How to get started with SAP on Azure Including Hands-On

SAP is the #1 business software in the world. You will find SAP applications running in a majority of Fortune 500 companies powering their business. Becoming an expert in SAP is a great career move for anyone in tech and business.

Azure is a major cloud player in the public cloud space. Microsoft has done a lot of work to make Azure the best fit for running SAP in the public cloud. Becoming an expert in Azure is also a great career move.

Both SAP and Azure are in high demand and will be for the foreseeable future. Building a combined SAP and Azure skillset to become an SAP on Azure SME can have a huge positive impact on your career.

Considering the number of organizations that run SAP with most of them looking to migrate it to the public cloud or deploy SAP new on the public cloud means you would be a key to these organizations if you have SAP on Azure skills.

One of the challenges with SAP has always been-how can one get experience with it and get some hands-on with it? It is no secret that SAP is expensive and therefore is not the easiest to get access to for anyone that is ramping up on it. In this blog, I will highlight some options for learning SAP on Azure as well as how to get some hands-on with it.

First off Microsoft has an SAP on Azure certification. This is AZ-120: Planning and Administering Microsoft Azure for SAP Workloads. This certification is for anyone that wants to demonstrate knowledge of both SAP and Azure along with the ability to run SAP on Azure public cloud. If you are a SAP Basis person, on-premises SAP administrator, Azure administrator, sysadmin, cloud admin, solution architect, business analyst, and more then this certification and career path is for you. Skills measured by this AZ-120 exam include:

Migrate SAP Workloads to Azure
Create an inventory of existing SAP landscapes
Design a migration strategy
Design an Azure Solution to Support SAP Workloads
Design a core infrastructure solution in Azure to support SAP workloads
Design Azure infrastructure services to support SAP workloads
Design a resilient Azure solution to support SAP workloads
Build and Deploy Azure for SAP Workloads
Automate deployment of Virtual Machines (VMs)
Implement and manage virtual networking
Manage access and authentication on Azure
Implement and manage identities
Monitor SAP workloads on Azure
Validate Azure Infrastructure for SAP Workloads
Perform infrastructure validation check
Perform operational readiness check
Operationalize Azure SAP Architecture
Optimize performance
Migrate SAP workloads to Azure

One option for learning more about SAP on Azure is to check out my Pluralsight course on this here: https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/sap-azure-big-picture, check out this SAP on Azure book here: https://www.amazon.com/SAP-Azure-Implementation-Guide-business/dp/1838983988, and this blog post with more info on the SAP on Azure certification here: https://app.pluralsight.com/guides/cloud-certifications-:-azure-for-sap-workloads-specialty-(az-120).

Now comes the hands on part with SAP!

SAP Docker Containers:

SAP has some express and developer editions of their software available as Containers. These are hosted on Dockerhub. It’s really cool that that SAP has made some of their solutions available as Docker containers. This makes it really easy to spin up the solutions and get started with them right away without having to load a server and install the SAP software. All you need is Docker Desktop to run these locally.

You could also run these containers in the cloud as well. It is critical to note that you still need a considerable amount of resources (CPU, RAM, Disk space) to support running the SAP solutions as containers. Do not cut corners on this. Allocate the required amount of resources. Overall this is a great option if you want to get the SAP software up and running as fast as possible to focus on getting hands-on with the SPA software itself. Here are the container options:

Full SAP software Trials and Downloads:

This option is a full download of the SAP software that you install on a virtual machine running in Azure. As opposed to the SAP containers you will need to go through the process of deploying a VM, configuring any prereqs, and then installing the SAP software. Overall if you want to get the experience of configuring the VM’s and installing the SAP software then this is a great option. Here is the option:

Azure Cloud Options:

The first option SAP Cloud Appliance Library (SAP CAL) is a service from SAP that allows you to select a preconfigured SAP solution on your cloud of choice letting SAP deploy the SAP solution in your cloud subscription for you. This option includes trials of the SAP software. This a great option to get hands-on experience in Azure. It does not help you gain experience with deploying and configuring the Azure estate though and that is something you will need to do on a real project.

The last two options will take you through the journey of using Infrastructure as Code (IaC) to deploy the estate needed to support SAP running in the cloud, the VM’s that will run the SAP software, and deployment of trial SAP software.

