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 

From Concepts to Business Outcomes – SAP Big Data

There is lots of buzz about the opportunity to leverage Big Data to drive business outcomes. However, some  companies are struggling with a comprehensive strategy which includes taking a use case, and putting into production with a sound infrastructure strategy. One of the many challenges for clients include, “How do I stand up an infrastructure environment to support putting a Big Data use case into production at the right TCO with low risk to my business” (considering we could be talking about 100’s of TBs up to PBs of data).

First, let’s take a look at what the Analysts say about Big Data and the current trends of data growth on our planet:
IDC recently predicted, in their recent paper “The Digital Universe of Opportunities: Rich Data and the Increasing Value of the Internet of Things” massive explosion of Data growth with 10x growth from 2013-2020. At the same time, they say only less than 5% of data today is actually analyzed to drive decisions and outcomes. 
They also say data from embedded Systems (signals from components of the Internet of Things) will grow from 2% in 2013 to 10% in 2020 which is part of the overall data growth, and represents an increase of being able to drive insight across various devices and products used from data being collected around the world.

As an SAP customer looking at a Big Data strategy, we first look at the various sample use cases, which exist in certain industry verticals:

  • Energy: there are opportunities to leverage Big Data in Oil & Gas around Oil Field Automation, Risk management and in the Utility industry around preventative maintenance of energy stations and end user smart reader devices.
  • Financial Services: there are use cases around trading & risk aggregation.
  • Retail: there are use cases around customer sentiment, customer marketing programs, and brand loyalty.
  • Telecommunications: there are use cases around customer retention and customer acquisition.

Many of these use cases are derived from Structured & Unstructured Data sources:

  • Structured Data that lives in SAP systems include data about company transactions, customer data and product data. There can also be structured data sources that live outside SAP systems since many SAP clients have other transactional systems around their SAP implementation. These data sources may not be high “volume” however they are of high “value” to organizations.
  • Unstructured Data sources may live within an SAP customer’s environment or outside in the public domain, and can include sensor data, machine data, meter data, and social data. These data sources are usually high “volume” but may not be of high “value” until analyzed in the right manner.

One of the reasons for the large data growth taking place in the world is the billions of devices out there such as mobile devices and company products, which have the ability to send sensor data from them. This is where Cisco coined the term Internet of Things (IoT)representing how these “Smart Devices” operate and represent an opportunity.

The most powerful use cases can come from combining and analyzing SAP data sources from transactions, customers and products with the unstructured data sources from sensors, meters and in the social space.
A simple example would be a Telco provider pulling social data from the public data sources, and combining it with data about their existing clients in order to better understand when and how to provide better services. This can directly impact their ability to retain or gain clients. In order to achieve such a use case, often you have to collect 100s of TBs of Data.

The way SAP looks to help clients with a Big Data strategy is with their “SAP HANA Data Platform” which encompasses the ability to effectively tier data across these data platforms, putting “Hot Data” in SAP HANA, “Warm Data” in SAP IQ (formerly Sybase IQ) and “Cold Data” in Hadoop to manage a large data set using a data temperature approach. SAP then provides intelligence of being able to move data between the data sources in changing business environments. For example, the data sitting in SAP HANA for Real-Time Analysis today may be different in a few months especially if a company were to acquire a new division or bring a new Product to market. At EMC we believe this is a sound Big Data strategy for an SAP client, however there can be challenges in making this strategy a reality; especially as it relates to the complexities of standing up various infrastructures, managing data protection and security as well as having a good overall data management strategy. These all represents challenges, and a potential higher overall TCO in a Big Data project, and are risks, which clients have to weigh in order to justify an initiative.

To simplify the ability to execute an SAP Big Data strategy (assuming there is a justifiable Big Data use case) we have built an “EMC Big Data Platform for SAP” which we also refer to as the “Jupiter Platform” (the largest planet in our solar system…get it?! 🙂 ).
This EMC Big Data Platform for SAP is a purpose built solution for the SAP HANA Data Platform’s strategy with all the compute, network, and storage needed to stand up a Big Data project. All virtualized infrastructure to drive cost out of the infrastructure (including the ability to run HANA Virtually). Think of it as an “Appliance” or “packaged solution” for Hot, Warm and Cold Data, which can scale enormously at the right TCO, given the platform can manage data through a data temperature framework. The platform also includes items such as management & orchestration, security and data protection (HA, Backup/Recovery and Disaster Tolerance).
We believe this platform represents a much simpler way, which reduces risk for clients, taking a Big Data use case into production. With EMC’s 30+ years of experience in managing, storing, protecting and analyzing data, we have thought about all the infrastructure items clients need as they embark upon their Big Data Journey.

