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What are HANA's models of cloud computing, and which should I choose?

If you're considering HANA cloud-based options, you'll need to consider security, cost and other factors. Here's a look at what public, private and hybrid options offer.

If you're considering HANA but are unsure about SAP's models of cloud computing, you'll want to know your deployment...

options. Cloud-based HANA offers three choices: public, private and hybrid. Here's a look at the pros and cons of each of these models of cloud computing.

Public cloud, the most affordable of the three options, refers to virtual computing resources in an external internet data center that is distributed across a large geographical area. Two HANA public cloud providers in this category are SAP HANA Cloud Platform or Amazon Web Services. With public cloud, the SAP HANA cloud provider maintains the complete infrastructure, including the data center, and is responsible for maintaining uninterrupted uptime for systems and applications or, in some cases, such as for upgrades or maintenance, only very limited downtime.

Public cloud options offers less security. Companies typically choose this option only for their systems of engagement (SOE), which by their very nature allow for a greater degree of input from employees, clients and customers. For example, SAP CRM allows for customer interaction. It's worth noting that behind such models of cloud computing are more secure systems that protect the company's confidential and sensitive data.

Private cloud is similar to public cloud, with the difference being that it is deployed in a company's own data center or managed by a service provider who meets the company's stringent security and infrastructure maintenance standards, while ensuring systems' uptime is almost 100%. Private cloud, such as SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, IBM's SoftLayer or Microsoft Azure offers the ability to provide, allocate and deliver on-demand IT resources, such as services and servers. In the same context, it offers the flexibility to reallocate or remove resources that are no longer needed. While private cloud offers greater security, it has scalability constraints, since it completely depends on the infrastructure the company has built and paid for with an up-front capital expense. Where future scalability needs are likely, it makes sense to consider hybrid cloud.

Hybrid cloud securely integrates SOE and systems of record to provide a holistic solution to a company's computing needs, which is also at a lower cost than private or on premises. The instant benefit of this option is that it offers companies the flexibility to scale their computing needs by acquiring or removing computing resources as and when needed, because companies also have the public cloud resources available to them. Moreover, the IT team benefits from simplified resources management. For example, companies that sell products having a high seasonal demand may choose the hybrid route during busy times. For those busy times, they can temporarily lease cloud computing resources to process huge customers' inquiries and orders, but they can deliver and invoice these using its on-premises (in-house) ERP system to deliver and invoice them.

These three models of cloud computing are not the only factors you'll want to research as you consider a move to HANA, but taking stock of your current systems and business goals in light of these options is important to your needs analysis.

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This was last published in August 2016

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Of the cloud computing models discussed, which makes the most sense for your company and why?
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Interesting article containing some interesting views, such as characterizing Amazon Web Services  as a public cloud - whereas Microsoft Azure and IBM SoftLayer are painted as private clouds. There are also some other points that may be worth to do some rework, or to re-release the article next April 1st.  
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