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So you say you can move my SAP environment to the Cloud…

Most organizations tell us they have a “Cloud First Strategy”!
Once we get into conversations with them we learn that most of those clients have done many different interesting things in their Cloud strategy, leveraging on-prem Private Clouds, have deployed various PaaS platforms (on-prem or as a service),have moved applications to various SaaS solutions, have leveraged Public Cloud offerings, have looked at various IaaS offerings for various applications. Hence, one thing we have learned: It’s a “Multi Cloud” World! More to come in future blogs on that topic….

At the same time these clients tell us that they are in the process of looking at moving their most mission critical applications (such as SAP ERP) to the Cloud; some already successfully, some in the process and then most of them that say: “Where do I start?”

They realize the massive opportunity for increasing agility as an organization if they can innovate around their ERP systems creating a “Digital Core”, improving availability and performance if managed by someone that is in the business of knowing how to manage SAP in the Cloud, and driving an improved TCO model over time.

Third party analysts are also validating that this is accelerating now around mission critical applications. For example, according to research firm Forrester, half of enterprises expect to use public cloud platforms by the end of this year. Analysts at Gartner report that half of all applications hosted in public clouds by next year will be considered mission critical!

Take for example a company that is involved in a merger and acquisition (which happens frequently in this current changing business landscape). If they run an agile and digital ERP platform (such as SAP S/4HANA deployed in a Cloud) with the ability to integrate the company they are acquiring’s ERP system in 4-6 months vs 12 months, there can be significant savings involved. Actually, it can be the difference in the business case whether or not the company should acquire the prospected company; being able to quickly integrate them, create a culture of execution and achieve organizational satisfaction across the new company structure.

So where do you start?

  • Create a business case based on facts and outcomes! There are a ton of organizations out there (including Virtustream) that are interested in helping create a business case. There are also a ton of documented success stories which can validate your business case.
  • Realize it’s a Journey! Evaluate at what pace of that journey you are ready for, which many times depends upon if you are hypothetically moving to SAP S/4HANA in the Cloud; Or if you are deploying a greenfield environment (net new SAP deployment)? Are you migrating/deploying a brownfield environment (moving from SAP ERP on Oracle DB to SAP S/4HANA)? Are you deploying an SAP S/4HANA sidecar (SAP HANA live environment in a phased deployment)? Are you starting by centralizing a function within your organization such as central finance on SAP S/4HANA (while keeping other SAP ERP environments on the current platform)? All these various use cases are a great opportunity to start the journey with S4HANA in the Cloud. At Virtustream we have many examples of this happening from small clients, medium clients and then successful deployments of some of the largest organizations in the world such as GE, Coca-Cola, Cargill and others.
  • Realize where your current challenges are, and where potential new challenges lie when deploying and operating your SAP Platform in the Cloud.

Often we hear from clients that they face challenges in these areas:

  • Managing Performance
  • Managing Availability
  • Security & Compliance
  • Challenge of Manual Tasks & Lack of Automation
  • Overall Cost Efficiency of your SAP ERP Platform
  • Skill set and Experience required when moving to new innovative technologies like Cloud and SAP HANA or SAP S/4HANA

I am sure there are others as well that are not listed above.

At Virtustream we believe that there needs to be a sound and differentiated foundation in the Cloud provider you select to help you with this journey in moving SAP to the Cloud. A Cloud company that can address these challenges and who has a proven track record (validated by 3rd party analysts) of achieving results and driving business outcomes.

As an example: one of our largest production SAP ERP platform customers (Fortune 50) in the Cloud shared with us recently that they had achieved the following results post migrations to Virtustream’s Enterprise Cloud:

  • Average dialog response times were reduced by 50%
  • Average database response times were reduced by 60%
  • Infrastructure costs were reduced by ~50%
  • Queries and analytics were improved by ~40%”

How did we/do we achieve these results for customers?
At Virtustream we address the challenges that clients face, we have built IP for solutions to address these challenges, we have built a purpose-built Cloud Platform for Enterprise workloads, we have built experience and BKM’s (Best Known Methods as Intel calls them) in migrating and running SAP in the Cloud and we have a comprehensive portfolio of services to assist in the Journey including: Assessment, On-Boarding, Migrations (OS/DB and/or SAP HANA/SAP S/4HANA migrations) and run services for both IaaS and what we call AMS focused on OS/DB/SAP Basis. Also, we are fortunate that the majority of the top SAP Systems Integrators have built their services offerings around our Enterprise Cloud Platform with many successful examples.

