SAP on GCP: Solution Spotlight

SAP on GCP: Enhancing enterprise solutions with cloud technology

Explore the integration of SAP systems with Google Cloud Platform (GCP) in this comprehensive guide. Learn about the benefits, challenges, and best practices of running SAP workloads on GCP.

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Businesses are constantly seeking innovative ways to optimize their operations, reduce costs, and enhance agility. One of the key strategies that have emerged in recent years is the migration of enterprise systems to the cloud.

SAP, a leading provider of enterprise software, has become a critical component of many businesses, powering everything from supply chain management to customer relationship management. Now, with SAP S/4HANA, SAP is taking ERP to the next level by using the power of in-memory computing to process vast amounts of data, and to support advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

However, running SAP systems on-premises can be costly and complex. This is where Google Cloud Platform (GCP) comes in. GCP provides a robust, scalable, and secure infrastructure for running SAP workloads, offering numerous benefits such as cost savings, increased agility, and improved performance. GCP has many great services to offer for Business running SAP environments. This of course includes advanced AI and Big Data offerings from Google.

In this blog, we will explore the integration of SAP systems with Google Cloud Platform (GCP), addresses the benefits, challenges, and best practices for running SAP on GCP.

Why SAP on GCP

SAP on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) offers a compelling proposition for businesses looking to leverage the power of the cloud for their SAP workloads. Here are several reasons why companies might choose to run SAP on GCP:

  1. Global Infrastructure: GCP provides a secure and highly available global infrastructure that enables businesses to deploy SAP applications around the world. This ensures that enterprises can maintain business continuity and provide consistent service levels to their users, regardless of location.
  2. Scalability and Flexibility: With GCP, companies can scale their SAP systems up or down as needed, allowing them to adjust resources according to fluctuating demands. This flexibility helps in optimizing costs and ensures that businesses pay only for the resources they use.
  3. Performance and Reliability: Google Cloud's live migration technology helps keep virtual machines running even during host system maintenance, ensuring high availability and performance. Additionally, GCP's infrastructure is optimized for high-compute workloads, which is essential for the resource-intensive nature of SAP applications. Google's global fiber network ensures low-latency and high-performance computing for SAP workloads, which is critical for businesses that rely on real-time data processing.
  4. Security: Security is a top priority for Google Cloud, and GCP provides a secure foundation for SAP applications, with a comprehensive set of security capabilities. These include encryption at rest and in transit, identity and access management, and a secure global network that protects applications and data. GCP is designed with a layered security approach that includes built-in protections at the infrastructure level, ensuring that SAP data is secure from external threats.
  5. Integration with Google Services: Running SAP on GCP enables businesses to tap into Google's cutting-edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), to enhance their SAP applications. GCP services such as BigQuery for analytics, AI and machine learning tools, and data storage solutions are offered out pf the box and ready for usage on a pay as you go model. This integration can help businesses gain deeper insights, innovate, and drive digital transformation.
  6. Cost Management: Google Cloud offers several features to help manage and optimize costs. For example, sustained use discounts automatically lower the price of virtual machines when they are used for a significant portion of the billing month. Additionally, custom machine types allow precise allocation of compute resources, avoiding over-provisioning and wasteful spending.
  7. Operational Excellence: Google Cloud's operations suite provides monitoring, logging, and diagnostics, enabling businesses to maintain high operational standards. This suite helps in proactively managing the health of SAP applications and quickly resolving issues that may arise.
  8. Open Cloud Environment: GCP supports an open cloud environment, which means businesses are not locked into proprietary technologies and can choose the best tools and services for their needs. This openness fosters innovation and allows companies to build systems that are tailored to their specific requirements. This is usually a very important term in companies’ Cloud exist strategy. 
  9. Expertise and Support: Google Cloud offers expert services and support to help businesses migrate and run their SAP applications on GCP. This includes partnering with SAP to provide certified solutions, as well as collaboration with a network of service partners who specialize in SAP and cloud technologies.

In summary, SAP on GCP provides a robust, secure, and innovative environment that can help businesses transform their SAP workloads. By leveraging Google Cloud's global infrastructure, scalability, performance, and integration with advanced services, companies can enhance their operational efficiency, reduce costs, and gain a competitive edge in the market.

Challenges of SAP Integration with GCP

While the benefits are clear, businesses may face several challenges when migrating SAP to GCP and thus careful solution and migration planning is a necessity.

One of the challenges is the complexity of migration. SAP systems are often complex and deeply integrated with other business processes, making migration a challenging task that requires careful planning and execution. 

Another challenge would be the skills gap where there is a lack of in-house expertise in both SAP and GCP, necessitating training or the hiring of specialists to manage the migration and ongoing operations.

Compliance and Regulation also need to be considered to ensure that SAP workloads on GCP comply with industry-specific regulations and standards. This can be a daunting task for businesses planning to migrate their workloads to GCP.

GCP, however, does provide the needed services and tools for businesses to overcome those challenges. Combining those services and tools with best practices will smoothen the process for business to leverage the cloud for their best interest.

The GCP Solution for SAP

When migrating SAP to GCP, businesses have several infrastructure options to choose from. These include Compute Engine, a service that provides scalable virtual machines; Cloud Storage, which offers durable and highly available storage; and Google Kubernetes Engine, a managed service for running containerized applications.

In terms of deployment models, businesses can choose from several options, including lift-and-shift, refactor, rearchitect, or rebuild. The choice of deployment model depends on various factors such as the complexity of the existing SAP landscape, business requirements, and budget. Each of these models has its own advantages and challenges, and businesses need to carefully consider their specific needs and circumstances before choosing a model.

