Big Corporations Putting Their Most-Important SAP Applications On Microsoft Cloud

By Phil Rainsberger

As cloud technology becomes more reliable, more secure, and easier to use, some of the world's largest corporations have begun moving their mission-critical SAP applications to the Microsoft Cloud—an idea that would have seemed impossible just a couple of years ago.

This means that one of the last reservations about cloud computing has been overcome: that while it was okay for some non-essential applications like HR, it just couldn't be trusted for systems that run a company's financials, or manage its customer information, or track inventory and supply-chain changes.

Let's take a look at the big reservations about cloud computing that have been overcome and disproven:

• The cloud's not secure. Big cloud companies have hundreds or even thousands of highly skilled and full-time cybersecurity experts monitoring their systems, applications, networks, data and more. Very few if any businesses can match that scale or that level of expertise—and it's a massive burden most businesses will be happy to give up.

• The cloud's not reliable. In fact, the big cloud companies have spent many tens of billions of dollars creating redundant and fault-tolerant systems within their world-class data centers—and again, this is simply more than almost any individual company can devote toward ensuring their systems don't go down. The cloud companies have an incredible incentive to ensure they deliver unmatched reliability, and the incentive is this: if their performance doesn't meet the highest standards for reliability, they don't simply have a problem—they go out of business.

• The cloud is just for big companies. Quite the opposite—the cloud model has allowed many small and mid-sized businesses to tap into the very same high-quality computing, storage, and applications services that global corporations use. This is possible because the big providers rent those services over the Internet and charge by volume of usage, rather than by some big flat fee that only giant corporations can afford.

• The cloud is okay for consumer applications, but it's not dependable enough to handle the core systems that businesses depend upon. As mentioned above with security and reliability, the enterprise cloud of 2018 is very different from what was available 4 or 5 years ago. And it's getting better rapidly as demand increases for the services supplied by cloud vendors who, in the face of high demand and ferocious competition, must improve their services relentlessly or be passed over. One great example of this is Microsoft itself, which currently generates close to $100 billion in annual revenue and operates in just about every company on the planet. In late February, Microsoft completed a year-long migration of all of its huge and data-intensive SAP applications—plus all the 50 terabytes of data that go with those applications—to the Microsoft Cloud. You can read more about that move within Microsoft here.

In addition, a recent article on quotes a Microsoft executive as saying, "Today we're seeing some of our largest customers move their production SAP workloads to Azure. And so what's getting migrated is becoming bigger and more substantial and more mission-critical." He added that while the examples of SAP workloads moving to the cloud stand out because of their size and complexity, Microsoft is working closely with many software companies to help them make their products available in the cloud as well.

If you've been thinking about starting that move to the cloud but weren't sure if the time's right, it's probably time to take the plunge—all of the major caution signs have been removed.