So let’s take a closer look:

  • Performance
    • Our patented MicroVM (µVM) resource allocation model ensures quality of service backed by performance SLAs which is unique in the industry
  • Availability
    • We deliver up to 5x9s availability SLAs with built-in resiliency for HA, Disaster Recovery and Backup/Recovery
  • Security & Compliance
    • We have built a reference architecture for enterprise-class security and industry specific compliance to meet some of the toughest security & compliance requirements in the world
  • Application Automation
    • We have built IP that automates SAP administrator tasks to drive consistency and reduce errors
  • Cost Efficiency
    • MicroVM (µVM) technology eliminates overprovisioning, enables true consumption based billing, and reduces overall cost of the platform with “Economies of Scale”
  • Services
    • Virtustream or Partner-led delivered Professional and Managed Services to reduce Risk and drive “Economies of Skills”. Unparalleled Experience

Our SAP Clients, Partners and 3rd party Analysts tell us these areas are differentiated in the Enterprise Cloud Industry for SAP customers looking at Cloud. I believe that this is just a credential to earn the right to have a conversation: What we really would like to do is be fortune enough to get an opportunity to talk with SAP clients about accelerating their SAP Cloud journey, transform customers to become digital enterprises, create outcomes…because in the end: That’s what we are passionate about!

 

 

The Future Looks very Bright…

I have spent 3 weeks now full time at Virtustream, including a week in Barcelona, last week, at SAP FKOM (Field Kickoff Meeting) for EMEA. My conclusion thus far is “The Future is Very Bright”…

Bright Roadmap

Interesting feedback from SAP field teams as well as SAP Partners in Barcelona around where the cloud computing market is going and Virtustream’s ability to lead the way around cloud for SAP and HANA.

For those whom I got a chance to talk with in the last 3 weeks, you may have heard me say that at Virtustream there is both a “Pull & Push Effect” from clients, partners and across the ecosystem.

When large clients consistently “Pull” us into conversations to help them build their cloud roadmaps, you start to realize what an incredible global “Business Wingspan” Virtustream has in the market, which is refreshing.

One of the key elements of the positive feedback from the ecosystem around Virtustream’s cloud capabilities is the idea of turning CapEx into OpEx and creating a consumption-based utility model with flexibility around clients’ cloud usage patterns, through our MicroVM patented technology. If you haven’t had the opportunity to understand the Virtustream xStream Platform and MicroVM innovation, please take the time to view this short video to learn how to create a “standard unit of measure” of IT resources, which in my opinion, has the opportunity to set the global standard for IT in this area.

In today’s IT environment, the nature of changing business dynamics and constantly changing requirements, makes it very hard for an IT organization to predict future demand. IT wants the ability and flexibility to only pay for what the business is using, but also quickly provision capabilities to increase or decrease resources for their applications – which reduces the risk for the clients and helps IT innovate in areas that matter most to the business.

Even though the future is bright, there is a long road ahead with various turns along the way, which is going to be fun and incredibly rewarding from a learning perspective…

Long Road Ahead

One of the areas I am excited most about in 2016 is Virtustream’s extended partnership with SAP – which offers a secure, flexible cloud infrastructure service for SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC)

We launched this service in EMEA & MEE for the European markets this past week at the Barcelona FKOM event, and we are launching the same service in North America this coming week at the Las Vegas FKOM event.

The feedback so far from SAP has been positive, especially once we shared with them Virtustream’s experience, skill set and ability to execute around SAP and HANA Cloud (i.e., over 200 production customers in a multi-tenant cloud, over 500 HANA migrations, First S/4 HANA in a cloud deployment etc.).

