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.


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.


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.


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.

SAP’s Inaccurate Messaging on S/4HANA as Communicated in SAP Videos

Fact-Checking SAP Information on S/4HANA

This video is filled with extensive falsehoods. We will address them in the sequence they are stated in this video.

SAP Video Accuracy Mesurement

Appleby's StatementAccuracy % of the CommentExplanationLink to Analysis Article
S/4HANA is what allows key processes to be digitized.
ECC was already fully digitized and digitized across key business functions.The Problem with Using the Term Digital Transformation on IT Projects
HANA is a Platform
HANA is not a platform, it is a database.How to Deflect You Were Wrong About HANA
Fiori is a major advantage for S/4HANA.
In S/4HANA implementations Fiori is infrequently used when S/4HANA. How Accurate Was SAP on the Number of Fiori Apps?
Fiori is far more efficient than what came before.
In testing Fiori and S/4HANA, Sven Deneken's statements did not hold up. There was a particular weakness in actually making changes after noticing something needed to be changed, and we found the efficiency below that of ECC with of course SAPGUI.
S/4HANA is innovative as it brings "real time inventory."
Sven Deneken brings up the topic of "real-time capabilities," however there is nothing particularly real-time or different in terms of a reaction than ECC. Whenever you make a change in ECC or any other ERP systems for that matter, the entry is real-time. Sven Deneken states that "the physical inventory is the same as the digital inventory." However, under what system would this not be true?What Happened to the Term Perpetual Inventory?
S/4HANA is innovative because it allows access to supplier information.
Sven Deneken states that information about the supplier is "just a fingertip away." Sven Deneken may be familiar with ECC, where supplier data is also a fingertip, or say mouse click away. It called the Vendor Master in ECC.
Sven Deneken says that the cycle could be changed to daily or sub-daily.
Why would that occur? This is a very strange scenario that is being laid out.
S/4HANA is innovative because it allows MRP to be rerun interactively for a product location.
Sven Deneken is extremely confused when he states that S/4HANA allows a fresh MRP run to be performed for a specific product location and that this is a differentiator for S/4HANA. For a single product location, there is no ERP system that cannot run MRP for a single location. Secondly re-running MRP does not remove uncertainties. MRP can be re-run when something changes. For example, when the forecast changes.Performance Problems with HANA and MRP
Sven Deneken states this demo shows SAP has reimagined inventory management.
However, all of this functionality, save for several of the graphics shown in the video have already been available in ECC for many years, in fact, decades.

The Problem: A Lack of Fact-Checking of S/4HANA

There are two fundamental problems around S/4HANA. The first is the exaggeration of S/4HANA, which means that companies that purchased S/4HANA end up getting far less than they were promised. The second is that the SAP consulting companies simply repeat whatever SAP says. This means that on virtually all accounts there is no independent entity that can contradict statements by SAP.

The Necessity of Fact Checking

We ask a question that anyone working in enterprise software should ask.

Should decisions be made based on sales information from 100% financially biased parties like consulting firms, IT analysts, and vendors to companies that do not specialize in fact-checking?

If the answer is “No,” then perhaps there should be a change to the present approach to IT decision making.

In a market where inaccurate information is commonplace, our conclusion from our research is that software project problems and failures correlate to a lack of fact checking of the claims made by vendors and consulting firms. If you are worried that you don’t have the real story from your current sources, we offer the solution.

Financial Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

Neither this article nor any other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle, SAP or their competitors. As part of our commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research; no paid media placements, commissions or incentives of any nature are allowed.

S/4HANA Implementation Research

We offer the most accurate and detailed research into S/4HANA and its implementation history. It is information not available anywhere else and is critical correctly interpreting S/4HANA, as well as moderating against massive amounts of inaccurate information pushed by SAP and their financially biased consulting ecosystem.

Select the description that best matches you.

Option #1: Do You Work in Sales for a Vendor?

See this link for an explanation to sales teams.

Option #2: Do You Work for an Investment Entity that Covers SAP?

See this link for an explanation for investment entities. 

Option #3: Are You a Buyer Evaluating S/4HANA?

For companies evaluating S/4HANA for purchase. See this link for an explanation to software buyers

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