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SAP HANA

SAP HANA Cloud expert panel – Ep 1: The migration process

Migrating SAP HANA workloads and databases to the cloud seems to be a very complex and challenging task. However, you can tap into the right skills and experience to carry out your HANA migration successfully.

Nayoka Oware

Disruptive Live presenter

David Spurway

IBM Power Systems CTO, UK & Ireland

Narendhar Tangella

Data Management Technical Architect, Blue Chip

Matt Lovell

CEO of Centiq

Nayoka Oware: Welcome to Disruptive, I am Nayoka Oware and today we will be discussing SAP HANA on Blue Chip Cloud. I'm joined by three industry experts, David Spurway; Matt Lovell and Narendhar Tangella. How you all doing?

Team: Very well. Great!

Nayoka: Wonderful. Matt, can we start with you? Let's get to the genesis of SAP on the cloud, can you tell us more about it?

Matt Lovell: Yeah, I mean it's really interesting and challenging for customers at this moment in time. For SAP is meeting an inflection point and that inflection point is SAP wish it to be the only database in terms of HANA that SAP is supported on after 2025, and 2025 might be five and a half years away, but actually if you're talking about your business-critical SAP assets and migrating those to HANA, that's a complex project. But it's also the opportunity that HANA as an in-memory database architecture gives businesses to enable real-time capabilities, real-time analytics and real-time processing. And there are so many options available to customers. It's really good that we're all here today, to really help break down those challenges for customers and Centiq as SAP experts, HANA experts particularly, can help engender the SAP side of the discussion, but it's important I think we start with a platform.

Nayoka: Of course, thank you for that. Narendhar, tell us how Blue Chip is linked to SAP HANA.

Narendhar Tangella: Blue Chip has been working with Power Systems for a number of years and we've got highly specialised skills in the areas of operating systems that run on Power. We've helped a lot of customers running SAP or ECC workloads on AIX or Power or IBM i, and as they're progressing their journey into HANA cloud, we can capitalise on our expertise dealing with ECC and help them migrate into HANA cloud.

Nayoka: Thank you, and David would you like to elaborate and talk about the Power side?

David Spurway: Sure. Certainly happy to, because, Power platform, after all, is something that we've got across a large number of businesses running the core and critical business assets for lots of our customers all across the country and around the world. Many of those are running SAP today, so SAP has been running on those as one of the largest ISVs we've had running on our platform for many many years. Now as we move forward into the new SAP HANA kind of world, then again it kind of talks to the platform as you quite rightly say, so our Power boxes have a very long-standing and very justified reputation for very very high performance, very very good reliability. But it's really the flexibility that we can actually bring to the party when it comes to SAP HANA that is the real differentiator here, that we're able to, potentially, depending on what the actual environment we're looking at, is, maybe it's an environment where the customer already has SAP running on Power boxes, which is very very common. There we can use the virtualisation technologies to be able to grow the SAP HANA instance right alongside on the same physical platform as the existing SAP instance. Alternatively, if it's a brand new greenfield then we could also deploy that to make that flexible too. And that sizing could be a challenge and I think one might talk about that a little bit later on, but with the flexibility, we can make sure that we don't end up with increased costs because we can 'right size' it as we go along.

Nayoka: Wonderful. And David you are IBM Power Systems CTO?

David: I am! UK & Ireland.

Nayoka: I have a question for you. How is it possible for me to put my IBM Power Systems into the cloud?

David: There are many ways. And we are rolling out with some of the hyperscale providers around the world to be able to deploy Power boxes there, to be able to run instances there. We, inside of our own cloud, we announced that at the IBM Think conference in February this year, they'll be to put various instances of IBM Power boxes into our own cloud as well, but we in the UK have the privilege of being able to have a number of our business partners have created their own clouds which can do a variety of different things like, that could be the AIXs, it could be the IBM is, but also, potentially, also the SAP HANA of this world, and so, very privileged to be joined by one of those, Matt at Blue Chip, who can deploy their own cloud as opposed, very much different from a standard managed service, being able to roll these instances out with the flexibility you'd expect from cloud and moving that data workload off the customers to those that actually have the skills to do it and Blue Chip are one of those.

Nayoka: Wonderful, can you briefly take me through the process of how I go about getting my IBM Power Systems onto the cloud?

David: Sure, so there are a variety of different ways, as we talked about a little bit earlier on, this could be an example where we having existing as SAP or existing other workloads - but SAP is our focus today - running on Power boxes. If that's the case it's already run by Blue Chip, as many customers are, then we'd be able to have the sort of process of being able to migrate that across, potentially using the same footprint, Blue Chip also have the automation to be able to deploy that onto other, newer platforms, new Power boxes, if that's desirable. Alternatively, if we're talking about a customer that doesn't exist inside of the Blue Chip Cloud today, it's therefore probably a kind of greenfield kind of world, and again we'd be able to use the automation to roll out those instances very quickly and easily without needing to get into lots of technical detail about how it'd actually be done. So we can offload the work from the customer, to understand the platform piece and to be able to roll SAP HANA as one example out onto the Power boxes very quickly and very easily.

Nayoka: Thank you. Thank you for that breakdown! Now, Matt, we are aware that SAP is run on IBM Power Systems, but why exactly is that?

Matt: Well, IBM's got a proven track record of running large scale, so as organisations have leveraged the power of HANA, have leveraged the capabilities of real-time processing, they might have initially started with business warehouse and reporting and management data for the businesses, now organisations are approaching the core, so the migration of ECC into S4/HANA, simplified for HANA. Those instances tend to be much larger. And organisations are looking at either placing together building blocks if they use a non-IBM style approach in terms of leveraging that, whether that be in private cloud or public cloud or on-premise, or indeed if you wish to scale out in a singular building architecture with a proven track record of portability, IBM has much larger-scaled offerings - again, certified by SAP and certification's important - for organisations to migrate.
And again it's about simplicity and de-risking the problems for a customer. So IBM offers that as a supported route, a certified supported route and again looking at the skills requirement. You see again, the relationship with Blue Chip here is taking the pain away from the customer, the skills around the platform. So it's enabling the business to make that change faster and at lower risk, with the flexibility that they're looking for, with all the benefits that they would get from DevOps and an agile approach.

