Disaster recovery is an essential aspect of any organization’s IT strategy. When a disaster strikes, organizations must be prepared to mitigate the impact on their systems and resume operations as quickly as possible. For companies that rely on SAP systems, disaster recovery is even more critical. In this article, we’ll explore the basics of disaster recovery for SAP in the cloud, including the common challenges businesses face and best practices for ensuring a reliable disaster recovery strategy.

What is Disaster Recovery?

Disaster recovery is the process of restoring data and systems following an unexpected sitewide or regional event. These events can range from natural disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes to cyber-attacks, human error, or hardware failures. The goal of disaster recovery is to minimize the impact of these events and quickly return systems to their normal state.

Disaster recovery is critical for businesses that rely on SAP ERP systems because these systems are often essential for business operations. SAP systems manage multiple critical data and processes, such as financial transactions, supply chain management, and customer relationship management. Any disruption to these systems can result in significant financial losses, reputation damage, and regulatory compliance issues.

Challenges of Disaster Recovery for SAP ERPs

Disaster recovery for SAP and SAP HANA databases can be complex and challenging. One of the primary challenges is the sheer size and complexity of SAP environments. SAP systems can have thousands of components, including servers, databases, storage devices, and applications. These components must be orchestrated and synchronized to ensure that data is consistent and accurate across the system. When a disaster occurs, restoring such a complex system can be time-consuming and require significant resources.

Another challenge of disaster recovery for SAP is maintaining high availability and data consistency across data centers that are geographically separated for disaster protection. Many organizations use multiple data centers to ensure redundancy and failover capabilities. However, ensuring data consistency across these data centers can be challenging, particularly when data is constantly changing. For example, an order placed by a customer in one data center must be reflected in real-time in all other data centers to ensure consistency and avoid conflicts.

Best Practices for Disaster Recovery for SAP

To ensure a reliable and effective disaster recovery strategy for SAP systems, organizations should consider the following best practices.

Define Criticality of Systems and Data

The first step in developing a disaster recovery strategy is to identify the systems and data that are critical to business operations. This includes identifying the dependencies between different systems and data, as well as the recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO) for each system. The RTO is the maximum acceptable downtime for a system, while the RPO is the maximum amount of data loss that is acceptable.

Develop a Comprehensive Disaster Recovery Plan

Once critical systems and data have been identified, a comprehensive disaster recovery plan should be developed. The plan should include detailed procedures for recovering systems and data in the event of a disaster. This includes procedures for restoring backups, failover, and data synchronization across geographically distributed data centers. The plan should also define roles and responsibilities for team members involved in the recovery process.

Regularly Test the Disaster Recovery Plan

A disaster recovery plan is only as good as its ability to work when needed. Therefore, organizations should regularly test the plan to ensure that it works as expected. This includes testing backups, failover, and data synchronization across geographically distributed data centers. Regular testing in real-world scenarios helps to identify weaknesses in the plan and ensures that team members are familiar with their roles and responsibilities.

Use High Availability and Disaster Recovery Solutions

Whether your SAP or HANA systems are running on-premises or in the cloud, HA/DR solutions are critical for ensuring business continuity in the event of a disaster. Note that HA provided by cloud vendors do not address These solutions provide failover capabilities and data synchronization across geographically distributed data centers – both on-premises and in the cloud. Failover clustering is the most common HA solution, provides application or database failover of operations to a secondary server if the primary server fails.

Replication is another important component of a DR strategy. It involves copying data from the primary server to a geographically separated secondary server where the application or database can access it after a failover for fast and easy recovery in the event of a disaster. It’s important to note that while these solutions can provide effective HA/DR they are not foolproof. IT teams must test these solutions regularly to ensure that they are working as intended. In addition, it’s crucial to have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan in place that includes clear procedures for recovery and a backup plan for critical systems.

Consider Multi-Cloud Disaster Recovery Strategies

Businesses are increasingly adopting multi-cloud strategies to achieve greater flexibility and avoid vendor lock-in. Multi-cloud strategies involve the use of two or more cloud providers to distribute workloads and data across different environments. While multi-cloud strategies can offer significant benefits, they also introduce new challenges for disaster recovery.

In a multi-cloud environment, businesses need to ensure that their disaster recovery strategy is designed to support multiple clouds. This means having a plan for managing data and applications across different cloud providers and ensuring that data is replicated and backed up in multiple locations.

Ensure Data Protection for SAP ERP Systems

Data protection is a critical component of disaster recovery for SAP ERP systems including HANA. In addition to replicating and backing up data, businesses must ensure that their data is protected against threats such as cyberattacks and ransomware. This requires a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity that includes a combination of preventative measures and rapid response capabilities.

Preventative measures can include deploying firewalls, antivirus software, and intrusion detection systems. It’s also important to train employees on cybersecurity best practices and to implement strong password policies. Rapid response capabilities, on the other hand, involve having a plan in place for quickly detecting and responding to cybersecurity threats. This may include having a dedicated cybersecurity team, conducting regular cybersecurity drills, and having a plan for isolating affected systems to prevent the spread of malware.

Disaster recovery for SAP systems is a complex and challenging task, but it’s also essential for ensuring business continuity in the event of a disaster. By using high availability and disaster recovery solutions, adopting multi-cloud disaster recovery strategies, and ensuring data protection, businesses can reduce the risk of data loss and minimize the impact of disasters on their operations.

Keep Learning

To stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices in disaster recovery for SAP systems, attending events such as the SIOS Cloud Availability Symposium is an excellent opportunity. With expert speakers and real-world examples, attendees can gain valuable insights and practical knowledge to help them optimize their disaster recovery strategy and protect critical SAP applications in the cloud. Learn more and register for the free virtual event on May 24th.


How Ignoring Data Backups Puts Your Processes, Products, and People at Risk
Subscribe to the Business Resilience DECODED podcast – from DRJ and Asfalis Advisors – on your favorite podcast app. New...
3 Cyber Resilience Mistakes Companies Keep Making, Despite Serious Consequences
Cyber threats continue to evolve and pose significant risks to businesses of all sizes across all industries. The consequences of...
How to Defend Against Cyberattacks That Take Over Admin Accounts
In July, 45 high-profile Twitter accounts tweeted variations of the same offer: Send me any amount of Bitcoin, and I’ll...
Geo-Redundancy: Key to Resiliency When Disaster Strikes
The summer of 2023 was one for the books, with record-high temperatures sweeping across North America and the worst wildfire...