Gartner often defines Big Data through 4 Attributes: “The 4 V’s”: Volume, Velocity, Variety and Value. Let’s take a look at EMC’s Big Data Platform for SAP and how the solutions align with these attributes:

  • Data Volume: The Big Data Platform for SAP can start in the 50 TB range, and scale to 10+ PBs with an optimized TCO in mind by moving most data to warm or cold sources at lower cost.
  • Data Velocity: The Platform can ingest data at over 100 TBs per hour loading speeds so clients can make use of data captured before it possibly becomes obsolete. The Platform also enables fast analysis turnaround time for large data sets i.e “Fast Data”.
  • Data Variety: The Platform can ingest any type of structured or unstructured data source such as sensor, files, email/SMS, social, multimedia etc.
  • Data Value: Measured in a company’s ability to quickly find new business opportunities or ways to optimize such as a manufacturing process, logistics, or maintenance. The Platform reduces risks and gives predictable low $/TB by simplifying a Big Data deployment.

Since the Platform also uses common tools and products, the required skillsets are likely to be the same that currently exist. Hence, the overall TCO of the platform is optimized so clients can focus on taking their Big Data use cases from “Concept to Business Outcomes” for their organizations.

I look forward to talking more in detail about our SAP Big Data Platform at EMC World (May 5-8), SAP Sapphire (June 3-5), and at future SAP Week EBC events.
You can also engage in a conversation with me on Twitter: @henrikwagner73
…as well as check out a 5 mins video on EMC’s Big Data platform for SAP

Value trumps vendor Olympics for SAP HANA!

I often ponder why clients, partners and internal EMCers often ask us what SAP HANA infrastructure (Appliances) we can provide for a said SAP HANA project. Many of us jump straight into the speeds and feeds of our SAP HANA appliance offerings: Cisco/EMC, VCE Vblock and most recently a TDI (Open HANA) with EMC VMAX. Clients and partners then want to immediately talk about how our appliances compare with alternative vendor appliances (“Vendor Appliance Olympics”).

I thought the days of IT just providing technology infrastructure for a particular use case or project were over.

I believe that SAP clients want to get business value out of their Projects such as an SAP HANA platform deployment. For most clients there has to be a clear plan with a business case in order to get justification and ability to initiate a deployment. Customers are also thinking about how to leverage the “Data” in order to further innovate and draw insights for their businesses.

When we get these questions I suggest we instead talk about what role we can play around SAP HANA…why don’t we start by asking the question and trying to better understand:
– how is the client looking to Deploy SAP HANA?
– how is the client looking to Operationalize SAP HANA?

Let me explain…

There is a set of categories that we need to better understand with regards to the client “Deploying SAP HANA”:
– What is the client use case? As a Sidecar, an Agile Data Mart, BW, or Suite on HANA?
– Who is driving this use case and business case for the client? SAP Consulting, SI or boutique BI shop?
– Do you need to run a PoC to validate the use case and technology platform? If so, what metrics will be in place?
– How is the client looking to migrate to HANA based on their use case? Starting with test/dev?
– Does the HANA project fit into a larger Big Data or Analytics initiative?
– Is the client looking to deploy HANA on-premise or off-premise?

Then there are a set of categories that we need to better understand with regards to the client being able to best “Operationalize SAP HANA”:
– If the client is looking to deploy SAP HANA on-premise, how is the client looking to deploy SAP HANA infrastructure: Appliance model, TDI or Virtual HANA?
– How is the client looking to protect the SAP HANA environment? HA, Backup/Recovery, Disaster Tolerance? What’s the desired RTO/RPO?
– Does the client want to manage the SAP HANA infrastructure, SAP HANA platform and/or functional use cases internally or are you looking for outside help to run the platform on-premise, in order to just take advantage of the business value of the SAP HANA platform?

