Sapphire Systems Migrates to SAP on AWS at Scale to Increase Speed and Agility
By Elias Bedmar, Customer Solutions Manager – AWS
By Paul Guy, Sr. Partner Solutions Architect, SAP – AWS
By Laura Greaves, Account Manager – AWS
By Narinder Bains, Global Technical Manager – Sapphire Systems
Technology from Sapphire Systems supports more than 1,250 clients across 16 industries in running mission-critical business operations, such as enterprise resource planning, financial management, asset management, and IT operations management.
These systems work behind the scenes to make our lives easier and exciting—whether we are receiving healthcare, going to the gym, using public transport, eating at a restaurant, or going to a sports event.
Sapphire, an AWS Select Tier Services Partner and leading digital operating transformation provider, has made great strides in the expansion of its software and service offerings, and has collaborated with leading players such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and SAP.
In 2023, Sapphire started an ambitious program to migrate to AWS and exit its two physical data centers in the UK. The migration, which had a large SAP Business One component, leveraged the AWS Migration Acceleration Program (MAP) framework and investments, as well as AWS migration tooling.
Sapphire’s migration started with an assess (discovery) phase, which included a total cost of ownership (TCO) comparison between on-premises and AWS hosting. This was followed by a mobilize phase in which a migration plan was created and the business case was refined, with the baseline environment (“landing zone”) being built on AWS.
Then, the migration and modernization phase started and on-premises workloads were migrated to AWS at scale. In parallel, Sapphire’s leadership worked with their AWS account team to drive cloud maturity programs to address operational readiness and develop cloud skills.
Architecture Overview – Sapphire ‘Beyond’
SAP is globally acknowledged as the market leader in enterprise application software. This is especially so in the large enterprise space; for example, 77% of the world’s transaction revenue touches an SAP system. SAP offers many solutions to run mission-critical workloads, with SAP applications providing the business process backbone for most of the world’s enterprises.
SAP systems are large and complex, and SAP Business One is specifically designed for small and medium-sized enterprise. As such, it’s often considered to be less complex but that’s not the case—it’s just different.
By choosing AWS, Sapphire knew it was in safe hands. AWS has been supporting SAP in the cloud since 2008 and SAP customers in the cloud since 2011. Over this 15-year journey, AWS has consistently led the innovation cycle for SAP in the cloud.
Leading enterprises across nearly every geo and industry choose AWS to get more value out of their SAP investments and enterprise data. Today, thousands of customers run SAP on AWS, and over half of these have deployed SAP HANA-based solutions on AWS.
Analysts at ISG who specialize in SAP also validate AWS leadership in this space—recognizing AWS as a leader in ISG’s Provider Lens Quadrant Report for SAP HANA Infrastructure Services, in every country and every year the report has been published.
Diving deeper to the underlying technology adopted by Sapphire, SAP Business One applications run on either Linux or Windows operating systems and come in two database flavors: SAP’s own proprietary in-memory HANA database, or Microsoft SQL Server database.
Sapphire’s landscape needed to support all of these flavors and in various versions, including some older legacy versions. By building its ‘Beyond’ platform on AWS, Sapphire has been able to utilize AWS’s expertise and vast experience in proving the most reliable, scalable, secure and cost-effective SAP landscapes, while improving performance and reliability and reducing downtime.
AWS provided Sapphire with SAP Business One best practice guidance and reference architecture with a single-region deployment example using HANA.
Figure 1 – AWS reference architecture for Business One on HANA.
Sapphire took this best practice and extended it to deliver a network and platform design incorporating virtual private cloud (VPC) peering to connect customer VPCs with the management VPC in AWS. This includes AWS Direct Connect from customer to AWS to support the migrations, and enhanced network security with security groups, firewalls, network access control lists (NACLs), and URL filtering.
Sapphire has adopted additional AWS services such as AWS Audit Manager, Amazon Macie, AWS Security Hub, AWS CloudTrail, and AWS Backup, along with the latest Amazon EC2 R6i instances that were recently certified by SAP to ensure optimal performance and resiliency for these critical SAP Business One workloads.
Figure 2 – Sapphire Beyond reference architecture.
Sapphire has accelerated its cloud-first strategy with AWS over the last 12 months, and now has over 80% of customers migrated to its new cloud hosting service, Sapphire Beyond on AWS. This has put Sapphire on track to be an all-cloud business by July 2023—18 months ahead of schedule.
Sapphire realized a number of benefits as a result of transforming its on-premises hosting service to the cloud, including improved security posture, increased flexibility and agility when responding to changes in customer demand, and improved timelines for onboarding new customers through automation.
All of these benefits have translated into a better customer experience, as Sapphire is now able to host customers enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems on a more stable platform. This has resulted in a 15% reduction in the number of service tickets raised and a significant improvement in customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores.
There have also been further improvements noted around platform consolidation, which has helped empower teams to work remotely, boost productivity, and streamline a number of critical tasks across business operations.
Over the last 12 months, Sapphire has accelerated its onboarding journey as an SAP on AWS specialization partner. Additionally, Sapphire has set out a joint go-to-market (GTM) proposition launching Cloudflex4, a key component of the company’s growth strategy with AWS.
Cloudflex4 offers a fixed-price upgrade to the latest version of SAP B1 (V10) and migration to the cloud, as well as system lifecycle management integration to prevent customers from running into out-of-support issues.
In less than nine months, Sapphire Systems migrated over 80 clients to AWS, upskilled its staff, and established a Cloud Center of Excellence. By working in the cloud, Sapphire can deliver new products faster than before, while helping customers connect disparate data systems, automate their workflows, and tap into enhanced business insights.
You can learn more in this Sapphire case study.
Sapphire Systems – AWS Partner Spotlight
Sapphire Systems is an AWS Partner and leading digital operating transformation provider, providing EPR hosting systems in private cloud and AWS.