Optimize SUSE subscription cost for SAP workloads on AWS

December 12, 2022 David Rocha

In the words of Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos “There are two kinds of companies, those that work to try to charge more and those that work to charge less. We will be the second.” This quote embodies how Amazon Leadership Principles shape ideas for new initiatives and how to improve the customer experience. These improvements to the customer experience also lead to price reductions, such as the price reduction we announced on May 28th, 2022 for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) when purchased from AWS. Using a variety of price models such as Reserved Instances, Savings Plan, and Annual Subscriptions customers can realize 70% savings on SUSE subscriptions purchased from AWS in their own SUSE based deployments. In this blog, we’ll discuss the various options to save costs when purchasing SUSE subscriptions from AWS.

SAP has been running on SUSE since 1999. SUSE’s experience providing products and services for SAP is a key reason that when SAP customers choose to run SAP workloads on Linux, they choose SUSE products. Since 2010, AWS and SUSE have worked together to help customers build high performing, resilient, and efficient infrastructure for SAP and a variety of other mission-critical workloads. Additionally, thousands of the customers have purchased SUSE Linux operating systems from AWS for their SAP workloads.

SUSE offers two Linux distributions to run SAP workloads (Figure 1): SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications (SLES for SAP) which is designed specifically to run SAP workloads. SLES for SAP lifecycle includes Extended Service Pack Overlap Support that provides 4.5 years of total support. SLES for SAP also offers software components and service offerings like SAP HANA HA (High Availability) resource agents, HA Cluster connector, SAP HANA specific security features, simplified operations, and added antivirus software. Both operating system subscriptions are available to be purchased from AWS. Let us examine how you can cost optimize your SUSE subscriptions when purchasing from AWS:

SAP Certified SUSE operating systems

Figure 1: SAP Certified SUSE operating systems

Benefits of buying SLES or SLES for SAP through AWS:

When you purchase SLES and SLES for SAP products through AWS and AWS Marketplace there are significant customer benefits.

As an enterprise customer, you have 100% EDP (Enterprise Discount Program) draw down when SLES subscriptions are procured through Amazon EC2. Additionally, you will receive 100% EDP draw down for SLES for SAP up to 25% of your total EDP commitment. AWS Management Console and AWS Marketplace provide a one stop interface where you can initiate and complete the purchase without the need to reach out to multiple vendors. By purchasing SUSE products from AWS, you have a single source of procurement with the convenience of managing only one bill at the end of the month, so that you don’t have to manage multiple vendors in your vendor management system.

From an operational and support perspective, procuring SUSE subscriptions from AWS ensures that you have the correct number of subscriptions for your environment. As part of on-premises to AWS cloud migration, a “Bring Your Own Subscription” (BYOS) requires you to manage the number of subscriptions deployed on AWS to ensure you are maintaining software compliance. To learn more about BYOS, read about the SUSE Cloud Connect program. Another benefit is that AWS is the single support path for both your AWS products and services as well as SLES or SLES for SAP subscriptions. The single escalation path expedites the access to support needed during emergency situations with your SAP and non-SAP IT environment.

Additionally, it is important to keep your entire environment up-to-date with the latest support patches and packages to avoid vulnerability or compliance issues. Your environment will have access to a SUSE maintained update infrastructure hosted on AWS as part of your SLES or SLES for SAP subscriptions from AWS. In-region update servers will serve as your repository to download security fixes, patches, and updates. This update infrastructure provides your environment immediate access to patches to keep it secure, performant and also helps to maintain a high level of operational excellence.

SLES Purchasing Options:

There are three ways to purchase SLES or host your SAP workloads on AWS, as shown in Figure 2:

SLES purchasing options

Figure 2: SLES purchasing options

On-Demand

You can launch a SLES Amazon Machine Image (AMI) as On-Demand to provision compute resources without long-term commitments or upfront costs. The cost of SLES is combined with the compute cost when using a SLES AMI to launch an EC2 instance as On-Demand. Below is an example of the pricing for an m6i.4xlarge in the AWS N. Virginia (us-east-1) region, that includes the SLES operating system cost. You can build similar price estimates using the AWS Pricing Calculator. Please note, pricing in AWS varies by Region, and you may see the cost change over time.

