Mission #1: Don’t disrupt the business
Xavier’s top priority for the SAP migration to AWS was to ensure uninterrupted business operations. While he patiently partnered with experts on the team to solve challenges related to keeping planned downtime as low as possible, Xavier did not waver in the plan to migrate test, development and production instances directly to AWS. His confidence was rooted both in Schneider’s long experience with AWS and in Kyndryl’s knowledge of Schneider’s critical systems and its business.
“We have put in place an approach that allows us to stay in a kind of hybrid mode. While we are migrating to the cloud, we’re still maintaining the existing landscape in the hosting datacenter to enable in-process business projects. So, the planning of each go-live is a real challenge. Each one has been different,” Xavier explains.
Plus, each landscape migration had to take place within an allotted 48-hour over-the-weekend migration window. That took thorough preparation and test runs. If the test run determined that the time frame was too long, the Kyndryl team adjusted its data migration methodology to ensure compliance with the migration window.
Orchestrating a multi-enterprise team effort
The first step in planning on the Schneider side was to define the organization and operating model—one that would support the goal of continuous business operations. Determining who would be responsible for what was a major component of the overall migration plan.
“We all had to learn to work together with the new model, which led us to spend time on designing that model as well as designing the implementation,” Xavier notes, adding that moving mature mission-critical application infrastructure to the cloud carries some complexities around infrastructure design within the AWS environment.
Schneider’s internal team designed and built the AWS landing zone, a highly secured environment with strict rules about firewalls, connectivity, and security groups. In architecting the new operating environment, Kyndryl leveraged its well-established framework for cloud operations through a structured mapping of client SLAs and operational requirements to the target solution. This framework includes extensive Kyndryl intellectual property—assets, accelerators and reference models. These helped the design and migration processes run smoothly.
Kyndryl provided specifications that AWS and Schneider technical teams used to provision the new infrastructure in the landing zone. Moving each SAP landscape to AWS involves the three partners carefully coordinating connectivity. Post-migration, Kyndryl now manages the SAP landscape on AWS.
A different Schneider IT organization, the global delivery arm of Schneider Digital, takes care of application management for the platform. An incumbent external partner is responsible for SAP application management. And, of course, there is the community of key business users who perform testing when needed.
“All of this ecosystem needs to be properly managed for each part to be ready to execute on time. That’s far more challenging than the infrastructure or technical components,” Xavier notes.
“At the beginning, it was a little bit messy and complex. But once we agreed on the model and moved to execution, it’s really flying. This is where I believe we made a good choice to select Kyndryl as a partner. Everything from Kyndryl has been well delivered and on time, and they’ve been extremely flexible and accommodating to help us manage this challenge.”
Going cloud-native is next
Up next is learning how to manage the cloud SAP environments in a cloud-native way. Because the migration has been primarily a lift and shift effort, Xavier says, the deployments are still being managed as they had been on-premises.
“We have some ideas on how we can improve our costs by adjusting our provisioning to the right size. That’s one of the next steps we have in front of us to really achieve our TCO improvement promise.”