What I have found is that if you take this simple solutions approach, you will probably have a more intelligent conversation with your client about their project, gain credibility and will probably get an opportunity to tell a more strategic story on how EMC can help an SAP client be successful in their HANA project.

Here is an example…

Mr Customer, did you know?:
EMC partners with SAP and SIs and boutique consulting firms deliver an end-to-end strategy on how a client can Deploy and Operationalize an SAP HANA platform in order to maximize business value, accelerate the deployment, reduce risk of the project and build out the right TCO model.

With EMC partnerships, including our consulting partners and our Infrastructure partners: Cisco, VCE, VMware and Intel as well as our entire solutions portfolio including EMC Data Protection, I sincerely feel that we are in the best position to help our clients be successful in their SAP HANA projects with the most flexible and agile set of solutions. We also have a set of Service Provider Partners including HEC (HANA Enterprise Cloud) offerings for those clients looking to deploy SAP HANA off-premise. Another indvidual piece of the larger picture is to leverage EMC and VMware including Virtual HANA in HANA Deployment and Operations model.

One way of engaging with us in this more intelligent way is at our SAP Week (#SAPWeek) events where we have our top SAP resources as well as the partners to help clients be successful in their SAP HANA projects. Here are two of those upcoming events in the Americas. Stay tuned for dates for EMEA and APJ.

SAP Week Atlanta Feb 11th-12th & SAP Week Santa Clara March 4th-6th

I am also looking forward to having this conversation with SAP executives at FKOM (SAPs Field Kickoff Meeting) in Singapore next week Jan 14th-15th and then at SAP FKOM Las Vegas Jan 21st-22nd.
See you there!

The Chess Game: Strategy vs. Tactics

Growing up playing chess as a kid, my father tried to teach me valuable lessons to better understand the dynamics between strategy and tactics. I have carried these lessons with me by continuing to play chess throughout my life in sports, business and personal life, and I am very thankful for these lessons early on in my life.

There have been many times when I realized how important these lessons were, one example was playing competitive college tennis when one of my coaches asked me what was going on as I was losing an important match: I responded saying: “We need to come up with a new game plan to win this match!” He said: “You only change your game plan if you come up with a better one. Now focus on executing the original game plan better and you will win!” He was right! And he was right throughout his coaching career which is why he was recognized in tennis circles as one of the best tennis coaches in the world.

In January 2013 I wrote a blog post about EMC’s Private Cloud for SAP strategy saying: “I believe this Private Cloud for SAP adoption will accelerate in 2013 which is going to make this year another exciting year for everyone in the SAP ecosystem”

Now at the end of 2013 we can reflect that we have indeed hit the tipping point for SAP customers who are deploying a Private Cloud for SAP solution. Clients are not asking us anymore IF it’s a good idea, they are asking us HOW we can help them to deploy their Private Cloud for SAP strategy.

As a result, we have also built up a much better set of internal and external capabilities to help our SAP clients deploy a Private Cloud for SAP. This has helped reduce the risk for many SAP customers. The external capabilities are delivered by a set of Alliances partners who have best of breed solutions, and have realized the value they can provide clients.  These capabilities combined with our internal ones are expanding with our partners such as SAP and VMware to create leading solutions with best-of-breed technology. There are still some within our organizations who believe that doing the world’s best Private Cloud Infrastructure presentation makes clients want to start their SAP Infrastructure modernization efforts, however most have figured out, that while the SAP infrastructure discussion is important and will definitely take place, the focus must be more on HOW we can help our clients start and execute their journey’s (deployment, migration, automation, orchestration).

We have been fortunate to have been awarded a ton of infrastructure deployments with our solutions portfolio in the SAP space in 2013…and we were also happy to see a large number of Fortune 100 companies running SAP proceeding down the path with a Private Cloud strategy partnering with us. One of them just sent us the orders right before Christmas which was a great start to the Christmas celebrations for us.

One key point we have learned is that Private Cloud for SAP is indeed a strategy. In my opinion, for those clients looking to only virtualize their SAP environment by procuring modernized x86 infrastructure are only looking at it from a tactical perspective. The clients who are able to transform their business by driving automation, improving agility and improving business and IT processes around their Private Cloud for SAP stack are the ones able to take full advantage of the true value a Private Cloud for SAP strategy brings to dramatically improve Agility, Time-to-Market, TCO. These are the clients that are able to change the paradigm of IT becoming more relevant within their organizations and over time shift the percentage of their budget being spent on keeping the lights on vs adding value by delivering new and improved functionality.