On-demand cost of m6i.4xlarge instance with SLES in AWS N.Virginia Region

Figure 3: On-demand cost of m6i.4xlarge instance with SLES in AWS N.Virginia Region

Savings Plan

Starting May 28th 2022, the Savings Plans offer an additionally discounted cost for the SLES subscription allowing you to save up to 52% vs. the previous Savings Plans rates for SLES. The discount received for the SLES subscription is the same discount that you receive for the RI discount. The Savings Plan has a lower overall cost than On-demand, but may have same or a slightly higher cost than a Reserved Instance. This is based on the Amazon EC2 instance cost having a larger discount for RIs when compared to Savings Plan.

Savings Plans provide you the most flexible discount model that offers you the option to reduce compute costs and SUSE subscription cost significantly in exchange for a commitment to use a specific amount (measured in dollars per hour) over a one or three-year period of time. SUSE provides the same discount for both types of Savings Plans: Compute Savings Plan and EC2 Instance Savings Plan.

Compute Savings Plans

Compute Savings Plans provide the most flexibility and help to reduce your costs by up to 66%. These plans automatically apply to EC2 instance usage regardless of instance family, size, AZ, Region, OS or tenancy, and also apply to AWS Fargate or AWS Lambda usage. For example, with Compute Savings Plans, you can change from Amazon EC2 C4 to M6i instances, shift a workload from EU (Ireland) to EU (London), or move a workload from Amazon EC2 to AWS Fargate or AWS Lambda at any time and automatically continue to pay the Savings Plans price.

EC2 Instance Savings Plans

EC2 Instance Savings Plans provide the lowest prices, offering savings up to 72% in exchange for commitment to usage of individual instance families in a Region (e.g. M5 usage in N. Virginia). This automatically reduces your cost on the selected instance family in that region regardless of AZ, size, OS or tenancy. EC2 Instance Savings Plans give you the flexibility to change your usage between instances within a family in that region. For example, you can move from c5.xlarge running Windows to c5.2xlarge running Linux and automatically benefit from the Savings Plan prices.
In Figure 4, we can see an example of using the AWS Pricing Calculator to estimate the cost of using an EC2 Instance Savings Plan with an m6i.4xlarge instance type in the AWS N. Virginia (us-east-1) region.

Savings Plan cost of m6i.4xlarge instance with SLES in AWS N. Virginia Region

Figure 4: Savings Plan cost of m6i.4xlarge instance with SLES in AWS N. Virginia Region

Reserved Instances

Reserved Instances (RI) allow you to purchase Amazon EC2 instances that include the cost of SLES subscriptions at a discount in return for a longer-term commitment. You have an option to run a workload on a Reserved Instance with a 1 year or a 3-year commitment. SUSE Subscriptions can also be included in Convertible Reserved Instances for 1 year or a 3-year commitment. Below are screenshots of the AWS Pricing Calculator that will show the cost for Standard RIs and Convertible RIs for an m6i.4xlarge with SLES. Both are for a 3-year term using the same m6i.4xlarge type of instance with No-Upfront payment options.

Standard RI

Standard RI cost of m6i.4xlarge instance on SLES

Figure 5: Standard RI cost of m6i.4xlarge instance on SLES

Convertible RI

Convertible RI costs are slightly higher than Standard RIs. Convertible RIs are more flexible by allowing you to change the instance family type based on your changing computing needs.

Convertible RI cost of m6i.4xlarge instance on SLES

Figure 6: Convertible RI cost of m6i.4xlarge instance on SLES

Before we focus on the buying options for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, we need to highlight that we recommend Savings Plans (over Reserved Instances). Like Reserved Instances, Savings Plans offer lower prices. In addition, Savings Plans offer you the flexibility to change your usage as your needs evolve. For example, with Compute Savings Plans, lower prices will automatically apply when you change from C4 to C6g instances, shift a workload from EU (Ireland) to EU (London), or move a workload from Amazon EC2 to AWS Fargate or AWS Lambda.

SLES for SAP Purchasing Options:

There are two ways to purchase SLES for SAP in the console to run your SAP workloads on AWS, as shown in fig# 7:

SLES for SAP purchasing options

Figure 7: SLES for SAP purchasing options

Pay-as-you-go

Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) is the type of subscription for SLES for SAP when purchased from AWS Marketplace. The cost for this subscription is based on an hourly consumption plan. There is not a term commitment necessary for running instances using the PAYG consumption model. You are invoiced on a monthly basis. It is a highly flexible purchasing plan that allows you to provision and terminate instances based on your need. It is important to note that when you are purchasing SLES for SAP from AWS, the AWS Marketplace listing has two separate costs: SLES for SAP software and Amazon EC2 instance cost. The Amazon EC2 instance and SLES for SAP costs combine together for your total cost. The cost varies based on your Amazon EC2 instance size choice. You can view the software and infrastructure cost by reviewing the AWS Marketplace listing for SLES for SAP.