Nayoka: Well, that's wonderful. I'm sure customers will be grateful to know that you're taking some pain away from them, considering all the pain we go through in life! Would you say that it's wise to move from x86 to IBM Power?

Matt: So the options are there for customers to consider very carefully. Again, the expertise here and working with proven partners, takes a lot of that risk and a lot of the choice away. So, fundamentally, the problem we're trying to solve for customers, is accelerating business change. Now, if you have a lot of consideration around the platform components or indeed, proof of concept and proving that, that can obviously expedite a project plan in its own right. What we're doing here is bringing in methodologies and templates to a customer, to say 'this is the best platform for you', and as organisations migrate larger workloads, IBM have a proven record for the larger instances, with the Power platform and the Power architecture, to deliver that in a smaller number of building blocks. And that's why it's an important consideration for customers to look at that, and they still get the flexibility and they still get the agility and they get the support from the relationship with IBM and Blue Chip and Centiq.

Nayoka: Wonderful. Can you share some of the biggest advantages of using IBM Power Systems in the cloud?

Matt: IBM obviously has a proven methodology for customers today, if the organisation and these are large organisations with large datasets, it's looking for a straight forward migration from where they are today and they are a proven IBM customer today with a skills base in supporting that.
It may be a more logical decision for a customer to consider maintaining that platform, and it's not about migrating into the cloud, but it's actually leveraging all the proven technologies and processes to complete the migration. But having the portability thereafter as an organisation may wish to move the workload around, it may choose between different cloud options, it may choose between on-premise and hybrid topology. So it's keeping those options open for a customer, but delivering proven performance and again, that's one of the proven track records that IBM have in the HANA space.

Nayoka: Thank you for sharing that, Narendhar, David, I saw you nodding away in agreement! Narendhar, be completely honest with me, would you say that Power Systems are cloud ready?

Narendhar: Absolutely! There is an assumption that Power Systems aren't cloud-ready, but they are ready and they've been ready for a number of years. It's just that they're complex to deal with, but providers like Blue Chip and IBM can take away the pain and made it really easier to bring them into cloud. We already use open source innovation to automate and orchestrate Power Systems cloud and it's no different to any x86 or any other public cloud.

Nayoka: Thank you. David, I'd like to ask you the same question, do you believe Power Systems are cloud ready?

David: Absolutely and again, we do encounter with our customers on a regular basis that there is a desire to go to cloud-first, that cloud is a direction of cloud that they wish to take, which makes perfect sense, as a hybrid kind-of cloud, it makes an awful lot of sense for a business change, after all. But a lot of that flexibility can be buried under terminology, if we're talking about being able to have that kind of agility and being able to roll out instances very quickly using the automation, Power Systems are absolutely built to do that. In some ways, we have, with some of our solutions, advantages that x86 simply doesn't. So we have the ability to do capacity on demand, for example, or we can actually have the systems installed with more resources in them that are actually turned on, and then we can grow them in a very precise, very granular fashion which can speak quite nicely, towards a desired format for a customer to get them that cloud and control costs and potentially be able to vary the costs over time. So yes, I would say Power Systems are absolutely there with the additional benefits of high reliability, planned performance, that we mentioned earlier.

Nayoka: Wonderful breakdown, thank you for that! Matt, lastly, how are Power Systems a strong differentiator for organisations running SAP HANA and S4/HANA?

Matt: Okay, so, many organisations have relied upon an IBM platform for a considerable period of time. There is a large investment in both skills and the reliability and sustainability of an IBM platform to deliver business-critical SAP services. So organisations have that trust, and that trust is continued by considering and continuing the platform in terms of IBM. But again, it's understanding how that will perform for them and again, maintaining that approach in terms of the scale that an organisation is looking for, particularly in the larger-sized HANA instances and the proven responsiveness and performance curve that they need from that HANA database, not just at initial implementation, but as they grow. It's important also to consider total cost of ownership, so organisations will rely upon SAP and HANA for a large number of years as they have done today and that investment is not over a one or a three year time period, it is often over five years or more. So actually considering the total cost of ownership for a customer over a five or even greater year period of analysis, it's an important consideration for customers in assessing what is the optimal platform for their business. I'll just add on to that if I could, the optimal - as you say - can also lead to significant savings, in that the flexibility that Power Systems have, have the ability, therefore, if I don't get the sizing precisely right with an appliance, I may have bought too much or I need to buy another one and therefore there's going to be costs involved, similarly with the cloud, externally and the sort of public hyperscale clouds, you can also end up with significant costs depending how long they're there because if they're going to be there for three years, then that might be a fairly costly option. With the variation, with the flexibility we have with Power boxes, we can make sure that we are sizing it appropriately as we go along, being able to change that and therefore deliver a cost saving as well as the other advantages the customers have at the same time.

Nayoka: Very interesting. Thank you for that! Narendhar, would you like to chip in? That was supposed to be a Blue Chip joke!

Narendhar: Yes, absolutely. IBM has great technologies like micro-partitioning, dynamic LPAR provisioning, you can scale up and down, within the defined parameters. You can run a lot of instances on Power Systems than you can imagine, so, it's a great technology.

Nayoka: Thank you for your time. Unfortunately, that's all we have time for, but do join us for another in-depth discussion about SAP HANA on the Blue Chip Cloud. Thank you for watching.