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…
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…or the Wrong Way
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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.

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

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

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

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

SAP & EMC Keeping it Simple at FKOM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What will we see more of in 2015?

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

Here are a few things I am excited about:

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

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

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

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

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

Happy New Year!

What took you so long?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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