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During SAP TechED 2014 in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, I met with many customers and analysts that were excited about the newest developments in SAP Lumira and how much has changed since TechED 2013. It was a really BIG year:  SAP Lumira on the desktop and Lumira Cloud have iterated through NINE releases, SAP Lumira Server on SAP HANA was released as “Generally Available” in May, and our SAP BI 4 integration add-on for Lumira Server is in limited release with select customers right now.

There was also a lot of excitement around “SAP Lumira Edge” (which we first introduced at SBOUC in Dallas last month), or what will be formally called “SAP Lumira, Edge edition” when it is officially released in 2015.  This is a new product we are working on that will bring the benefits of SAP Lumira Server to a number of scenarios where a customer has a smaller number of users or more modest data volumes and therefore where the full capabilities and scalability of SAP HANA are not absolutely necessary.

But First, the “Why”

Today, SAP Lumira Server uses SAP HANA as an execution platform and has capabilities not found or even not possible in other “data discovery” products in the market. It also leverages HANA’s computational superpowers to perform operations on exceptionally large datasets extremely quickly.  To understand how Lumira is different, you should review the previous articles in this series:

We have countless customers that want to deploy Lumira Server today but the need for HANA can be a significant blocker for many of them in the short term due cost or technical reasons.  Our customers have told us loud and clear:  we need to offer a new deployment option for SAP Lumira Server that can run on small footprint commodity hardware in addition to offering an SAP HANA-powered Lumira Server for those who have bigger needs.  This smaller type of solution would obviously not be able to handle as much data as SAP Lumira Server on SAP HANA, nor would it be able to handle as many users, but it would still be a viable option for many customers with smaller BI deployments today.

A Standalone SAP Lumira Server Without Requiring SAP HANA

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SAP’s “Edge” brand has always been positioned as a small-to-medium size enterprise (SME) offering that also appeals to lines of

business (LOB) within larger companies by providing significant value for smaller deployments.   Therefore “SAP Lumira, Edge edition” is envisioned to be a product with a lower barrier to entry that could later be scaled up as the business needs grow.  Note that this is not a functional successor to “BusinessObjects Edge” or any other “Crystal Edge” branded BI product, but a completely new product (with licensing to be announced later).

Initially, SAP Lumira, Edge edition (I’ll refer to it here sometimes as “Edge edition”) will be a standalone server aimed at use cases that require smaller datasets, lower data structure complexity, or limited interactivity and will rely on an new embedded, lightweight in-memory engine instead of SAP HANA.  To make it as easy to adopt as possible, it will run on commodity hardware, have lower memory requirements than HANA, and can even be deployed in a virtualized environment.  That is not a small feat when you consider how much a native deployment on SAP HANA enables SAP Lumira Server to do what it does today. Note that as a “standalone server”, Edge edition will initially not have integration or connectivity with the SAP BI suite and will likely support a limited number of data sources to start.

You have to understand that it is simply not realistic to expect moving to a smaller footprint platform from SAP HANA can be achieved without giving something up (discussed here: Why Do I Need Lumira Server (on HANA) To View Storyboards in SAP BI 4?).  SAP Lumira, Edge edition will have certain limitations on the size/complexity of the data and number of users it can handle concurrently so we are also planning an upgrade path  that includes the ability to add an SAP HANA to your existing deployment when your needs grow.  Of course if your needs are larger from the start, you will be able to go straight to SAP Lumira Server on SAP HANA without deploying Edge edition first.

Future: Bringing SAP Lumira Server to SAP BI 4


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SAP Lumira, Edge edition will be built using an architecture where the Lumira pieces and the in-memory engine can later be brought to the SAP BI Platform so all of our SAP BI 4.1 customers will be able to offer Lumira to their users.  Once this functionality is implemented, SAP BI 4 customers will be able to deploy additional services in their landscape to gain Lumira Server functionality without requiring an SAP HANA appliance.    We are also looking towards the future when you might want to augment your SAP BI 4 deployment with an SAP HANA system as your needs grow.

It is important to realize that deploying another application that includes an in-memory engine directly on top of the BI Platform will potentially require significant additional CPU and memory resources.  Ignoring this (hopefully obvious) fact would lead to a significant impact  on your existing deployment’s performance.  Remember that without an SAP HANA appliance, you are also without the 10’s of CPU cores and 100’s GB of RAM that typically comes along with it too!  So even if you are not using an SAP HANA appliance, you will still need to add additional computing resources (physical or virtual) in any case.

To be clear: we envision two scenarios for SAP BI 4 customers: one using an embedded in-memory engine and one with an off-board SAP HANA system providing additional calculation capabilities and scalability not possible with the first option.   We expect SAP Lumira, Edge edition customers to have both options as well.

