Simplifying Cloud Deployment: Migrating Enterprise Applications to the Cloud

Organisations with a large investment in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications, such as Oracle’s E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Hyperion, SAP, Siebel and MS Dynamics, present unique challenges in migrating to the Cloud.

These are often complex configurations with multiple environments: development, QA, pre-production and “live” production, with many organisations having to consolidate or integrate database and third party applications into these environments.

To facilitate this transfer, we work with a definition of a common set of attributes to make a migration as successful as possible. These attributes include “Right-sizing” of the virtual environment and Fully scoping the database and third party integration requirements

Right Sizing the virtual environment

This includes gathering details of the existing infrastructure which a client is operating with for each specific ERP module, including the brand and model of server, the operating system, the number of CPU / core counts, RAM and disc configurations.

In addition, it is recommended to characterise the usage of the ERP application: the number, frequency, and type of transactions, for example “heavy” disk I/O in an insurance enterprise, or any seasonality or peak usage periods. Additional factors specific to the scale and character of ERP usage include:

- ERP application pillar and/or module(s), and precise version with service pack.- Number of named, concurrent, and self-service users by pillar and/or module.- Type of DB in use per pillar and/or module.- DB requirements: version, production size, monthly DB growth, years of DB in production.

Other data points which impact the virtual environment sizing include configurations or processes, for example: does the client use LDAP or Active Directory; collecting the number and type of networked printers and identifying compliance requirements. Assessing all of these data points against their experience with multiple engagements, allows NaviSite to more accurately size and configure the target virtual environment.

Fully scoping the Database (DB) and third party integration requirements

Another key component to successful ERP migration is DB integration and /or “bolt-ons”. It is important to have experience with all the common ERP DBs: IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, Sybase (SAP), Pervasive SQL, IBM Lotus Domino, MySQL (open source recently acquired by Oracle), PostgreSQL (open source), and OpenLink Virtuoso. ERP DB configurations typically involve an On Line Transaction Processing (OLTP) layer, and SQL to pull database data. But integration may also include tables, DB-DB translations, direct data feeds and, more recently, XML (although only some ERP modules currently have XML gateways).

Beyond DB integrations are third party applications such as Payroll, or Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) applications. These “integrations” may involve scheduled transmissions: e.g., data sent nightly to a financial institution (bank) for reconciliation, payroll, or even credit card transactions via tried and true File Transport Protocol (FTP). Third party integrations could also be embedded as in SAP ABAP “call-outs”. Examples include enterprise tax applications or accounts payable solutions. Knowing what will perform well in the virtual environment and in each unique instance (based on successfully completing multiple migrations with a wide array of ERP solutions) is invaluable.

Tammy Sweat-Chipman is the Regional Vice President, Delivery Services for NaviSite. She is an innovative technology leader with over 20 years of business and technology experience, spanning a variety of global industry footprints. Her proven track record gives her the unique ability to quickly and effectively assess technology environments to ensure that projects provide customers with a complete, timely and cost effective solution.