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SAPPHIRE NOW 2011 Wrap-Up

Last month I had the privilege of attending the Sapphire Now 2011 event in Orlando, Florida. Even after enduring 23 hours in the air, rushing for three connecting flights, 10,000 miles of distance and one lost suit case – I still managed to thoroughly enjoy the event.

Let’s start with the raw statistics to kick things off:-

  • Over 15,000 attendees in Orlando, Florida;
  • Over 45,000 virtual attendees over 3 days;
  • SAPPHIRENOW hashtag mentioned over 7,800 times during the event;
  • Over 1200 customer meetings;
  • Over 50 SAP Mentors in attendance;
  • 1,400 sessions in four days;
  • Many old favourites played by Sting on the last day of the event;
  • Opening keynote from Gabriel Byrne (he took on Arnie in End of Days);
  • Musical accompaniment by Max Weinberg 7 (I remember when Max was touring with the Boss and E Street band in the seventies);
  • Over 600 demonstrations;
  • Over 50 mobile apps on display at the Mobility Campus
  • Over 50 Partner booths on the event floor

The main themes 

The main themes covered during the event can be summarized into the following categories:-

  1. In Memory and HANA
  2. SAP Cloud Strategy
  3. SAP Mobility
  4. Other SAP announcements

In Memory and HANA.

SAP was first formed by Hasso Plattner and his four colleagues in 1972. Some twenty years later, SAP took bold steps and innovated by announcing the three tier client server landscape. Fast forward another twenty years, and in his advisory capacity, Hasso Plattner predicted the next industry Inflection point – the In-Memory data management program underpinned by the SAP High-Performance Analytic Appliance (SAP HANA).

 

 Hasso Plattner wasted no time telling me about the next Inflection Point. Great photo Abesh.

 

During Vishal’s keynote, we watched 11 customer testimonials explaining how HANA has gone beyond handling large volumes rapidly, and is now moving to empower end users by addressing each unique scenario. Vishal explained how SAP HANA is now integrated into every SAP product, and customers will experience the power of HANA in a flood of breakthrough analytics and new applications including:-

  • Strategic workforce planning (out now);
  • Sales and operations planning (out by SAP TechEd Las Vegas);
  • Cash and liquidity management (out by SAP TechEd Las Vegas);
  • Trade promo management (out by SAP TechEd Las Vegas Madrid);
  • Smart meter analysis (out by SAP TechEd Las Vegas Madrid);
  • Customer performance management (out by SAP TechEd Las Vegas Madrid);
  • Merchandising management (out by SAP TechEd Las Vegas Madrid);
  • Energy management for utilities (out by SAP TechEd Las Vegas Madrid);
  • Profitability engine (out by SAP TechEd Las Vegas Madrid); and
  • Customer-specific pricing (out by SAP TechEd Las Vegas Madrid).

During the event, we were learned of the 40 ramp-up customers on HANA V1.0 including Hilti, Caterpillar, Colgate, Lenovo and Nestle. During the Hasso Plattner keynote, a full auditorium was told about the 5 productive Business One customers running HANA on a Mac Mini with 4 cpu cores. He then spoke about how well the HANA appliance on the stage which stood no higher than his knee, containing 2tb memory and 80 cpu cores would scale. He then finished off by throwing to a live video link from a containment pod in Santa Clara which housed the biggest single HANA node boasting 1,000 cpu cores, 16tb memory and 64tb Solid State disks. Hasso then finished off by answering 13 customer questions to further explain some HANA technical talking points including redundancy, scalability and backups.

On the event floor, the following 6 SAP certified HANA appliances were on display for customers to interact with at the In-Memory test drive booth:-

  • Mac Mini;
  • HP Proliant DL580 G7;
  • Dell PowerEdge R910;
  • Fujitsu Primergy RX600 s5;
  • IBM x3850 X5;
  • Cisco UCS c260 M2

As the entire SAP Product Portfolio is now based on HANA, you can expect several exciting HANA announcements during SAP TechEd Las Vegas including new HANA applications, enticing HANA pricing models and developer access to the HANA AppCloud.

