Skip to Content

Virtualization & Appliance Deployments: Cutting Through the Hype

Last ASUG Annual Conference, I was blown away by the high quality of slides by Ashish Morzaria that we asked him to do this ASUG webcast “Cloud, Virtualization, and Appliance Deployments: Cutting Through the Hype And Exploiting The Right Model”.  Ashish is the Director of  Solution Management, Large Enterprise BI, SAP.

The general SAP Disclaimer applies that things discussed here and below are subject to change.


  • Where are we, how did we get here, and what that means
  • Discussion of the core technologies:
    • Appliances, Virtualization, Cloud Computing, and SaaS (Software-as-a-Service)
    • Focus on BI – Other parts of SAP may have different viewpoints
  • How you can take advantage of CVA technologies



Where are we, how did we get here, and what that means

Ashish reviewed the jargon or terms: CVA stands for Cloud, Virtualization and Appliance technologies.  BOE is BusinessObjects Enterprise, High performance AnalyticalAppliance is HANA. 


Figure 1, Source: SAP

Traditional systems were additive as  you tended to add to production systems, which started with mainframe computing.

Now we have a paradigm shift – traffic helicopters – determine by history that a certain amount of traffic results in a time delay with a helicopter in the sky.  Then we had traffic cameras for real-time information but then there would be so many cameras and then complexity overshadows it.   Cars, cell phones and GPS and then track the progression of the car on the highway.  Finland linked everyone with a DigiLink service.


The purpose of this is to go beyond the hype and to know what you are talking about.    Understand what to measure and how to look at things.  You need to understand what you are talking about.  It is easy to throw around words “private cloud”.  It is important to understand what terms mean to you before the vendor tells you. 

Ashish suggested to not go to the vendor for the training courses.  Vendors will guarantee functionality but not necessarily performance.  Ashish recommends asking for proof, and for evidence of what the vendor is providing.  Real deployments are use-case driven, says Ashish.  Is what the vendor portraying a valid case for your use?  If your situation is different and then the results will vary.

Education is your best weapon before and after the purchase.



Figure 2, Source, SAP


Appliances serve a single a purpose, specific functionality capability and simplified configuration and maintenance.  Figure 2 shows examples of appliances that you purchase from a Best Buy, turn on and it works.  The set-up has been done for you.  

Appliances let you select the best tool for the job without having to build the tool yourself.   If you can live with the limitations this may be the best way for you to go.  If you want something more versatile, you will need something else.


Figure 3, Source: SAP

Figure 3 shows the forms of appliances.   Hardware appliances include HANA, Enterprise Search, and include a single integrated stack.

Software appliance is an installable image and the customer provides the hardware but the vendor provides the software stack. 


Figure 4, Source: SAP


Figure 4 reviews the good and what to watch for.  The good part about the appliance, such as HANA, is that you can implement the new technology without requiring internal IT experience.


Figure 5, Source, SAP


Figure 5 shows the appliance maturity model.  Ashish said we are moving more to business centric models.   For SAP HANA, it is “improving the value to you as a customer”.    Ashish said there is a pendulum between IT and business benefits. 



“Making the virtual physical is harder than making the physical virtual”

VM stands for Virtual Machine.

KVM is Kernel based VMs, a Linux based open source virtualization solution. 

Hypervisor is a platform virtualization environment that allows multiple operating systems to run on a host computer

Virtual Appliance: “A software implementation of a machine (i.e. a computer) that executes programs like a physical machine”


Figure 6, Source: SAP


Figure 6 shows the difference between VM’s and virtual appliance.