Limited Runtime License for SAP HANA Included in the BI Suite License

One thing we should not forget in all of this talk about SAP HANA being a barrier for some customers – A “Limited Runtime License” of HANA is already included in certain “BI Suite” licenses right now.  This allows you to deploy SAP HANA on certified HANA hardware of any size (CPU cores and RAM) but is restricted to SAP Lumira Server use cases.   This license does not enable using SAP HANA as a general purpose database or application platform for any other solution, but does give you enough capability to use it for SAP Lumira Server of any size.

If you think that HANA’s licensing costs are overwhelming, you should look again: the “Limited Runtime License” is already included in qualifying BI Suite licenses and does not restrict how many CPU cores or RAM you need to use.  You should consult with your SAP representative on whether your BI license already includes this limited runtime or what the process is to change to the better licensing model.

What Are The Timelines?

SAP does not pre-announce products so there is not an official release date yet.  SAP Lumira, Edge edition and the upcoming SAP BI 4 version are “Planned Innovations”. This is roadmap-speak for a time horizon of “up to 3-12 months” and our lawyers tell us that we cannot provide a more specific timeline until certain requirements are met.

Many of our customers are very excited about SAP Lumira, Edge edition and want it as soon as possible so we have an aggressive plan to release this once it is ready.   We will likely will want to test with some customers in a limited release first, but this type of program is not for everyone.

Engaging with SAP on Lumira

We have recently announced a “Customer Validation” (CUV) Program to gather some initial feedback.  You can find more details about the program here: SAP Lumira, Team Server v1 Customer Validation program

For those of you who want to get more involved, there are many ways:  We have a Lumira Design council where participants work directly with our development teams on how some of our new features should be implemented, we have a Lumira ASUG Influence Council where we can focus more on your use cases and feedback to help us prioritize, and for those customers who are ready to deploy, we also have the “GA Care” program which is designed to help initial customers become successful for their production deployments.   Lastly, everyone can participate in the Lumira Idea place where you can not only suggest improvements to the product, but you can also join forces with other participants to “vote up” the priority on what we are working on.

These links are invaluable:

Read the BI Statement of Direction

Bringing new products like SAP Lumira, Edge edition raises the question of “what is the longer term strategy and roadmap for SAP BI?”:.  Earlier this year, we posted a “BI Statement of Direction” and this is required reading for anyone who wants to understand what we are doing.

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You will find a key message within the Statement of Direction is that we want to ensure it is easy to adopt our new solutions at your own pace.  SAP Lumira, Edge edition and the addition of the same technologies into the SAP BI 4 suite will allow all of our customers to adopt Lumira Server sooner without a large upfront cost while still enabling superior scale and performance using SAP HANA when it is required.  Note that the BI Statement of Direction covers the entire SAP BI 4 suite, not just Lumira so it is definitely worth a read. The associated AskSAP webinar on our future direction also is well worth the time to watch.

Finally, if you haven’t already read Jayne Landry’s article on our convergence  strategy, stop everything and take a few minutes to read it.

SAP Lumira, Edge edition: The Start of a New Journey

You can see we are working hard on getting SAP Lumira to more customers, but this will take some time to do it right.  A low-cost option for “small footprint” systems that brings in-memory capabilities to commodity hardware, while still fulfilling the promise of a product that natively leverages SAP HANA is no short order.  We are not able to release many technical details at this time, but stay tuned – if you have read my other blog posts or have met me you will likely know I’m pretty insistent on getting the details right and out in the open.  In future blog posts I’ll be continuing to dive into more SAP Lumira details and we’ll take this exciting journey together.  πŸ˜‰

(Update 11/12/14: The proper name is “SAP Lumira, Edge edition” – a previous version of this article incorrectly referred to it as “SAP Lumira Server, Edge edition”.  Also the name “Team Server” referenced elsewhere is also incorrect)


(Update 11/26/14: The follow-on article to this one is now posted: SAP Lumira Server is Not a Ford Model “T” )

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15 Comments

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  1. Γ‰ric Ledu

    Thank you very much for this blog Ashish: clear, well explained and with the right  technical details, as always πŸ˜‰

    I guess it was not easy to take this decision (a HANA-free Lumira server), but I am pretty sure that your efforts will be much appreciated by the smaller customers !

    Regards

    Eric

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  2. Donatas Budrys

    Hi, Ashish,

    Thank you for this great review of upcoming SAP Lumira Server, Edge Edition solution and keeping our hopes that one all our customer will be able to use SAP Lumira and BI4 together.