Security is a critical consideration when migrating SAP to GCP. Google Cloud offers several security features such as encryption at rest and in transit, identity and access management, network security, and compliance certifications. However, businesses need to ensure that they configure these features correctly to protect their SAP data and applications.

In addition to these built-in security features, businesses also need to consider other aspects such as data privacy, regulatory compliance, and disaster recovery. These considerations require a comprehensive security strategy that goes beyond just technical measures and includes organizational and process changes as well. Businesses should implement their own security policies and controls to complement GCP's offerings, ensuring end-to-end protection for their SAP workloads.

Best Practices for SAP Migration to GCP

To overcome these challenges and ensure a successful SAP migration to GCP, businesses should consider the following best practices:

  • Comprehensive Planning: Conduct a thorough assessment of the existing SAP landscape and develop a detailed migration plan that includes timelines, resource allocation, and risk mitigation strategies.
  • Leverage Professional Services: Utilize Google Cloud's professional services or certified partners to assist with the migration process, leveraging their expertise to minimize disruptions.
  • Explore SAP to GCP Migration Success Stories: Digest and analyze the stories and experiences of other clients already migrated to GCP and the lessons learned. Reuse and doble down on the success factors. 
  • Continuous Monitoring: Once migrated, continuously monitor SAP workloads to optimize performance and costs, and to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • Performance Optimization: Businesses need to consider choosing the right machine types, configuring SAP parameters correctly, optimizing network performance, and monitoring system performance regularly.
  • Choosing the right machine types is crucial for ensuring that the SAP system has enough resources to perform efficiently. Configuring SAP parameters correctly can help to optimize the system's performance and reduce resource consumption. 
  • Optimizing network performance can help to reduce latency and improve the user experience. 
  • Leverage GCP's persistent disks for high IOPS and throughput. 
  • Regularly monitoring system performance can help to identify and address performance issues before they impact the business.
  • Enable Teams: Businesses will need to enable their people along the journey by providing needed training, coaching and guidance. 

A Success Story

Several businesses have successfully migrated their SAP workloads to GCP and reaped significant benefits. One case study that stands out is the Alphabet's own SAP on Google Cloud journey. 

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, embarked on a significant project to migrate its SAP systems to Google Cloud. They managed to migrate large and complex SAP systems to Google Cloud, demonstrating that with the right planning and expertise, even the most challenging migrations could be executed smoothly. They improved performance by moving to Google Cloud, benefited from the high performance and reliability of Google's infrastructure, which is particularly important for the demanding workloads of SAP systems.

The migration to Google Cloud allowed Alphabet to optimize costs through better resource management and the use of Google Cloud's pricing models. While also leveraging GCP's advanced technologies, such as BigQuery, AI, and ML, to enhance financial processes and drive innovation.

The move to Google Cloud has also fostered a culture of continuous improvement and agility within Alphabet, allowing the company to adapt more quickly to changing business needs.

Success stories provide valuable insights for other businesses considering migrating their SAP workloads to GCP. They highlight the benefits of GCP, the challenges encountered during the migration process, and the strategies used to overcome these challenges.


Migrating SAP to Google Cloud Platform presents a wealth of opportunities for businesses to enhance their ERP capabilities. By understanding the benefits, addressing the challenges, and following best practices, businesses can successfully navigate these challenges and maximize the benefits of running SAP on GCP.

This article provides a starting point for SAP professionals, IT administrators, and decision-makers seeking to migrate or optimize SAP workloads on the cloud, particularly on Google Cloud Platform. However, each business is unique, and it's important to tailor the migration strategy to the specific needs and circumstances of the business.

Frequently Asked Questions about SAP on GCP

What are the main benefits of running SAP on Google Cloud Platform (GCP)?

Running SAP on GCP offers several benefits, including access to a global infrastructure, scalability and flexibility, enhanced performance and reliability, advanced security measures, and integration with Google’s AI and machine learning services. Additionally, GCP provides cost management features and supports an open cloud environment.

How does Google Cloud ensure the security of SAP workloads?

Google Cloud ensures the security of SAP workloads through encryption at rest and in transit, identity and access management, and a secure global network. GCP uses a layered security approach with built-in protections at the infrastructure level, ensuring that SAP data is secure from external threats. Businesses can also implement their own security policies and controls to complement GCP's offerings.

What are the challenges of migrating SAP to GCP?

Challenges of migrating SAP to GCP include the complexity of migration due to deeply integrated systems, a skills gap requiring training or hiring specialists, and ensuring compliance with industry-specific regulations and standards. Careful planning, professional services, and leveraging GCP’s tools can help overcome these challenges.

What deployment models are available for migrating SAP to GCP?

Deployment models for migrating SAP to GCP include lift-and-shift, refactor, rearchitect, and rebuild. The choice of deployment model depends on factors such as the complexity of the existing SAP landscape, business requirements, and budget. Each model has its own advantages and challenges.

How can businesses optimize costs when running SAP on GCP?

Businesses can optimize costs on GCP by utilizing features such as sustained use discounts, which lower the price of virtual machines used for a significant portion of the billing month, and custom machine types that allow precise allocation of compute resources. Additionally, continuous monitoring and performance optimization can help manage and reduce costs.

Can beginners in cloud technologies manage SAP on GCP?

Yes, Google Cloud provides a user-friendly interface, comprehensive documentation, and expert support services to help beginners manage SAP on GCP. Leveraging professional services and certified partners can also assist with the migration and ongoing management of SAP workloads.

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