Research and development (R&D) at most companies is a collaborative process. It requires working with and analyzing large amounts of data, often by teams spread out across multiple geographies and time zones.

In many cases, companies rely on enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications to help them integrate and visualize the entire R&D process from idea to production. It’s essential for both the data and applications to always be accessible, secure, and free from corruption or loss.

That was the case for a ClearScale customer. The company needed to ensure that R&D teams at its various locations could access the same data and SAP applications — securely and with no downtime.

The ClearScale Solution – Deploying SAP S/4HANA

After reviewing the customer’s requirements and business needs, ClearScale developed a solution entailing the deployment of SAP S/4HANA in the AWS Cloud.

SAP S/4HANA is a real-time ERP suite built on SAP HANA, SAP’s advanced in-memory platform. It offers numerous advantages, ranging from streamlining product lifecycle management to speeding up product engineering processes.

Running SAP S/4HANA on AWS delivers even more benefits. For instance, customers using AWS Cloud services pay only for the compute and other resources used. The deployment initially only requires the amount of infrastructure and memory for the SAP S/4HANA system. Both can later be scaled as requirements increase over time. Plus, there’s no upfront cost or commitment for compute, storage, or network infrastructure.

To ensure resiliency, ClearScale needed to eliminate any potential single point of failure in the solution. This was accomplished by leveraging multiple AWS services and AWS’s highly available managed infrastructure. The solution also makes optimal use of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) and SAP HANA system replication.

SLES is an integrated suite of open-source clustering technologies that enables the implementation of highly available physical and virtual Linux clusters. SAP HANA System Replication, a standard feature of SAP HANA, is a reliable HA and disaster recovery solution.

Infrastructure Diagram
Infrastructure Diagram

The Solution Overview

The solution works by installing SLES pacemaker clusters in an AWS region, which consists of multiple Availability Zones. Spreading clusters across Availability Zones helps overcome individual Availability Zone failures.

Using AWS IP Overlay routing, traffic is routed to any EC2 instance in a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) no matter which subnet or Availability Zone it’s in.

Once the SAP HANA system replication is configured, each HANA internal process connects to its counterpart on the secondary site. All logged changes in the primary location are continuously replicated on the secondary site. While the system replication is running, the secondary site is ready to take over with data already preloaded into memory. This also allows for automatic failover of the application in case of any component failure or planned maintenance.

The Solution Components

The ClearScale solution comprises multiple components.

The network level includes:

• AWS Direct Connect, a cloud service that makes it easy to establish private connectivity between AWS and the customer’s location.

• Amazon Route 53, a highly available and scalable cloud Domain Name System (DNS) web service. It helps ensure the ability to consistently route end users to applications by circumventing any internet or network-related issues.

• Application Load Balancers, which distribute incoming application traffic across multiple targets in multiple Availability Zones.

• AWS Virtual Private Network (AWS VPN), which establishes a secure private tunnel from the customer’s network to the AWS global network.

At the compute level, the solution employs:

• HANA, an in-memory, column-oriented, relational database management system. It stores and retrieves data as requested by the applications, performs advanced analytics, and includes extract, transform, load (ETL) capabilities.

• Fiori, which provides applications used in regular business functions such as calculation apps and various self-service apps.

• PO (Process Orchestration), to model and design business processes.

• Secure Login Server, a central service that provides X.509v3 certificates to users and application servers for authentication to the customer’s SAP and non-SAP business systems.

• Web Dispatcher, which serves as a “software web switch” and rejects or accepts connections. When it accepts a connection, it balances the load to ensure even distribution across the servers.

The storage level components include:

• Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS), a highly available and reliable storage volume that can attach to any running instance in the same Availability Zone.

• Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS), which provides simple, scalable file storage for use with Amazon EC2 instances in the AWS Cloud.

The Benefits – Uninterrupted Access to Critical Data and Apps

The customer now has peace of mind that its R&D teams across all locations have uninterrupted access to essential data and applications. That enhances productivity and helps reduce time-to-market. The customer is also reaping the cost savings and other benefits of using AWS Cloud services and SAP S/4HANA.

That’s what’s possible when you choose to partner with ClearScale. ClearScale develops technology solutions to meet companies’ most complex needs and deliver added value. A full range of professional cloud services is available, ranging from architecture design to application development.