1. Introduction of Cloud computing
Cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. Cloud computing is the phrase used to describe different scenarios in which computing resource is delivered as a service over a network connection (usually, this is the internet). It is therefore a type of computing that relies on sharing a pool of physical and/or virtual resources, rather than deploying local or personal hardware and software.
Major benefits of cloud computing being its flexibility of scaling up your requirements instantly (Storage, compute power, etc), coupled with other advantages like cost efficient, easy and sturdy backup & recovery process, easy access. Some of the common example being google drive, apple icloud. Cloud computing is typically classified on two pillars:
a. Types of service offerings
b. Location of the cloud computing
2. Overview of different service models of cloud computing
In order to run an application or set of applications in any organization, there is set of services required which cuts across various skills. Based on the type of activity, standardization and usage, these services can be bundled under defined package mentioned below.
3. Types of Cloud based on location
a. Public Cloud
In Public cloud the computing infrastructure is hosted by the cloud vendor at their premises. Customer’s data is stored in the vendor’s data center and the provider is responsible for the management and maintenance of the data center. The customer has no visibility and control over the computing infrastructure where it is shared between multiple customers. Many public-cloud services are multitenant, meaning the provider runs the solution in a shared environment. By spreading infrastructure costs are across a number of users, each can operate on a low-cost, pay as you go approach against the IT services customer avails.
This type of cloud environment is appealing to many companies because it reduces lead times in testing and deploying new products. A public cloud can be considered when customer has below requirements:
- Application is much standardized and is used by lots of people, e.g. e-mail.
- Need to have non production environment for development, sandbox, testing
- Frequent need to modify capacity and hardware resources on running applications.
- Ad-hoc hardware requirement from running projects.
Considerations: Since the underlying infrastructure architecture is implemented using specific design, there is less scope for customization/modification for security and performance. While, Security and reliability being concerns for most of the IT companies, hence you should emphasis on planning the strong governance around the same while considering Public cloud.
b. Private Cloud
Infrastructure following in this category of Cloud can reside on company’s own premise and used across locations via intranet or it can be hosted at external data center where all of your data is protected behind a firewall. It is dedicated for a unique customer, whether managed internally or hosted by a third-party externally, because of which these clouds have the highest level of security and control. Customer has privilege to implement it complete security policy even when it is hosted externally. However, in this case customer will have to bear hardware cost and maintain all the software and infrastructure, which impacts adversely on the cost savings.
A private cloud can be considered when customer has below requirements:
- The data and application privacy is of top most priority. Therefore, control and security needs to be implemented under certain policy.
- Industry legal requirements to adhere to strict security and data privacy issues. E.g. Pharmaceutical company, etc.
- Huge requirement of hardware and where customer also has flexibility to shift workloads across different application on need base.
There are two variations accordingly in Private Cloud:
On-Premise Private Cloud: This is also known as an “Internal Cloud,” is hosted within an organization’s own data center. It provides a more flexibility to provision for standardized process and protection, but is often limited in size and scalability.
Externally Hosted Private Cloud: This private cloud model is hosted by an external cloud computing provider but the infrastructure is dedicated for the customer so as to adhere their security and control policies and hence data privacy is guaranteed. Hence in nutshell, the datacenter management and infrastructure is owned by hosting partner, whereas the security policies are followed as per customer’s demand. This construct is preferred by customers who does not want to invest on the data center infrastructure and resources associated to it, but also not willing to use a public cloud infrastructure due to the risks associated with the sharing of physical resources.
c. Hybrid Cloud
This is an integrated approach which provides us benefits of both public and private cloud setup within the same organization. Typically the demand is decent level of security & control, cost effective and scale-able. There can be few cases where Hybrid cloud can be suitable:
- Application is standard and maintenance activities are more of less fixed, it is good to go with SaaS or DaaS services, the vendor can create a private cloud just for this customer inside their firewall which is a kind of VPN setup.
- Deploy all non-sensitive operations like test and demo systems, non production environment on public cloud while relying on a private cloud for sensitive data like productive environment.
Considerations: Hybrid solution embarks to have a design thought on seamless integration with systems deployed across public and private cloud. Hybrid cloud models can be implemented in a number of ways:
- Separate cloud providers can come up with mix of public and private cloud as single package.
- Individual cloud providers offer a complete hybrid package
- Organizations who manage their private clouds themselves sign up to a public cloud service which they then integrate into their infrastructure
4. Different scenarios of HANA Deployment on Cloud.
As we know SAP has HANA enterprise cloud solution and now it is considered as a Cloud company powered by HANA. This is primarily focused on the service part of cloud computing.
Typically in public cloud setup, the cloud vendor manages full scope of software services and customer have no control on the modifications / development and hence all the patches / updates on the software is pushed automatically via cloud service provider. Typical e.g. are Hybris, C4C, success factor, etc.
On the other hand, customer can opt for private cloud setup where software is again managed fully by cloud vendor, but updates are done after agreement with customer. This setup is done to have a provision for customer to carryout limited customization/developments. This means, customer may need to do minor adjustments in their modification to comply with the updates. SAP is planning to put S4HANA in private mode of cloud computing.
While the above two being in place, SAP still supports the customer who wants to keep infrastructure on premise. This is traditional model of SAP implementation where customer is responsible to maintain the software services. While the cost to maintain infrastructure and services is highest among all models, but customer has liberty to customize the system to larger extent to meet their business requirements. They can however plan the software and application updates in a well-defined project plan. SAP S4HANA also has on premise edition.
Having said that, in my view the above two options (public / Private cloud) seems to be lucrative for:
- New mid segment SAP implementations where customer have greater options to adopt standard SAP package and best practices.
- Less complex business scenario and business is open for minor changes in order to adapt standard features.
- Minimal interference to non SAP product, especially which has some high bandwidth/ high security requirement.
- Existing customer where existing infrastructure is due for renewal
- Ad-Hoc requirement to add onto their existing landscape. E.g C4C.
While SAP/ non SAP customer which has complex business requirements and SAP needs to be customized heavily to meet their requirements can go with On premise option.
With the above mentioned options of cloud based on infrastructure and based on services, several aspects can be explored while designing a landscape onto cloud; primarily security concerns in public cloud, performance and cost implication in private/on premise solutions. We can think of a hybrid solution for deployment of HANA system on wherein we can have a mix of benefits of both public and private cloud solutions. This construct can further be optimized using multi tenancy feature of HANA (SP9 onward).
Customer can plan to have a kind of private cloud dedicated for customer via Virtual Private Network setup within public cloud, else you need to explore other options of security.