SAP Sapphire 2015 – Day 2 – Technical point of view
Seems my commitment to write one blog each day is already very behind. Keynote on Wednesday was packed with information so it took some time to summarize all the information and the summary is quite long.
Second part of the blog is again about one technical update that I considered to be quite important and which in my opinion did not get enough attention.
Here is the cross-link section how to get to individual blog entries:
To keep some structure I decided to add my own sections based on the content. Sections were not part of the keynote.
Roadmap to the digital transformation
Bernd Leukert started the keynote by stating that digital economy will lead to two changes – software will be THE driver to create more value and that customer interaction will change.
He challenged all businesses to re-imagine the promise to the customers by moving from selling things to selling outcomes – stating that business models and supporting systems need to change. He recommended three steps on this roadmap:
- Spend less time in non-valued tasks (by introducing 4th generation core – S/4 HANA)
- Embrace the digital economy (opportunity to create new models and processes, to use software and connectivity of things to build business on SAP HANA Cloud Platform)
- Leverage the power of business networks (extend the applications into the business networks)
He said that one common platform is required to make this shift where SAP HANA is the foundation. It is the opportunity to eliminate complexity customers built into their systems by using advanced features which could be leveraged (geospatial, text mining, structured and unstructured, etc.)
What is new in S/4 HANA
Bernd outlined that now the software can work more intelligently with the existing data then in past and supported this statement by example of production planner who identified supply shortage. Until now he had to use his past experience to decide himself without the right information on next steps to do. Now the software can combine the financial and logistics data, propose options and simulate results of these options helping the planner to make right decision.
He stated that S/4 HANA is breaking boundaries of individual departments (in previous example breaking silos between finance and logistics) and it is the enabler for transformation and reinvention of the business. This is was illustrated on demo
He said that S/4 HANA is designed for data driven business, that it works with granular data and therefore it does not need to presync or predefine the questions, it uses predictive features directly on operational data – all that without the need to replicate the data to different system.
New programming model was designed for in-memory platform leading to reduction of the data footprint – example of healthcare customer going from 54 TB to less than 5 TB. Analytics was deployed directly to the data accelerating the analytics by 1800x also increasing the system throughput 7 times (by removing operations to create and update redundant data). He made statement that total cost of ownership can be reduced by more than 30%.
He said that non-disruptive integration and migration is achieved by keeping data structures stable. Based on customer feedback redundant features were removed keeping only superior functions (examples: new general ledger only, extended warehouse management only, etc.) This is complemented by additional enhancements improving these features. S/4 HANA is based on new user interface running on SAP Fiori – making the user experience simple and intuitive and consistent across devices like PC, tablet or mobile.
Since the digital transformation is different at every company SAP decided to decompose S/4 HANA into modules – not delivering anymore one monolithic block but rather pre-integrated set of blocks where customers can use what they really need and how they need – practically building their own suite. All these modules are also pre-integrated with other SAP technologies like Fieldglass, Hybris, SuccessFactors, Ariba and Concur.
S/4 HANA runs natively in cloud but can be also deployed on premise. More than 400 customers decided for S/4 HANA. Bernd announced availability of S/4 HANA for all 25 industries supported by SAP. Innovations will be shipped every quarter (to cloud edition).
Transition to S/4 HANA
How to get to S/4 HANA? According to Bernd the transition will happen in three steps:
- Migrate to SAP HANA – all will continue to run as before including modifications and customizations (due to the promise to keep the data model stable)
- Upgrade to S/4 HANA – apply the innovation introducing puristic data model removing the waste
- Continue on run premise or use S/4 HANA in a cloud
He outlined that this transition should be taken as opportunity to remove the obsolete parts and to clean up the system. He asked customer to de-modify their existing systems, to eliminate modifications which are not used and to replace what can be replaced by standard functionality. He suggested that all remaining modifications should be implemented in extension platform for S/4 HANA which is HANA Cloud Platform.
SAP also developed pre-configured best practices for ~100 foundational processes with integration scenarios delivered out-of-the-box with guided configuration.
Presented message was complemented by customer example – Manish Choksi, CIO at Asian Paints.
Bernd summarized the first part by stating that with S/4 HANA there is opportunity to refocus on original idea of the company but also to re-imagine the original idea and to grow beyond what is available today.
What is SAP HANA Cloud Platform
SAP HANA Cloud Platform was second product discussed on the keynote. It is open platform that can support the agility of new business area, it is allowing customers to extend S/4 HANA, but it can also be used independently to deal with new business.
It is allowing customers to build new applications or extend existing SAP applications. He stated that there are already 1000 apps on app center. The message was illustrated by example of application to fight fraud by simplifying fraud investigation.
According to Bernd HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) is already having 1400 customers, 140+ partners, 70.000+ developer accounts..
HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) is revolutionary and content rich:
- HCP provides all benefits of SAP HANA itself
- HCP is complemented by service APIs to the platform allowing custom developers to build Fiori based experience
- Technology stack was decomposed to ready to use services – Fiori as a service, Fiori Build (WYSIWYG environment), mobile as a service, etc..
- HCP comes with integration layer – allowing to integration of new applications into the existing landscape
HANA Cloud Platform as answer to Internet of Things
Bernd announced that HANA Cloud Platform is SAP way forward going into Internet of Things topic.
Siemens selected to use HANA Cloud Platform for Siemens Cloud for Industry. Dr. Peter Weckesser, CEO of the Customer Services Division at Siemens Industry Sector was invited to present Siemens Cloud for Industry.