Overall the first option SAP CAL is a great way to quickly get started with SAP on Azure and see what the experience is like. The last two options are the best giving you hands-on both with Azure and with SAP the closest you will get to the real world. 

  • SAP Cloud Appliance Library (SAP CAL)
    • SAP CAL is an online library of preconfigured and ready-to-use SAP solutions on a trial basis. SAP CAL gives you a quick & easy way to spin up SAP solutions directly in Azure and other clouds. It includes SAP S/4HANA, SAP HANA Express Edition, and more. 
    • https://cal.sap.com
  • Infrastructure as Code to deploy SAP in Azure
  • SAP Deployment Automation Framework
    • Terraform to deploy the architecture needed for SAP and the SAP virtual machines. Ansible to configure the virtual machines and install the SAP on Azure software.

That brings us to the end of this blog post. I hope you find this helpful with tips on how to get started with SAP on Azure including some hands on! Thanks for reading.

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New ebook – Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes for Multicloud on O’Reilly

After 6 books with many authors from Packt, APress, & Sams/Pearson I finally had the chance to author a book with O’Reilly. This is an ebook so it can be found and read on the O’Reilly online platform.

It is a great platform that I use personally for my own learning. On their platform, you can find ebooks, books across many publishers (most of my books are on there), video training, and even live training.

This book brings together 4 exciting technologies/topics including Azure, Kubernetes, GitOps, and multi-cloud. The book is shorter than my typical books since it is an ebook. It is only 35 pages and is designed for fast & easy consumption to get an overview of the technology and get an early start.

In this book, we take a journey into one of Microsoft’s newest cloud services Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes (Arc K8s). We explore what Azure Arc K8s is, how it extends the Azure control plane to Kubernetes clusters to manage, secure, and govern them, as well as how GitOps sits are the core of application deployment to Kubernetes clusters and a driver of consistent configuration management for Kubernetes clusters.

Azure Arc is a Microsoft product that promises to extend the Azure control plane for Kubernetes across multiple clouds and on-premises, but how does it do this? In this ebook we will dissect Azure Arc K8s and how it becomes a secret weapon for managing Kubernetes clusters across on-premises, multiple clouds, and regardless of your own rolled Kubernetes clusters or managed services based Kubernetes clusters such as GKE, EKS, etc. I also want to give a shout-out to Michael Levan for reviewing this ebook!

Key Areas from the ebook include:

-Understand the new management challenges that multicloud brings
-Learn how Azure Arc drives consistent governance, security, and management across multicloud
-Gain valuable insights into Microsoft’s Azure ARM control plane for Kubernetes
-Learn how Azure Arc manages Kubernetes clusters across on-premises and multiple cloud deployments
-Explore the GitOps technology pattern and operating model for cloud native applications and Kubernetes
-Use Azure Arc-enabled Kubernetes and GitOps to deploy configurations and applications to Kubernetes clusters

Check out the new ebook here: https://www.oreilly.com/library/view/azure-arc-enabled/9781098102647

Also keep an eye on my O’Reilly author page here https://www.oreilly.com/pub/au/8326 for any future projects I have with them.

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2020 Year Review – Podcasts, Speaking, New Courses, & Certifications

2020 was an extraordinarily tough year with many downs for so many people all over the world. For me losing 3 people in a week and a half (not to COVID) along with all the funerals to follow was rough. Also, the injustice in my home city with the murder of George Floyd and unrest was unbelievable but not a surprise with injustice going un-noticed for so long. It was amazing to see the world wake up and acknowledge what has been happening for so long.

In spite of all of the bad stuff from 2020, there was a tremendous amount of good stuff happening and progress. I believe there is always an opportunity in the middle of chaos. To see the opportunity it is needed to take a step back, slow down, and analyze the board. In this post, I am going to recap the positives from this year as I have done in the past few years.

Let me start off with the fact that I was renewed for my 9th year as a Microsoft MVP! I was re-awarded in the Azure category for the 3rd year. I never take the Microsoft MVP award for granted as it is never guaranteed. I am honored to once again be among such a talented group of people across the globe!

The next thing I want to call out is a message I received from someone from my home city after listening to one of the podcasts I was featured on. In this message this upcoming tech star talked about how he was inspired by the episode and how he can relate to me. This message was inspiring to me as this is a huge part of what I want to do through sharing my story. I hope to see more of it in the future. Here is the message:

Ok, now lets get into the list of activity from 2020!

