What is SAP?
What is SAP?
2h 10m

This course covers Ansible automation for SAP. We'll start off with introductions to both SAP and Ansible and then we'll present the use cases of automation with Ansible that we have built for SAP. You'll then be guided through a demonstration of an end-to-end deployment of SAP HANA and SAP applications like NetWeaver and S4/HANA.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn the fundamentals of what SAP and Ansible are and how they work
  • Learn how to patch SAP landscapes
  • Understand SAP HANA and SAP Netweaver maintenance
  • Automate the deployment of SAP S/4HANA databases with Ansible Tower
  • Automate the creation of SAP HANA and SAP S/4HANA Pacemaker Clusters
  • Automate the migration of SAP workloads from SUSE Linux Enterprise Server to Red Hat Enterprise Linux
  • Learn how to carry out SAP Application Server Autoscaling

Intended Audience

This course is intended for anyone who wants to learn how to learn how Ansible automation can be used with their SAP workloads.


To get the most from this course, you should have basic knowledge of Ansible and SAP.


So what is SAP? SAP stands for Systems Applications and Products. It's a company that was founded in Walldorf in Germany in 1972 with the aim of creating software to facilitate and make easier all the processes in the companies.

So, we would take a look at how it originated. In the beginning, the first product that they created and that's the product they're still most famous for is their ERP. So, their Enterprise Resource Planning they wanted to give an overall view or an overall control of all the processes and all the planning in the enterprises, for any kind of enterprise. So, it's like a agnostic software because it was intended to any kind of business.

So, it included integrated management of business processes as we said. It automated loads of the internal processes of the business, it operates in real time which is very very interesting. The main component of SAP is database. It needs to be a very sound database and it's based on transactions.

So, the databases that over the time have been supported by SAP and can be used for it are Oracle database, SQL server, IBM Db2, MaxDB which is a database that was acquired by

SAP and it's their own product and lately, well lately for the last 10 years or so even bit more they came up with this really new database and powerful database which is SAP HANA, which we will see more in detail later on. Okay! so, the ERP modules that they started building and that they created around their essential solution as I said tend to cover all the different processes in the companies. So, they have a module called

FI for financial accounting. They have HR which is one of the most commonly used in enterprises for

Human Resources, they have for Plant Maintenances, for Material Management, Production Planning etc. So, as I said it's like it gives a 360 degrees view of all the enterprising control over it, okay!

It's a good thing to say that normally the SAP solutions are aimed for companies that have at least 500 employees. So, it's like medium to large companies because otherwise it's not really convenient for them to use it and also because of the licenses that are quite expensive. 

So, it really started being a big thing when they came up with this idea of having SAP as client server architecture. In 1992 they created the first SAP with client server architecture.

From there, that was like a single container that contained everything. Their strategy was to spawn in very very various say branches and products. So, as you can see here in the left most, on the left hand side of the leftmost side of the screen you can see the evolution of the R/3 client server.  

A model that included or always focus on the ERP solution. Okay! In the different versions that they have been releasing through the years and then another branch was the BW.

So, the business warehouse they have a very very robust product based or focused on business warehousing that now has been more and more used for data intelligence as well and create a big set of datas managing them. They also had another branch for the supply chain management or SCM that you can see there. They have for a CRM that is very important, a very important solution as well.

So that's the Customer Relationship Management. They have what you can see at the right as PI or PO. It's been evolving through the years, that's a Process Orchestrator and Process Integrator that product what does is to try to interface all the different applications in the company.

They might be completely heterogeneous but with this they can communicate because it does translation of the way or the formats with which the different applications work and it gives a unified overview of everything. It is very important mostly for companies that still use a lot of legacy applications outside of SAP. We will see the tendency right now for this because it's one of the hot points around SAP at the moment and yep so during all these years the tendency as I said was to spawn products and different branches but since from some years back they started changing their strategy because they thought the whole landscape of SAP had become quite difficult to manage. The most important reason for this it was because every customer has started historically developed their own code, their own programs have customized a lot their SAP products. Okay! So, that's a very big problem when they try to upgrade a version because they need to redo and review all the code that they have done ad hoc or or customized for themselves. So that's why they came up with the idea of unifying all these products again in one single product. That's the suite on HANA. Okay! So, as we said before SAP

HANA is the database of choice for SAP at the moment for the last as I said 10 or a bit longer,

10 years or a bit longer. So this database is very very powerful. The first thing is that it's an in memory database. So instead of having to look for the data in the disks and bring it to the, I mean to the to what the processes are using at the moment in real time. Most of the data is loaded into memory into RAM memory so that makes the accesses much much faster as everyone knows than accesses to disk. So that's the biggest advantage of this.

