As one of Australia’s leading energy retailers, it is working every day to make energy more affordable, sustainable, and smarter for customers. This project is part of that journey as it allows Company X to harness the capabilities and innovations of the AWS platform, including; manageability, security, scalability, high performance, elasticity, high availability, fault tolerance and recoverability for its retail business. 

About Company X 

With approximately 4.2 million customers, six locations in Australia, 35,000 daily customer calls, seven days trading and 2,600 users, Company X relies heavily on its large SAP environment and data for its energy retailing operations. Therefore, this project needed to be delivered on time – in under 12 months post design – within budget and with no negative impact on customers. 

Solution and delivery approach 

Through a tendering process, Zag was selected to architect, automate, build, test and deliver the migration. This was due to our AWS Advanced Consulting Partner status, track record of SAP on AWS customer success and unique automation capability for building SAP infrastructure in the cloud. The implementation methodology Zag proposed is based on the SAP Activate Methodology to provide a phased approach, adapted for the appropriate build and test activity for an SAP migration to AWS.  

To ensure the entire retail business migration was delivered on time and budget, the team at Zag provided project governance resources and expertise for the duration of the migration project. This enabled Company X, SAP and AWS teams to synergise their efforts.  

The Zag team managed the migration process in conjunction with eight vendors from different areas of the technology stack through strong collaboration and a common migration goal. 

In this project, eight landscapes were built, 17 SAP applications and eight non-SAP applications were migrated10+ applications were upgraded, and we executed a re-platforming from HP-UX on RISC to Red Hat on x86. There were 600+ interfaces, 90+ firewalls and six different networks configured and tested, including 40+ subnets. Seven go-lives were completed along with 5,000 days of testing and 2,000+ test cases to ensure the migration was a success and the new IT target Operating model was met. 

Project delivery and migration services utilised 

Zag utilised core services including 476 Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) Linux and Windows instances, which provided the compute power to run the SAP and non-SAP retail environments. Additionally, 80+ Terabytes of data was migrated to the production environment in preparation for go-live cutover activities and two Petabytes of data was migrated securely and efficiently from on-premise to the AWS landscape utilising the persistent Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) service. 

As part of the database backup strategy, the Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) service was utilised with file compression and encryption capabilities to ensure the Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) were achievable in the event that restoration of data was required.  Amazon Machine Images (AMI) were also created and retained to meet recoverability requirements. 

A testament to the delivery of the project, there was no major incidents post go-live and during the hyper-care period activities. Thorough testing of each system and five dress rehearsals ensured that each time rehearsal activities were completed lessons learned were carried through to go-live for a seamless and successful cutover.  

The role of automation in delivery 

Zag’s unique automation capability is one of the main reasons we were able to deliver this ambitious feat on-time and on budget with zero data loss. The synergy between all Zag teams, from Sales through to Delivery and Platform Services, was another key success factor. 

Zag’s automation framework was used as a quick start for building AWS infrastructure, including but not limited to; networking, compute, storage and Identity and Access Management (IAM). It was the enabler for reducing time to delivery and achieving high quality, repeatable outcomes. Our automation methodologies ensured the quality of code deployment to environments was consistent, secure and reliable, which decreased traditional build times from weeks to days. 

The result is a fully automated, tested and secured environment on AWS in only 15 months from our first engagement with Company X. This is one of the largest SAP environments hosted on AWS in ANZ, perhaps even in the Southern Hemisphere. What’s more, we delivered it alongside two other ongoing AWS projects in New Zealand in addition to performing our usual Managed Services for customers. 

Project outcome and benefits 

Company X is no longer restricted by the capital expenditure costs associated with data centre infrastructure. Its subscription billing model with AWS is costing them a staggering 50% less than their data centre contract cost them, and there are more cost benefits to be reaped in the future.  

Company X’s SAP and non-SAP application performance has improved from migrating to AWS due to the available throughput offered at the EC2 compute and network layers. For example, its SAP Customer Relationship Management system response time is 10% faster. Online response times are on average 20% better and batch processing times have reduced by 30% as well. The platform also allows Company X to scale workloads instantaneously based on the demands of their customer requirements. 

Now Company X is established on the AWS platform, there is a great opportunity to leverage additional AWS services and innovations in the future, which will ensure Company X remains a leader in the energy sector and can pass on the benefits of cloud computing to their customers.