We now feel strongly about starting with the 1st step to modernizing SAP infrastructure in order to become Agile and cost effective as an organization, which then puts you in a better place to take advantage of innovative technologies such as Big Data Solutions, Analytics, SAP HANA.

As an example, if an SAP client has already deployed (or in the process of deploying) a Private Cloud for SAP solution strategy, then adopting SAP HANA leveraging the same infrastructure architectures as their traditional ERP through Tailored Data Center Integration and/or Virtual HANA becomes way more feasible. This approach then also becomes part of a larger strategy which can be justified through a business case. One example of this was EMC IT’s internal BPC on HANA deployment, which went live Nov 24th on 100% virtual (VMware) infrastructure (Note: this is not yet fully supported by SAP and VMware) only possible because EMC IT had executed a Private Cloud for SAP strategy a year earlier. 
BPC on HANA EMC ITCheck out his recent blog post on this topic and follow @putitonHANA to learn more on EMC’s internal HANA journey. Mike Harding and his team are truly doing some cool things.

I would also like to give a year end shout out to our EMC friends in the Data Protection & Availability Division (DPAD, formerly known as BRS – Backup & Recovery Systems). For years we have been talking about the fact that our SAP clients are looking for better ways to come up with an overall Data Protection Strategy for their mission critical SAP environments. Backup & Recovery is important but is just a piece of how to protect an SAP environment. With EMC combing assets from BRS to include EMC RecoverPoint and VPLEX to form DPAD (in Nov 2013 http://reflectionsblog.emc.com/2013/11/better-together.html), our EMC DPAD friends are now looking at Data Protection the way our SAP clients look at it; What data and which technology should I use for High Availability within my data center, across my data centers, BC/DR, as well as Backup & Recovery; taking the conversation from a tactical one to an overall conversation about strategy. 

We are looking forward to hearing more from our DPAD team at SAP Week Atlanta Feb 11th-12th & SAP Week Santa Clara March 4th-6th  in 2014.

My son just turned two the other week, so for the moment there is mostly talk about trains at our home, his two most favorite words: “Choo Choo” & “All Aboard”…In coming years though, I will definitely teach my son to play Chess, and leverage those lessons about the differences between strategies and tactics I was taught by my own father!
Meanwhile, I guess I will need to start by showing him Canadian Pacific Railway’s Private Cloud for SAP deployment with VCE Vblock 🙂

CP Rail

Want to virtualize SAP HANA with VMware? See what’s new!

With SAP TechEd Las Vegas coming up next week, as well as a large amount of our SAP clients asking us about SAP HANA with VMware; I asked my good friend Axel Streichardt to write a guest post on the topic. Axel is a thought leader around SAP with VMware in the ecosystem and got his finger on the pulse of VMware for SAP HANA. Axel is a fellow European (German) also a very cool dude that I enjoy working with at EMC 🙂

See Axel’s comments below on his perspective on this topic…

————-
Exciting news. We are getting closer to a fully virtualized Hana (or vHana, how I call it, my mother calls it even my grandma calls it) support for production from SAP and VMware. Both companies announced back in June the availability of virtualized Hana (vHana) and the strategy and timeline for running vHana in production in various flavors, such on a supported hardware appliances like Cisco and VCE, TDI (tailored datacenter integration) or even on commoditized hardware.

In case you haven’t heard, but EMC IT went live over a year ago with a fully virtualized SAP landscape, including app and database tier to reduce cost, minimize risk and increase flexibility. A couple of weeks ago, Mike Harding from EMC’s IT team discussed the Hana strategy and the plans to deploy vHana for production, another milestone in EMC’s journey to the cloud. Check out the replay of the webcast here.

