Three Options for the Hosted SAP Offering

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

On the eve of SAP’s Sapphire Now Conference in Orlando, SAP hosting provider Symmetry says interest is high in SAP ERP hosting services, taking enterprise applications to the cloud. Such services like those offered by Symmetry together with SAP’s announcement of plans to acquire Sybase and juice up its mobile support for devices like smartphones just may give SAP the edge it needs after a tough few years competing with nimble cloud-based players such as Salesforce.com

Or they can buy new infrastructure, too. It’s up to the client. Wilhelm says Symmetry has been offering the hosted service as a production environment for about two years and about one third of customers move their existing equipment to Symmetry’s hosting service.

Over that time Symmetry has developed a system of best practices to ensure customers don’t experience any interruption in SAP uptime. Systems are moved to temporary servers at Symmetry’s data center. Then the customer’s hardware is moved to the Symmetry data center. Ultimately the customer’s equipment is brought back up to host the SAP system and data again. The whole process takes about eight weeks.

Symmetry offers its services to be consumed by businesses in the following three different ways:

  • Symmetry physically moves the customer’s equipment to Symmetry’s data center,
  • Symmetry provisions new equipment at its data center that the client owns but that stays at the Symmetry data center, or
  • Symmetry purchases and owns the equipment and then rents it to customers over the length of the contract.

"We are seeing a fairly even split among the three options," Wilhelms says.

Large accounts are assigned a dedicated Symmetry technician. Smaller clients may share their technician with four or so other clients. In addition to the primary technician, teams of five to six administrators will support a group of clients to ensure customers get the best support experience.

Wilhelms says his customers are typically between $200 million and $1 billion businesses with 24 by 7 global operations but an IT staff of just one or two people with any SAP expertise.


Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com