Automate SAP application software installation with AWS Launch Wizard


Organizations have been running SAP on AWS since 2008. From the beginning, our team has been listening to customers and rolling their feedback into the AWS platform to improve the SAP on AWS experience. Over this 13+ year journey, one thing that customers have told us repeatedly is that they want to deploy their SAP workloads faster and with greater simplicity. This led us to announce at re:Invent 2019 that AWS Launch Wizard — a service that guides you through the process of sizing, configuring, and deploying third-party applications — would be expanded to support the deployment of SAP HANA and SAP HANA-based NetWeaver workloads in addition to Microsoft SQL Server, which was already supported at the time. Launch Wizard gives SAP users  step-by-step assistance that is oriented around the knowledge base and skillset of an SAP practitioner to dramatically simplify the process of configuring and deploying AWS infrastructure for SAP workloads.

Customers and partners have told us that AWS Launch Wizard can reduce their infrastructure provisioning times for SAP workloads by as much as 75%. This offering can be used to accelerate a variety of use cases, including:

·       Supporting proof-of-concept and pilot phases

·       Migrating development, test, QA, and production environments

·       Just-in-time disaster recovery deployments

·       Building ad-hoc systems for new projects, n+1 landscapes, and more

Today, we’re excited to announce that in addition to infrastructure configuration and provisioning, AWS Launch Wizard now also supports software installation capabilities at the application layer, starting with SAP NetWeaver, SAP S/4HANA, and SAP BW/4HANA.

Installing SAP application software with AWS Launch Wizard

Prior to this release, AWS Launch Wizard enabled you to provision the required AWS services for SAP NetWeaver-based applications, as well as to install SAP HANA databases (if chosen). However, after doing so, users would have to manually install SAP NetWeaver application software onto the instances that were deployed. This manual installation can take days, depending on the deployment model that the customer chooses.

Installing SAP application software manually also creates greater room for human error when defining the application’s parameters or integrating it with AWS services. Post installation, teams could undergo days or even weeks of testing and validation and any error would create re-work, adding to this timeframe.

This launch enables you to provide SAP application software via an Amazon S3 bucket to install the application. This means you can launch SAP  applications, along with the required AWS services and SAP HANA database – all in just a couple hours.

Let’s briefly touch on some of the key AWS Launch Wizard features and their value.

Key features and benefits of AWS Launch Wizard

Guided user experience

Throughout the deployment process, AWS Launch Wizard provides guidance to help you stand up SAP systems in accordance with AWS and SAP best practices. For example:

·         You can choose between different deployment patterns (single, multi-node, high availability) that meet the application requirements

·         Drop-down menus allow you to easily choose from and select key aspects of the deployment, such as operating system and version

·         Key information is validated, saving the user significant time by eliminating errors that can have downstream impact

Infrastructure recommendations

When using AWS Launch Wizard, you can input your SAP application’s CPU/memory or its SAP Application Performance Standard (SAPS) requirements. The service then recommends the appropriate Amazon EC2 instances and Amazon EBS storage volumes, right-sized based on the application component and the role of the systems in the landscape, helping you meet requirements without overprovisioning and overpaying.

Reusable Infrastructure templates

AWS Launch Wizard allows you to easily define and save infrastructure-related choices of the deployment, such as which Amazon VPC and subnets the application should run within and how the security groups should be set up. These settings can be saved, for example, by a cloud architect and then used as a template to assist SAP Basis Administrators in future deployments, eliminating the need for assistance from DevOps or infrastructure teams.

Since AWS Launch Wizard support for SAP was released to general availability in April, we have continued to take customer feedback and update the service with more settings, integrations, and features. Let’s take a look at the milestones we’ve hit since announcing that Launch Wizard would support SAP deployments.

AWS Launch Wizard innovation milestones

·         December 2019 – Private preview: At re:Invent last year, we announced the availability of AWS Launch Wizard in preview for single-node SAP HANA and NetWeaver deployments.

·         April 2020 – General availability: AWS Launch Wizard was released in general availability with support for the most common SAP HANA and NetWeaver on HANA deployment patterns: single node, multi-node, and high availability deployments.

·         July 2020 – Routing outbound internet connections via your own Proxy Servers: We started offering support for routing outbound internet connections from Amazon VPC using Proxy Servers.

·         July 2020 – Amazon Route 53 integration: AWS Launch Wizard creates DNS records in the chosen Amazon Route 53 hosted zone, eliminating the need to maintain/etc/hosts file entries for each of the Amazon EC2 instances being deployed.

·         August 2020 – Region expansion: AWS Launch Wizard became available in AWS Europe (Milan), AWS Middle East (Bahrain), AWS Africa (Cape Town), and AWS Asia Pacific (Hong Kong).

·         September 2020 – Multiple route table support: This update allows you to automatically deploy SAP systems with high availability using multiple route tables, further improving reliability.

·         September 2020 – Amazon EFS integration: This release allows usage of Amazon EFS for /hana/shared and /backup file systems that need to be shared across multiple SAP HANA nodes for scale-out deployments.

·         September 2020 – Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8.1 support: You can now choose RHEL 8.1 for AWS Launch Wizard deployments

·         September 2020 – SUSE Enterprise Linux (SLES) 15 SP1 and 12 SP5: This release allows you to use SUSE Linux Enterprise for SAP Applications (SLES) version 12 SP5/15SP1.

·         October 2020 – AWS Backint Agent support: We integrated AWS Launch Wizard with AWS Backint Agent, allowing you to configure SAP HANA backups during the AWS Launch Wizard deployment process.

·         November 2020 – Extend AWS Launch Wizard with pre/post-deployment configuration scripts: With this release you can feed scripts into AWS Launch Wizard which are executed before and after the AWS resource configuration process to customize your SAP environments.

·         Today – SAP Application software installation: Today’s release eliminates the need to manually install NetWeaver, S/4HANA, and BW/4HANA application software onto the EC2 instances in your deployment.

Throughout this timeline, we’ve also provided updates to support an increasing number of AWS service integrations. Today, Launch Wizard is integrated with 15+ AWS services, which allows it to interact with other native AWS services to either launch them or help orchestrate SAP deployments.

Diagram that shows how key AWS services are integrated with AWS Launch Wizard to enable automated SAP deployments.

Putting AWS Launch Wizard to use

What’s the impact of this guidance and automation? Ultimately, you are able to launch a production-ready SAP application in just a couple hours. This means you’re not only up and running more quickly, but some of your most valuable team members can now focus on more differentiating tasks. All along the way, guardrails are in place that eliminate common errors and allow users to deploy applications with confidence.

We’re excited to continue to improve AWS Launch Wizard and continue our journey to simplify deployment of SAP workloads on AWS.

If you want to learn more and start deploying your own SAP systems today, visit the AWS Launch Wizard webpage. For a full list of the SAP applications/ databases, and operating systems currently supported by Launch Wizard, please refer to the Launch Wizard documentation. Be sure to check back regularly as we continue to expand the solutions that Launch Wizard supports for SAP customers.