SAP Stops Support for S/4
For SAP customers who need support, there is a tall hurdle to overcome. Is the ERP infrastructure certified? In other words, do the servers, clients, add-ons and other software components have SAP certification?
SAP earns a lot of money through their certification service and, as a rule, certified servers are no longer returned, which at the time of the Hana certifications created a considerable hardware park costing millions. Of course, there is also a trade-off: with certified hardware and software products, SAP support cannot immediately point to the third-party vendor. SAP has certified these products and is thus also responsible for limited assistance as part of proper support.
SAP certifies Intel
The certification system, which was good in principle, got a little out of hand when it came to certifying Hana database servers a few years ago. SAP demanded large sums of money from the hardware manufacturers for this, yet it was a simple, almost banal process: Hana code was written for Intel CPUs, and the Central Processing Units required a very specific hardware architecture, which Intel in turn specified. By and large, one Hana Intel server was like any another.
I put it to the test myself and built a computer with an original Intel server board, which Hana was able to run on without any problems. Of course, no SAP customer would use such a system productively. It was also a matter of proving that no extraterrestrial mumbo-jumbo was taking place on a certified SAP Hana server.
Certification equals support
The challenge regarding SAP certification lies less in the technical than in the administrative area. With the certification, SAP Support also acquires knowledge about the respective hardware and software. This means that the assistance is structured and determined: SAP usually takes care of the problem and knows which partner or vendor to contact. With SAP certification, there is an orderly escalation path.
This well thought-out support structure, which is important for existing SAP customers, will now come to a stop due to the discontinuation of the certification services for "Hosting Operations" and "Cloud and Infrastructure Operations". As of July 11, there are no longer any certifications for the aforementioned categories. This means that many hosters acting as SAP partners will lose some of their security and responsibility to SAP's customers. New contracts will probably be necessary and outsourcers as well as hosters will have to set up alternative support services. The extent to which this reorganization will also affect hyperscalers was not yet clear at the time the press release was published.
Rise and Grow with SAP
The meaning behind the certification freeze only becomes clear when the SAP cloud-only strategy is taken into account. SAP wants customers on its own public cloud. The ERP world market leader ultimately has no interest in SAP partners that act as outsourcers or hosters. Hyperscalers were and are more a means to an end for SAP than true partners and friends. The elimination of certification services for "Hosting Operations" and "Cloud and Infrastructure Operations"is a clear step in the direction of SAP cloud-only in the form of a public cloud.