We always strive to get the best possible performance out of our SAP environment, and we can do that by using the Amazon EC2 X1 instance types.
Clint Bouska Systems Architect Manager

Lockheed Martin Corporation is a U.S. aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technologies company. Based in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services. The organization’s business spans more than 70 countries, with 97,000 employees and sales of more than $47 billion in 2016. 

Each of Lockheed Martin’s business areas maintains a growing group of critical SAP instances and associated applications used by thousands of employees. These workers use applications such as SAP ERP, financials, and other SAP modules to conduct business every day.

Because of a corporate drive toward application consolidation and cost reduction, the organization sought to move its test and development instances of SAP HANA relational database management system, which stores and retrieves SAP application data, to the cloud. “Our business area CIO had challenged us to try out the cloud, and we thought it would be best to test the cloud’s capabilities by moving our biggest and most complex test and development system—SAP Suite on HANA,” says Clint Bouska, systems architect manager for Lockheed Martin.

The organization also needed more business agility to respond to increasing requests from internal SAP users. “Our business requires agility along with solid solutions for our ever-evolving portfolio,” says Bouska. “There are high expectations internally that we will react and deliver compute resources quickly.” The organization also wanted to lower some of its capital expenses. “When we thought about the cloud, we wanted to see if there was an opportunity to reduce the cost of maintaining our SAP applications,” says Brent Eckhout, SAP technical services manager for Lockheed Martin. In addition, the organization needed to ensure that any cloud solution would support the organization’s stringent security requirements, such as compliance with the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

The Lockheed Martin business area reached out to its internal Enterprise Business Services organization, which selected Amazon Web Services (AWS) as the cloud provider for the project. “We selected AWS because of its maturity in the market, breadth of services, and commitment to cybersecurity,” says Jeff Wright, cloud service senior manager, Enterprise Business Services, part of Lockheed Martin’s Enterprise Operations group. They also chose AWS because of its SAP HANA program. “AWS has a lot of experience running SAP HANA platforms in the cloud, and that was huge for us,” Wright says. His group worked hand in hand with AWS to create a test implementation of SAP Suite on HANA running on the AWS Cloud. The deployment is set up to support SAP application integration test cycles for four of the business area’s sites.

The solution utilizes two SAP HANA instances in AWS GovCloud (US), an isolated AWS region that hosts sensitive data and regulated workloads. “As an aerospace and defense firm, security is absolutely essential,” Wright says. “That’s why we chose AWS GovCloud. We then built the foundational and security blueprints on top of it all.” The solution also takes advantage of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) X1 instances, which are powered by quad socket Intel® Xeon® E7 8880 v3 processors that are optimized for enterprise and database workloads and are designed to run large-scale, in-memory applications. “We were excited about the potential performance benefits of the Amazon EC2 X1 instances,” says Wright. T

By working with an internal organization and AWS solution architects, the business area was able to quickly move its SAP on HANA Suite to the AWS Cloud. “Usually, to set up a new system, I have to go through our security and networking teams, among others,” says Eckhout. “Lockheed Martin Enterprise Business Services, inclusive of enterprise security and networking, and AWS had already laid the groundwork for the solution, which meant we didn’t have to wait. We couldn’t have done this without Jeff’s team. This was a very collaborative effort, and a great example of the enterprise and an external vendor working cohesively on a project.”

Running its SAP Suite on HANA on AWS for test and development, the business will gain the agility it was looking for. “We need to react quickly to the demands of our internal SAP users, and having test and development instances of SAP HANA on AWS will help us rapidly deploy new projects,” says Bouska. “With the agility we get from being on AWS, we can spin test systems up or down as needed to adjust to the changing dynamics of internal projects.”

The business also expects significant performance benefits from its cloud-based SAP environment. “During testing, this solution performed much better than our on-premises test environments and our in-house application servers,” says Eckhout. “We think that will improve even more in the future. We always strive to get the best possible performance out of our SAP environment, and we can do that by using the Amazon EC2 X1 instance types.”

The organization also expects to cut costs by moving to the cloud. “We want to move from a CAPEX to an OPEX model, which we can do on AWS,” says Wright. “We have historically had to manage expensive hardware that was occasionally under-utilized, sitting idle when demand goes away. So instead of paying for that, we can spin SAP sandbox environments up or down on AWS and better control our costs.”

Additionally, Lockheed Martin will benefit from running SAP in AWS GovCloud (US). “The AWS GovCloud region meets our customer’s requirements regarding its ITAR data,” says Wright. “Knowing that it’s a separate region that has already gone through accreditations and LM security approvals, coupled with our blueprints on top, provides a lot of confidence.”

Eventually, Lockheed Martin anticipates it will move SAP on HANA solutions to production on AWS. “Based on our initial testing, we definitely see this solution having a role in our production support environment going forward,” says Eckhout. “Overall, if this proves to be sustainable in the long term—and we think it will—we will probably move more critical workloads to production on AWS