AWS case study for ETZ GLOBAL, provided by Malan Barnard, Director at GlueData

About

GlueData is passionate about data. We are founded on the principle of achieving quality data, knowing that data drives process and process drives profitability.

We are a dynamic, data-focused company utilising SAP Applications to optimise and deliver value to our customers’ operations and bottom line. GlueData has proven, rich methodologies, skilled consultants, and the relevant implementation experience to rapidly deliver sustainable value for our customers. Our mission is to be the most skilled, specialised and sought-after niche enterprise data consulting firm globally. To deliver productised, repeatable solutions that simplify data management for every customer going onto SAP or running SAP.

Customers can expect a partner in data leadership, architectural and functional guidance, and clearly defined and documented solutions implemented by skilled, data consultants.

The Challenge

GlueData manages their own SAP systems to run solutions for their customer base. The company had been hosting the SAP platform in data centres. 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. A decision needed to be made. Invest more in physical infrastructure or consider a reputable and proven Public Cloud provider.

Why Amazon Web Services

Evaluating various on-premises and cloud options, GlueData decided to move its SAP production platform to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud. They engaged AWS Consulting Partner ETZ GLOBAL.  “We needed to utilize the investment already made in physical infrastructure while at the same time improve SAP performance and control our cost. The flexibility, agility scalability and security AWS offers as the leader in Public Cloud was and easy decision for us. ETZ GLOBAL helped us to achieve those goals,” said Malan Barnard, director at GlueData.

Herman van Aswegen, CEO of ETZ GLOBAL, talks about the approach selected for GlueData: “We knew that GlueData made an investment in on-premise hardware and still had to extract value from that. We proposed a Hybrid model, where the customer have the option to continue using their existing investment to the end of its lifecycle, while at the same time have seamless access to their extended data centre, hosted in AWS. This model makes sense for many of our customers. Some want us to run only a Proof of Concept, others suggest their SAP Development or Quality Assurance instances live on AWS while the Production continue on-premise. In the case of GlueData, they wanted their Production instances on AWS, while Development and Quality Assurance continued on-premise.”

ETZ GLOBAL presented a cost model and identified areas where savings could be made. This showed a significant decrease in cost while improving performance.

The GlueData SAP environment runs on on-demand 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. GlueData uses multiple Availability Zones across the AWS EU (Ireland) region.

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.

Malan Barnard, Director at GlueData talks about their overall experience, “AWS architecture allows GlueData a combination of availability, performance, and efficiency for its SAP landscape”. “It also eliminates the single point of failure and ensures business continuity”. “Looking back, ETZ GLOBAL was the correct choice for us. Their experience in SAP and AWS was clear from the start, they gave realistic pricing and expectations and most importantly, stuck to their promises. We had no issues during any phase of the migration,” continues Malan Barnard

Figure 1 demonstrates the SAP solution on AWS.

Figure 1. GlueData SAP Architecture on AWS

The Benefits

By using AWS for their own SAP landscape GlueData 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 40 percent less than running in a data centre GlueData had been using beforehand.

The time needed to provision a new environment was reduced from weeks, to less than an hour.

Maintenance support provided on a cost-incurred basis by our partner, ETZ GLOBAL, went from being a capital expenditure to an operating expenditure. By using structured cost-incurred maintenance support GlueData have been able to significantly reduce their actual capital expenditures.

Testing the effect of any Support Package or code changes is so easy. Just spin up multiple copies from the same AMI image make the changes and see the effect. Then shut them down again.

Overall, GlueData is extremely pleased with the flexibility, cost-effectiveness, performance, and security of the AWS infrastructure.

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.