Figure 8 is an image from the AWS Marketplace SLES for SAP listing. The image shows the software and infrastructure cost for Amazon EC2 r6i.8xlarge in the AWS N. Virginia (us-east-1) region.

SLES for SAP - PAYG cost of r6i.8xlarge instance from AWS Marketplace

Figure 8: SLES for SAP – PAYG cost of r6i.8xlarge instance from AWS Marketplace

Marketplace Annual Subscriptions

Annual Subscriptions offer a 70% discount versus PAYG pricing for SLES for SAP in return for an upfront payment for the 12 months contract. Please remember that when you are purchasing SLES for SAP from the AWS marketplace, two separate costs combine together and produce total costs: Amazon EC2 Instance and SLES for SAP software. We recommend that the Amazon EC2 Instance cost is optimized using a Compute Savings Plan or an EC2 Instance Savings Plan to maximize your savings.

To purchase an Annual Subscription, login to your AWS Management Console and navigate to the AWS Marketplace Subscriptions. From the console, select ‘Manage’ the subscription and ‘Buy Annual License’ for the relevant instances. You must be running a PAYG instance to purchase an Annual Subscription. The Annual subscription will be immediately applied to the instance without further action and the cost of the annual subscription will be applied to your subsequent bill.

An Annual Subscription is a commitment to run the SLES for SAP software on the instance type and size. It is important to keep track of expiration dates for your Annual Subscriptions. If you would like to change the instance type or size, we advise you to coordinate the instance type change with the Annual Subscription end date. This allows you to maximize the Annual Subscription purchase. Another reason to keep track of the Annual Contract end date is that it will default back to PAYG charges until you re-initiate the annual commitment.

Let’s look at an example below on how Annual Subscriptions work:

Eight months ago, you purchased an Annual Subscription for SLES for SAP running on an r6i.8xlarge. By committing to running SLES for SAP on the same instance type r6i.8xlarge for a year, you receive approximately a 70% discount. If you decide to increase the size of the instance from r6i.8xlarge to an r6i.12xlarge. The purchased Annual Subscription for SLES for SAP running on an r6i.8xlarge does not match the SLES for SAP’s new instance type, r6i.12xlarge. This means you will pay an on-demand price for the new r6i.12xlarge.

If you decide to change the instance to r6i.12xlarge, you still have saved money on your Annual Subscription purchased for the r6i.8xlarge. The Annual Subscription cost for your r6i.8xlarge EC2 instance is $1346.00 USD. The hourly SLES for SAP software cost for a r6i.8xlarge instance is $0.51. If you run the instance at an hourly rate for 8 months on PAYG model, you would have paid $0.51 hour for 240 days with a cost of approx. $2940 USD which is more than double than your annual subscription cost.

SLES for SAP – Annual subscription cost of r6i.8xlarge instance from AWS Marketplace

Figure 9: SLES for SAP – Annual subscription cost of r6i.8xlarge instance from AWS Marketplace

Conclusion:

In this blog, we showed you various options on how to optimize cost when you are purchasing SUSE Linux products from AWS. If you have questions about the products and services specific to your account, contact your AWS account team for additional assistance.

Join the SAP on AWS Discussion

In addition to your customer account team and AWS Support channels, we have recently launched re:Post – A Reimagined Q&A Experience for the AWS Community. Our SAP on AWS Solution Architecture team regularly monitor the SAP on AWS topic for discussion and questions that could be answered to assist our customers and partners. If your question is not support-related, consider joining the discussion over at re:Post and adding to the community knowledge base.

Previous Article
SAP on AWS Partners Raise the Bar for Customers
SAP on AWS Partners Raise the Bar for Customers

Customers continue to choose Amazon Web Services (AWS) for their mission-critical SAP applications due to o...

Next Article
How to connect SAP BTP Services with AWS Services using SAP Private Link Service
How to connect SAP BTP Services with AWS Services using SAP Private Link Service

Customers like Zalando Payments GmbH (ZPS), Georgia Pacific and HP are using SAP Business Technology Platfo...