Beginning in 2014, I’m no longer going to try to personally rank my favorite projects here in the SAP Co-Innovation Lab. It has simply become impossible to do it with so many projects easily meeting if not flat out exceeding, whatever ranking criteria I come up with to call my favorite.


You can at least know when a COIL project grabs my undivided attention when I drop what I’m doing and decide to write a blog post about it. This has become the case with the latest work being pursued here in the lab with SAP, Citrix and NVIDIA.  I will however admit to injecting a wee bit of bias in that I tend to like projects where the focus or end result relates to the topic of data visualization and this one definitely qualifies.


Back in early summer, the SAP 3D Visual Enterprise team began working in a limited way with Citrix Receiver to make SAP 3D VE accessible and usable to a mobile client. Following some initial discussions with the 3D VE team at SAPPHIRE Citrix decided to run a PoC as a project in COIL. NVIDIA as one of the newest project members to join COIL this year, has contributed a white box featuring its NVIDIA GRIDTM Boards. While the project is only now starting to examine the scalability and performance possible, the basic functionality is in place and Multi-touch enablement is now in play. This was successfully shown at SAP TechEd earlier in Las Vegas and Amsterdam.


The team is now crafting a number of scalability and performance tests.


This COIL project seeks to orchestrate all of the required elements spanning 3 different use cases to showcase how an end user can remotely access and productively use this important SAP application where performance, functionality and overall user experience is served by leveraging complementary technologies and capability provided by select Citrix and NVIDIA components.


Business Challenges


Underscoring nearly all COIL projects is an interest in driving co-innovation results that can fully address one or more known business challenges. In this particular case the question is posed:


How does a remote, mobile client user of SAP 3D Visual Enterprise Software securely access and productively use the software over sometimes unpredictable wide area networks without incurring the costs associated with expensive dedicated Telco-delivered bandwidth and or complex and expensive fat client technologies?


WAN links in terms of available, prioritized bandwidth and latency can vary widely and as such can contribute to a wide range of customer experiences; not all satisfactory. Nonetheless businesses press forward every day in pursuit of sustaining and enhancing the new desktop which is mobile. Today’s end user submitting BI queries triggering computationally intensive correlation analysis or trying to view an immensely complex 3D CAD drawing wants to get a fast return from the last finger tap, swipe or mouse click whether they actually sit on the local LAN where the target server lives, or are thousands of miles away working from a remote work site in the middle of a desert of jungle.


COIL Project Objectives


  1. Establish 3 use cases for remote use of SAP 3D Visual Enterprise showcasing effective, productive use of the software by a remote client
  2. Document/Diagram a suitable reference architecture required to deploy such an end to end solution for an SAP 3D Visual Enterprise user
  3. Show by way of comparison, this solution to more legacy and inferior or cost prohibitive methods used to achieve the same result
  4. Create a compelling demo to illustrate use of SAP 3D Visual Enterprise features and functions via a Citrix Receiver-enabled client device


So the scope of this project is to leverage existing SAP development provided capabilities of SAP 3D Visual Enterprise to effectively work with a Citrix XenDesktop/Receiver powered client.


Many customers need to run SAP 3D VE in a secure environment behind the corporate firewall to avoid problems with IP protection, and yet additionally, many firms want to enable employees using mobile devices to have access to the graphical display/dashboard offered by SAP 3D VE. This is what Citrix brings to the table with its VDI technology.  A successful COIL project result will serve to strengthen the business case for why Citrix and for SAP customers knowing they can buy SAP 3D VE with the added confidence of implementing against security and performance requirements using Citrix.

Once the team has its scalability and performance tests fully formed up (hopefully before the holiday break), we will implement the test environment in COIL and start generating the user loads to begin capturing dataand doing the needed performance analysis. Assuming we stay on schedule, we can look for the first whitepaper and demos to become available in early Q1. If you cannot possibly wait until then and this blog has whet your appetite for more right now, then you might want to check out and register for the Citrix Special Event happening this week Virtualizing 3D Professional Graphics Apps

There is also a nice blog on the subject that Roland Wartenberg wrote while he was at TechEd in Las Vegas that you may want to see too.

As I mentioned at the start, this project gets directly at the importance and value of data visualization, not only from what is possible with SAP Visual Enterprise 3D, but also working to ensure that the end user can get access to such visualization from nearly anywhere on the planet with a connection to the Internet.

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