Virtualization is undoubtedly mainstream and more and more customers deploying even top tier business applications, such as SAP, on VMware, because virtualized SAP provides tremendous business advantages over classical physical SAP deployments. Advanced flexibility, agility and cost are just a few of these advantages. Imagine hardware maintenance without disruption and live migration of running vHana nodes even under heavy load to avoid a disaster strike. VMware just released a demo video to underline the power of virtualization for vHana by moving a busy, running vHana node from one ESX server to another within minutes. No expensive standby hardware, no business disruption and maintaining all SLAs.

I am working on a more detailed blog on vHana to be released very soon with the full details on the various vHana deployment architectures and its advantages and why EMC is the number one storage and data management infrastructure for a truly, 100% virtualized Hana deployment.
—————–

Axel is about to launch his own blog on “Everything you need to know about SAP and Virtualization”, so I highly suggest you check it out as well as follow Axel on twitter @aggi_gi

See you at TechEd next week!

The SAP Big Data Bus: Are you on it or under it?

The picture is now crystal clear for me around SAP’s Big Data strategy for existing/new clients and for eco-system partners announced a few weeks ago.

Also very cool that SAP created an SAP Big Data Tour bus which is a mobile showcase of SAP’s Big Data solutions, which is staffed by experts and packed with demos. Wish I would have time to see it live earlier this month in SF! (Perhaps at TechEd?)

SAP Big Data Bus

SAP HANA is an incredible powerful solution to achieve real-time insight in order for your business to gain competitive advantages in various scenarios. The challenge I believe some have had…how HANA fits into a larger picture of a company’s structured and unstructured data strategy in and around their SAP deployments, which in some cases can amount to PBs of data.

The concept of “Temperature of Data” comes up in more and more customer conversations we tend to have. Where do you deploy “Hot”, “Warm”, “Cold” data and how do you manage those data sources with the various technology solutions such as traditional RDMS, In-Memory solutions, and solutions for unstructured data. How do you also provide a foundation to build out the right infrastructure (on-premise, off-premise, or a combination of both) for all this data?

The piece that I think becomes further clarified in this strategy is; how do you take it a step further and provide abilities and insights for how data can also move between each of the data sources based on policies driven by changing business climates.

Vijay Vijayasankar did a great job outlining this future SAP Big Data direction including the SAP HANA Data Platform in an SCN blog post the other week.

There is no question that Big Data represents a tremendous opportunity to gain competitive advantages for all kinds of organizations. Take for example, Americas Cup racing which is going on right now with the impressive AC72 Sailboats collecting massive amounts of data in real-time about conditions around them (winds, speeds, currents, and efficiencies) to improve accuracy and decision making to sail faster and more safely.

If you havent checked out the Human Face of Big Data project, spend some time getting to know the stories about how Big Data is impacting and changing the world to be a better place. Incredibly inspiring stories about Big Data use cases in various cultures and geographies around the world.

Another example is how our own Organization (EMC IT) is using a combination of Big Data solutions including SAP HANA to gain better insight and decision making showcased in last week’s SAP webcast “Why EMC IT chose SAP HANA”
If you take the time to listen to the webcast recording you will learn how EMC has taken critical business processes that use to take 2 hrs (and sometimes not complete at all) down to 5 mins in order to get better insight and execute better decisions in Real-Time.

So how does EMC fit into this SAP Big Data strategy?
– First of all, many of us in EMC’s SAP practice feel it’s a very sound Big Data strategy hence we tend to have these conversations with clients supporting this strategy.
– Secondly, when SAP clients embark upon a Big Data journey deploying SAP HANA, Sybase IQ, Hadoop, they will constantly look for ways to reduce the $ cost per/TB in each environment as well as in the overall data center architecture while maintaining the right SLA based on each business use case. Some of these deployments will be on-premise, some off-premise and some in a hybrid architecture…either way we believe EMC’s close integration with VMware (and being the parent company) will be absolutely key in this conversation as clients manage risk, cost and innovation.
– Third, another area that we find ourselves in customer conversations is around Data Center Readiness for Big Data including SAP HANA deployments. Clients are looking for rock solid HA, Backup/Recovery as well as Disaster Tolerance solutions which are areas that EMC has 30+ years experience and has laid the foundation for most SAP clients in their existing architectures.

EMC Accelerates the SAP Big Data Bus!

EMC Accelerates the SAP Big Data Bus!

If you are interested to learn more on this topic, attend our next SAP Week event in SAP’s Houston EBC Nov 5th-7th.