Making the case for replatforming SAP on Intel X86 with VMware
Last week at SAP TechEd’2011 in Las Vegas, I moderated an Expert Networking Lounge Session, working with our partner Intel, entitled “Implications of Replatforming your Cloud architecture on EMC/Intel” (session EXP290). We had a good turn out with many of our existing customers & partners (Cargill, Disney, MGM Grand, Accenture, Nemaris) participating, and Sylvie Sollod of SAP Alliances Marketing and Mark Pfab of EMC Consulting joined us for a spirited discussion. I will have a similar lounge session at SAPPHIRE NOW EMEA in Madrid in November.
I used these few slides as the conversation starter for the lounge session, and they were so well received that I want to go over them with you to make the case that the time is really NOW to replatform your SAP instances running on traditional UNIX over to Intel X86 and VMware.
Sometime, less is more, and the key points were presented in a mere 3 slides, plus a fourth slide showing where to download the white paper on EMC and VMware breaking the 1M IOPS barrier (there were of course, the obligatory cover slide and Thank You slide).
The first slide (after the cover slide) outlines the fantastic 289% ROI and 13 months payback achieved by Callaway Golf by virtualizing their SAP landscape – this study was done by the independent consulting firm ASG (Advanced Systems Group), so it is far more credible than the typical sales pitch, and Chinh Van, Callaway’s Director of Global ERP has spoken on record about this success numerous times (including on video interviews). Chinh Van will next be discussing Callaway’s success with virtualizing SAP on VMware at the USF Conference in Strasbourg, France in October (USF is the SAP French Users Group, similar to ASUG in the Americas). Here are some other key takeaways from this slide, which also came out the TCO study:
1. 20% less CAPEX
2. 15% less OPEX
3. 30% more productivity realized by Callaway’s IT staff
4. A significantly reduced backup window, in this case when working in tandem with DataDomain
5. Between 15 to 20 servers eliminated
So there is no questions that virtualizing SAP on VMware produces tangible economic benefits, and it is no surprise at all that a very large number of SAP customers who attended SAP TechEd have VMware in their mix in one way or another.
In fact, if you are running SAP on a “slowly dying” UNIX platform such as HP-UX or Solaris, you are essentially throwing money away, what with the high maintenance costs of those OS and hardware platforms, along with the lack of a clear future.
Those of you running SAP on AIX have a lot more to think about, especially since IBM has recently reduced the prices for the P7 servers and AIX by as much as 70% (according to our very reliable sources) and AIX LPARs do indeed offer very good virtualization capabilities. IBM is reacting to the very compelling TCO offered by the Intel X86 and VMware combo!
And if you are really hung up on running Production on “real” UNIX, at least do yourself the favor of putting everything non-Production on Intel X86 and VMware. But the time has come to go much further, to GO ALL IN (in Vegas parlance)!
Many traditional UNIX customers have often wondered if the X86 platform and VMware could really handle “real world” Production work load, so I am offering proofs that Intel X86 and vSphere5, working in combination with EMC VMAX storage, can handle just about any SAP workload!
The second slide showed the results of the record breaking SAP SD benchmark which ran on vSphere5 (certification #2011027) which was achieved by Fujitsu in Walldorf on July 19, 2011, and certified on August 2, 2011:
1. Using a Fujitsu PRIMERGY RX300 S6 with 2 Intel Xeon processors X5690 running at 3.46 Ghz in a 12 cores and 24 threads configuration and with 96MB of RAM, the Fujitsu team achieved a remarkable 25,120 SAPS for a single instance!
2. The SD benchmark simulated 4,600 SAP SD users with a response time of 0.99 seconds!
There is no doubt that vSphere5 can handle some of the most demanding SAP workload in the market today, running on Intel X86 architecture.
But the compute power needs to also be complemented by the I/O power, and the third slide was one that I borrowed from Chad Sakac’s presentation at VMworld 2011 also in Las Vegas in late August. There, Chad announced that EMC and VMware collaborated to break the 1 million IOPS barrier using vSphere5 on a single ESX server and a fully loaded VMAX in an 8 engines configuration. You can download the white paper documenting this feat at http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/1M-iops-perf-vsphere5.pdf.
In fact, Chad made it a point to ask the packed crowd at VMworld this question: “with these kinds of numbers, why aren’t you folks virtualizing your SAP or ERP environments”? Why not indeed?
Remember that we now have documentation that vSphere5 can handle 25,120 SAPS and 1 million IOPS on a single SAP instance!
EMC Consulting (EMCC) even have processes and procedures in place to help you with a minimal (as in near-zero) downtime during migration and replatforming from your old to new SAP platform, which could also include a SAP version upgrade, a database change (e.g. from Oracle to DB2), and more, all of which are described in a white paper documenting a real world EMC customer experience with near-zero downtime migration and replatforming.
So what do you think? Is this high time to really explore replatforming your SAP on traditional UNIX over to Intel X86 and VMware? Should you check out the really cool vBlock and do a POC? And we have not even began to discuss the richness of the VMware portfolio such as vMotion, vCloud, SRM (Site Recovery Manager) which add fantastic DR/BC capabilities and technical agilities at very little or no additional charges.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention that EMC IT completely believes in running SAP on vSphere5 and Intel X86 - refer to slide 32 and 33 of Bill Reid's fantastic presentation on Project PROPEL (EMC's own very large SAP implementation) where he clearly told everyone that EMC will have a 100% virtualized SAP deployment on vBlock. Prior to Bill's presentation, Bernhard Schulzki discussed "SAP Running in a Cloud Architecture" to a packed room - very cool!
So, let the debate begin!
Tim K. Nguyen
Principal SAP Solutions Consultant & EMC Cloud Architect
EMC Solutions Group