Evaluating virtualization – it is easy to increase the server sprawl.  The M in “VM” means you must fully license, deploy and install.  Licensing is complex as each VM needs a licensed operating system, database as in the real server world.  As an example, if you have a host with 8 physical CPUs, 3 VMs of 4 vCPUs each, the physical machines may actually be cheaper – do you need licenses for 12 CPUs?  Some vendors are making this easier with “VM licenses”

Cloud Computing

What is cloud computing?  Ashish provided this definition and the examples below.  Cloud Computing is computing services provided over the Internet (or “cloud”), whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand.  Examples follow:

  • Hardware (IaaS): Amazon EC2 (VMs), Rackspace, 1&1, GoDaddy, etc
  • Platforms (PaaS): Amazon EC2,, Microsoft Azure, Google App Engine
  • Applications (SaaS): GMail, Hotmail, Office Web, SFDC, SAP StreamWork, SAP ByDesign
  • Storage(STassS): EMC Mozy, Microsoft Skydrive, RapidShare,


Figure 7, Source SAP


Cloud computing can mean also anything, as Figure 7 shows.  You need to decide what it means to use and what use cases. 


Software as a Service “SaaS”

Per WikiPedia:  Sometimes referred to as “software on demand,” is software that is deployed over the internet. A provider licenses an application to customers either as a serviceon demand, through a subscription, in a “pay-as-you-go” model, or (increasingly) at no charge when there is opportunity to generate revenue from streams other than the user, such as from advertisement or user list sales. This approach to application delivery is part of the utility computing model where all of the technology is in the “cloud” accessed over the Internet as a service. 

Examples include Gmail, SAP StreamWork, SAP ByDesign,  You are renting not buying.

With SaaS you can match to your needs and simplify deployment as there is no installment or configuration.  There is “version-less software” as upgrades are incremental and do not require migration.  You can get new features and capabilities without reinstallation as with the traditional model.  You can end your service when your needs change and there is rapid innovation.  You can create mashups between multiple providers such as with integration between multiple SaaS providers can be very powerful (e.g. +


Figure 8, Source: SAP


Ashish reviewed what to watch for.  Security is a big deal especially when an employee leaves the company. 

Hybrid Deployments


Figure 9, Source: SAP


Figure 9 shows the Hybrid approach is where you have something on premise and in the cloud.


Figure 10, Source: SAP


StreamWork has been in the market for over a year and is an online collaborative decision making tool.  Figure 10 shows how you can have an enterprise version.   StreamWork is a hybrid model. 

So What is SAP Doing?


Figure 11, Source: SAP


Figure 11 shows that SAP has standardized its support for hypervisors across all SAP products.


SAP HANA is an example of an appliance that combines software and hardware. 

BI On Demand ( includes Crystal, BusinessObjects Explorer and other tools

Future Trends


Figure 12: Source: SAP


Where appliances are going – they will be bigger and bigger and go through “appliancization” such as Microsoft Word dictionary.  Appliances will deliver real applications.  Appliances will become platforms and become plug-ins.



Figure 13, Source: SAP


While today there are hardware appliances, they will move towards software or virtual hardware.  Today BWA requires a certain hardware or chip. 

Appliances will be cloud-like and spin them up and down more easily.


Figure 14, Source: SAP


We will see process virtualization in the future.


Ashish says to start small and start now.  Start with project and tiger teams.  Ashish says SAP is working in these areas and work with the existing vendors.  Identify an exit strategy (a 30 day ramp-down process).


SAP BusinessObjects Community (BOC):


SAP StreamWork Enterprise:



VMWare Virtual Appliance Marketplace:


VMWare’s SAP Resource Site:

BusinessObjects Support Policy for VMWare:

SAP’s internal use of XenServer:

KVM Resources:

Cloud Computing and SaaS:

SAP StreamWork:

SAP BusinessObjects OnDemand:

SAP BusinessByDesign:

Question & Answer:

Q: What Operating Systems are you considering for appliances? Is there any “embedded” OS on the market for this?

A: Yes there are some options – Windows and Linux.  StreamWorks is a Linux 11 based appliance but the OS is abstracted out – you are not exempt.  This is an example of an embedded OS. 

Q: Does Azure work with BusinessObjects products?

A:  It does have an Infrastructure as a service play, working on Crystal on Azure


Join Ashish for another ASUG Webcast on February 22ndon Architecting, Developing, and Optimizing a Virtual BI 4.0 Data Center . This webcast was set up at an ASUG member’s request.

Be the first to leave a comment
You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.