VCE announcing “Unleash Simplicity” (…for SAP)

Yesterday VCE Company announced a complete refresh of their converged infrastructure systems family; purpose-built solution for virtualized workloads (called Vblock). With this announcement VCE continues to display their clear leadership around innovation for their existing and potential future customers. The theme of this announcement was “Unleash Simplicity”, which embodies the fundamental value proposition of VCE’s solution to drive acceleration of time-to-value (rapid deployments) while reducing complexity and TCO of IT infrastructure. For those of you who are not aware: VCE is a joint venture between Cisco & EMC with investments from VMware and Intel which has achieved great success over the last 3 years as discussed in the announcement from EMC this past Wednesday: VCE Vblock demand hits Billion dollar run rate three years after launch with over 1,000 Vblock systems shipped. I was fortunate to be in the Santa Clara area for a few days this week, at the hotel where the VCE Customer Advisory Board was taking place prior to the announcement. Had some great conversations with VCE executives and customers about the accomplishments that been achieved over the last few years with Vblock for SAP as well as what this new announcement means to SAP customers.

The Vblock platform has proven to be a great choice for SAP customers which I have pointed out in previous blog posts. This Vblock product refresh will enable SAP customers to gain even better metrics when deploying a purpose-built integrated infrastructure stack to optimize SAP workloads. For SAP use cases the new Vblock320 and Vblock720 is enhanced with greater configuration flexibility for compute, network and storage. These two platforms now have twice the capacity and performance capabilities, allowing SAP customers to scale-out to the highest levels of SLA requirements.

VCE also announced Vision Intelligent Operations Software to simplify management of Vblocks’ with capabilities around improved intelligent discovery, comprehensive awareness and open API integration with third party management tools. VCE executives described VCE Vision as a next generation dashboard that a customer would expect to have in a new car.

In addition, as part of the announcement yesterday, VCE released what they call a “specialized system” certified for SAP HANA which is a purpose-built Vblock for HANA workloads “enabling rapid and efficient deployment of this powerful in-memory computing and database platform with unsurpassed scale and performance”. This is intriguing for a couple of reasons…
SAP HANA potential customers and partners often tell us they want to make the technology (appliance) decision a “check box”. We also continuously hear that customers want a HANA appliance solution that can be trusted, simple, and flexible.
At this point SAP requires hardware vendors to come up with certified Pre-packaged “HANA appliance” (based on the current HANA PAM). In my opinion there is nobody better equipped to execute on these principles than VCE’s HANA appliance since VCE has a 3-year track record of building converged infrastructure solutions (for SAP ERP and other workloads) that is a purpose-built, pre-architected, pre-integrated, pre-tested and standardized solution. A perfect fit for SAP HANA 🙂

So what are the analysts saying about VCE’s ability to build converged infrastructure solutions:
Gartner names VCE market share leader for integrated infrastructure systems
IDC study from 2012 says VCE Vblock Systems enable 5X faster deployment, 4X less staff resource time, 83X better availability and 3X lower cost

With this VCE announcement yesterday I am truly inspired to “Unleash Simplicity” with over 30 different SAP customers next week in our Santa Clara EBC for SAP Week. Not only do we have powerful customer success stories to share around Private Cloud for SAP and SAP HANA…but now we also have a refreshed solution set from VCE to hopefully allow us an opportunity to do an even better job of helping customers reduce TCO, improve SLAs, reduce Risk and ultimately improve their end user’s experiences in their SAP journeys in 2013!
Unleash Simplicity

Getting Inspired at SAP FKOM in Las Vegas last week

Not only did SAP finish 2012 with a big bang, last week at FKOM they also walked through a 2013 strategy, updated solutions portfolio and sales energy going into 2013 which was beyond anything I have seen in the past. I was inspired by the positive energy at the event…and of course by catching up with some good friends in the SAP ecosystem with whom I very much hanging out.
It’s incredible to watch how fast SAP moves and strives to drive innovation for their customers to transform their organizations. Of course there is the desire to sell more software licensing, however, it is crystal clear that an SAP account team is measured on delivering customer value. In my opinion the only way to do this is to first invest in understanding their customers businesses in various industry verticals and then leverage vehicles like Design Thinking and Value Engineering to help customers transform. SAP sales leaders urged their sales teams to find ways to use “Co-Innovation to help customers meet their aspirations”.

The overall GTM strategy is also crystal clear: HANA (…and HANA & HANA :)), Cloud and Mobile

Rob Enslin and Vishal Sikka walked through very large HANA customer wins and unique use cases that are changing the way companies do business. The Jan 10th Business Suite on HANA announcement was also a massive step forward in SAP’s HANA strategy which many of us are still trying to wrap our arms around to understand how In-Memory computing will transform how customers run both OLAP and OLTP on the same platform. It’s very interesting to see SAP offer SAP ASE included in a purchase of business suite…like John Appleby states “2013 – the year of the SAP Database”. Vishal also said that seeing Business Suite on HANA announced was in his mind compared to “Walt Disney one day in the past drawing a mouse and then seeing a $100B company being built”.
My light bulb moment during FKOM was when Vishal spoke about the speed of Intel’s innovation and the co-innovation SAP is doing with Intel. He walked through the use case where his 100 node HANA cluster, with a per node cost of $40K, added additional nodes within 6 months of the initial deployment, and the new per node cost went down from $40K to $32K while per server performance increase based on a new chip set. That’s close to a 20% price reduction with improved performance within a 6 month period…with this being a fact: Can someone tell me why anyone would ever deploy UNIX platforms for SAP going forward? You may hear me use this story in presentations and conversations going forward 🙂

SAP states that Cloud is revolutionizing how to manage People, Suppliers and Money. It has become very clear for us at EMC that when SAP speaks about Cloud they are not talking about the Private Cloud, Public Cloud or Hybrid Cloud for SAP solutions we evangelize for our SAP customers. SAP is speaking about their ability to host business application and processes in a Public cloud using their offerings from their SuccessFactor and Ariba portfolio. It will be interesting to see how the private cloud for SAP journey that many SAP customers are making in 2013 will impact their decisions to move application workloads to the SAP Public Cloud model.

It’s also clear that SAP is committed to their Mobile strategy. The number of mobile users keeps increasing and the opportunity to provide value to those end users based on having them connected to the central “Crown Jewel” SAP system is clear.

SAP made a big point of communicating that they are embracing the Partner community, which has been said many times before, the difference this time from an infrastructure vendors perspective, is that I believe the SAP sales teams are starting to understand the value of working together on HANA campaigns and Cloud/Virtualization projects…which was very refreshing. With close to 20,000 EMC platforms for SAP customer bases, together we can make “wine out of water” transforming our joint customer’s businesses!

There are a few key people in the SAP ecosystem that I am fortune to know and got a chance to catch up with at FKOM as well. Some of these people are extraordinary technologists, visionaries, innovators, thinkers… They challenge the status quo in everything they do. Some of them apparently have a shining light on them at all times.
To quote one of them from last week saying: “let’s go for big bold ideas to change the game”…I was of course smiling ear-to-ear and reminded myself that the only limits that exists are based on my own ability to imagine what the future can be like!
Next off to drive massive change in 2013. Game on!…Who is in?!!