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Last week I received some disturbing news about the license model of the new Landscape and Virtualisation Manager (LVM) which is entering Ramp-Up in November, before I get to the news I received lets look at what the LVM is.

The LVM is a new product from SAP which is the replacement for the Adaptive Computing Controller (ACC), the new LVM has increased capabilities over and above the ACC – for example the LVM has the ability to script and execute system copies automatically, it has dashboards and lots of management capability of physical, virtual and (hopefully soon) Cloud environments.

The LVM is, for me, one of the most exciting SAP products coming out in the next year, it effectively ‘closes the circle’ of the SAP technical administration tools – Landscape Management Database, SMSY (System Landscape) and System Landscape Directory.

LVM_Pic

By ‘closing the circle’ in terms of Technical administration I mean, the ability to have multiple sources of information cross-feeding each other efficiently providing a single version of the truth for each of the administration applications

LMDB – Analogous to the SLD, it provides many of the same functions and synchronises directly with SMSY

SLD – Provides information on each registered system, providing software component and patch levels.

SMSY – This is the central hub of all information in Solution Manager, everything that is associated with a system gets it’s information from here

LVM – Provides dashboards, control capabilities for instances like start/stop or relocate

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During Teched Bangalore, a colleague of mine was attending a Virtualisation session, during this session it was mentioned that the LVM will be a licensed product and will not be provided as part of the SAP license like Solution Manager. This to me was a vey strange statement as it was always my understanding that the LVM, like the ACC would be provided as part of the SAP License and would be available to all for download. For me, not providing it in this fashion would be a bad idea for the following reasons

1. No-one will use it.

The ACC has taken many years to get to where it is today, and it is a far more useable product in the last 2 versions that it ever was before. Still there has not been great uptake for it with customers, again for a number of reasons (integration with SolMan being one of them), but at least the ACC was free, this encouraged people to use it, even if was a skunk works project by the Basis team after seeing it demonstrated. If you make people pay for it, and get the price wrong then you alienate your market. Also how do you really quantify the ROI in saving the Basis team nearly an hour when doing a kernel upgrade across 15 servers. SAP have been promising for years to make administration easier to reduce TCO etc…, now that they have delivered tools like Solution Manager 7.1, the LMDB and the LVM, those statements have never looked so attractive or achievable.

2. It will not function within the partner ecosystem

One of the key selling points for LVM is both the extensibility of the product to link up with different infrastructures (see top diagram), it will not replace your Tivoli or HP equivalent, but work with them in a push/pull fashion. Partners will provide good resources if there is a demand from customers, they will just provide plain resources if it’s contractual. If no-one uses the product, then SAP can expect to see poor partner development of add-ons for the product which would make it a killer application.

3. Value proposition disappears

One of the many things that SAP have touted within the LVM is the ability to run system copies and refreshes, for this capability there was an expectation of paying for a license – which was reasonable. The main value proposition is that by using LVM, and with it’s tight integration into all the landscape management components mentioned above, the whole management of the pre, during and post tasks was infinitely simpler. If the whole LVM incurs a license fee, and the partner ecosystem falters, then the 3rd party tools, which handle more than just SAP start to look attractive again and SAP will have developed a smart application which no-one uses.

Today I have a call with SAP to get to the bottom of this and hopefully I will be happy, although probably under NDA so will not be able to write about it until ramp up. Regardless of what SAP are going to do with the product, I would strongly urge you to look at the product – it is a great piece of technology and does ‘close the circle’ on technical administration. If SAP treat it right and nurture both it’s partners and the ecosystem, then LVM can grow into a cornerstone product for SAP applications, if SAP treats it’s customers as a way to make a fast buck out of licenses then SAP will have wasted both money and brownie points with the #sapadmin community. SAP will have pods for the LVM at Madrid and also check out session TEC120 for more information.

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8 Comments

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  1. Steve Rumsby
    Chris, like you I’ve watched with increasing excitement over the last few years as SAP have got to grips with how SAP instances and virtualisation interact. Through the excellent Virtualization Week conferences every April I’ve seen demos of products that have been getting closer and closer to what I’m looking for to manage the various SAP systems I have. The latest ACC is now good enough that I’m planning to deploy it in the next couple of months as part of a total hardware refresh.

    One piece of information that helped me make that decision is that the LVM is the replacement for the ACC and will provide even better management functionality for virtual landscapes. I’ve seen demos of it, and it falls squarely in the “want” category. The advice I’ve been given is to install the ACC now, because the LVM will be a straightforward upgrade when it is released.

