A brief introduction: My name is Kevin Dallaire and I work for the Technical Partner Alliance between Cisco and EMC. I am an EMC employee, and for the past few months I have been working closely on an initiative called “Accelerate to the Cloud”. This is a four company initiative between Cisco, EMC, VMware, and VCE that is meant to show how we leverage the best in breed technologies of the four respective companies to help provide customers scalable, efficient, and lower costing cloud architectures.
The first solution that we will be highlighting in this initiative is one of the most talked about big data analytics appliances in the industry and one that everyone reading this blog is very familiar with: HANA. Additionally, solutions involving VCE’s Vblock converged infrastructure platforms running SAP landscapes will also be highlighted.
To help me better explain the details of the benefits of Cisco, EMC, VMware, and VCE for SAP landscapes, Subject Matter Expert, Andy Sitison, has offered to give his insights and experiences on the technology and industry trends behind the solution to the SAP community.
Andy Sitison is a blogger writing on “Technical Influence on Business Directions”. Andy has 20 years experience systems integration and Information Technology industry. For other stories or more information on Andy, please visit his blog.(http://bit.ly/T0KuPR) or twitter: ASitison
“Why is HANA the Biggest Thing in Business Analytics Today?”
IN YOUR FACE…
Before taking a job in one the industry’s leading IT vendors, I spent 15 years in the systems integration business which provided me a strong dose of both business improvement and an understanding the generalized requirements from the CIOs I met along the way. First let’s state that everyone, no matter who you are, has their own customers to serve. Good CIO’s serve both the company’s senior management (CXOs, board), along with the hoard of employees who can be very demanding. These customers ultimately define the motivations of the CIO. Since 2000 there has been trending from senior management to an annual cadence of cost reduction in percentage doses. Add to that the persistent inconvenience in the fact that IT has become irrevocably more essential to business (thanks to companies like SAP). These two factors have driven an ever increasing requirement for “perfection” out of IT delivery. In a game of “Take away but do it better”, CIOs and their staff have worked to define processes that can help manage and motivate the organization to accomplish the ever more challenging goals. Service Level Agreements (SLAs) mark the definitive spot where the edge of “acceptable” can be found and are a great tool to communicate to the business. So much so, we have evolved the basic concept into the current wave of IT as a Service (ITaaS).
If all this wasn’t enough, you must consider the trends in the last decade to globalize company operations and thus IT. This has created many new complexities in delivering SLAs to the business. Another white elephant that has emerged, is the tremendous growth of data. Spend a few minutes reading on this study from IDC in 2011 (IDC Digital Universe Study from 2011), data is growing wicked fast. Data growth creates cost, governance and performance issues that stretch the shrinking budgets of CIOs.
Over the last handful of years these trends have driven an exodus from traditional scale up architectures of the 80’s and 90’s to newer technologies that have arisen from the open source masses like scale-out, map-R, etc ; and an optimization and industrialization of lower cost alternatives, as mission critical saviors. For example: “x86” and virtualization, use to pluck the low hanging opportunities in file print, now have matured into mission critical business applications to the point where some companies have virtualized their landscapes through the database servers. (read Virtual Geek for insiders look into these trends) Secondly the need for ITaaS and the maturation of virtualization gave birth to our current era of the cloud. “Cloud” is a term for abstracting the software from the physical hardware and the general freeing up of the limitations on how you serve up IT functionality and the business processes that support it. Cloud (whether public, private or hybrid) is a real leverage point for CIOs against these challenges. (Here’s another good blog on cloud and the data center)
Most of us know we’ve now crested into a new wave of analytics. CEOs, CFOs and boards alike have a new hunger to “understand” and take action on newly found knowledge. For me, analytics is a combination of: use case, data management, and the systems that support it. Companies have to invest in all three to develop new disciplines which can harness the power that analytics has to offer. It’s a big hill to climb alone. Using technologies that were available say just 2 years ago are limiting in the amount of processing and thus reduce the impact. SAP’s HANA in-memory database, with Sybase as the persistence layer, provides a unique combination of “best of the market” performance along with the collective IP of SAP, and it’s who’s-who list of customers. Demand of the senior management from the world’s top companies joined with the advanced technology in the SAP arsenal will make the biggest impact in the analytics market this year without a doubt.
HOW TO PROCEED?
HANA is great… but how do you deal with taking your current SAP landscape which spans many business functions and possibly contents and put all your focus on HANA? In my recent discussions with CIOs, I have been hearing this type of question frequently. My answer is “stage with cloud”. I suggest some combination of virtualization/cloud in conjunction with ITaaS. The companies who are investing in both cloud and ITaaS prepare themselves by shifting budgets from maintenance to their innovation projects like HANA. Leveraging cloud (btw: most start with private clouds) makes the SAP landscape more agile, more affordable and in our experience drives better performance. Additionally products like SAP’s LVM provide a common management layer to optimize maintaining the system. To net it out… we see customers implementing a HANA stack and using cloud technology to optimize their existing SAP landscape. Interesting enough EMC IT themselves just finished “go-live” for their Project Propel. Propel was a global launch of SAP where 95%+ of the environment was virtualized. On Sept 13th EMC IT will be talking about their success and their HANA deployment on a webcast. (I will post a webcast link on my blog aprox 8/10 or you can go to EMC events calendar)
Part of my reason for writing today is to tell you about the recently released certified HANA appliance from Cisco and EMC, and promote an upcoming ECN Webcast(Register) where SAP, Cisco, and EMC talk about HANA adoption.
A GOOD FIT
Many of you may know about VCE’s success with Vblock, which is a converged technology, comprised of Cisco Nexus & UCS products, VMware and EMC storage & security products. Vblock has made an impact in helping remove the barriers to the cloud because of its simplicity and maximum performance. Similarly, Cisco and EMC now provide a joint certified solution to help their customers exploit the opportunity that HANA provides while leveraging the trusted technologies they have come to expect from these world-class IT solution providers. Their new scale-out, highly available solution is designed for mission critical requirements while staying compliant to SAP specifications required for HANA appliances.
Some interesting points include that Cisco’s UCS blades are more efficient, scalable architecture that, because of their design, require less hardware. Additionally they have some serious kick in them, driving up to 70% more database performance. One of the coolest things about UCS are the “service profiles” which can be set up like templates that allow customers to deploy new SAP applications in minutes vs. hours. EMC provides one of their VNX workhorses to the stack, the VNX5300. Known for its efficiency because its ability to run at higher utilization levels, the VNX additionally provides 5 9’s availability, allowing the HANA appliance to provide much needed fault tolerance for this scale out solution. Additionally VNX leverages MPFS which provides up to 3x the performance of comparable solutions. This appliance is reportedly designed for the future in mind, providing an architectural foundation that will support upcoming features slated for HANA. Sounds like a winner, if you want to get more information on Cisco and EMC’s perspective on HANA and the changing SAP landscape, this following webcast is an excellent opportunity to gain some perspective on their strategy.
JOIN THE WEBCAST
Title: Cisco and EMC Transform SAP Landscapes Leveraging Big Data And Cloud
· Live public webcast on EMC Community Network
· 11:00 AM EST / 8:00 AM PST July 31st, 2012
· Includes live Q+A with Subject Matter Experts on July 31st
· Register here: http://bit.ly/QObx2o