SAP S/4HANA unraveled

SAP HANA Cloud Services: A Spotlight on Market Offerings

More and more providers are launching their own packages for SAP HANA Cloud Services. Pricing, features, and the scope of services can vary significantly. How do you know which offer is the right one for your company?

Amazon, Microsoft, SAP, and NTT DATA Business Solutions: All of the industry’s major players have several variants of the SAP HANA Cloud Services in their portfolio. Their scope stretches from the bare technical infrastructure to the entire cloud environment certified for production use with SAP solutions.

Most of the starter packages merely provide the technical infrastructure, i.e. the servers on which companies can install their databases. A license for SAP HANA is not included, and support is rarely offered. In a comparison of the ‘big four’, NTT DATA Business Solutions is the only provider to operate, manage and maintain the customer’s SAP HANA instance as well as the hardware. Competitors only offer this from the medium price range upwards.

Flexible database sizes are not a given

Those who simply want to try out SAP HANA opt for the next category up. This package offers the SAP HANA license and database installation in addition to the server. At first glance, there appears to be little contrast between SAP HANA One (Amazon), the SAP HANA Cloud Platform DBaaS (SAP), the virtual machine and SAP Cloud Appliance Library (Microsoft), and the NTT DATA Business Solutions PMC. But upon closer inspection, you can recognize clear differences – in terms of memory size, for example.

Some offerings are limited to a 64 gigabyte database size. While this is adequate for running test and development environments, it is rarely suitable for production use. Moreover, with the exception of NTT DATA Business Solutions, no providers enable the chosen memory size to be scaled up or down flexibly. Adjustments are theoretically possible with SAP, but require a new contract or the choice of a new system category.

Major differences in scope of services

In the event of a problem, response times are crucial. If a business-critical application suddenly encounters issues, the error needs to be resolved within a matter of minutes. However, even in the premium price segments, Amazon and Microsoft only guarantee response times of a few hours. Promises of high availability attempt to make up for this, but the majority of providers can only ensure that the server runs – which is of little use if the operating system or business application crash. NTT DATA Business Solutions and SAP guarantee 99.5 percent availability. This includes the possibility for users to log in to the installed system and work with the essential functions.

A closer look at the small print in the contract shows that the supposedly cheap offerings are simply not suitable for most purposes. Support, assistance for implementation and operation, and a site that complies with data protection policy are all critical factors that decision-makers should bear in mind when switching to SAP HANA Cloud Services.

The main offerings in detail

A new expert paper can help you to find your way in the market melee. It closely scrutinizes the major providers’ current offerings, and evaluates the validity of their sales arguments. It is an important decision-making aid for any IT executive.

– From Ulrich Meine, Director Product Management Hosting, NTT DATA Business Solutions AG –

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