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Excerpt from Running SAP on Microsoft Azure by Bert Vanstechelman.
The world according to Microsoft!
Welcome to the largest data center in the world! In this chapter, we explain concepts such as regions, locations, data centers, availability zones and sets, accounts, compute, storage and network resources.
2.1 Regions, locations and data centers
Microsoft does not reveal the locations of their data centers for obvious security reasons. As a customer, you can only select a region, such as West Europe, North Central US, or South India. Azure is available in 42 regions around the world, with plans announced for 12 additional regions.
A region is a set of data centers in close proximity, connected by a high performance network. Regions are grouped in geopolitical areas, which ensures data residency, sovereignty and compliance. They allow customers with specific data-residency and compliance requirements to keep their data and applications close. For example, the geopolitical area for Germany is designed to meet the strictest EU data protection rules, under the German Data Trustee act. For most geopolitical areas in the world, Microsoft has at least two Azure Regions; for example, in Europe there is North Europe and West Europe. Regions within a geopolitical area are a significant distance apart and are designed to withstand a complete region failure due to natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes or earthquakes, or man-made disasters such as a complete power-grid failure. The data centers are interconnected via a dedicated high-capacity network.
Every region is divided into availability zones (see Figure 2.1). An availability zone is a physically separate location within an Azure Region. Each availability zone is made up of one or more data centers equipped with independent power, cooling, and networking. Availability zones allow customers to run mission-critical applications with high availability and low latency replication.
Figure 2.1: Regions, locations and data centers
You should consider the following when selecting a region:
1. Location — It does not make sense to deploy your applications in the US when your end user community is located in Europe. It does, however, make sense to divide your applications among different regions if you’re operating worldwide. This brings the application close to your end users and guarantees business continuity.
2. Compliance requirements — In Germany, for example, the Azure Regions are designed to follow the strictest European Data Protection rules and to adhere to the German Data Protection Act.
3. Service availability — Although the situation is changing rapidly, not all Azure services are available in every region. As such, verify whether the services you need are available in the region you are considering.
4. Data residency and sovereignty — Keep your applications and data close. This is especially important for European companies which are very sensitive to the location of their data and do not want their data to be replicated outside of Europe.
In this book, you’ll be introduced to operating SAP in the Cloud and learn the specifics of deploying and maintaining SAP on Azure.
Explore cloud concepts and clarify the differences between on-premise, IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. Discover Microsoft Azure Cloud key concepts and evaluate Azure for businesses on SAP ERP and for those moving to SAP S/4HANA. Learn how to translate an existing SAP landscape to Azure and walk through the size of virtual machines, selection and configuration of storage, and network configuration. Learn about high availability and disaster recovery concepts in Microsoft Azure and explore your options. Dive into installation and configuration specifics for Windows, Linux, and all databases supported by SAP ERP, with a special focus on SAP S/4HANA. Examine the three main areas of activity for a platform migration preparation, migration, and go-live and post-migration support. Obtain guidelines for planning and executing your migration to the Cloud. Walk through a detailed customer example including a close look at how the infrastructure was mapped to the Cloud.
– Evaluate Azure for businesses on SAP ERP and those moving to S/4HANA
– Design your SAP landscape for SAP on Azure
– Implementation guidelines for every database and operating system supported by SAP and Azure
– Plan and execute migration to the Cloud
Bert Vanstechelman is a Partner and principal technical consultant at Expertum. He has more than 20 years of experience in SAP technical consulting, covering countless SAP versions in combination with all kinds of databases and operating systems supported by SAP. Bert specializes in platform migrations, SAP release upgrades, and SAP HANA conversions. Bert is the founder of Logos Consulting, now a part of Expertum.
Bert is a member of the board of advisors of the SAP Professional Journal. He is the author of “SAP HANA Implementation Guide” and co-author of “Securing S/4HANA”, both published by Espresso Tutorials. He is also the co-author, with Mark Mergaerts, of the following SAP PRESS books: “Upgrading SAP”, “SAP NetWeaver Application Server Upgrade Guide”, “The OS/DB Migration Project Guide”, and the “mySAP ERP Upgrade Project Guide”. He can be contacted at email@example.com.