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Un Nuevo Día!  A New Day in the collaboration between SAP, VMware, & EMC to facilitate replatforming Production SAP to Intel X86

 

This week, I am coming to you all from beautiful Madrid, a city that I am very fond of but which I have not been back in almost 11 years.   Many of you know that I really love Paris, my sometime “hometown” since I spent part of my youth there and I have been back there so frequently these last few years on EMC business, but I often thought that the food in Madrid is better than in Paris (hmm, I hope that I did not upset my French friends and colleagues with this last statement).

 

In my previous blog posts on Making the case for replatforming SAP on Intel X86 with VMware and on Why people should not wait longer to replatform SAP to Intel X86 with VMware, I have presented the compelling technical reasons, as well as discussed how our customers have undertaken their journey without any significant problems.

 

But today at the SAPPHIRE NOW EMEA conference in Madrid, with this SAP press release, we have a New Day, un Nuevo Día, en español

 

Indeed, SAP announced a “Preferred Three-Way Strategic Collaboration with EMC and VMware to Deliver Greater IT Efficiency and Business Agility”, and the subtitle to the press release reads “Next-Generation Infrastructure with SAP Services Offerings to Provide Upgrade Support for Customers”.

 

People often said that press releases are “just words”, but this particular one actually gave me pause as I read through the carefully worded marketing-speak.

 

Let me start with “SAP and VMware expect to deliver an extended support program by integrating a configuration and health check for SAP systems running on VMware cloud infrastructure into SAP® GoingLive™ Check services and SAP EarlyWatch® Alert service. Customers should gain a better ability to monitor and manage their SAP systems running on the VMware platform” – now, if you still had ANY concern about virtualizing your SAP Production environment on VMware, this point should really remove your concerns once and for all.

 

If you don’t know what SAP EarlyWatch Alert service is, then perhaps you are new to the world of SAP, but to those of us whose lives revolve around taking care of our customer’s problems with SAP, EarlyWatch is the only way to resolve the endless finger pointing exercise whenever there is a problem.  Now that SAP itself is making sure that your virtualized SAP by VMware is ready for GoLive and SAP itself is leading the problem diagnosis using the “SAP way”, should we still be having any discussion as to which virtualization platform is the best choice for SAP in Production?

 

Then let's examine the statement about “Additionally, consulting services and global support offerings from SAP are planned to focus on helping customers accurately assess, design, implement and optimize a virtualization and cloud strategy, with minimal impact on the business”.  Aha! So the SAP consulting people will offer to help you, their customers, to design, implement, and optimize your SAP virtualization and cloud strategy!  It’s about time that SAP customers can benefit from such services offerings, and I can assure you that EMC and VMware professional services experts will be actively participating in a significant number of these engagements since after all, who in the market today knows more about cloud and virtualized SAP infrastructure than VMware and EMC?

 

Many SAP customers have lingering concerns that the extensive SAP upgrade work, which is often a part of a replatforming project, is not “blessed” by SAP and therefore will there be any support issues going forward?  But now, the SAP Services organization can be engaged to work alongside its partners in a SAP upgrade which will include a replatforming.  Talk about zero risk!

 

Personally, I am very pleased to see that SAP is more or less stating that it makes sense to move quickly toward full virtualization, especially since SAP AG IT itself is about 60% virtualized, and on VMware of course!

 

I watched Jim Hagermann Snabe’s excellent opening keynote speech (he is SAP’s co-CEO with Bill McDermott), and Jim mentioned SAP HANA often in his presentation, stating that the HANA launch for the first 20 customers has been so successful that SAP will now start the HANA launch for “the masses”.    That was at the same time when my eyes caught this point from the SAP press release “SAP and EMC will explore collaboration opportunities around the SAP HANA™ platform to deliver high-end system availability and EMC's fully automated storage tiering technologies (FAST). This deep collaboration will further strengthen SAP in-memory computing technology to deliver actionable insight into business processes by providing scalability and availability for customers”.

 

In my opinion, here is the key point about that sentence: “to deliver high-end system availability and automated storage tiering technologies”.  So HANA may be in-memory computing and it’s so wonderful that a SAP customer in Japan can reduce a BW query to optimize their stock of cameras from days to minutes (according to Hagermann Snabe), but the subtext is that this in-memory data has to live SOMEWHERE, since HANA is volatile.  Now, EMC is “Where Information Lives”, right?  So it makes perfect sense that SAP is collaborating with EMC to build innovations and solutions on data protection, high availability, data repurposing, and long distance business continuity, and all those things are absolutely critical to a SAP customer – after all, who knows more about these subjects than EMC in the marketplace today ?

