGUI.

After spun up, one can apply the IP to a connection string in the SAP GUI. The connection string is used under the Advanced Tab rather than the System Tab when the connection is over the Internet. 

We tested two instances that we spun up of S/4HANA. Notice the IP addresses to the right. That is what is added to the connection string.

  • In the first instance we brought up we were able to bring up the SAP GUI. However, there is no mention of the username or password in any area of the console.
  • In the second instance (the one you see above) we were not able to actually bring up the SAPGUI.

Conclusion

We brought up this appliance trial to perform a test. And we were unsuccessful in actually accessing the instance that we brought up. This had to do with connecting the SAPGUI to the instance. The console is missing information that we need to login to the application. An SAP Basis resource could figure this out, but SAP could make it far easier to use their trials if they included better documentation as part of the console. We used SAP Cloud as part of a test, however, we do not recommend actually bringing up applications through the SAP Cloud because while it can be easier (although as you can see there are also complications) SAP places a very large margin on the cloud service providers. And second, we don’t trust SAP to set up systems on the cloud the way we would trust a third party that does this type of work as their specialty. SAP’s margin is so high on the cloud service provider, that a fraction of that money that would be given to SAP could be used to access top talent. In this way, the customer is able to cut the reliance on SAP or the partner that they recommend using.

We will try to bring up other images and update this article accordingly.

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