Google Cloud Platform is gaining momentum
“Player 3 has entered the game!”. As the year is steadily moving towards its end, and the time for a year-recap is getting closer, this is what comes to my mind when reflecting on the bigger things which happened this year. Next to Azure and AWS, GCP (Google Cloud Platform) is beginning to gain a foothold on the SAP cloud market. This may not have been perceived as a major earthquake in the SAP and cloud business… but it may well be a couple of months down the road from now. One of our customers recently asked me what my take on that is – after all, being the CTO of Datavard I surely must have one, right?
Microsoft Azure offers completeness of vision, but GCP is breathing down its neck
Up until this year, I would have bet on Azure making the SAP cloud race, even though globally in all things cloud, Amazon is the clear market leader. But I have fallen in love with the completeness of vision of Microsoft’s Azure offering and technology. From storage, database, Hadoop to PowerBI and Office, there is nothing which Azure doesn’t offer. Consequently, at Datavard, we’re using Azure for our own business with Office365 and PowerBI, and some odd Netweaver demo and evaluation systems here and there (our own S/4HANA production box is still firmly rooted on premise for now).
Well, competition is usually good for business and innovation, and now SAP customers (as well as we at Datavard ourselves) can benefit from Google’s GCP, which offers interesting options for nicely scaling HANA systems in the cloud. And, let’s not forget about BigQuery to integrate SAP data in reporting and machine learning scenarios.
The new multi-cloud trend and how it complicates things
The downside of this is the ongoing trend to multi-cloud. Some of our customers are already experiencing that today, and not all of that is great. Data may well be pushed from cloud to cloud, with some kind of frontend running in yet another cloud. This tends to be inefficient (read: slow) and ineffective (read: expensive).
New technologies and providers also put solution providers such as Datavard on the spot: do our solutions support each and every cloud provider and technology? For Datavard, I’m proud to say that we support all major cloud providers. You may have read former-SAP-board-member-now-turned-Googler Rob Enslin’s blog post last week, where he favorably mentions Datavard’s Glue solution for the tight and native integration between SAP and Google Cloud. In fact, with Glue we support all kinds of Big Data scenarios such as predictive analytics (e.g. for predictive maintenance), fraud analysis, next generation reporting, etc.
Going beyond SAP integration scenarios: data management, system decommissioning and transformation
Datavard Glue unlocks SAP data with powerful integration and business content, as well as with delta capture (CDC) and real-time streaming capabilities. Being mentioned by Rob is a great honor for us!
What Rob does not mention is that we use the technology in Glue as engine to provide value above and beyond the integration for such scenarios to our customers:
– OutBoard uses the same technology for specific use cases for data management, i.e. for archiving in ERP and a write-enabled NLS implementation for SAP BW and B/4HANA
– OutBoard DataFridge allows customers to decommission entire SAP systems by loading and staging old and cold SAP data in a cloud storage, which is governed by SAP ABAP based rules for data access and data destruction
– With the Datavard Transformation Suite customers can implement not only business transformations such as M&A or divestitures, but also bring their SAP systems from any database to SAP HANA – on premise or in the cloud – with NZDT (Near Zero Downtime). The Glue delta capture features help us implement the NZDT while our business content allows us to perform selective data transfers.
When combined, these building blocks unlock tremendous value for our customers. For example, you can migrate a subset of your SAP data (e.g. a range of company codes with only the last 3 years of data) from ECC on any DB to GCP (even to S/4HANA!), while archiving the remaining data into OutBoard DataFridge to keep it accessible, but purge data once retention rules allow for data destruction.