 

Finally, the press release mentioned FAST, a subject near and dear to my heart which I have blogged extensively on.  Now why would FAST has anything to do with HANA?  It would seem that SAP recognized that while it is highly desirable to have all the data in memory to speed things up, it is not always POSSIBLE to create such an architecture.  What is needed is an intelligent algorithm which will allow for data to be tiered from FC disks, to EFD, and all the way to HANA, and back, automatically and seamlessly.  Does that sound familiar?

 

Today, EMC already have many SAP customers in Production with FAST VP on the VMAX, and with FAST Cache on the VNX, so EMC has accumulated an invaluable store of knowledge on how data can be automatically tiered in SAP Production environments, without human intervention and without any downtime.  With the new “extensive and ongoing collaboration” between SAP, EMC and VMware, expect to see SAP HANA to have very familiar EMC and VMware technologies be part of its future releases - here is a hint: SAP HANA runs well on Linux, and VMware offers high availability and disaster recovery on Linux out-of-the-box.  Of course, we’ll have to see if and how all parties will deal with the “not-invented-here” syndrome, but Jim Hagerman Snabe himself said that SAP cannot do it all by itself, so it must rely on its really fantastic eco-system of partners to build the best solutions for its customers.

 

 

Tim K. Nguyen

SAP Global Technical Evangelist & EMC Cloud Architect

EMC Solutions Group

Today at SAPPHIRE Madrid, SAP announced new preferred 3-way collaboration with EMC and VMware to focus on delivering greater IT efficiency and business agility.   (See SAP press release at http://www.sap.com/corporate-en/press/newsroom/press.epx?pressid=17747).  So what does this mean to EMC customers, partners, and employees?   Several things I think which are quite compelling!

 

Times have changed.  After working at EMC for nine years focused largely on creating EMC's SAP Solutions offerings, I am strongly encouraged with the heightened awareness and resulting collaboration from SAP for leveraging information infrastructure technologies. In the early years of our efforts, EMC was perceived as primarily a storage company and therefore our partnership was good but not as close as it might have been.  As EMC grew organically and through acquisitions our solutions portfolio expanded to focus on the value stack which represents EMC's core businesses... virtualization, tiered /.unified storage, backup & recovery, business continuity, content management, security, and enhanced management of SAP cloning, data subsetting, and provisioning.  These solutions have found great acceptance by SAP customers (as evidenced by IDC's recent naming of EMC as #1 storage vendor for SAP)... and complement the great software that SAP provides and continues to innovate upon with new initiatives like HANA, mobility, and analytics.. Yet with this increased applications functionality often comes complexity and cost, and customers have demanded help from SAP and partners to better manage this.  EMC and VMware have been doing this with information infrastructure solutions for years, and with this new 3-way collaboration, we will be helping SAP customers achieve even lower TCO, increased automation and better management of SAP landscapes.

 

So how will this happen?  Here are a few thoughts on what I see.  For customers, you should expect increased integration of EMC and VMware solutions with SAP.  SAP LVM (Landscape Virtualization Manager) is a good example.  EMC and VMware are working with SAP to integrate VMware and EMC technologies with SAP's new LVM APIs, enabling future SAP cloning and provisioning solutions to be integrated and administered from within SAP.  Fewer interfaces, tighter integration, greater automation... are all good things.  HANA is another example. SAP has already shown compelling results for customers using HANA to date.  Today at SAPPHIRE Madrid, SAP announced extended HANA functionality for working with BI and data warehouses (called project ORANGE). Integration of advanced EMC and VMware technologies here will help further accelerate performance and adoption of this paradigm shift in computing infrastructure.  SAP's focus on the cloud is a third and overarching example.  VMware is already the leading virtualization software in use by SAP customers with roughly 80% market share. EMC and VMware have incorporated VMware capabilities into the VMAX and VNX storage platforms, enhanced VMware software management with IONIX software transfer and subsequent enhancements, and added new virtualization support with VPLEX technologies and others still to come like the future TOSCA-based virtual SAP appliances.  Lastly, SAP and VMware have announced they will provide tools and service capabilities such as configuration and health check to enhance customers’ management of virtual SAP systems.

 

Yes, times HAVE changed and it’s exciting.   For employees of EMC, this means greater collaboration with SAP and VMware on new solutions development and subsequent go to market initiatives.  For partners, it means new opportunities to expand your involvement and support within the EMC-SAP ecosystem,   And for customers, the journey to your private cloud with SAP, EMC and VMware just got turbocharged… get ready for a different world and greater solutions to come!!

 

 

Doug Emmons

Director, SAP Global Solutions

EMC Solutions Group

 

 

 

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