Over the past few years, IT industry has faced major challenges, but everybody knows how fast it must continue to evolve to meet new challenges. The adoption of digital technologies represents a significant amount of data creation and movement across different storage tiers that can challenge SLAs to protect that data. Increasing storage requirements with little to no visibility into usage or ability to optimize the processes and task are also impacting the related Service Level Agreements.
In parallel, business users and developers continue to adopt cloud-based services and move data to remote and off-site locations to suit their business unit needs, which could increase costs and leave data vulnerable.
As IT becomes more sophisticated, data backup must evolve to incorporate the latest advances and address the latest trends:
- Most organizations continue to use a hybrid workforce in which employees split their time between working on site and working remotely. As of 2023, still 12.7% of full-time employees work from home, while 28.2% work a hybrid model1. This hybrid model can present massive challenges for backup. Business resilience has always been a challenge for organizations, but changes to the way companies and their customers do business and operate today has put new pressures on companies to find ways to remain open and to continue to deliver the value that their customers need.
- Also, and as mentioned before, the movement across different tiers has its major representation in the increasing movement towards using the cloud for storage and applications. Cloud storage does have several advantages, mostly to do with the flexibility in being able to quickly scale up or down the amount of storage required, as well as offering more cost control and moving from a CAPEX to OPEX model. But this can lead to new challenges when it comes to protecting corporate information, as well as seeing several major SaaS providers suffer disruptions in recent years despite their best efforts to achieve 100% service availability.
- Finally, there´s a critical need to protect core applications and create a resilient foundation, it´s not a matter of “if” or “when”, but how to adopt the right data protection strategy to protect core applications. These business-critical applications are becoming more and more important to the company's operation, and nowadays, a business-critical application outage can hinder productivity or user experience2. And most typically when the market talk about business-critical applications it means Data Bases applications.
The need for SAP HANA migration
If we look at SAP, it is a well-known company who develops software technology since 1972. Some of the most critical business applications are developed by SAP and one of their key applications nowadays is SAP HANA, an in-memory database used for SAP’s ERP applications that was released in 2010. It uses random-access memory (RAM) to help organize, analyze, and provide real-time information on big data.
SAP S/4HANA is its evolution, much faster and more efficient than its predecessor and that was built for organizations that want to take advantage of the cloud. But it also allows on-premises and hybrid deployments.
SAP will stop supporting legacy ERP in 2027, including support for a range of databases, such as DB2, MaxDB, Microsoft SQL, and Oracle. This leaves companies who rely on those legacy ERP applications just a few years to migrate to either SAP HANA or SAP S/4HANA.
Since S/4HANA uses in-memory relational database, while the previous ones were outsourced databases, there is a lot of data in the old database, which customers need to transfer to the new S/4HANA.
Because the migration process isn't uniform, there are some potential consequences for the customers:
- SAP HANA is only compatible to and thus will run only on Linux certified platforms. If a customer is using other than Linux OS, they will need to migrate the application and its related OS.
- Customers with legacy customizations may suffer combability issues.
- Some experts commented that Hybrid implementations will suffer some issues.
All organisations face similar challenges when looking at the approach and considerations for major migrations and system upgrades and this is no different for SAP systems. Organizations that plan to migrate from traditional databases to SAP HANA to benefit from its capabilities must establish a comprehensive data protection and availability strategy as it is critical to the success of these mission-critical deployments.
Unified Protection for SAP environments
While migration is a hot topic, we must also consider the need to protect existing environments; new or already migrated. The bulk of SAP HANA’s database is stored in memory. However, it still uses persistent storage as a fallback in the event of a failure. During normal database operations, data is automatically saved from memory to disk at regular savepoints, and all data changes are recorded in the redo log—which is also saved from memory to disk with each committed database transaction. After a power failure, the SAP HANA database can be restarted like any disk-based database; it returns to its last consistent state by replaying the redo log recorded since the last savepoint.
SAP HANA comes with many high-availability features supported by fault-tolerant infrastructure designed to survive system node or storage system failures. But while savepoints and redo log archives do protect data against power failures, they cannot help if the persistent storage itself is damaged or when a logical error occurs. Backups are still necessary to protect against data loss caused by disk failures, human error, and due to legal requirements, for example. A backup saves the payload (the actual information) of the data area and log area to different locations, which are independent from the original source and cannot be harmed.
Because SAP HANA is a critical, high-speed database, customers also need a high-speed backup solution to complement it. With OpenText Data Protector, customers can achieve the highest efficiency and performance in their SAP HANA environment, while keeping database backup and recovery costs under control. Data Protector provides:
#1 – Unified Protection
- SAP HANA users can deploy a highly scalable, centrally managed universal backup solution simplifying and standardizing backup and recovery.
- Create full backups and store them off-site on a different medium (tape, disk, or cloud) for Disaster Recovery.
- The integrated dashboard allows SAP HANA admins to define and manage and track application recovery point and time objectives.
#2 – Native integrations
- Tight integration with SAP native tools provides a seamless enterprise grade data protection deployment. It enables organizations to meet all SAP recommended data protection best-practices.
- Tested and certified by SAP, Data Protector allows organizations to confidently update their HANA deployment without breaking their backup process.
#3 – Advanced Backup and Recovery Capabilities
- Data Protector is designed to best meet the stringent data protection requirements of SAP HANA environments.
- The integrated smart agent for SAP environments provides application consistent protection and recovery of HANA databases.
- Automated backup and recovery, nearly till the last min before a crash, driven by the application owner.
OpenText Data Protector solution aims to help organizations address these challenges as EVERYTHING must be considered when protecting complex environments or performing critical migrations. OpenText is there to help our customers on this journey and ensure their data is protected during the process and then on a long-term journey.
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