It also has a module or well several modules or extensions for advanced analytics, that's what makes it very very useful as I said for Big Data and it's been very very used for Big Data and for data by data scientists as well for machine learning etc. So it's a database that is state-of-the-art and very aligned to the current tendencies. It has ETL capabilities.

So that's Extract, Transform and Load capabilities, so that it can exploit data from many sources very heterogeneous, not only from its own database but it can communicate with all the databases. It can go to data lakes, it can go, we communicate with Hadoop for example. So, we can take those data, extract them, transform them into a different format that will be useful for SAP programs to take advantage of and then loads in SAP. So that's another of the biggest advantages that comes out of the box with SAP HANA. It also combines the 

OLAP and OLTP models of databases and at the last point I've already mentioned. It's a very very powerful tool for Big Data. So this is a foundation.

So that's SAP HANA database. Since we said that the main bit of SAP was the database it worked with.

On top of it is the application layer. Okay! So, this is the S/4 HANA. The suite for HANA that we were talking about two slides ago, that tends to unify all the different products, all the different solutions that SAP has been producing through the years in one product. It's like going back to the R3 model that we saw or the ERP model that we saw but including the business warehouse, the supply chain management, the customer relationship management everything in one product.

So that they won't need to have different installations, they will have only one installation covering everything. A good thing about S/4 HANA is that they have simplified a lot the database schemas that were created by the different products, so making them much easier.

It's easier to handle and to administrate, they have got rid of many superfluous things that they don't need anymore and yeah thanks to the capabilities of the database of SAP HANA.

So, they have issued a deadline to move to SAP HANA, to migrate from all the different databases we've talked about to SAP HANA, that deadline is May this year, May 2021. So, by then all the customers that are using SAP products SAP applications must run them on top of SAP HANA.

If they want to be supported by SAP and be able to log in incidents when they have issues with them.

There's another deadline which is more a widespread known and it's a deadline to migrate to the Suite for HANA to the S/4 HANA not only the database but the whole application tier as well that's 2027. So, by then all the customers that use SAP must have migrated to S/4 HANA and picking it up from the comment that I made here or about the reason of this move of this change of strategy of SAP as we said is because the upgrade process had become really really tedious and managing so different products had become quite complicated. So that's the, that's the main or the core idea of S/4 HANA. Why? Because here what they promote and what they suggest and enforce to a certain extent is that the customers do not develop any more custom code inside SAP. As I said any customer that has SAP has been historically doing that developing in

ABAP which is the programming language that SAP uses. So they have the SAP wants to take all this outside of SAP and do the all the development in any on any other platform, any other language that is not a wrap up and then connect everything with SAP. So, this why all the integration part gets or gains a lot of importance these days. I mentioned their product PO, the Process

Orchestrator that used to or is used to connect different applications. But in S/4 HANA, they are going to substitute that with all the technologies. So, at the moment they have what they have called a

SCP, sub cloud platform with a lot of applications that connect to SAP and have extracted this code from the SAP this custom code. So it's done as well, is done in their cloud.

So, for example applications for customer experience, for manufacturing supply chain, what we were talking about the SCM, the CRM for People 

Engagement, for e-commerce they have all these applications in their cloud. But the good thing is that this is not only limited to the cloud. So, it doesn't mean that if you move to S/4 HANA you have a login with the vendor and you need to go to the cloud. You can use your own developed self-developed applications. You can use any cloud provider, you can use some premise if you want, you can develop on any platform that you want just that you will need to use a middleware or integration software for that. If you're using the sub cloud platform it comes with an out of the box integration.

But there are many more solutions, so namely in Red Hat we have created solutions for this around our middleware software. So, using Fuse and 3scale and this is a way to communicate S/4 HANA with applications that run outside and to complete this puzzle of this jigsaw, we can use OpenShift because OpenShift is an open platform to develop cloud native applications and container containerized applications, microservices. So, using OpenShift you can develop in any language that you want and then with this middleware software, so Fuse and 3scale that also run on OpenShift we can communicate with the core of SAP. So, this is what we call and what SAP calls the intelligent enterprise and this is the journey that they are starting or they are prompting their customers to engage in. Red Hat has solutions for this journey and yes if you're interested there are all the resources for this where you can investigate all the solutions that we have for that but in this learning course as we said we are going to focus on the Automation for SAP which is a very important part in this journey.

About the Author
Learning Paths

Jeremy is a Content Lead Architect and DevOps SME here at Cloud Academy where he specializes in developing DevOps technical training documentation.

He has a strong background in software engineering, and has been coding with various languages, frameworks, and systems for the past 25+ years. In recent times, Jeremy has been focused on DevOps, Cloud (AWS, Azure, GCP), Security, Kubernetes, and Machine Learning.

Jeremy holds professional certifications for AWS, Azure, GCP, Terraform, Kubernetes (CKA, CKAD, CKS).