Several key areas are unique to Virtustream’s SAP HANA in the Cloud offering, which delivers HEC workloads together with SAP, as they provide industry leading support and certification for “Regulated Industries” including:
Government: FedRAMP and FISMA certification
Commercial: PCI-DSS certified
Healthcare: HIPAA certified
As well as Financial Services, Regulated Utilities, and many others.

Another key area is around “Faster Time-to-Market” with our rapid deployment capabilities, which enable us to meet the most aggressive deployment timelines. There are some very cool innovations in this area, where our Application Automation teams are driving innovations at incredible speeds.

A third area is the ability to support Heterogeneous Application Environments. The reality is that most existing SAP landscapes are mixed environments with SAP applications, SAP HANA and legacy SAP on “anyDB” environments, as well as connected non-SAP applications. This also includes the ability to provide short-term transition landscapes for non-HANA DBs.

The last area is the ability to support a wide range of SAP HANA sizes. Regardless of ScaleUp or ScaleOut, and regardless of Virtual HANA or Physical HANA, we support the highest capacity available from the SAP approved OEM vendor certifications. And we continue to push innovations in this space to be able to handle the most demanding HANA client requirements.

In my humble opinion, this makes Virtustream’s HANA Cloud capabilities simply the most mature, flexible and cost effective in the industry! We welcome the opportunity to engage with SAP field teams, clients and SAP partners to have conversations in these areas to prove out our capabilities in greater detail.

What is also very exciting is that for Virtustream’s parent company EMC Corporation “The Future is Bright” (EMC acquired Virtustream in July 2015).
In October 2015, Dell announced a bid to combine Dell & EMC taking EMC Private
Just last week, Michael Dell and Joe Tucci’s shared their perspective on the future ahead of the larger combined company: “The Opportunities Are Massive”

Speaking of the future ahead, between Christmas and New Year’s 2015, our family had the opportunity to visit Sedona north of where we live in Phoenix. If you haven’t been to Sedona, I highly recommend a visit. We spent some quality time by Oak Creek River coming down the mountains, which is an incredible beautiful force of Nature.

Sedona

I found myself staring at the River admiring its determination to move forward in an aggressive but controlled pace. I came to the realization that there is nothing that can stop the water flowing down the mountain…
I am fortune to be a part of Virtustream and the EMC Federation Cloud Journey…and I am certain that there is nothing that can stop us paving the way for driving innovation in the cloud for our SAP customers.

See you this week at FKOM Las Vegas!

“The Next Chapter…”

In early 2014 I started hearing from a good amount of our SAP clients the shift and interest of exploring various Cloud hosting models for their SAP landscapes as well as the need for more flexible consumption models to run their infrastructure for SAP and SAP HANA.

This accelerated later in 2014 which helped us at EMC drive to create better relationships with the worlds best SAP and SAP HANA Cloud Service Providers. I was fortunate to be part of conversations with Virtustream’s CEO Rodney Rogers and his senior executive staff together with EMC executives to create a partnership with Virtustream around SAP in the US in late 2014. The partnership agreements were actually signed Dec 24th 2014 and then launched at SAP FKOM in Jan 2015.
We had a fantastic time working with Virtustream in Q1/Q2 2015 including leveraging their solutions, people and software IP in the SAP ecosystem including building an xStream powered Vblock for SAP and SAP HANA Solution.

I got a chance to present our joint story at many events including SAP Sapphire which was a ton of fun.

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Sapphire Orlando May 2015

In late May 2015 EMC announced the acquisition of Virtustream for $1.2B, which then subsequently closed July 9th (a day after my birthday) to create “Virtustream”; an EMC Federation company. In Q3/Q4 Virtustream announced some exciting additions to the Cloud family with EMC’s Storage Managed Services (SMS), VCE’s Cloud Management Services (CMS) and EMC’s Object Store as a Service offering (Rubicon) to bring the organization to 15+ Data Centers Globally and around 2,000 people.

IMG_6573

After 12 years with EMC and exactly one year after the original Partnership agreement was signed, now Dec 24th 2015 I accepted an offer to join the Virtustream team January 1st 2016 in a Global SAP Alliance leadership role to create the next chapter in my career. I will be focusing on evangelizing and driving client & partner SAP and SAP HANA Managed Cloud business globally, launching the SAP HEC Global Premier Partner GTM working with SAP and clients as well as being part of the team that looks at Virtustream’s SAP & SAP HANA solutions roadmap.

