In the past few years, I made a habit of asking my CIO summer barbecue guests about their thoughts on hardware. I didn’t do it to start fights or heated discussions – I just wanted to find out more about the current trends and preferences in the SAP community.
Before the cloud frenzy, my barbecue guests’ opinions were very similar. Since 2006, however, we’ve been confronted with database Hana, and all the platform confusion that comes with it. At first, people preferred Intel appliances, then real Intel or IBM servers for scale-out and scale-up. Now, most of them favor hyperscalers – simply because they want to escape Hana’s complexity. Cloud deployments aren’t better than on prem datacenters, they just let you shift your responsibilities to someone else.
But if my colleagues still had datacenters of their own, which hardware provider would they prefer? This year’s invitations to my summer barbecue were accompanied by a little hardware survey to satisfy my curiosity.
The results were surprising. There was no clear favorite this year, as opposed to past years in which one SAP-certified provider always came out on top. There was no clear majority, but IBM, HP and Fujitsu got the most votes. Dell, Hitachi and Huawei didn’t make the cut.
One thing my colleagues can agree on is that the debate about on prem versus cloud is far from over. For a while, hyperscalers seemed like the obvious choice. Thanks to Intel Persistent Memory and IBM Power, however, on prem Hana servers are on the top of the CIO agenda again.
Hasso Plattner and former CTO Vishal Sikka first partnered up with Intel for Hana. For many customers, the appliance model wasn’t satisfying in the least, however. IBM Power servers and Tailored Datacenter Integration (TDI) are better, but there is still a lot to be done.
For example, Intel unveiled Optana this year – Persistent Memory for Hana. Hasso Plattner even mentioned it in his Sapphire 2019 keynote.
Golden age of hardware for Hana
Slowly, but surely, Hana is getting the hardware foundation that customers deserved from the very beginning. It wasn’t fair of SAP to release Hana as soon as it did; many SAP customers had to pay dearly for that mistake.
Nevertheless, at last we enter the golden age of hardware for Hana. The database is getting a second chance to become enterprise ready. This makes for an excellent conversation topic for my CIO summer barbecue. Maybe I can even update my top ten hardware list someday – the SAP community hasn’t completely given up on Cisco, Lenovo and Dell yet.