    Best regards,

    Donatas Budrys

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  3. Mike Howles

    As someone who’s been vocal more than once about wanting a non-HANA version of Lumira Server (for reasons you’ve already touched on) – All I can say is BRAVO and THANK YOU.  I still see the reasoning for a HANA XS platform variety of Lumira Server from an ‘end game’ perspective but this definitely eases the transition by testing the functionality and user engagement to rationalize the investment in the hardware for a HANA version.  Excellent news.

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  4. Ashish Morzaria Post author

    Thanks everyone for the feedback!

    I’m glad these articles are helping get our story out. Please message me if there are other Lumira topics you’d like to see or something needs some “spotlight”. πŸ˜‰

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  5. Wolfgang Mayer

    Hi Ashish,
    any information on what datasources will be available for Lumira Edge (Team Server)? Only using XLS data is not sufficient, even for SMEs. Connection to a SAP system (using JavaConnector, JSON, Odata) possible?
    Thanks & Regards Wolfgang

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    1. Ashish Morzaria Post author

      Hi Wolfgang: 

      Initial data sources will indeed be quite limited – especially during our CuV period.  That said, additional data sources will definitely be coming – including BOBJ Universes, more JDBC sources, and “other” sources like OData as well. 

      The focus of the initial release is to get a solid product out there quickly that can be used immediately with a limited number of data sources.  With our relatively quick release cycles, the plan is to rapidly add capabilities (not just which data sources can be used, but actual functional and UX changes as well) as quickly as possible.  How quick?  Nothing official, but quarterly releases are not out of the question. 

      Note that while this type server can be used by any size of organization, it’s primary target is the SMEs and LOBs and therefore the prioritization will focus on this market, even though we know that large SAP shops need the same Lumira capabilities and may not want to deploy a much larger solution (the problem with prioritization is there cannot be two “#1’s”).  We plan on addressing the needs of this market in short order too, so don’t think we’ve forgotten about you! 

      Ashish

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      1. Wolfgang Mayer

        Hi Ashish,

        thanks for that comprehensive reply!

        Can you already estimate when the Lumira edge edition approx. will be available for SAP partners, for example as partner ramp-up?

        Regards

        Wolfgang

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        1. Ashish Morzaria Post author

          Hi Wolfgang:

          Edge should be available a lot sooner than you’d think – this is definitely the “new SAP”.  We already announced applications for a “Customer Validation Program” and things are moving along nicely.  I would suggest reaching out with the contact info in the link above.  No promises as we are focusing on customers moving to production more than partners, but let’s say that since we are already well down the path, everyone should have access pretty soon. 

          The lawyers don’t let me give timelines, but one of the worst kept secrets is that SAP is a Sapphire/TechED driven company which gives us an opportunity to highlight releases of super cool things every 6 months – in Q2 and in Q4. πŸ™‚

          Ashish

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    1. Henry Banks

      Hi,

      You need to be licensed for it, of course.  Normally, you’d find it under https://support.sap.com/software.html  and follow the path: Analytics -> Lumira Team Server -> Lumira Team Server 1.0

      Maybe check out the  AQ here https://support.sap.com/software/help/faq.html   see line “I don’t see the product or software that I need. What should I do?”

      then I’d recommend going through here: https://support.sap.com/keys-systems-installations/installations.html     (this is in a related part of the portal where you would maintain System (inc. license keys) and Installation(s) data. 

      Click “Contact your local SAP contract department”  ->  “Contact Us” and complete the form to get the ball rolling.

      Regards,

      H

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  6. Andreas J A Schneider

    To summarize:

    If I wanted to access SAP Lumira “reports”/dashbiards/storyboard via “BI Launchpad” in SAP BI 4.1 I would need:

    • The Lumira Add-on for SAP BI 4.1 server
    • A Lumira Server running on the side, that is either Lumira Server on SAP HANA OR Lumira Edge?
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  7. Andreas J A Schneider

    Answering my own question:

    There seem to be three distinct scenarios how to deploy Lumira Server:

    • Install SAP Lumira on SAP HANA/ xs Engine
    • Install SAP Lumira Team Server (Windows only at this time) with its own velocity engine (=no SAP HANA needed)
    • Install the Lumira Server Add-on for SAPBI, which requires an existing SAP BI 4.1 Server and installs on top a Lumira Service (similar to a Webi Proc Server, etc.)., which can be administered via CMC. Note: At this time this Lumira Server Add-on is for Windows Server only and utilizes the “velocity engine”

      This Scenario offers the best Integration of Lumira with SAP BI 4.1 IMHO.

      Make sure you size your SAP BI 4.1 server accordingly for more RAM and CPU power, when installing this Lumira Server add-on on top.
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