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Hitachi and SAP have worked together as partners for two decades. The current high point of this cooperation is the agreement reached in January 2014, under which Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) may offer software licences for SAP Hana itself. But the two companies together are about more than just enabling data analysis and evaluation.
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Any enterprise, who has the impression today that it is just a hardware supplier, is in for a tough time – what counts are complete solutions from a single source. The potential efficiency increases are an important competitive factor. Ultimately the user and the IT team benefit from the direct, positive effects on the cost side when the solution stands in the limelight. For this reason, SAP has entered into many partnerships over the past 35 years. In this way, the largest industry network of software providers, distribution partners, technology and service partners has been created. The list of cooperation agreements begins with consulting firms, such as Accenture, Atos, continues via smaller companies in specialist fields and then to technology partners, such as Intel, Nokia and Hitachi Data Systems.
The collaboration with Hitachi has evolved from a pure technology agreement into a comprehensive partnership over the past 20 years. Companies should designate a central contact for applications and infrastructure. At the same time, the global agreement makes it possible for HDS to offer even more comprehensive data processing centre solutions.
SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (BW) powered by SAP Hana is centre stage. The tight integration makes it possible for users to work on a single, central platform: Besides the Hitachi Unified Compute Platform – an integrated convergent IT infrastructure consisting of Hitachi Storage, Hitachi Compute Blade servers, network components and an operating interface – HDS offers the SAP Hana software as well as managed services. UCP for SAP Hana , to use its correct name, processes more data than any other offering according to the manufacturer’s information. Users thus enjoy the lasting benefit of performance advantages with transactions and analyses.
This type of collaboration in fact presents a major challenge – after all, the possible application cases range from traditional SAP applications in management to demanding in-memory solutions with SAP Hana in big-data environments.
The breadth of the target group also underscores that the offer must span a great range of functionalities and different performance depths. From medium-sized enterprises to major corporations and organisations in the public sector, the offer must cover a broad range of users who can use SAP on HDS systems irrespective of the branch or industry.
The collaboration gives SAP, Hitachi and HDS customers the possibility to establish tailor-made solutions with a view to SAP Hana, storage virtualisation, cloud computing, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and Information Lifecycle Management (ILM). In particular, advantages result on the costs side both in procurement as well as in operations. Beyond this, availability and disaster tolerance will increase.
Companies in many industries – such as insurance, consumer and retail, as well as on-line traders – can now leverage the robust infrastructure of SAP Hana on Hitachi UCP. Pre-configured software and hardware reduce implementation time when doing so.
The explicit SAP offer from HDS stands on three pillars: SAP Hana, ILM and LVM (landscape virtualisation management). Further applications, such as r/3, NetWeaver, CRM etc. are part of them or are indirectly supported via the readiness of data for client-server environments.
The subsidiary of the Japanese Hitachi Group has implemented an entire series of additional features for the comprehensive management solution LVM, with which entire SAP environments can be controlled. For example, users can make clones directly and run snapshots to quickly save a specific point in time, with the help of which data can be saved using little storage and few resources.
Also, the moving of entire SAP instances can be easily carried out with LVM on the HDS solutions both from larger to smaller computers as well as the other way around. In addition, it is also possible to move instances bi-directionally between physical and virtual servers. In-system replication is also possible. SAP users, who would like to move their on-premise solutions to the cloud, also have optimum support with the integration of the HDS storage portfolios in the SAP NetWeaver landscape virtualisation management.
In order to achieve all of this, tight integration between the HDS hardware products and the SAP applications is necessary. Such a complex interplay between multi-layered products and solutions depends on many components:
The SAP applications, the server operating system, and the volume manager form a complex matrix. HDS supports all standard storage products in the SAP environment, including Windows, AIX or Linux as well as others. The integration of further manufacturers also offers advantages: through the integration of the UCP in Symantec’s NetBackup, SAP users, for instance, can protect their SAP Hana databases against data loss, which can result from the failure of individual storage media or data corruption.
Dedicated SAP Offering: Unified Compute Platform
In a positive way, this interlocking is also very noticeable in the two pillars ILM and SAP Hana. For example, the Hitachi content platform (HCP) object memory is integrated into the SAP ILM via the WebDAV interface. Structured data can have policies assigned. This way ensures that files cannot be unintentionally deleted or that a necessary deletion at a defined time or event is not overlooked.
Keywords here are compliance and legal regulations. With UCP for SAP Hana, HDS is integrated even tighter with SAP. The solution combines SAP’s in-memory next-generation computing with an integrated hardware platform consisting of Hitachi blade server technology, enterprise storage systems and industry network components.
The scale-out technology currently supports up to 56 nodes, which can each be 1 terabyte large. Workloads for real-time analysis with up to 56 terabytes or up to 300 terabytes of uncompressed, normal data are supported in both physical as well as virtual environments. The self-developed Hitachi accelerated flash can also be used on the system to accelerate applications even more.
SAP users, who migrated their SAP Business Suite on SAP Hana, can also run their ERP workloads on the convergent platform. HDS has optimised UCP for SAP Hana with regard to workload-specific performance, reliability and disaster recovery support.
The system is available with one-half, one, two, four or six terabytes of DRAM. Failsafe disaster tolerance is guaranteed by True Copy storage replication. Besides such performance values, the short installation time is important for many users: the systems can go on-line in productive operation within one to two weeks after delivery.
Global Competency Centre
The Hitachi Global Competency Center for SAP Solutions at the Walldorf SAP campus contributes to fast and smooth commissioning. The centre has facilitated an even closer collaboration between Hitachi Data Systems and SAP since 2012. Among other things, HDS develops and certifies new solutions there which are based on SAP environments. The centre has its own 300-m2 laboratory as well as several conference rooms, where scenarios for the use of HDS technologies with the SAP Hana platform can be discussed and developed.
“The opening of the new competence centre paved the way for new possibilities in the collaboration between SAP and HDS,” said Horst-Udo Schulte, vice president, Global Technology Partners, SAP. “The centre demonstrates the importance of our collaboration and our efforts to fulfil enterprise requirements of any kind. It helps our common clients find new paths for applying new technologies in their businesses, including SAP Hana.”
Prospective customers have far-reaching insight through immediate access to data results. Employees from different areas, such as solution development, sales and pre-sales, and alliances and support, at the participating enterprises regularly come together here.
Together, they not only draw up their roadmap but also explore possibilities for product optimisation as well as pre-sales support for customers. Analyses and sizing of SAP environments also take place. Users can run analyses, do planning and POC directly on site in their own system environment – a request, which SAP and HDS also fulfil. Almost common practice after 20 years of tight partnership and joint sales.