Last week SAP had their annual SapphireNow event in Orlando, Florida with over 20K people in attendance. Nutanix has been a global technology partner with SAP and AHV certified for the entire Netweaver suite of products for a few years now. Hundreds of customers trust the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform for their mission critical SAP environments. But this year was special because Nutanix was able to announce that we have jointly with SAP validated AHV, and our Enterprise Cloud Solution, for SAP HANA non-production environments. It would not have been possible without a dedicated and focused effort across many different teams in Nutanix. This is the first major step towards having Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI), and the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform, recognized as capable of running SAP HANA for production. This is also the first time since virtualization was introduced more than a decade ago that a completely new category was created for certification by SAP. So why HCI and how is that different from other SAP HANA validations/certification, why non-production, and what does this mean to you, our valued customers and prospects?
Prior to HCI being recognized as a validation/certification category for SAP HANA there were only two primary ways to get HANA. A pre-engineered and certified appliance from SAP HANA OEM Hardware Partners, which consisted of a server with all the components, including local storage, being validated in one bundle, or TDI. TDI stands for tailored datacenter integration, which included certified servers purchased separately and then combined with certified enterprise storage systems, which is then integrated/installed by the customer or integration partner, and supported by the different OEM vendors. HCI brings both of these components together, with the predictability and consistency of the pre-engineered appliance model, plus the flexibility of enterprise storage, and simplicity of HCI.
So why did SAP create a new category of validation/certification in the first place, what pain points were they trying to solve? There are a couple of different aspects to this. SAP is hyper focused on customer experience and customer support (very much like Nutanix), as they know their solution is mission critical and supports 76%+ of every financial transaction in the world today. They wanted a simple, consistent and predictable experience for SAP HANA, that was easy to support, highly resilient, meeting all of the performance criteria, fast to deploy, fast to migrate to, and at the same time flexible and easy to manage (not an easy thing with traditional approaches).
The appliance option lacked the flexibility many customers demanded, and the TDI option was complex and slow to implement. SAP really wanted fast deployment times and faster migration times to help encourage SAP customers to rapidly adopt HANA, without sacrificing the support predictability that comes with a pre-engineered appliance approach (no finger pointing with support). Nutanix took the lead in working with SAP to define the very strict validation and certification criteria for SAP HANA on HCI. As the founder and leader in the Hyperconverged Category (according to Gartner’s latest magic quadrant for hyperconvered infrastructure, as well as by revenue in the public earnings reports), this was logical.
As an example of how Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform helps improve SAP deployment and upgrade times, we had a customer recently complete a 9 months planned SAP patch upgrade, in approximately 2 months, saving 7 months on the project timeline, and a significant dollar amount in the process. SAP Projects are usually measured in months or years, so having rapid deployment with simple management afterwards is a significant benefit to customers, the savings can easily be measured in the millions of Dollars, Euros or Pounds.
SAP HANA HCI Validation/Certification is more than just about fast deployment and migration. The certification criteria also includes day two operations, such as upgrades (HCI software, hypervisor, disk firmware, NIC firmware, BIOS, BMC), expansion, resiliency and failure handling, noisy neighbor prevention, continuous system health checks for configuration errors, and monitoring, troubleshooting and support. It really is the complete end to end package.
The first step is for the hyperconvered platform vendor, in this case Nutanix with our Enterprise Cloud Platform, to validate the hypervisor and HCI stack that will be used. Next the chosen SAP HANA OEM Hardware Partners need to certify their hardware with the chosen HCI platform. The testing criteria is quite brutal, especially when it comes to performance, both during normal operations, and day two scenarios while under load. It’s fair to say that compromise on the performance and testing criteria is not an option.
Initial hardware partners that will be offering certified appliances for SAP HANA on Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform with AHV include Dell and Lenovo. More hardware partners will be certified in the future.
While the validation Nutanix is announcing is only for SAP HANA non-production environments, full production validation will be announced in the near future, along with the full model list of certified hardware vendor appliances. This is the first major step along the road of making it faster and simpler to deploy, migrate to, and operate SAP HANA environments.
This post first appeared on the Long White Virtual Clouds blog at longwhiteclouds.com. By Michael Webster +. Copyright © 2012 – 2018 – IT Solutions 2000 Ltd and Michael Webster +. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced for commercial purposes without written permission.