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!

SAP & VMware Support Virtualizing HANA for Simpler Faster Deployment

Fantastic news today live at EMC World with SAP & VMware announcing SAP HANA for Production use on VMware!
We at EMC believe this represents a massive opportunity for multiple reasons:
1. Our SAP clients are on a Virtualization and Replatforming journey leveraging VMware for their SAP estates. Clients can now finally align their SAP HANA journey with their Virtualization & Software Defined Datacenter strategies.
2. As stated in previous blogs clients are focusing on “Deploying” & “Operationalizing” SAP HANA, and there is no better way to do this other than by deploying HANA on VMware in order to reduce TCO, improve Agility, and reduce Risk taking advantage of all the benefits VMware delivers including vSphere, vMotion, VMHA, DRS, SRM, VMware Snapshot capabilities!
3. In Pat Gelsinger’s keynote this morning he laid out the clear benefits of running SAP HANA on VMware in Production including
– Improved overall SLAs
– Faster Time-to-Market
– Lower TCO
Check out a 5 mins video section of Pat’s keynote with the announcement here and then take a guess who started clapping their hands in the beginning 🙂 

The cool thing is that clients and partners get these benefits “right away”, which is why the announcement is so important from a support perspective.
We at EMC now have a greater story to help drive adoption of HANA in the “right way” for our SAP clients to align with SAP’s overall strategy. We now offer our clients to run HANA on the most flexible set of infrastructure offerings: Appliances, TDI and Virtual HANA, including the worlds best capabilities around Backup/Recovery & Disaster Tolerance from our Data Protection & Availability friends at EMC.

There are a ton of great write ups on this topic including EMC IT’s own BPC on Virtualized HANA with VMware in production, which has been live since Nov 2013. Yup….before it was officially supported by SAP & VMware. Our friends at EMC IT (including @putitonHANA @ReidTechBOS @peadarmurf @kenpaul @RyanArse35 and the rest of their crew) are just really good at Balancing Risk & Innovation breaking new grounds of innovation to provide value to their Business. Here is Bill Reid from EMC IT talking on the Cube about his BPC on HANA Virtual deployment interview.

Check out the PR announcement below as well as write ups on EMC’s Virtual HANA deployments:
SAP & VMware Announce SAP HANA for Production Use on VMware vSphere 5.5
EMC Pulse Blog by EMC IT’s Mike Harding
Why EMC IT Virtualized SAP HANA with VMware™

Here are also two pictures from EMC World:
– Pat Gelsinger’s keynote announcing Virtual HANA Production Support
– Joe Tucci (EMC CEO) & Bill McDermott (SAP CEO) during Joe’s keynote

20140506-110710.jpg

 

 

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

10 Years with EMC this week…

This week was a milestone in my career with EMC, hitting the 10 year mark on Monday Feb 17th. I thought it definitely deserved a day off for me (something about a President’s day for others that also took the day off…).

Would be interesting to reflect on the last 10 years. Given we live in a world of real-time outcomes and social media, I am not going to attempt to reflect on the journey it’s been, but rather continue to look forward.

One thing I have learned from great leaders at EMC is to push the envelope and attempt to be a change agent, which I am incredibly grateful for and will continue to do. I will admit though, although I have always believed in challenging the status quo for valid reasons, I also like to have fun (doing the same thing all over again is just plain boring!). I think the main reason I am still with EMC after 10 years (through EMC ups and downs) is that I am having fun at EMC, especially with my friends in the #SAPPosse!

Spending 6 ½ years in direct sales as an AE (Commercial & Enterprise orgs) as well as a Global Account Manager and now over 3 years in our Global SAP practice in a client facing role have been very rewarding. Staying close to our SAP client’s requirements, challenges and initiatives gives you a perspective of reality, which I believe is necessary to be relevant. Now what’s really cool in the last few years is that social media, with tools like Twitter, gives you an opportunity to stay close even without face-to-face interaction.

Social gives you a communication vehicle with no boundaries which is just awesome! Some of my friends at EMC and in the Ecosystem sometimes joke that it’s easier to reach me on twitter than email…what some people don’t get is that it’s true. I probably miss 100+ emails per week. Way more productive to communicate in real-time using 140 characters or less. One day perhaps others will realize this and email will be for dinasours.

One interesting reflection from earlier this year in 2014 was that I was incredibly fortunate to get nominated by peers and inducted to the EMC Elect class of 2014 which is a community of Social EMC evangelists.
For those who don’t know the EMC Elect community. Check out it out. It may not be appropriate to say this, but being recognized by my peers to the EMC Elect community means more to me than reaching a 10 year milestone with EMC.

EMC Elect Picture
If you are interested to engage with the #EMCElect community check out our upcoming Crowdchat on Feb 28th. Even EMCs “Dean of Big Data” is joining us 🙂

So what about the next 10 years…

I was just fortunate to attend SAP’s Sales kickoff for APJ (in Singapore) and Americas (in Las Vegas) in the last few weeks. Let’s just say it gave us a ton to think about in the SAP & EMC relationship.

The “Imagineering” has been hitting a max rating for me since and you can expect more cool things to come. Especially around Big Data for SAP client. There is no secret that the opportunity to drive better insight from data for business outcomes is Massive! Stay tuned on this with our Project Jupiter Platform.
Catch me on twitter, or join us in 2014 somewhere in the world using our SAP Travel Guide!

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!

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!

Getting Inspired and “Transformed” at EMC World while preparing for SAP Sapphire next week

Having a ton of fun at EMC World 2013 in Las Vegas having great conversations with customers, partners and internal EMCers, many of which are “change agents” in the SAP Ecosystem and make an impact for all. Not only am I seeing how our SAP customers and partners looking for new ways to Transform, but also how EMC is stepping up to help customers truly “Lead Your Transformation” which is the theme of the conference!
Had an opportunity to present our SAP Cloud & HANA strategy at the Global Partner Summit on Monday afternoon followed by conversations with those partners on their SAP business, which was very cool!
Also had an opportunity to chat with John Furrier & Dave Vellante on the Cube Tuesday afternoon about topics that I am very passionate about including finding new innovative ways to enage and aligning with customers & partners in the SAP Ecosystem as well as leverage Social for collaboration. We talked about the impact of SAP Week at EMC’s EBC over the last few weeks, how we have change the model from pitching our SAP customers products a few years back to discussing and collaborating with our SAP clients using customer-to-customer engagement models to focus on HOW EMC Solutions can help our SAP customers solve their Application and Infrastructure challenges and requirements as their Transforming their SAP environments. Also spoke about the idea we came up with during dinner with Mike Harding (SAP Architect on EMC IT Project Propel) about having him document EMC IT’s HANA journey on twitter using the @putitonHANA twitter handle. Just a brilliant new way of communicating valuable information to the Ecosystem. We need to be doing more cool things like that! 🙂
Check out the Cube video for more here…

I am now Inspired to head to SAP Sapphire next week in Orlando to continue my own Transformation journey as well as contuning contributing to the journey of our SAP ecosytem customers and partners!
But before that…Bruno Mars is rocking the house tonight at EMC World 🙂