We clearly see AWS as a crucial part of building our DevOps culture in the mid- to long-term future.
CEO, innogy Czech
About innogy Czech
innogy Czech, formerly known as RWE, is an established European energy company that provides gas, electricity, and other services to 1.6 million customers in the Czech Republic. innogy Czech operates 65,000 km of electrical grids, manages six underground gas-storage facilities with a total capacity of 2.7 billion cubic meters, and produces heat and electricity in 18 plants. With its three business areas—renewables, grid and infrastructure, and retail—the company is well equipped to work in a modern, decarbonized, decentralized, and digital energy world. innogy Czech strives to offer its customers innovative and sustainable products and services to help them use energy more efficiently and improve their quality of life.
innogy Czech operates several mission-critical SAP systems internally, including key modules such as IS-U (a solution specifically designed for the utilities industry), Business Objects (BO)/Business Warehouse (BW), and CRM. More than 1,000 innogy Czech employees rely on these systems every day to do their jobs.
The company had hosted its SAP systems in a data center in Brno, Czech Republic, but it shut down that facility due to flood risk. innogy Czech then needed to choose to either move its SAP implementation to a new data center in Germany or migrate to the public cloud, which would align with the organization’s cloud-first strategy. The company’s IT team saw an opportunity to transform operations by moving to the cloud, not only to keep up with future business growth but also to take advantage of the agility, flexibility, and management efficiency of the cloud. The company saw the shift from capital expenditure to operating expenditure as another potential benefit.
After choosing to migrate its SAP environment to the cloud, innogy Czech decided to decommission its Brno data center by the end of the first quarter of 2017. However, because there were no published best practices for moving SAP IS-U and CRM to the cloud, the company faced several challenges. First, it was necessary to migrate dozens of terabytes of SAP data, complete a replatforming of the Linux operating system and Oracle database, and convert the data to Unicode. Second, innogy Czech needed to complete the migration without negatively affecting business activities and, ultimately, its customers.
Why Amazon Web Services?
To meet its goals, innogy Czech selected Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its cloud-service provider. In addition to providing cost savings, the AWS Cloud’s high capacity and flexibility directly supports the innogy Czech cloud-first strategy.
AWS also met innogy Czech’s requirements to comply with data-protection regulations including ISO 27001 and ISO 9001. The innogy Czech security and IT departments validated the AWS security posture and found it suitable to host some of the most sensitive data in the company.
innogy Czech first migrated its SAP human resources workload to AWS, followed by IS-U, CRM and BO/BW. SAP system requests go through an AWS Direct Connect connection to a VPN Gateway and into an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC), where they are received by a private load balancer, which routes the requests to the most capable instance. By running Oracle Enterprise Edition on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances, the IT staff can take advantage of Oracle Secure Backup, which provides database backup, restore, and recovery capability to the system. The backups are stored in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) buckets and will eventually be moved to Amazon Glacier, for ultra-low cost and high durability. Although innogy Czech moved its SAP BO/BW landscape to the cloud without using the SAP HANA database system, it is considering using SAP HANA in the future.
FPT Software, as an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner and ASEAN Technology Partner, provides managed cloud and other services for the Innogy Czech SAP environment on AWS.
Below is the innogy Czech AWS environment:
innogy Czech’s SAP systems were designed to be lean, secure, and highly available. By relying on AWS Direct Connect, the innogy Czech IT team was able to support those goals by building a stable, redundant, and encrypted connection between its existing data center and the AWS Cloud. Users can access the highly available system in the cloud from the safety of the corporate network.
innogy Czech is also now able to speed resource deployment. By adopting an “infrastructure as code” approach using AWS, the company has streamlined its change-management process, enabling rapid go-to-market deployments of both software and resources. Delivery of business services is also accelerated because hardware is no longer utilized to support the company’s SAP systems. As a result, technology is now an enabler of business innovation instead of a blocker.
innogy Czech was able to provision the new system in only a few weeks, compared to the months it would take to do so using the company’s previous data-center model. Additionally, by moving to Linux and the latest Oracle version, innogy Czech reduced its production SAP IS-U database by 30 percent.
Because of the flexibility of the cloud, innogy Czech only pays for the compute and storage resources it consumes. The company also now has cost and usage transparency, so it can immediately see its service consumption and can manage these resources more efficiently. Additionally, global best practices and previous migration cases show that compute resources on AWS cost 20 percent less than on-premises deployments, especially when migrating to the Linux platform.
On the customer side, the company’s new SAP cloud platform has simplified support processes and helped customers save money, because less effort is needed for support and more time can be spent on new IT activities.
innogy Czech is also improving its recruiting capabilities by being on the cloud. “As the public cloud becomes the new normal for application development, one of the less obvious impacts is that we can use the AWS Cloud as a way to attract and retain talent both internally and externally,” says Martin Goetz, CEO at innogy Czech. “We clearly see AWS as a crucial part of building our DevOps culture in the mid- to long-term future.”