HDT Global prepares for a cloud-first future with SAP on Azure Cloud

Together with HDT Global we enabled a seamless move of their SAP infrastructure to Microsoft Azure Government Cloud. This entailed taking responsibility for the design, build, migration and management of SAP, as well as the underlying Azure infrastructure. Combining extensive planning and SAP expertise with hyper-coordination of all parties involved, ensured this was a seamless migration experience for HDT Global. As a result, the two-day cut over was completed one day early allowing more time for comprehensive validation of their production environment. 

Preparing for the future

To enable their continued success for the future, HDT Global began an initiative focused on maximizing their SAP environment by harnessing the power of the cloud – while simultaneously bringing a new acquisition onto SAP. With strict regulatory needs, HDT Global knew it was critical their hosting provider be NIST, Fedramp and ITAR compliant now…and in the future. This prerequisite streamlined HDT Global’s options, and they ultimately selected the Azure Government Cloud for their SAP infrastructure.

While Microsoft is a household name at HDT Global, the Azure Cloud for Government was relatively new to the organization. To ensure a smooth transition from start to finish, HDT Global began looking for a partner that could design, build, migrate and manage SAP, as well as manage the underlying Azure infrastructure. In addition, the partner would need to act as their expert Basis support as they headed into the future.

Due to Symmetry’s reputation and expertise, HDT Global selected Symmetry to be that partner. The next step was to engage with Microsoft pre-sales architects to develop the preliminary infrastructure designs and a starting budget.

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Which services?

SAP migration, Managed SAP Services, Managed Azure Cloud Services

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Which technologies?

SAP, Azure cloud (government)

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Which partners?

Microsoft

‘At the end of the day, we selected *Symmetry, part of NTT’s Managed Services division, because they fully understand SAP: how to architect for them, how to migrate them and how to support them.’ 
Todd Nelson , Global Vice President and CIO, HDT Global,
*Symmetry Corp. is owned by NTT and currently support over 2,600 enterprise SAP installations in the US.

Architecting for SAP from the start

As Symmetry, HDT Global and Microsoft began working together to build the reference architecture, it was clear that the design warranted customizations outside the standards for Azure Government Cloud to include requirements specific to SAP. As with most SAP migrations, this would more complicated than a standard ‘lift and shift’ to a new cloud provider. There were necessary SAP upgrades and a back-end database change to prepare for the migration, and it was critical for HDT Global to maintain their transports between the existing and new platform to ensure minimal disruption during the process.

After presenting an updated reference architecture to the Microsoft Cloud Engineers that encompassed this SAP-centric design, Microsoft approved the architecture changes giving HDT Global the green light to proceed. Working with HDT Global’s existing SAP hosting provider, we began to coordinate the technical migration plan. During this phase of the process, the current state and planned work were evaluated with all parties to minimize risks or issues prior to migration. For HDT Global, this was more extensive and included upgrading and changing their SAP Kernel, database type and Operating System.

Lessons learned

Despite precautions, during migrations it is not uncommon for peripheral processes to fail. This is why it’s critical to have a seasoned partner by your side throughout the transition. During the migration, the FTP scripts were not completing successfully. By working closely together during Q&A testing, necessary firewall changes were identified to permit the passive network nature of FTP. For every organization, minimizing downtime at cut over is top of mind, and for HDT Global there were additional considerations outside of system downtime. Transitioning away from an existing hosting provider during the migration meant they would need to work overtime if the plan deviated from scope. Using data from previous export jobs of HDT Global landscapes, together we created a project plan to minimize these concerns, while discovering that the production system resources would allow for a faster import. As a result, the two-day cut over was completed one day early allowing more time for comprehensive validation of their production environment. Combining extensive planning and SAP expertise with hyper-coordination of all parties involved, ensured this was a seamless migration experience for HDT Global.