    What I don’t want to hear right now is that the LVM is going to be a pay-for product. If the costs are high enough, it will likely prevent me from deploying it, leaving me with an obsolete ACC system. If the costs aren’t that high, while it won’t prevent me deploying it it will certainly leave a bad taste in the mouth.

    Surely the LVM is just another piece of functionality aimed at managing the SAP technical landscape? Surely it should be licensed in the same way? When more and more functionality is coming with each Solution Manager release, including the bundling of some 3rd party tools “for free”, starting to charge for the LVM now just doesn’t fit.

    Do I need to rethink my deployment of the ACC, before I start? Please, SAP, don’t do it…

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  2. Tom Cenens
    Hello Chris

    This is certainly a product that is nice to have if it functions well.

    I wonder how long it will take before other customers start to complain about these kind of products needing a separate license (if they aren’t already). I checked out Salesforce Dreamforce event and customer are complaining about Oracle and SAP fees and they are more than happy to emphasize on that.

    I tried to get one of my customers into this ramp-up process but so far it has been a disaster. One that has #fail written over it on SAP side. We were able to attend the introduction webinar for the LVM ramp-up and afterwards we had to fill in a survey.

    After filling that in, SAP promised to get a list out of suitable companies to go for the ramp-up. We never heard anything so I contacted them myself  several times. The last update we had, it seems the problem lies with accounting now who should contact my customer concerning the price of the ramp-up. They haven’t done so yet.

    It’s really frustrating for me as a consultant because A) I want to get this technology implemented to provide the additional functionality to my customer B) My customer has the latest technology in place which makes up a private cloud.

    Of course now my customer says drop the whole idea if they don’t respond this time and they are absolutely right. It’s not a proper way to treat your customer.

    Not your grand-father’s SAP? No because my grandfather still feels young and frisky .

    Kind regards

    Tom

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  3. ERIC LEDU
    Hi Chris,
    I am also very interested in LVM, but I don’t have your extensive contacts with SAP, it seems …
    So first of all thank you for the blog, very informative and easy to understand !
    Did you get anything interesting from your call with SAP ? maybe there was no NDA after all ??
    Best regards

    Eric

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    1. Tom Cenens
      Hello Eric

      I will be posting a blog soon on the topic of LVM which will include some information on pricing as well.

      I spoke with the responsibles from SAP for this product at SAP TechED.

      Kind regards

      Tom

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    2. Tom Cenens
      Hello Eric

      I met the responsibles from SAP for this product at SAP TechED and spent some time talking to them about it.

      I have a draft blog that is ready to be published which will handle the pricing topic and some open questions/concerns.

      I’m just awaiting feedback on some details that I wanted to double-check with them before sending out the news.

      The blog will be posted soon. If I don’t get the feedback fast enough I will make a remark on that in the blog and update accordingly once I have confirmation.

      Kind regards

      Tom

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  4. Fenton Morris-Winmill

    The lack of documentation/functionality lists comparisons is a big concern.

    The guys who are likely to look at LVM will tend to be the techy types who like

    to know how the thing works.

    What the differences are between the Enterprise and Standard additions?

    What Dashboards are available, etc, etc

    All we have is a few glossy marketing slides and a help.sap.com that is as useful as a condom machine at the vatican

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    1. Tom Cenens

      The last sentence sais it all 🙂 . Although I’m not sure that machine would not be used …

      Anyway, back on topic: SAP LVM is indeed very techy. They do receive that question often enough though to know that customers want that information. Sadly enough it’s sort or less complicated.

      There is the standard (free) edition that has limited functionality (more or less successor to ACC with some extra functionality).

      For the Enterprise Edition, a license cost is in place. The Enterprise editions holds features such as system dependency, dashboards etc (nothing special / awesome compared to Standard Edition). I even questioned why anyone would only go for the Enterprise Edition. The answer was, as an intermediate step towards having System Copy / Refresh / Clone functionality which has to be payed separately depending on how many source system (source of a copy) the customer will use.

      Something that is also often not mentioned which they should mention is the fact that on top of the previous you will also have to pay a yearly maintenance fee.

      I haven’t seen much movement (more none) in the default licensing price for SAP LVM. The only thing I can say is that they will try to help you out to make the business case for SAP LVM so it becomes viable. Too bad it’s such a difficult exercise.

      While SAP wanted to collaborate with me and the SAP Mentors, the collaboration on this has stalled and come to a stand still sort or less. Maybe I’ve been too honest and it doesn’t resonate well.

      You will probably find this blog to be an interesting read:

      http://scn.sap.com/community/it-management/virtualization/blog/2012/04/30/virtualizationcloud-week–netweaver-landscape-virtualization-management

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