AWS case study for ETZ GLOBAL, provided by Adriaan Fourie, Director of Project Delivery at Savantis

About

At Savantis we’re solving real business challenges for our customers through innovation and deep industry knowledge. Our suite of enterprise solutions and services ensure long term customer success. We work with customers in Hospitality & Entertainment, Retail, and manufacturing to help them with full life cycle services focused on ERP, CRM, Mobility, Analytics, and Infrastructure Management. Our Innovative solutions and Processes have helped many clients realize their strategic and tactical business objectives. We leverage industry leading partner technologies from AWS, SAP, SFDC, Extreme Networks, Qlik etc., to deliver innovative value-added solutions.

The Challenge

Savantis manages their own SAP systems and those of their customer base. The company had been hosting the SAP platform in data centres. As the business grew the infrastructure was reaching the limits of its capacity. This was compromising performance of the SAP applications, hindering productivity, and limiting the users experience. There was no agility or elasticity to scale up or down. The changes in cost increments was based on a t-shirt sizing model.

Why Amazon Web Services

Evaluating various on-premises and cloud options, Savantis decided to move its SAP platform to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud. They engaged AWS Consulting Partner ETZ GLOBAL.  “We were aiming to improve SAP performance and control our cost while using an open, agile, flexible and secure platform. We selected ETZ GLOBAL to help us achieve those goals,” said Adriaan Fourie, director of Project Delivery at Savantis.

Herman Steyn, Managing Director of ETZ GLOBAL, talks about the approach selected for Savantis: “We started by presenting a cost model and identified areas where savings could be made. We ran a proof of concept environment and showed how we could significantly decrease cost while improving performance. We had limited time to perform the migration and stuck to a detailed roadmap to mitigate the risk.”

The result is that Savantis went from proof of concept to completion in 2 weeks.

The Savantis SAP environment runs on a mixture of on-demand and reserved Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances. Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) provides highly scalable storage, and both SSD and magnetic Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) volumes are used, depending on workload requirements. Savantis uses multiple Availability Zones across the AWS US-EAST-1 region.

Separate production and non-production workloads run in the Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) environment. AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) allows control of user access to AWS resources. The infrastructure is monitored through Amazon CloudWatch, while AWS CloudTrail records changes across services.

“The AWS architecture gives Savantis the right combination of availability, performance, and efficiency for its SAP landscape” says Steyn. “It also ensures business continuity by eliminating the single point of failure the company had in its data centre.”

“We had no issues in any phase of the migration,” adds Adriaan Fourie.

Figure 1 demonstrates the SAP solution on AWS.

Figure 1. Savantis SAP Architecture on AWS

The Benefits

By using AWS for their own SAP landscape Savantis justified that it could flexibly and rapidly procure IT infrastructure while meeting its business objectives. In addition, there were major cost benefits that resulted from the migration. In terms of initial investment, migrating to AWS costs approximately 50 to 60 percent less than running in a data centre Savantis had been using beforehand.

The company reduced the time needed to provision a new environment from four weeks to 30 minutes, which engineers can scale up and down at the click of a mouse.

The Savantis team employed a concept in which the maintenance support provided on a cost-incurred basis by its partner, ETZ GLOBAL, went from being a capital expenditure to an operating expenditure. “By using structured cost-incurred maintenance support, we have been able to significantly reduce actual capital expenditures” says Fourie

Savantis appreciates the major advantages on the cost side but they also had to pay careful attention to security issues. SAP products store a wide variety of data. “None of the urban legends about ‘security issues in the cloud,’ are valid concerns, in fact, the more we considered AWS, the more it was obvious to us that AWS is a secure environment and we would be able to use it with peace of mind. Public access to our instances is not possible and we have the option to encrypt our data in transit and at rest”, continues Fourie.

For our end users, connecting remotely to SAP applications using the virtual private network is now fast and reliable, improving their confidence in the service. “Availability for our SAP applications has improved from 80 percent to almost 100 percent since moving to AWS,” estimates Fourie

Overall, Savantis is extremely pleased with the flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and performance of the AWS infrastructure. Going forward, the company intends to use AWS as infrastructure offering to all their customers.

About the Partner

AWS Consulting Partner ETZ GLOBAL helps organizations transform the SAP workplace through cloud-based implementations. For more information about how ETZ GLOBAL can help your company build and manage your AWS environment, see the ETZ GLOBAL listing in the AWS Partner Directory.