There is no doubt in my mind that Virtustream is leading the way to innovation and execution when it comes to helping SAP clients managed their SAP and SAP HANA Cloud workloads on-prem, off-prem or in hybrid scenarios. I am extremely excited what 2016 will bring for our SAP Clients, Partners and EMC Federation employees as it relates to our SAP business.

I am inspired for “the Next Chapter”…

Happy New Year 2016 and see you at FKOM in Las Vegas and Barcelona in January!

Happy 4th Birthday SAP HANA

June 18th 2015 marks the 4-year anniversary of the SAP HANA Platform, which became first generally available on June 18th 2011.

It has been an incredibly interesting and rewarding journey to follow the birth of SAP HANA 4 years ago, leading up to today. These 4 years, in my opinion, have been the best in my business and IT career due to the dynamic nature of technology and the disrupting forces of constant change. This constant change represents a massive opportunity to learn and transform yourselves but also participate in the transformation for clients and partners. It’s interesting to see which clients and partners embrace this journey to transform sooner vs later. I believe the “Innovators” and “Early Adopters” will benefit from leveraging the HANA Platform in various scenarios as a way to leverage their data, people and processes to innovate and transform themselves into new areas and possibilities.

What has become clear in my mind (…and I keep hearing the same from many clients and partners) is that this Journey is about building a sound “HANA Roadmap” that makes sense for each individual organization. In my opinion there is no question if it’s a good idea to develop a HANA roadmap, realizing that SAP is pouring the majority of their development efforts into applications running on HANA.

There is a ton of evidence of this:

There is a great opportunity to simplify the Application, Database and Infrastructure stack to focus on tasks that drive business outcomes. This can all be achieved with the SAP HANA Platform.

In my opinion there are two ways you can build an SAP HANA Roadmap:

The Right Way…
IMG_6054

…or the Wrong Way
IMG_6049

One of the key starting points in building out an SAP HANA Roadmap “the Right Way”, is building a sound business case in order to begin the journey. There are many great resources available from SAP and the partner ecosystem who are eager to help. One of the many resources I recently came across was John Appleby’s book on “Building the business case for SAP HANA”, which is an excellent guide for this purpose.

John Appleby Book

The business case also involves understanding what uses cases makes sense in the HANA adoption curve combined with having a sound strategy on how to deploy and operationalize.

18 months ago, I shared a blog post on how to best “Deploy & Operationalize” SAP HANA. Since then, we have been fortunate to extend our capabilities in this space with additional solutions across the board including;

– Incremental support for various EMC Storage platforms for HANA TDI with VMAX3, XtremIO and Scale IO (in addition to VNX2) 

– Data Protection Capabilities with Replication options, Backup with Data Domain and Networker, as well as various HA solutions

– There are also many cool VMware capabilities to virtualize shared HANA infrastructure and I believe we will see a lot more on this topic later this year

As organizations want to accelerate the time-to-market of solutions built on HANA, there is a need to create an “On-Demand” or “as a Service” model for more flexible and faster ways of creating Business Outcomes for clients. Realizing this, we have built better relationships with HANA Cloud providers to leverage EMC and VCE platforms including: Dimension Data, CapGemini, T-Systems, Canopy and others globally, now running on EMC and VCE Platforms as well as on May 26th 2015 we announced an intention to acquire Virtustream to exapand our capabilities in this space primarily from a software perspective.

IMG_6573

The partnership with Virtustream is not new. At the SAP FKOM Conference on Jan 20th 2015, EMC and VCE announced a partnership with Virtustream to build out solutions using Virtustream’s xStream Cloud Management Platform with VCE Vblock solutions for end user SAP clients and Cloud Service Provider Partners focused on SAP and HANA workloads.

Our ability to “package” these solutions for HANA whether it’s an On-Prem, Off-Prem or Hybrid deployment, in either a CapEx or OpEx model, becomes key in succesfull HANA Roadmap. I believe SAP clients are looking to simplify the way they engage with their internal business users to get value from the platforms they deploy, faster, as well as simplify the engagement with ecosystems partners for maximum agility.

