Accelerate innovation while eliminating burdensome technical debt

Migrating SAP to Amazon Web Services (AWS) can be critical to your organisation’s transformation and digitisation initiatives. Powered by its next-generation SAP S/4HANA digital core, SAP on AWS enables the business agility your organisation requires for digital transformation by leveraging SAP HANA’s real-time transactional/analytical database.

With the world’s most secure, reliable, and extensive cloud infrastructure, more than 200 services for innovation, and purpose-built SAP automation tooling, AWS gives you the most flexibility and value from your SAP investments. But successful transformation and modernisation initiatives must start with a solid business case. In this article, we’ll discuss how your organisation can develop a business case for reducing the total cost of operation (TCO) of your SAP workloads while improving quality of service.

The financial benefits of SAP on AWS are tangible and well-documented. AWS customers report saving 31% in overall infrastructure costs by migrating to AWS. And a 2021 Forrester report found that SAP on AWS customers more than doubled their return on investment (ROI) after three years.

AWS, SAP, and Intel have worked together closely to ensure that organisations of all sizes can fully realize all the advantages of the SAP HANA in-memory computing platform on AWS. These include increased speed of deployment, operational agility, software integration options, and flexible cost management. SAP is continuing to evolve its portfolio to take advantage of the AWS Cloud’s flexibility and economics.

After moving its SAP S/4HANA systems to AWS, international energy services provider Centrica saw innovation and flexibility increase. With AWS, the SAP S/4HANA systems are now more agile than before. Thanks to the flexibility of AWS services such as Amazon EC2 instances powered by Intel® Xeon® processors, infrastructure and environments can be quickly scaled up and down as needed to support requirements such as financial year-end reporting.

Centrica can respond more quickly to requests from the business for new environments, providing better support to personnel. “People and culture come first,” says Darren Miles, Chief Information Officer with Centrica. “Working with AWS, we can test its latest products and services, learning all the time.”

By using AWS, Centrica can further drive innovation, delivering more value to customers and shareholders.

Another international energy provider, ENGIE, engages with AWS to optimise its SAP HANA environment and introduce innovation to its platform. For example, the AWS Professional Services team is currently working with ENGIE to build a custom auto-scaling solution for the SAP application using AWS LambdaAmazon Athena, and Amazon DynamoDB.

Building the business case

The savings and ROI numbers for customers cited above alone make a compelling business case for migrating SAP to AWS. Indeed, more than 5,000 customers already have chosen to run SAP on AWS, with more than half of those businesses using SAP HANA-based solutions.

In a study commissioned by Amazon and Intel to determine the total economic impact (TEI) on organizations that migrate their SAP ECC workloads to Amazon EC2 instances powered by Intel® Xeon® processors, Forrester interviewed executives at four companies varying in size from $250 million in annual revenues to more than $2.5 billion.

After migrating SAP ECC workloads to AWS, these companies were able to reduce OpEx, administrative and DevOps labor costs while improving performance and enabling more innovation. The results were an increase in sales for each organisation as well as a greater employee productivity and improvements in customer retention.

While a major cloud migration may seem daunting, consider the long-term costs of clinging to a legacy infrastructure and the tools and processes that go along with it. The short-term convenience soon is outweighed by the loss of business agility and operational efficiency, not to mention the ongoing costs of applying quick fixes to existing technology. This “technical debt” accumulates over time and can trigger a cascade of negative outcomes, including missed deadlines, failed projects and staff churn. Migrating SAP to AWS allows you to right-size your SAP landscape, eliminate overprovisioning and consolidate data/systems. Eliminate hardware refresh costs and benefit from continuous improvements to the AWS Global Infrastructure.

Increase the value of your IT environments

Simply running your SAP workloads on AWS increases their value to your business because you gain immediate access to more than 200 distinct services that enable innovation and the real-time decisions digital transformation requires. These services include: integration of streaming data into a customer’s SAP HANA platform and data lake using Amazon Kinesis or Amazon Managed Streaming for Apache Kafka; provisioning, securing, managing and analysing data from intelligent devices; and mobile support tools that allow customers to build, test, deploy, and manage mobile apps from the cloud and leverage personalisation technology.

By migrating to SAP HANA in the cloud, your organisation can take full advantage of the scalability, enhanced software offerings and automated infrastructure of cloud-based deployments. Organisations can automate deployment and operations to deliver consistent results and free up resources to focus on value-adding activities.

Those benefits spurred Lockheed Martin Corporation, U.S. aerospace, defence, security, and advanced technologies company, to choose AWS for an app consolidation and migration project.

“Our business area CIO had challenged us to try out the cloud, and we thought it would be best to test the cloud’s capabilities by moving our biggest and most complex test and development system—SAP Suite on HANA,” says Clint Bouska, systems architect manager for Lockheed Martin.

The solution utilises two SAP HANA instances in AWS GovCloud, an isolated AWS region that hosts sensitive data and regulated workloads. The solution also takes advantage of Intel-powered Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) X1 instances that are optimised for enterprise and database workloads and are designed to run large-scale, in-memory applications.

Running its SAP Suite on HANA on AWS for test and development, the business will gain the agility it was looking for. The organisation also expects to cut costs by moving to the cloud.

The latest SAP-certified Amazon EC2 instances utilise the AWS Nitro System, dedicated hardware accelerators, and a lightweight hypervisor that deliver practically all of the power of Intel® processors and the memory resources of the host system to Amazon EC2 instances.

AWS offers a wide range of memory sizes for SAP certified Intel-based instances. The broad choice of instance types, allows you to optimise costs by aligning your unique workload requirements with the right blend of CPU and memory. You can start with smaller instance sizes and easily change instance sizes in minutes with minimal downtime to support continued business growth.


Running SAP on AWS infrastructure opens the door to an accelerated pace of innovation and, ultimately, increased competitive advantage. By migrating SAS to AWS, your organisation will have the flexibility and agility it needs to compete in the digital economy while getting the most value from your SAP investments. The business case for migrating SAP to AWS powered by Intel will only become more compelling. Don’t let your organisation be left behind.