-Podcasts-

In 2020 I was honored to be featured on 7 podcasts! Some of the podcasts in the US, Europe, and Africa! Here are the podcasts:

Guest on “Lisa at the Edge” Podcast EP13: In the podcast episode Lisa and I talked about: Evolving your career as technology evolves, Transformation of IT dept to Strategic Business Partner, DevOps, Containers 101, Azure Kubernetes Service, Diversity in tech. Episode link here

Guest on Packet Pushers podcast Cloud Governance, Bringing Order To Your Cloud Chaos. Podcast episode here:

Guest on a #podcast by @blacktechtalent. The founder & I discuss topics such as: breaking into tech, finding black tech talent, black employee retention, racism, colorism & more. You can listen here: https://www.blacktechtalent.org/btt-discussions-ep-3-ft-steve-buchanan/

Was a guest on Tech Talk Wednesday podcast and radio show with Kazeem Adegboyega Topic: Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) in 30 minutes. Streamed online via Microsoft Teams and aired in Lagos, Nigeria on Lagos State University (LASU) radio (95.7).

10/31/2020 FEATURED ON BITTECHTALK EPISODE #127 – BITTechTalk ep. #127 Steve Buchanan – PC Tech to Microsoft MVP

Guest on Black Tech Talent podcast.

11/5/2020 Guest on the RunAs Radio Podcast

Guest on  Headinthecloud Heartinthecommunity a community show by Isidora Katanic and Holly Lehman.

-Pluralsight Courses-

In 2020 I developed 5 new courses for Pluralsight bringing the total to 6! This is an opportunity to continue sharing my knowledge with the world through Pluralsight’s global platform. You can find my Pluralsight Author page here:

https://app.pluralsight.com/profile/author/steve-buchanan

Here are my blogs about the courses throughout 2020:

One more highlight from my journey with Pluralsight in 2020 is that my AZ-900 course broke into the top 100 courses on Pluralsight! This actually stayed here for multiple months!

I am excited about the potential with Pluralsight for 2021!

-Speaking-

In 2020 I presented at some conferences and user groups. Here is where I presented in 2020:

Inside Azure Management event conference

I was a speaker during the “Inside Azure Management Summit” on 7/23/2020. This was a free community event. It featured Microsoft cloud experts from the authoring team of “Inside Azure Management” book, Microsoft MVP’s, and community experts from around the world. I presented on Azure Policy! My session can be watched here:

I was one of the experts in several Ask the Expert sessions during Microsoft Ignite 2020! Sessions included PowerShell on Azure, Kubernetes on Azure, and Azure Migrations.

Presented at an Azure User Group based in Ghana, in Africa on Terraform for Azure!

-Interviews-

I was featured on AzureCrazy.com in an article! In the Interview we discuss being a #Microsoft MVP, getting certified in #Azure, the positive impact #PowerShell can have on your #ITCareer, getting started with #AKS#AzureStackHub & more. Check it out here:

-Certifications-

Since 2020 was full of time spent inside at home I took some time to knock out a few certifications.

I took and passed the Docker certification! CKA will be in my future.

I decided to study for and passed an AWS certification!

I also gained a Terraform certification by contributing to the Terraform associate exam and helped out with a Terraform certification study guide!

-More-

I also spent time writing blogs, volunteering with some youth tech programs, as well as shared a couple of scripts on GitHub! Here are some posts about some of these:

2020 was a full year. I already have plans and stuff in the works to make 2021 an exciting year continuing with a focus on Azure, Containers, Kubernetes, IaC, Terraform, GitOps, and more! Please check back here often for new blogs, scripts, and more.

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SAP on Azure Course on Pluralsight

I am happy to announce that my latest Pluralsight course has been published. I am extra proud of this one because it is a first on the Pluralsight platform! The course is “SAP on Azure: The Big Picture“. This is the first SAP on Azure course to land on Pluralsight.

SAP is the #1 business software in the world. SAP is used by so many companies around the world. SAP projects are some of the largest projects in IT. SAP has a huge push for customers to move to its latest version SAP’s ERP solution S/4HANA by 2025. Even though you can buy extended support for current versions there is still a preference for customers to move to the new version. With this push to move most businesses and CIO’s view this as a chance to also move to hosting SAP in the cloud.