It is also very timely with SAP launching HANA Service Pack 10 (SPS10) this week on HANA’s 4th birthday! Learn more here about this new HANA release here from Michael Eacrett – SAP VP of Product Management: “SAP HANA SPS 10 continues the transformative SAP HANA in-memory platform. Adding to enhancements from SAP HANA SPS 09, we have focused innovation on the areas of running mission-critical applications with confidence, connecting with the Internet of Things (IoT) at enterprise scale and security, and seamlessly processing big data at speed to enable our customers to innovate next-generation applications.”

Happy Birthday SAP HANA…can’t wait for the next few years. The Journey is just becoming really interesting!

SAP & EMC Keeping it Simple at FKOM

This past week I was fortunate to attend SAP’s FKOM (Field KickOff Meeting) event for Latin America in Riviera Maya (just south of Cancun). Riviera Maya better Prior to leaving for the event, we got some feedback that SAP’s theme was going to be “Simple Wins”. We also received feedback as an attending partner, that the dress code was “relaxed”, thus being acceptable to wear jacket & jeans at all FKOM events globally. This made me think of Steve Lucas’ keynote Monday afternoon at SAP TechEd in October in Las Vegas. Steve was wearing Jeans, and the majority of the speakers that came to the stage were also wearing Jeans; including John Appleby, Vijay Vijayasankar, Chris Paine and others, which was awesome! Of course some of us started to have fun with that using the #JeansDay hashtag. Thinking of this and having a quick chat with my partner in “trouble making” crime: Sylvie Otten Sollod (@sylvie75015) we decided to create a fun image that we can use in social media during all FKOM events around the world which also showcased our message and theme: “SAP & EMC Keeping it Simple”. Sylvie and her behind the scene PhotoShop expert husband went to work on it and came up with the following (of course there is an additional message, which is all SAP field sales folks need to succeed in 2015, is an EMC business card): JeansDayEach morning at FKOM I got a chance to take a jog on the beach to clear my mind and get ready for a full day of action. I have to say it was one of the nicer beaches I have ever been. Beach Day 1At FKOM’s keynote by Rob Enslin (President of Global Field Organizations) we heard about SAP’s vision in 2015, to help clients build “the Perfect Enterprise” with the next generation HANA Platform now known as: S4HANA. Simple Finance (sFinance) for HANA is the first prebuilt solution with S4HANA and Simple Logistics is right around the corner. In one of the breakout session, Thack Brown of SAP did an incredible job walking through the value proposition of Simple Finance on S4HANA. He set the bar for how to communicate in a “simple” way why it make sense for clients to deploy sFinance. The innovations SAP is building on top of the HANA Platform are impressive, and I personally believe they will help drive adoption in client sites. This, of course, needs to be combined with the right use cases as well as a strong business case and plan on how to deploy. I thought Sven Denecken also gave a great talk on how S4HANA and SAP’s Cloud strategy will play out in 2015. S4 HANA Best I thought SAP did a fantastic job with the S4HANA message and the overall FKOM LatAm event. SAP’s passion to go above and beyond the normal is contagious. It is very cool that partners such as EMC have an opportunity to attend to better understand and align with SAP’s field organization at the global FKOM events. Although EMC (and EMCs Federation with VMware, VCE, Pivotal & RSA) may not fall in the “regular” partner category where SAP is most focused on; including SI’s (small and large), VARs (resellers) of SAP software, and Cloud hosting Partners, I personally believe EMC is closely aligned with SAP.

We at EMC are committed to evangelizing the HANA platform as the next phase of our existing SAP clients’ Business and IT Journeys. We are also 100% committed to help our existing SAP clients simplify & reduce the cost of their infrastructure by driving a Cloud strategy: On-Prem, Off-Prem and Hybrid with our own Infrastructure Platform solution. We are also working with Cloud Service Provider Partners globally who run those same Infrastructure Platforms to host SAP Cloud offerings. There is no better way to deploy HANA than on EMC’s Virtual Platforms On-Prem or Off-Prem with EMC powered HANA Cloud Providers.

