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Advantages of migrating SAP on SQL Server to Azure

Last updated : May 11, 2021
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Advantages of migrating SAP on SQL Server to Azure

Clients who have their SAP solution implemented on Microsoft SQL Server data engine are faced with the problems in the licensing terms changes that this company made in 2015, which also affect SQL Server runtime licenses bought through SAP. For this reason, before the end of 2021 they must regularize their Microsoft licenses and, unless they plan to change the current SQL Server data engine, the easiest and cheapest solution is to migrate to Azure.

In 2015 Microsoft changed the licensing terms for the use of SQL Server so this data engine can no longer be used in shared infrastructure (multitenant), that is, in server infrastructures where several clients participate. However, this is the situation of most SAP/SQL clients who have their solution hosted with an external provider.

Microsoft set a deadline to implement this restriction, which ends on December 31, 2021. Additionally, clients cannot use a newer version than SQL Server 2012 before this deadline without falling immediately in this restriction, and by the end of this year all clients will have this limitation, regardless of the version used.

On the other hand, SQL Server version 2012 is already past its standard support period, specifically since July 11, 2017, and is in extended support period until July 12, 2022. After that, it will not be supported by Microsoft.


What are the solution alternatives?

  1. Change the data engine, acquiring another engine license, for example SAP HANA, or SAP ASE, or any other certified for SAP, and carry out a heterogeneous SAP migration.
  2. Purchase new SQL Server Enterprise licenses, this time with Software Assurance, for the total number of users or cores used by the SAP landscape.
  3. Rent SQL Server licenses from the current or future hosting provider if this provider has the possibility of doing so. For example, this is possible with AWS.
  4. Use dedicated infrastructure, which is however a remote possibility as it implies technical complications for the private or public cloud providers, potential higher costs, operating difficulties, etc.
  5. Migrate the SAP solution to Azure since Microsoft does not apply this restriction on its own cloud.


Novis currently has more than 80 SAP clients with permanent services, among which several use the SQL Server runtime acquired through SAP, alongside with the SAP licenses themselves. We have done cost analysis of different alternatives for many of them, considering licensing fees, migration project, new infrastructure costs, etc., and, on most cases, migrating to Azure turned out to be the best alternative.

As a result, we have already migrated to Azure the SAP solution for clients such as CORFO and are currently doing the same for Metro de Santiago. Additionally, we have already defined projects for the migration to Azure for several clients, while others are evaluating their alternatives.

The main advantage of this option is that it is affordable, as it implies only a cloud migration project. There is no need to pay extra for licenses nor for the heterogeneous SAP migration. Also, Novis is a Microsoft/Azure partner specializing in SAP and we have extensive experience with SAP on Azure and migrations.

It is the client’s choice, but we can evaluate all the alternatives for each specific case, so each company may be able to choose their best option.


Feel free to contact us and discuss your projects. We shall be pleased to be able to advise you.

Feedback/discussion with the author: Glen Canessa, Pre-sales Manager at Novis.