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!

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 & 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

 

 

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!

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.