At FKOM San Diego next week you will see us launch another set of SAP Cloud Provider offerings including one specifically in North America for SAP clients. It’s interesting to note that some of these partnerships both enable SAP Cloud offerings (including HANA Cloud) powered by EMC for the Service Provider as well as provide “how to build” blue prints on how to deploy HANA in clients’ own data centers. This of course enables Hybrid scenarios for SAP clients for maximum flexibility and choice. As Sven Denecken said in his FKOM Keynote: “The world is going to stay Hybrid for a very long time”. We believe SAP clients will continue to have integration points to SAP applications in SaaS or other off-prem deployment scenarios and to some extent non-SAP applications on-prem or off-prem, which all need to be integrated.

There are over 15,000 Global SAP clients running on EMC platforms today (and growing rapidly), including the majority of Global 1,000, based on our track record with those clients we have proven to earn Credibility, Trust and Relationships and deep reach into many organizations. This is why our ability to take the next generation of SAP Solutions such as S4HANA, put them on top of our proven EMC Infrastructure platforms to help our clients innovate, simplify and reduce cost, is unmatched in the SAP Ecosystem.

One of the many examples, is our internal EMC IT HANA story which we are now live on Sidecar, BPC, BW and S&OP for HANA and are actively moving to CRM and ECC on HANA to replace Oracle DB. We tend to tell that story to other SAP clients every day including that it runs on VCE’s Vblock Converged Infrastructure using Virtual HANA and TDI (Tailor Data Center Integration).

While we were at FKOM (our Americas SAP team in Riviera Maya and our APJ SAP team in Singapore) it was so cool to see (on Twitter) that SAP’s CEO, Bill McDermott showed up with EMC’s CEO, Joe Tucci to speak at EMC’s Leadership conference in Boston. I heard Bill did a great job talking about leadership, and of course told inspiring stories from his new book “Winners Dream”. A very surreal situation for me sitting at an SAP conference while SAP’s CEO is meeting and speaking to EMC executives…especially considering I had a copy of that same book in my lap (since it was given to all FKOM attendees). 🙂 Tucci & McDermott

Can’t wait to hit FKOM San Diego this coming week and hear more on the #SimpleWins theme from SAP.

If you are attending FKOM San Diego next week (for SAP employees) and you want an invite to EMC’s reception on Tuesday evening, please come find me and follow me on twitter (@henrikwagner73). We will be giving away some cool prize…of course through a Social Media contest. Pay attention to the @EMCSAP twitter handle. Rumor also has it that “HANA Truth Serum” will be served! See you in San Diego where I’ll be wearing my jeans and discussing why #SimpleWins!

What will we see more of in 2015?

There are many things to be excited about in our EMC for SAP business as we wrap up 2014… and as we enter 2015!

Here are a few things I am excited about:

Private Cloud & Hybrid Cloud for SAP solutions built on VCE’s Converged Infrastructure: Vblock VCE has been around since 2009, however in my opinion, it wasn’t until the release of VMware’s vSphere 5 in the summer of 2011 that it made sense for SAP clients to consider virtualizing their SAP landscapes onto Vblock Systems (this is when VMware started to support 32 vCPU’s and 1 TB of Memory). Since 2011/2012 timeframe, we have been fortunate to help many SAP clients run on Vblock Systems and achieve great results. Intel keeps innovating the x86 chipset and VMware keeps adding performance with improved capabilities with each vSphere versions in the last 2-3 years. In 2014 though, I believe we hit the tipping point, a ton of large Fortune 500 SAP clients deployed Vblock Systems and made the decision to go all converged Infrastructure for SAP. This year in 2014, the conversation we had with those clients was “how” do we get from current state to future state of a Virtualized SAP landscape, it wasn’t “if” it was a good idea or if it can perform/scale. With the addition of Production support for Virtual HANA & SAP HANA TDI (Tailored Data Center Integration) becoming mainstream in 2014, the value proposition of running both “traditional” SAP workloads and SAP HANA workloads on the same Vblock System started to become clear; hence another reason why I believe we hit the tipping point in 2014. This year as well in October 2014, VCE became an EMC company. Cisco still retains 10% ownership (reduced from 35%) lending it’s support and commitment to VCE. This new arrangement will fuel even more growth opportunity for VCE. Additionally, according to IDC, total worldwide spending on converged infrastructure is growing at 32.8% annually and will reach approximately $14.37 billion in 2017 (up from $5.4 billion in 2013). VCE is the clear leader in integrated infrastructure systems according to Gartner and IDC. We see tremendous opportunity with Vblock for SAP as we enter 2015!