There is a shortage of IT professionals that know SAP and know cloud such as Azure. Having SAP skills can be a game changer for anyone’s IT career. Combine SAP and Azure skills and watch your career accelerate even further.

Both Azure and SAP skills can be hard to gain without someone taking a chance placing you on one of these projects. It is not easy to break into the world of SAP and part of that reason is a lack of starter courses.

I have held various roles on several SAP on Azure projects gaining key skills in this area. My goal with this course was to bring forward a starting point for those looking to get some training and break into this area.

This course will teach you a fundamental understanding of SAP, the various cloud hosting options, and core knowledge for hosting SAP on Azure.

This course is packed with 1 hour and 29 minutes of info for those wanting to get started with running SAP on Azure.

If one of these sound familiar:

-You have skills with Azure and want to learn more about SAP

-You have skills with SAP and want to learn more about Azure

-You want to get started with both Azure and SAP

-You want to pursue the AZ-120: Planning and Administering Microsoft Azure for SAP Workloads exam

Well this course is for you!

In this course, SAP on Azure: The Big Picture, you’ll learn to what it takes to host SAP on Azure. First, you’ll explore the different SAP cloud hosting options.

Next, you’ll discover why Azure is a good fit for SAP and gain an understanding of the Microsoft and SAP partnership.

Finally, you’ll learn how to learn about the different SAP components, get SAP on Azure architectural guidance, and learn the about the differences between SAP on Azure migrations compared to greenfield deployments.

When you’re finished with this course, you’ll have core skills and knowledge of hosting SAP on Azure needed to be an asset on SAP on Azure projects.

Check out the course here:

https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/sap-azure-big-picture

I hope you find value in this new SAP on Azure course. This new course brings me to a total of 6 courses now published on the Pluralsight platform. Be sure to follow my profile on Pluralsight so you will be notified as I release new courses! I will be releasing more courses soon!

Here is the link to my Pluralsight profile to follow mehttps://app.pluralsight.com/profile/author/steve-buchanan

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My AZ-900 course broke into the top 100 on Pluralsight

I am very excited that today my AZ-900 course broke into the top 100 on
Pluralsight!

The topic on my course is: “Microsoft Azure Pricing and Support Options”.

If you are studying for the AZ-900 exam or getting started with Azure check it out here:

https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/microsoft-azure-pricing-support-options/table-of-contents

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30 Minutes of Azure Kubernetes Services (AKS)

Today I went on “Tech Talk Wednesday” a podcast and radio show with Kazeem Adegboyega The topic was “30 Minutes of Azure Kubernetes Services (AKS)“. It streamed online via Microsoft Teams and aired in Lagos, Nigeria on Lagos State University (LASU) radio (95.7).

I had a great time talking with Kazeem! Even Sam Erskine made a guest appearance. If you missed the live show you can watch it on YouTube:

Or go directly to the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7GCHQudCWg

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Tech Talk Wednesday Guest – Topic: Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)

I am honored to be a guest next Wednesday, August 26th on the “Tech Talk Wednesday” podcast and radio show with Kazeem Adegboyega (@KazeemCanTeach)! We will be chatting about Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS).

This show will be streamed online via Microsoft Teams and will air in Lagos, Nigeria on Lagos State University (LASU) radio (95.7)!

One of my goals is to help spread knowledge about tech in Africa and showcase African technologists in the US. This is the first step in that journey.

Be sure to tune in. Go here to register: http://kazeem.com.ng/index.php/tech-talk

Don’t worry if you can’t make the live stream. It will be recorded and posted later on Kazeem’s website.

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Explore: Kubernetes resource view (Preview) in AKS

Microsoft has been making some amazing enhancements to AKS and in the open-source space in general. This effort has been making it easier to use Kubernetes and easier for folks who are getting started with Kubernetes.

Recently Microsoft has added more functionally called “Kubernetes resource view“.

Kubernetes resource view in Azure Portal

Kubernetes resource view in Azure Portal

This allows you to see and work with some Kubernetes resources directly in the Azure portal. As you can see in the previous screenshot it includes Namespaces, Workloads, and Services. When you deploy a new AKS cluster this is enabled by default.

