Production HANA on VMware – for the few, for now

Production HANA on VMware is in “controlled availability, allowing selected customers, depending on their scenarios and system sizes to go live with SAP HANA on VMware vSphere immediately” per SAP OSS Note: 1788665 – SAP HANA Support for VMware vSphere Environments.  However, the SAP marketing team left this small stipulation off the press release and got everyone very hot and bothered.

It sounds like everyone should be able to put their HANA system on VMware.  First, my wife, who is not in the IT world, sent me a link to the NY Times SAP and VMware Head for the Future Together and then I got about dozen copies of the Market Watch Report: SAP and VMware Announce SAP HANA® for Production Use on VMware vSphere 5.5.  Well, at least that mentioned you needed the latest version of VMware.

So for now, if you want to production HANA on VMware, the main requirements are below and included in SAP OSS Note: 1788665 – SAP HANA Support for VMware vSphere Environments.

  • Must be approved for controlled availability by SAP
  • Must be on VMware vSphere 5.5
  • Must be on SAP HANA SPS07
  • Maximum of 1 TB
  • Must be on SAP approved HANA server and storage
  • Must comply to SAP’s current recommendations for vCPU and RAM
  • Must not over-provsion the CPU nor RAM
  • Maximum of 1 Virtual Machine (VM)

In other words you need the latest and greatest version of VMware and HANA running on your HANA approved appliance in a nearly non-virtual manner.  While this is less than what we all want, it is a step in the right direction.  It will allow you to manage the HANA instance under your VMware management utilities.  It makes HANA part of your Software Defined Environmental strategy.  I’m confident that over time, as it becomes Generally Available, that production HANA will have far fewer restrictions.

I’m actually looking forward to when we can run production HANA on lots of virtualization schemes.  I look forward to more of software defined service level agreement (SLA) with SAP so that other virtualization environments including the cloud providers can provide production services. Right now it is about shipping hardware to Waldorf, DE for certification and is so specific, it is not practical even for hardware manufactures.

SAP needs to move to software defined SLA would be good for everyone including SAP by making HANA more available and take less effort to certify platforms, hardware and cloud providers who want the ability to vary the make-up of servers based on market conditions and newer evolutions of chipsets, and especially my clients who want HANA, but in but running in a completely virtual word they are defining, not the one SAP is trying to define for them.

As Vishal Sikka (former SAP CTO) exits, limited Production HANA on VMware is great first step for the product he called his child, HANA. Unlimited production HANA on VMware would be a great toddler-hood.  I really look forward to seeing it rapidly reach its teenage years and start trying to run on everything everywhere.  Isn’t that what teenagers do?

 

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SAP Sapphire 2014 – a look forward

This is my 13th Sapphire and I still get excited by them.  For me, it is old home week where I get to meet all the people I know, I’ve seen before, and sometimes those that I just get to read about.  Since I’m terrible at names and faces, it is a struggle for me, but it is worth the effort.  Even for the IBMers, I review the roster before I go to make sure I’ve seen the names.  If I can tie the person to idea or something we worked on, I can almost always remember them.

I look forward to walking all the solution booths and listening to the pitches from each company.  Some are great and inciteful.. Most are OK.  A few don’t have clue what an SAP system is or will be.  In that case, I just hope I got the wrong person.  I’m not a fan of the professional showperson booths, but some are entertaining.  I prefer to speak with the experts on the topic.

I’m not happy that some of my favorite vendors are not going to be at the show because SAP is limiting the application life cycle management (ALM) vendors at least according to the the exhibitor guide.  I’m rather disappointed when IntelliCorp (http://intellicorp.com/), Realtech (http://www.realtech.com/wInternational/index.php), and Panaya (http://panaya.com/) are not permitted to attend and put up booth.  I’ve seen 100’s of companies benefit from their tools.  If SAP wants to beat them with better tools – go for it.  I don’t like seeing software that benefits my clients being pushed out by marketing rules.

Specifically, for Panaya, I have a lot experience.  They are part of the IBM SAP and Oracle Upgrade methodology and we’ve added them for automated manual testing.  Specific to SAP, they are limited to ECC, but they do a great job and far better than Solution Manager. Now we are looking to work with them on Quality Management of SAP systems.  There use of cloud and collecting the “wisdom of the cloud” or crowd-sourcing knowledge is leading edge for the SAP world.  So why wouldn’t clients want to hear?  Clients are happy to benefit from previous clients’ works and even share if they think they’ll get something back of equal or greater merit.