EMC’s XtremIO Platform for SAP In Nov 2013 EMC launched XtremIO solution, and immediately various teams at EMC started to look at how an All-Flash Array (AFA) like XtremIO would fit for SAP client workloads. Very quickly in Q2/Q3 2014, advanced Data Services capabilities were added to the XtremIO platform as well as compression and deduplication. I am pleasantly surprised about the positive response we have already received from SAP clients who are running XtremIO for SAP deployment scenarios to improve performance, drive consolidation, reduce TCO, and simplify overall deployments. It defies logic to deploy AFA Storage for SAP and at the same time reduce TCO, however we have learned that this is possible due to advanced functionality including compression, deduplication and advanced writeable snapshot technology.  Check out Axel Streichardt’s Blog “Redefine SAP with XtremIO – A Reality” for further details on this topic. Our XtremIO For SAP business is “ON FIRE” and I expect that momentum to grow in 2015 including Vblock 500 Series built on XtremIO.

Service Providers for SAP Business Hosted Private Cloud, Hybrid Cloud and HANA Cloud (HANA Enterprise Cloud). I am intrigued to see the ever-increasing number of SAP clients asking for hosted SAP Cloud options for their entire, or a portion of their SAP environments. Based on this increased demand, we have worked very hard in 2014 to enable a set of SAP service providers using an EMC’s SAP Service Provider Reference Architecture. This reference architecture is based on VMAX or VNX TDI certified storage arrays which leverages Virtual HANA for the most flexible deployment and operations models. We are very excited with the portfolio of SAP Service Provider partners that are EMC & VCE powered so we can fully engage to help our clients deploy their SAP landscapes in the most flexible and agile way that makes the most sense for them.

To learn more about these topics and engage with our SAP team in 2015, don’t miss 2015 SAP Week EBC events, which is one of the efficient and effective ways we engage deeper with our clients and partners!

See you at SAP FKOM LatAm in Cancun Jan 10th-12th & FKOM US/Canada in San Diego Jan 20th-22nd.

Happy New Year!

What took you so long?

On Aug 12th SAP relaxed SAP HANA Infrastructure requirements and support statements in non-Production environments: Cost-Optimized SAP HANA Infrastructure for Non-Production Usage.
The new article walks through Virtualized SAP HANA Production Support with VMware (available since June 2014) & TDI (Tailored Data Center Integration) for flexible deployment options.
SAP states, “These recent innovations help SAP HANA customers to realize better return on investment (ROI) and reduce total cost of ownership (TCO).”

My first thought reading this: What took you so long? 

In almost every SAP HANA Infrastructure conversation we are having, clients are stating they want more flexible models deploying SAP HANA on existing and/or consolidated infrastructure. One Fortune 100 client recently told me “I love the TDI model, very smart move…Virtual HANA just makes sense”.

Let’s look at some of the background on this topic: Virtual HANA for non-Prod has been around since Nov 2012 at Sapphire Madrid (where I got inspired to write my first blog post) and VMware production support was announced at EMC World in May 2014, and finally GA’ed at Sapphire in June 2014. Use this URL for all related info on Virtual HANA Production support including OSS notes
By the way, we are actually still having interesting conversations with SAP clients on a weekly basis, who are still not aware that there is full Production support for SAP HANA.

