10 study resources for the AWS Certified: SAP on AWS – Specialty exam
I have been working as a Solutions Architect at Amazon Web Services for the last few years. During this time, I have had the opportunity to work with many customers migrating, running, operating, and scaling their SAP workloads on the AWS Cloud. One of the key challenges that SAP professionals face is the varying methodologies, priorities, and operational goals of different SAP customers. As my experience and knowledge in running SAP workloads on AWS grew, I decided to study for and pursue the AWS Certified: SAP on AWS – Specialty exam. The experience preparing for this certification strengthened my understanding of SAP and AWS concepts considerably. I cannot stress enough the importance of getting hands-on with the topics as much as possible. I ran multiple workshops (links in this blog) in my AWS account and observed how the resources worked. The preparation itself has been highly satisfying and rewarding. I would encourage any architect or engineer with an interest in this area to pursue this certification. If earning this certification is a goal of yours, read on because I’ll cover 10 study resources to help you prepare for the exam.
AWS Certified: SAP on AWS – Specialty is intended for individuals in roles that require experience with both SAP and AWS. It covers foundational as well as deep-dive topics around SAP and AWS, validating the candidate’s ability to design, implement, migrate, and operate the broad range of SAP workloads on AWS, adhering to the AWS Well-Architected Framework and SAP certification and support requirements.
Before we dive in, the recommended steps to prepare for exam day include:
Step 1: Review the exam guide, to understand the exam outline, and take the AWS Certified: SAP on AWS – Specialty Official Practice Question Set to get to know exam-style questions.
Step 2: Enroll in free digital course SAP on AWS (Technical) on AWS Skill Builder.
Step 3: Review our white papers and AWS services-related FAQs available on the exam page.
And here are my 10 tips and additional resources to help you approach exam day with confidence.
1. Cover the AWS Fundamentals
The AWS Certified: SAP on AWS – Specialty exam tests your understanding of AWS services. This includes services like Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, Amazon EBS, Amazon VPC, AWS Data Sync, AWS WAF, AWS Storage Gateway, AWS Config, AWS IAM, etc. If you haven’t already done so, I would recommend you complete either the AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate or AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate exam before taking the AWS Certified SAP on AWS – Specialty exam to help you build good foundational-level knowledge of core AWS services.
2. Leverage free trainings built by the experts at AWS
AWS Training and Certification provides free training resources. AWS Skill Builder offers on-demand digital training resources to help you prepare for the exam. I recommend the SAP on AWS (Technical) digital training (a free course) to learn fundamentals and key architectural patterns for running SAP on AWS. You’ll learn how to size SAP on AWS to meet performance targets, perform basic system operations for SAP on AWS including backups, monitoring, and automated deployments, and make architectural decisions based on AWS-recommended best practices. Review the “Training built by experts” resource in the exam guide.
3. Know your Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) provides a wide selection of instance types optimized to fit different use cases. The varying combinations of CPU, memory, storage, and networking capacity provide flexibility in selection of resources for your applications. Each instance type includes one or more instance sizes, enabling you to scale your resources according to the requirements of your workload.
AWS has worked closely with SAP to test and certify Amazon EC2 instance types for SAP on AWS solutions. Make sure you know the certified and recommended EC2 instance types for different SAP workloads. Sound understanding of Amazon EC2 instance types for SAP on AWS helps you set the base for your architecture.
4. Familiarize yourself with SAP migration
A lot of customers are moving to the AWS cloud to host their SAP workloads. Hence the knowledge around migration tools and methodologies becomes very important in the context of this exam. I recommend familiarizing yourself with these migration tools – including online and offline migration options. The reference discusses available options to migrate and run SAP HANA on AWS. When you read the resource, focus on which option works for homogeneous migrations, and which ones are intended for heterogeneous migrations.
Read about the AWS Backint Agent for SAP and how AWS Backint agent that runs as a standalone application and integrates with your existing workflows. To back up your SAP HANA database to Amazon S3 and restores it using SAP HANA Cockpit, SAP HANA Studio, and SQL commands. AWS Backint agent supports full, incremental, and differential backup of SAP HANA databases.
Personally, I have found this 2021 video very helpful in understanding the basics of SAP migration.
5. Resiliency matters, and so does monitoring!
A lot of emphasis goes into creating a highly available SAP system and formulating a strong Disaster Recovery plan for SAP workloads. There are several companies who start their cloud journey by creating a Disaster Recovery footprint on AWS. For architectural guidance on scalability and reliability of SAP on AWS, I highly suggest reading this documentation and familiarizing yourself with architecture patterns for SAP HANA on AWS.
Next, ensure that you read about the AWS Data Provider for SAP, a tool that collects performance-related data from AWS services. It makes this data available to SAP applications to help monitor and improve the performance of business transactions. Review the versions, scope of the provider, and troubleshooting common errors.
6. Familiarize yourself with Networking concepts – Master your Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)
As mentioned in the exam guide, one of the key components of the certification is having a sound understanding of networking concepts. Get an end-to-end understanding of the SAP on AWS High Availability with Overlay IP Address Routing. If you are not familiar with the concepts of AWS Elastic Load Balancer and AWS Transit Gateway, I would recommend reading about these resources first.
In addition to this, read this three-part blog around VPC patterns:
- VPC Subnet Zoning Patterns for SAP on AWS, Part 1: Internal-Only Access
- VPC Subnet Zoning Patterns for SAP on AWS, Part 2: Network Zoning
- VPC Subnet Zoning Patterns for SAP on AWS, Part 3: Internal and External Access
7. Get hands-on!
As I mentioned earlier, there is no substitute to experience and hands-on experience. AWS provides a lot of workshops and self-paced labs that can help you in your exam preparation before heading into the exam. Please be aware of that running the labs will provision AWS resources, which in turn, will add to your AWS bill. Do not forget to delete the resources after running the workshops.
8. Don’t forget the FAQs
Whether you’re new to AWS and SAP, or an experienced engineer, you must consider reviewing the relevant product and service-related FAQs before any exam. The SAP on AWS FAQs is a good resource as well. In addition to these, I also recommend reviewing FAQs of the AWS fundamental services. The AWS FAQ page offers an extensive list of product FAQs that can help you as well.
9. Get advanced resources – Review SAP Lens of AWS Well-Architected Framework
The SAP Lens – AWS Well-Architected Framework is a collection of customer-proven design principles and best practices for ensuring SAP workloads on AWS are well-architected. Use the SAP Lens as a supplement to the AWS Well-Architected Framework, which provides the foundations for building secure, high-performing, resilient, and efficient applications and workloads on AWS.
10. Troubleshooting holds the key
The AWS documentation is very detailed and elaborate for troubleshooting common errors and scenarios. When you read the AWS SAP documentations, focus on the troubleshooting sections like troubleshooting AWS Data Provider for SAP and troubleshooting issues with AWS backint agent.
Lastly, do remember to practice and read as much as you can. I have also found the SAP Notes very helpful. SAP Notes give you instructions on how to remove known errors from SAP systems. They include a description of the symptoms, the cause of the error, and the SAP Release and Support Package level in which the error occurs.
Go forward with confidence
Bookmark these resources and follow the recommended steps to prepare for the certification exam and beyond. Use this blog in conjunction with the official study guide to maximize your chances of acing the AWS Certified: SAP on AWS Specialty exam. I hope you consider pursuing this exam and experience similar benefits. If you haven’t done it yet, sign up for free AWS Skill Builder training account and take the recommended courses. Best of luck!