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Author's profile photo Kevin Liu

Experience working at SAP Co-innovation Lab (COIL) – A Report from Sybase

As a COIL tradition, we usually publish a whitepaper with our partner when a project is done.  That was the plan with Sybase too.  We started working with Sybase colleagues even before they became a part of the SAP family, and have done a few projects together. Really enjoyed working with them.

 

When we started to work on a joint whitepaper, we realized that many of the work we did was already a part of the joint SAP and Sybase solution and plenty of papers were already available from both Sybase and SAP web sites.  Our Sybase colleagues, Jagdish Bansiya and Christopher Jobson, instead provided us with a few pages story about their experience working with COIL.   

I guess it makes more sense to have it available as a SDN blog rather than to produce yet another technical paper, so here I am taking the freedom to post the content Jagdish and Chris provided to me below.

Thank you, Jagdish and Chris!

 

 

 

1             Introduction

In November 2009, May 2010 and September 2010, Sybase (together with SAP) hosted a number of training and educational sessions, using the COIL facilities.

As well as providing a physical venue, the COIL lab provided a software landscape and support in terms of personnel (either located at COIL or remotely).  The attendees were also able to make use of the excellent catering facilities located at COIL.

The software landscape was hosted inside the COIL infrastructure, and access to it was provided through suitable gateway components.

 

2            Training Overview

The training was intended to provide an overview of and hands-on access to the Sybase-SAP Co-Innovation Platform.  It aimed to:

  • Provide hands-on experience of configuring SAP’s CRM/DOE products, along with Sybase’s SUP platform
  • Learn the technology powering the Co-Innovation solution
  • Experience client (device) functionality on iPhone, iPad and Windows Mobile devices
  • Discuss mechanisms supported by the platform to enable custom enhancements to the overall solution

The training was held in the COIL Facility at Palo Alto, using the main conference area.  Between 40 and 60 people attended each training session.

COIL also provided the software landscape on which the training depended.  The next section describes this in more detail.

3            Software Landscape

The software landscape was set up for the training by members of the COIL facility.  This required provisioning the VMs which were used, and establishing the various VPN gateways and internet access points, all of which was done efficiently and as quickly as possible.  COIL personnel also assisted in setting up the CRM and DOE/Netweaver systems.

This landscape is only possible because COIL provides the physical hardware on which the VMs are hosted, and ensures the necessary resources in terms of disk space and bandwidth, and intra-VM I/O bandwidth, required by the particpants.

Actual access to the COIL landscape was provided via a Citrix Gateway VPN solution, provided by COIL via an externally accessible web page.

Inevitably, a few technical hurdles had to be overcome, as the deployment architecture was quite complex (see the diagram), but all roadblocks were removed with the help of the COIL personnel.  Support was required in some cases very fast, and was forthcoming, often out of normal working hours.

 

 sybase architecture

 

The following list shows some of the setup and configuration tasks that were done either by COIL personnel themselves or in close cooperation with Sybase and/or SAP trainers responsible for setting up the training:

  • Provisioning VMs and ensuring appropriate OS versions/patch levels installed
  • Configuring internal COIL network for use by the training
  • Installing and configuring the CRM and Netweaver/Mobile Gateway systems (this was a particularly extensive task)
  • Setting up the access gateways into the COIL network, including establishing the VPN users
  • Creating some external (internet) gateway ports into COIL (including the ability for external devices to access COIL VMs directly, not shown in the diagram)
  • Help configuring local wireless access for participants

For one of the sessions, we actually used 2 additional copies of the COIL network over and above the one shown in the diagram.

4            Off-site Training use of COIL

In addition to the training run in Palo Alto itself, additional an training course was run in Frankfurt (in Sybase’s offices), but using the COIL landscape described above.  Again, the COIL personnel provided much appreciated assistance in ensuring that the deployment landscape was available and configured correctly, and again ensured the resources (in terms of disk space and I/O) were available to support the needs of the training.

5            Summary

The sessions held in COIL were very successful.  All participants appreciated the opportunity to learn about the new architecture provided in the SAP-Sybase Co-Innovation platform.  The fact that the COIL facility provided excellent support, and wonderful facilities, was a significant contributing factor to the success of the overall training.

Everyone also appreciated the free ice cream provided on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s in the restaurant!

 

6            Special Thanks

The following COIL personnel were particularly helpful in ensuring the success of the training:

  • Kevin Liu
  • Peter Aeschlimann
  • Sival Gopal Modadugula
  • Irakli Natsvlishvili
  • Igor Khurgin

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