Lemongrass, headquartered in Reading, England, was established in 2008 as a specialist SAP Technology consultancy. The company offers a wide range of SAP-centric services and solutions to customers, including architecture services, delivery management, and a number of innovative solutions for SAP in the cloud. Lemongrass works with customers across verticals, and works with both public sector and private sector companies. The company has been working with AWS since 2010, is an Advanced APN Consulting Partner, and was the second company globally to achieve the SAP on AWS capability. 

As an SAP-focused company, Lemongrass leadership evaluated the current and anticipated needs of its customer base, and felt there were a number of limitations in running SAP workloads in an on-premises environment. “We’ve seen the challenges in cost, performance, and agility for our SAP customers with hosted infrastructure,” says Eamonn O’Neill, director of Lemongrass Consulting. “We identified that the cloud would be the platform of choice for SAP customers.” According to O’Neill, the Lemongrass team believed that customers would want to use the cloud for their SAP Landscapes, and that in time the cloud would become a key facet of Lemongrass’s business.

Key drivers for Lemongrass to become an APN Partner were the AWS position as a leader in the cloud infrastructure space and the certification earned by AWS to run SAP production and nonproduction workloads on the AWS platform. “We identified AWS as the market leader, and AWS was the first cloud provider to be certified by SAP which was quite important for us. You can’t run a productive SAP system on infrastructure that has not been certified by SAP,” says O’Neill. “AWS is fully certified, and in our experience SAP has been very supportive of customers making the migration to AWS. We believed that in working with AWS, we would be able to build out SAP infrastructure that met an enterprise service level for our customers. The architecture of AWS infrastructure is a differentiator for us. It’s incredibly resilient, and incredibly well built.”

Lemongrass builds and migrates customers’ SAP landscapes onto AWS, and offers a managed service to look after the AWS layer and the SAP Basis layer. Additionally, the company has developed a cloud controller, which adds value for SAP customers as they manage their SAP estate on AWS. In working with AWS, Lemongrass is able to run a number of SAP systems on AWS, including SAP HANA. “AWS allows us to run full productive SAP systems, including SAP HANA, which is a big new technology from SAP and important for our clients. AWS is at the forefront of continuing that development with SAP to provide cloud infrastructure for SAP customers,” says O’Neill.

The company uses a number of AWS Products and Services to support its customer base on AWS, and for internal Test/Dev and QA. “We are heavy users of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) and AWS Direct Connect have also been essential for us in supporting our customers on AWS,” explains O’Neill. “There are a number of services that are required to meet enterprise service levels. One of the things that SAP mandates is that for productive systems, you need to have an MPLS-type connection. With AWS Direct Connect, we can achieve that. Further, with AWS security designs, we’re able to achieve the very high levels of security required from an infrastructure standpoint that allow us to run SAP on the cloud.” Lemongrass also uses Amazon CloudWatch and Amazon CloudTrail for IT management, and AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) for all accounts.

Two of the largest benefits that Lemongrass has gained working with AWS, both for itself and for its end customers, are substantial cost savings and a quicker time to production for SAP workloads. Seaco Global Ltd., a large global firm that sells and leases marine shipping containers, came to Lemongrass for help migrating its IT landscape to a new environment. “For Seaco, we completely migrated its IT landscape to AWS, including its SAP systems. By migrating to AWS, the company has achieved a 50 percent cost savings on its IT costs, and has saved considerable time on particular tasks,” explains O’Neill. “Seaco was suffering from a billing run that was taking four days a month to execute. When we migrated the company’s IT infrastructure to AWS, we were able to cut that down to one day. The business has achieved direct benefits from that migration.”

Lemongrass has developed a Cloud Cost Calculator for customers, and with this calculator is able to estimate the cost savings that customers will likely achieve moving SAP workloads to AWS. “Our cost calculator allows us to take standard reports from SAP called EarlyWatch reports, and with those, we have the ability to calculate the costs of running SAP on AWS,” says O’Neill. “We find that typical costs savings are between 45 and 75 percent.” Additionally, the company can take legacy SAP systems, often held onto for reporting purposes, and migrate those to AWS. Through this, the company often typically sees savings of more than 95 percent for customers, according to O’Neill.

Internally, Lemongrass has saved a substantial amount of time in the development of mobile applications for SAP on AWS. “In our development of mobile applications for SAP, we need to be able to test against a lot of different versions of SAP. As we develop on AWS, we can test against a whole library of versions of SAP that we have, and with those can also test for different customers that we have and test against their versions,” says O’Neill. “We can test much faster on AWS than we could traditionally. For example, if we wanted to test against 10 versions of SAP on premises, it could take months of work, whereas on AWS we can stand up, test, and collapse those systems in days. This has allowed, and continues to allow, us to release our products much more quickly than we could in the past.”

The company has also experienced substantial benefits working with the APN. “We’ve had a very positive experience working with the APN. Being an APN Partner, we’ve received technical support and expertise, along with the ability to develop joint marketing to help us get to customers and get the message to customers about the benefits of running SAP on AWS,” says O’Neill. “Additionally, we’ve been able to successfully bring a number of proof of concepts to customers as well.”

“We personally look at SAP as the center of gravity of the IT estate, and we’ve found that AWS very positively supports SAP on AWS and recognizes the importance of SAP. And in working with AWS, even though we are a reasonably small company, we’re able to scale as big as our customers want and need,” explains O’Neill. “With the move to SAP HANA, AWS gives all SAP customers a safe harbour for future infrastructure, knowing that SAP has certified AWS for SAP HANA and that AWS will continue to deliver larger and more powerful services as customer demands grow.”

To learn more about Lemongrass, check out the firm's AWS Partner Directory listing