Partner Success Story | Microsoft

Moving and consolidating our SAP systems in Microsoft Azure


SAP on Azure – The right decision for a growing business

Speed, scalability and flexibility are crucial for the growth and success of our clients, both in the short and long term. We are working toward a cloud-first strategy as the basis for global collaboration and operational excellence. Bringing together skilled people and innovative technology - our culture is defined by the delivery of operational excellence with a strong client focus.

One of our largest migration projects was to reduce the complexity and improve the stability of SAP environments in the cloud. At the beginning of 2023, we completed a full migration of our large-scale SAP systems, including the SAP S/4HANA environment, to Microsoft Azure - a platform that is perfectly aligned with our modern workplace strategy. To ensure resilient processes for our clients, we chose Microsoft Azure for SAP versus being multicloud, offering us the flexibility, adaptability, and cost-saving features we need for our modern workplace.


Speeding up processes

As we locked in our move to SAP on the Microsoft cloud, we prioritized migrating our global production systems and the infrastructure supporting our logistics services for clients across Europe, Asia and the United States. These systems must be continuously available, so we especially benefitted from the Azure platform’s ease of adoption and extensive capabilities. We managed to accomplish all of the Azure migrations in one step, moving on-premises workloads to SAP S/4HANA on Azure over a single weekend. Our goal for each migration and upgrade to S/4 was to keep downtime as short as possible, and we did it in less than 48 hours while using Azure ExpressRoute to scale up our transfer of more than 4 terabytes of pure system data to the cloud and using our optimized approach to ensure a simultaneous S/4 upgrade. With our warehouse processes and related tasks driven by SAP systems, every level of the organization now benefits from enhanced infrastructure offerings on Azure.

When maintenance or patching is required, systems can be taken offline and turned on again within a weekend. We can also set up new environments from scratch in 10 minutes, down from hours. Both time-saving measures help us to ensure uninterrupted operations of scanners, scales, forklifts, and other warehouse equipment and associated data, all of which come in contact with our SAP systems and infrastructure. We did all of this work on time and within budget with no rollbacks and limited re-architecting of our processes and data.


More flexibility – less complexity

Post-migration, we used Azure to meet our long-term goal of reducing and consolidating dozens of domains. Migrating the SAP estate to Azure and using the latest VMs and Azure resources has given us more flexibility, greater stability, and most importantly, better time to market.

We had more than 70 systems before migrating to Microsoft Azure, and now we’ve optimized and moved our entire landscape to 40 systems running on Azure.

Stefan Koehne IT Director Platform Services & SAP Architect, Arvato

As a result, we have cemented a state-of-the-art process to incorporate new services into our business model and best prepare for the future. For example: We have RF scanners in our goods process, image recognition in our warehouses, and processes in the product returns cycle where AI can assess the condition of goods. The integration of these services would be impossible, if the whole platform was still in a local datacenter. It’s much easier with the whole platform being in the cloud, or in the case of edge computing, connected to the fast Microsoft network internally.


New locations in record time

Setting up new locations with only an internet connection and a mobile router is smoother than ever, making us less dependent on other vendors and copious amounts of hardware for the traditional four to six weeks of initial setup. With SAP on Azure, we can adjust our processes and infrastructure, increase the bandwidth of our connections, push more CPUs and memory to our virtual machines, and manage peaks without any problems.

The combination of SAP S4/HANA and Azure enables us to offer outstanding IT services for our logistics clients worldwide.

Stefan Koehne IT Director Platform Services & SAP Architect, Arvato

SAP S4/HANA based in Azure is our choice for our secure, state-of-the-art and future-proof ERP landscape as it ensures state-of-the-art and secure operations on a flexible and scalable IT architecture. With the SAP on Azure migration, we were able to significantly reduce maintenance and patching times, reduce and consolidate dozens of domains. Our cloud infrastructure meets the highest security standards and guarantees our clients complete transparency along the entire supply chain. Now, we can support our clients throughout their supply chain journeys even better.

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