Moving to the Cloud with SAP Commerce Premise – Cost and Value

SAP has announced to its customers in the Thrive program that no further innovations and features will be developed for SAP Commerce on-premise version. The latest 2205 release is supposed to be the last on-premise supported release.

Even though SAP Commerce (the former hybris) has a few years under its belt and likes to be disparagingly referred to as a monolith, that doesn’t mean you have to scour the market for new solutions. There are good reasons to continue on the path with SAP in the cloud:

1. The technical effort required for migration is manageable

Since the code base is already available on-premise, it must be updated to a cloud-capable version – and this should be done regularly anyway for security reasons. However, it makes most sense to go straight to the latest version. The effort required to make the code base cloud-ready is usually low. The existing integrations of Commerce into external systems are then done in the cloud via self-service VPN or with self-hosted or private cloud hosted ERP, S/4HANA via SAP Cloud Connector. The data migration in the course of the cloud move takes place via a secured high-performance connection, to the Commerce database hosted in Microsoft Azure.

The time required for this is manageable: for example, we carried out past cloud migrations in a time window of about 3-4 months with 2 consultants.

2. Operation becomes easier

There is little need to worry about hosting the database, application servers and also infrastructural security (keyword: ransom attacks), because that is now SAP’s job. Containerization (Docker, Kubernetes) also makes it possible to scale the application quickly: If there is load on the frontend, for example because many customers are currently visiting the store or portal, another server is automatically started in the background and is active in a few minutes.

Since the entire hybris server is containerized (an exception is the Solr search – this runs externalized via its own containers and can be scaled independently), this could be seen as a disadvantage compared to pure microservice architectures, where scaling is possible at any point. However, you need at least one full-time DevOp to manage such an environment. In a profitability analysis, the costs of this person must be set against the annual costs incurred with the Annual Contract Value (ACV) for the SAP Commerce Cloud.

In our projects with the SAP Commerce Cloud, the remaining activities in operation are mostly performed by developers. The SAP Commerce Cloud is therefore not necessarily more expensive.

3. Innovations and features

SAP Commerce Cloud is not a best-of-breed solution, i.e. it cannot claim that individual modules are market leaders. But the compilation of all working units in SAP Commerce Cloud makes it easy to operate and develop. For example, the Business Technology Platform (BTP) with Cloud Integration provides simple predefined ways to integrate data between SAP solutions and non-SAP solutions.

With the Spartacus project, there is a headless OOB frontend that is co-deployed in the SAP Cloud. No separate cloud servers are required for this. However, a switch to Spartacus is not mandatory in the context of the migration. Frontends implemented within SAP Commerce, see the Accelerator frontends, also run in the cloud.

The malus of the monolithic architecture can be counteracted by Kyma. Kyma is a predefined Kubernetes environment hosted in BTP that enables the SAP Commerce Cloud to be extended by true microservices. Either directly via functions or via containers, so modules can be developed independently. This does not even require SAP Commerce or Java and Spring experience. For example, a team could write an extension in Go, test this module independently and then deploy it via Kyma.

4. Cost effective – The time is now

SAP currently has a strong interest in moving customers to the cloud with SAP Commerce, so you should talk to your Account Executive at SAP to see what opportunities are available for you. In addition, we would be happy to welcome you as a new customer and would be happy to provide you with our interesting quote for technical migration to the cloud.

If you are interested, please feel free to contact me directly.

written by David Scheffel