Beyond that, there are lots of great stuff coming from SAP, IBM, and others.  If you want to hear a little more about IBM’s content, please follow my blog at IBM Insights on Business (http://insights-on-business.com/sap-consulting/ibm-at-sap-sapphire-in-orlando-june-3-5-2014/).  I should get at least one more out before the show and a few afterwards.

I’ll be spending MOST of my time around the IBM booth area.  Please do come by and ask for me, Chuck Kichler, by name.  I’d love to hear what you think about this blog, about SAP, and about IBM, to discuss your problems or ideas, or just to say hello.  Bring your business card, too.  I’ll want to write what we discussed on the back, so I can remember you, and maybe we can even do some business.

Chuck Kichler
Chuck Kichler

And, yes, I am almost up to taking pictures and using Evernote Hello (http://evernote.com/hello/), but this seems a little too big brother for me at this point.  If you are using it, can you let me know how people react to the picture part?

See you at Sapphire NOW in Orlando on June 3 – 5, 2014.

Faster SAP BW

Faster SAP BW

Everyone wants faster information.  Even if you are not sure about why or what should be faster, in this recent post I describe ways to HOW to make BW faster.  I focus on the non-HANA based solutions.

HANA Enterprise Cloud expands to IBM

Great news, IBM is now a HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC) certified vendor.  According to Bruce Otte (Otte@us.ibm.com), Director IBM Platform and Workload Services, in IBM GTS, we are now good to officially sell HANA for non-production and production. 

It [HEC] means that SAP agrees to support IBM in deploying and managing SAP HANA deployments in SCE+, both HANA stand alone and HANA with the applications running on it.  Wolfgang Knobloch (wolfgang.knobloch@de.ibm.com) [GTS Global Offering Manager, SAP Cloud Offerings]  will be coordinating the details.

This is a “certification” from SAP that is required for SAP to support production environments given by a third party, just like we have certification for running SAP in the cloud.  As we move through SCE+ release 1.4 [next release in early 2014], we will continue to increase the capabilities and management of the HANA environments.

While other vendors have made more noise in the market, IBM is more than capable of providing HANA environments at competitive features and prices.  If you have requirements, please reach out to Bruce or Wolfgang for support.

For a more general discussion of HEC, please read the following blog on SDN (http://scn.sap.com/community/services/blog/2013/09/05/hana-enterprise-cloud-hec). 

For HANA on cloud it is important to understand 2 things.  First, the client is responsible for bringing their own license often referred to as Bring Your Own License (BYOL).  Second, HANA can be run in virtualized environment such as VMWare for non-production ONLY.  For production, HANA must be run on HANA appliances which can then virtualize or host multiple HANA database instances.    Personally, I don’t consider the production architecture of HANA cloud based any more than I consider the fact that a DB2 or Oracle server can have multiple database instances today.  I guess every company is entitled to some leeway for marketing purposes.

SAP HANA MCOD – What I really want for my data center

The real SAP game changer will be when I have one (1) HANA DB for all my production applications.  I want single, giant in-memory DB where my ECC, BW, CRM, PLM, SCM, BOBJ, etc. all consume the same data.  I want a row  view for the OLTP ECC-like applications and column view for OLAP BW-like applications.  It would look like the picture below.

sap hana mcod system
What we really need from SAP! The SAP HANA MCOD system.

Right now, I can’t really recommend using HANA on anything but OLAP based applications.  In the future, when we can do the analytic transformations in memory without silly exports, extractors, DSO’s and the like, we will really have a very* different scenario.  For now, the cost of the HANA license and risk of losing transactions only committed to memory is not justifiable.

In this new vision with MCOD, there will be two (2) key issues.  First, how do we support MCOD.  I’ve seen MCOD come and go since 1993 several times. Each time, it was easy to build and impossible to support.  The overlapping requirements became overwhelming. Second, HANA will need a data aging architecture which can age data out of main memory to some slightly slower memory or device.

IBM is working on some important technology, Phase Change Memory, that will be of great value (http://www.zurich.ibm.com/sto/memory/).   It may provide the near DRAM speeds while being cost effective and non-volatile.  Maybe IBM will build out series of servers specifically designed to run in-memory databases such as HANA with massive DRAM and massive PCM capacities.  PCM could then provide the roll-back logs and more at near DRAM speeds. PCM won’t solve the MCOD and data aging problems, but at least the risk of running rapidly transacting OLTP systems would go to near zero and certainly lower than that of even today’s highly cached disk writing databases.

It is going to be a fun watching HANA make it from infancy to toddler-hood.  I wonder how fast she’ll mature.

* Mark Twain said every time a writer was tempted to use “very” in a sentence, they should use the word “damn” and then the editor would strike the word and the sentence would read as it should.