Reducing The Cost of S/4HANA Instances on AWS


by Timothy Carioscio

How to save up to 70% on your hosting costs

Harnessing the power of SAP S/4 and the corresponding HANA database is an exciting proposition for any business roadmapping their technology journey, but it is not without its concerns. According to many of our customers, the chief concern is the additional infrastructure cost required to run these next-gen in-memory databases.

Many companies are currently running SAP R/3 on in-house or colocated servers. They are looking to upgrade to SAP S/4HANA before the R/3 end of support in 2025, but the computing power required is more than their current hardware can accomodate. As such, they need to either purchase new SAP HANA compliant hardware, or look into cloud hosted options.

CONTAX suggests using AWS Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) in order to reduce their total cost of ownership for companies’ newfound memory-intensive computing needs. Migrating to the AWS cloud allows companies to focus on running their business instead of spending resources on the maintenance and upkeep of physical infrastructure. It is also possible to migrate to AWS during the database upgrade step (SUM with Database Migration option).

Once a company’s SAP workload is running on AWS, they are able to leverage all of the flexibility and versatility that AWS provides. These benefits include, but are not limited to auto-scaling, ad-hoc instance resizing, and rapidly creating on-demand sandbox instances. Additionally, it is possible to automate starting/stopping of non-productive SAP HANA instances to leverage AWS’ on-demand pricing to reduce your AWS monthly fees.

In recent S/4HANA implementations, CONTAX has configured some test environments to automatically start and stop SAP instances running on EC2 using serverless AWS Lambda scripts. These scripts can be scheduled to stop these costly test instances when they would not be typically used (ex. nights and weekends). Running an EC2 instance 10hrs a day on weekdays only can represent up to 70% saving in compute cost for those instances.

Obviously, this start/stop strategy should never be used on a production SAP environment or even a non-productive environment that is accessed 24/7, but in very specific use-cases it can be a very powerful cost saving tool.

Do you have any questions, comments or concerns about running SAP workloads on AWS? Please reach out to us at We’d be delighted to hear any ideas you may have about interesting uses of AWS and SAP tools and would love to organise a proof of concept to confirm the feasibility of those ideas!

CONTAX Inc. is an SAP Gold Partner as well as an AWS Select Partner. We have a rich history of enabling the potential of our clients with world-class solutions using world-class software from SAP.


About the Author: Timothy Carioscio

Tim is an AWS evangelist. Rather than having his head in the clouds, he lives with the Cloud in his head.