 

The following video was made at the In-Memory test drive booth

 

SAP Cloud Strategy

With the recent certification of HP, there are now over 10 SAP-certified global cloud service providers including IBM, Fujitsu and NEC. During a session with Gunther Schmaltzhaf, he explained how Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been tested and benchmarked as a hardware layer in deployments and how SAP is moving from Cloud Certification to Cloud Optimisation. For those still looking to be convinced that SAP is ready to run in the Cloud, you will find that the latest 7.20 SAP Kernel and SAPOSCOL are now Cloud aware. A quick scan of the following SAP Notes are a good starting point for your first Cloud based SAP instance.

Gunther also went on to talk about how SAP Adaptive computing is now embracing the SAP Landscape Management processes which will eventually provide capabilities to move running SAP instances in and out of Private clouds, and allow for rapid and automatic SAP landscape cloning.

 

The following video was made with Gunther Schmaltzhaf
 

SAP Mobility

There were several presentations demonstrating the power of the Sybase Unwired Platform (SUP) and its associated technology and applications in the high-visibility sectors of mobility – cell phones and tablets. I watched SAP demonstrate their customizable mobile ‘app accelerators‘ in the areas of expense management, time entry and system alerts, but the most impressive apps were demonstrated by Partners. Over the three days, I got a chance to test drive several Partner SUP apps in the areas of:-

  • retail execution; 
  • general worker productivity;  
  • field service; and  
  • analytics.

You can expect SAP to unveil over 30 more apps at SAP TechEd Las Vegas for iOS and Windows Mobile devices including apps in the areas of:-

  • sourcing;
  • human capital management;
  • sales and service;
  • cross-topics;
  • vertical industry-specific apps; and
  • financials.

We were told about the much improved SUP 2.0 Software Development Kit (SDK) for enhanced native application development, but it doesn’t stop here. During SAP TechEd Las Vegas, we can expect the release of SUP 2.1 heralding improved support for the HTML5 container and a more sophisticated Web style set of development tools.

In summary, SUP 2.0 provides a consistent platform for developing apps across the following key mobile platforms:-

  • iOS;
  • BlackBerry;
  • Windows Mobile; and
  • Android.

 

Other announcements

At any other event, the following announcements would have enjoyed top billing:-

  • BI4 – The best BOBJ version ever;
  • NetWeaver 7.3 generally available
  • Gateway V2.0 Secure non disruptive mobile enablement for the Business Suite.
  • GRC V10 – You can now run Access control totally on the ABAP stack
  • Solution Manager 7.1 ramp-up program several years in the making

 

Closing comments

In summary, this year’s Sapphire Now was most memorable for me because so many SAP experts made themselves available to spend time with customers. I got to spend one-on-one time with:-

  • SAP Innovators like Hasso, Vishal and Ike;
  • Customers from all over the world. The ASUG influence on the SAPPHIRE NOW event makes it a balanced event;
  • Industry analysts who echo the unvarnished opinions which drive SAP to reach higher;
  • SAP Mentors who represent the collective voice of the SAP Ecosystem; and
  • Partner booths staffed by real experts from the field.

 

The following video was made at the IBM Partner booth

 

My task now is to share all this newfound knowledge with the Australian SAP community.

 

 

 

 

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6 Comments

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  1. Bala Prabahar
    I didn’t read the entire blog. I just watched your interview with Gunther(When I saw that name, I automatically clicked the video). And I recently installed and playing with ACC 7.3. I love that tool. Easy to install. The configuration is a bit tricky but works when configured correctly. I didn’t attend 2-days training so I took little longer to configure. ACC 7.3 on mobile device is what I want NOW. An opportunity for mobile developers:).

    Best regards,
    Bala

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  2. Matthew Harding
    Great summary! After reading this I’m even more upset I didn’t get to experience this event in person. 
    That said, I’m now looking forward to TechEd even more. i.e. It sounds like a promising year for TechEd with reality coming to HANA, BO, Gateway, SUP 2.1, Cloud, ++.
    See you at the Airport in September for the best TechEd yet!
    Matt
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  3. Derek Loranca
    Awesome write-up.  Nice to see so many different highlights posted.  Also wanted to say that it was great to finally meet you in person, too!!
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  4. David Hull
    Great job with the Sapphire recap, Tony! No surprise at the high quality blog coming from you, but you certainly did hit all of the relevant highlights!

    I hope you got your suitcase back. 🙂

    Cheers,
    David.

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