Amazon Web Services has upped its enterprise credibility again, this time via a partnership with SAP that has certified certain SAP applications to run in production environments on the AWS cloud. General-purpose clouds such as AWS have been criticized as not being trustworthy enough to handle mission-critical, heavy-duty enterprise applications like those SAP sells — especially outside test-and-development environments — so the deal is something of a coup for AWS.
The certification means SAP has tested and benchmarked the AWS cloud just as it does with traditional physical- and virtual-server platforms, and has deemed certain configurations capable of meeting SAP’s stringent demands. As a result, customers running certified applications will receive joint support from AWS and SAP, as well as from third-party systems integrators specially trained in setup and ongoing support for SAP on AWS. According to AWS VP Adam Selipsky, the process was extensive and AWS spent a lot of time optimizing its platform to handle the unique demands of SAP applications.
Presently, SAP Business Objects and Rapid Deployment Solutions are certified to run on Linux servers within AWS, but certifications for SAP’s flagship ERP applications and for AWS Windows instances are on the way.
Selipsky said that AWS’s business has been growing “unabated,” even after its recent outage, so he doesn’t see that event scaring too many enterprises away from moving their production applications to the cloud. In fact, he noted, AWS has a large number of customers — including Recovery.gov and Lionsgate Entertainment — running SAP applications in test-dev environments that are anxious to start running it in production.
Kevin Ichhpurani, SVP of the Global Ecosystem and Channels Group at SAP, said SAP has seen a steady stream of customers moving to the cloud “and we don’t see a change in that trend.” Even if events like the AWS outage do stoke availability fears, he said, they only will delay the inevitable cloud migration because there’s too much pent-up demand to turn back now.
Other cloud computing providers, including CSC and Virtustream, are already SAP-certified, but they were built from the ground up to handle enterprise applications. AWS, on the other hand, provides more of a one-size-fits-all self-service cloud platform that doesn’t always allow for the customization that some enterprise applications require. Thus far, this has meant heavy reliance on AWS by many SMBs and web-application developers, but somewhat limited usage by performance- and security-wary large enterprises.
However, with SAP certification, as well as new features such as an advanced Virtual Private Cloud and Dedicated Instances, and with regulatory compliance certifications stacking up, AWS is showing it’s determined not to cede the enterprise-application market to more-targeted cloud providers.