If you have deployed an AKS cluster before this functionality was release you will need to enable the Kubernetes resource view. You can choose what namespace to enable this on. It will look like this:

Enable Kubernetes resource view button

Enable Kubernetes resource view button

The three main areas of resources are:

  • Namespaces
  • Workloads
    •  Deployments
    •  Pods
    •  Replica Sets
    •  Daemon sets
  • Services and ingresses

In these resource areas, you can view the resources, add, delete, and show labels.

You can click on a resource to see the properties of it under Overview. The overview tab has valuable information for example for a pod you can see the pod status, the containers that belong to it, its conditions, and more.  Here are some screenshots:

You can see any events around the resource and you can even view or edit the resources Yaml. Here is what it looks like when editing a resource:

Well, this was a quick blog post to give an early look at the new Kubernetes resource view in AKS. I recommend you check out it! Remember this is a preview and it’s going to get better and better.

I can imagine in the future we will be able to access more Kubernetes resources and API Objects in the Azure portal. For example, it will be cool to be able to work with Secrets, and Configmaps right in the Azure portal! I don’t know about you, but I am very excited about what Microsoft has been doing with AKS!

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Inside Azure Management Sessions now on YouTube

I recently presented at the Inside Azure management event. This event was packed full of Microsoft MVP’s and community experts from around the world. The focus on the event was around Azure Management based topics with some Kubernetes, AI, and DevOps topics sprinkled in.

My session was “Azure Policy Insights & Multi-Tag demo via Azure Policy” Here is what it covered: “Azure Policy is a great tool when it comes to auditing and ensuring your cloud governance is met. In this session 9 time Microsoft Azure MVP Steve Buchanan is going to take you on a full-speed ride on the ins and outs of Azure Policy and land you with a recipe for handling a multi-tagging strategy with Azure Policy. Some of the key topics you will learn from this session include:

  • Overview of Azure Policy
  • Azure Policy Configuration best practices to meet compliance (NIST, PCI, ISO, HIPPA)
  • Securing Azure services: AKS / Networking / SQL / App Service
  • Azure Policy vs RBAC
  • Overview of Azure Policy Guest Configuration
  • Tagging and more

The event has passed and if you didn’t make it no worries! All of the sessions have been recorded and uploaded to the Inside Azure management YouTube channel to be watched at your leisure. Here is the link to the YouTube channel where you can watch all the sessions:

https://bit.ly/azurevideos

The event coordinators have also set up some Youtube playlists to make it easier to find videos on the topics that pertain to you. They broke these out in the following categories: Azure Management, Artificial Intelligence in Azure, Cloud Governance, Cybersecurity, and DevOps.

You can watch my session right here:

Also here is the direct link to the video of my session on YouTube: https://youtu.be/EfAiITcExK0

Thanks for checking out my session and others from this event. Stay tuned to my blog for info on where I will be speaking next!

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Third Pluralsight Course Published – Microsoft Azure Pricing and Support Options

Today my third Pluralsight course has been published. This course is titled “Microsoft Azure Pricing and Support Options“. It is a part of an AZ-900 learning path that will help you prepare for the Microsoft Azure Fundamentals AZ-900 exam. Learn more about that exam here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/certifications/exams/az-900 .

I was excited about this course as it is a part of my day to day focus on Azure. Also, this is a chance to help those that are getting started with Azure. Here is what you will gain from this course:

This course will teach you the fundamental knowledge about the pricing and support options in Azure one of the core skills measured in the AZ-900: Azure Fundamentals exam.

In this course, Microsoft Azure Pricing and Support Options, you’ll learn to estimate the pricing and support of Azure cloud services. First, you’ll explore Azure subscriptions, subscription management, and management groups.

Next, you’ll discover, plan, and manage Azure costs. Finally, you’ll learn how to understand Azure SLA’s, various Azure service lifecycles, and how to select the right support options. When you’re finished with this course, you’ll have the skills and knowledge of Azure pricing and available support needed to estimate Azure costs and select the right support options.

Please check out this new course here: https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/microsoft-azure-pricing-support-options

Also, be sure to follow my profile on Pluralsight so you will be notified as I release new courses! I will be releasing more courses soon!

Here is the link to my Pluralsight profile: https://app.pluralsight.com/profile/author/steve-buchanan

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