In addition, SAP TDI (Tailored Data Center Integration) has been around since December 2013. There are many storage hardware vendors on the TDI certification list, including EMC Certified Enterprise Storage Hardware for SAP HANA using EMC VMAX or VNX
SAP HANA TDI enables you to take a certified HANA server(s) in Production use cases (and any server which meets SAP recent requirements since last week for non-production use cases), combined with a certified storage configuration to build a HANA Infrastructure environment that meets SAPs KPI and Support requirements. This opens up the opportunity to leverage a client’s existing infrastructure (Investment protection!). Some may say, well, that puts you in a position to sell less new infrastructure…Yes, it does. However, it’s the “right thing” for clients and for the ecosystem, so it’s in my personal DNA to recommend it. The white papers for TDI best practices for deploying SAP HANA on existing or new EMC VMAX & VNX are located here. 

Ok, but what HANA server hardware can I use if I want to leverage TDI and Virtualized HANA;
Up until the Intel Westmere chip set, you could find HANA certified servers and appliances on the SAP HANA PAM (Product Availability Matrix) on the SAP Service Market place (Requires OSS login credentials to view)
With Intel Ivy Bridge and going forward you will find HANA certified servers and appliances on the SAP Community Network (SCN)

Update (Dec 2014): SAP has consolidated all HANA Certified hardware on the following Site: Certified SAP HANA Hardware Directory

With TDI and Virtualized HANA combined, it gives you the flexibility to build out virtual infrastructure running all of your SAP workloads: SAP ERP with traditional RDBMS, HANA environments, Apps Servers, SAP Bolt-on application in a consolidated virtual environment. I personally believe this provides the best optimized TCO, improved agility and ease of operations.
The idea of having SAP clients build and run SAP infrastructure for traditional SAP environments and then have separate HANA appliances for their HANA deployments, makes absolutely no sense to me. For example: there are Infrastructure vendors out there that recommend one type of storage protocol & file system for traditional SAP apps and a different storage protocol & file system for HANA workloads. That has to be more complex and costly to run, right?!

Let’s describe an example of a client who has deployed SAP ERP and HANA environment on a consolidated infrastructure: EMC IT
EMC IT went live on SAP ERP in a virtualized Private Cloud Infrastructure environment in July 2012. For their back office processes (Finance, Manufacturing and Supply Chain), EMC previously ran Oracle eBiz, however started their business and IT transformation project in 2010 to SAP ERP (project name: “Propel”).

They “happened” to deploy SAP on VCE Vblock (Cisco, EMC and VMware Converged Infrastructure) with Oracle DB, RHEL and VMware (1,000% virtualized as one of the lead SAP architect likes to describe it). In November 2013, EMC IT went live on BPC on Virtualized HANA with VMware in Production on the same Vblock that runs the SAP ERP on Oracle DB environment. EMC’s BPC on HANA environment was well within the limit of the 1 TB Virtual HANA scalability limit (which is rumored to go to 4 TB early next year).

EMC’s next step in their HANA Journey was BW on HANA. Earlier in 2014, EMC started a NLS (Near Line Storage) initiative to get their BW on Oracle Production database environment reduced from 7+ TB down to 3.8 TB’s. They were able to extend over 3 Billion records from BW to IQ without any impact to end user experience. Once the BW on HANA migration was under way, the final BW on HANA DB got sizes around 800 GB. So where does this 800 GB BW on HANA production environment live? NOT on separate HANA Appliances, EMC IT’s BW on HANA environment lives on a 4+1 certified HANA blade architecture through TDI on the same Vblock that runs Virtual SAP ERP on Oracle DB and Virtualized BPC on HANA.
This is what I would refer to as a consolidated SAP infrastructure environment and the right way to Deploy & Operationalize SAP HANA.

Another SAP HANA client who is all in with Virtual HANA on VMware is Mercedes-AMG. Check out a short video here on their Virtual HANA deployment by their CIO Reinhard Breyer.

I mention very little about certified HANA Appliances, and there is a reason for it. With Virtual HANA, TDI and the flexible HANA deployment models, why would a client or a service provider ever want to deploy certified (dedicated) HANA appliances going forward? The future direction for HANA infrastructure is sealed in a way that makes a ton more sense…

Looking forward to seeing you at VMworld in SF next week. You will find me in the SAP/VMW/Intel booth area talking to SAP clients about how to deploy and operationalize SAP HANA in the most cost effective and efficient way possible.
For all the EMC for SAP sessions at VMworld, please go to EMC’s presence at VMworld SF 2014