Peter stated that digitization in industry is leading to transition from selling products to selling outputs of the products. Siemens plans to allow their customers to build products which are IoT enabled. They need open ecosystem with three dimensions:
- Open device-to-cloud connectivity allowing 3rd party to use same connectivity in their products
- Open deployment – cloud deployment (public/private), on premise deployment
- Open development – to allow ecosystem to build applications to be built in the cloud
Ability of HANA Cloud Platform to succeed in area of Internet of Things was demonstrated by demo of IoT implementation with different customer – CenterPoint – showing predictive grid maintenance – the new way how to manage utility industry.
Bernd stated that Internet of Things is changing economics of how companies can create value. New services are available which were not available before without IoT platform.
This brings new question how to face data explosion where IoT is generating petabytes of data. SAP roadmap for next half of 2015 is to address this by combining SAP HANA with Hadoop as data container with SPARK Cluster Manager as distribution engine connecting HANA and Hadoop.
Karenann Terrell, CIO at Walmart, with Robert Enslin, member of the SAP Executive Board and president of Global Customer Operations joined Bernd Leukert to have panel discussion about SAP technologies.
Bernd summarized key takeaways – it is important to:
- Apply 4th generation system (S/4 HANA) to win in the digital age
- Re-imagine the business and use SAP HANA Cloud Platform to standardize S/4 HANA
- Leverage the openness use connectivity to the things to introduce new business models
- Stay simple and close to the customers – to connect to the networks
Steve Singh started his part of keynote by saying he will talk about two points:
- How the services being delivered by SAP business networks group can help to run business today
- Vision for the future of business networks and how the connected networks can improve performance of customer business by making decisions on customer’s behalf
He stated that mission of business networks group is simple – to connect customer business to the world and to connect the world to customer business – to allow networks to intelligently behave on customer behalf.
He summarized the demo from Tuesday about Concur working on mission to deliver perfect trip with perfect expense report being enabled by Concur business network. He said that value of every network increase exponentially as individual suppliers, partners and developers connect to the network.
He explained that business network can deliver client centric experience – where all vendors are focused on the customer in the center – and that this is possible only by using business networks that know and understand the customer.
He also introduced other two SAP business networks:
- Ariba is largest community of trading partners with 1.7 million buyers and sellers connected to this network. Network is helping customers to understand full range of suppliers and options they offer and helping suppliers to understand their customers.
- Fieldglass was introduced by demo video – this network is focusing on external temporary workforce – helping the business to find correct partners to execute the project and to manage the relationship end-to-end (from selection to the payment).
Vision for future is in connecting all business networks together and allowing them to work together. This was illustrated on example. Objective to connect these networks together can be achieved by using SAP HANA Cloud Platform and available APIs.
Whole keynote can be replayed here: http://events.sap.com/sapphirenow/en/session/15951
Announcements (technical part)
As before there is one announcement I would like to cover more in detail. Since I was expecting some VMware related updates and there was nothing on the keynotes I went to meet VMware and asked them about what is new in area of SAP HANA virtualization.
Update is that on Wednesday SAP approved SAP HANA scale-out on vSphere in controlled availability.
In following articles you can find more details worth reading:
SAP HANA Scale-out on vSphere available! by Achim Stohr
This information is also confirmed by SAP Notes – since S-user is required and content is not generally available I added extracts from the notes – please be sure to always check latest version.
SAP Note 1788665 – SAP HANA Support for virtualized / partitioned (multi-tenant) environments
„VMware vSphere 5.5 with SAP HANA SPS 07 (or later releases) for production and non-production use cases: In Controlled Availability for SAP BW, powered by SAP HANA scale-out scenarios.“
SAP Note 2157587 – SAP Business Warehouse, powered by SAP HANA on VMware vSphere in scale-out and production (controlled availability)
„By issuing this SAP Note, SAP extends support for SAP HANA on VMware to include controlled availability of SAP Business Warehouse (BW), powered by SAP HANA, on VMware vSphere 5.5 in production and scale-out deployments, providing all the following conditions have been met:
- Customers have gone through a special approval process to gain SAP support for SAP BW, powered by SAP HANA running on VMware in scale-out and production. See http://www.saphana.com/docs/DOC-3334 for more details on approval process.
- Existing restrictions and guidance for SAP HANA virtual scenarios, as outlined in SAP Note 1995460 and 2024433, do apply – with following exceptions:
- SAP HANA multi-node / scale-out deployment configurations are supported in context of SAP BW, powered by SAP HANA.
- The support for SAP HANA host auto-failover (aka stand-by) solutions is currently limited to those hardware vendors, which have already tested their SAP HANA Storage Connector API or STONITH setup also with VMware vSphere.“
This update was also reflected in following summary blog:
SAP HANA on VMware vSphere by Erik Rieger
Interesting information to notice in the blog above is what the next steps on roadmap are:
- Support of larger VMs (4 TB) and 8-socket hardware with VMware vSphere 6
- Support for Multi-VM and Scale-Out in GA
Since I was interested in dates I went to VMware booth and asked Bob Goldsand about estimated target dates – he gave me following information:
- Support for VMware vSphere 6 (single node) by the end of June (H1/2015)
- Support for VMware vSphere 6 (scale-out) by the end of December (H2/2015)
- Support for Multi-VM in GA by the end of June (H1/2015)
I personally believe that SAP is doing right thing by releasing the SAP HANA from the jail and allowing customers and hosting partners to treat it in similar way like other software products are being managed. This will add elasticity and will decrease the costs which will lead to higher SAP HANA adoption. That is win-win situation for everyone.