Every cloud has a silver lining. I found that out this July 4th. Someone has to come up with a fix for this: a holiday occurring in the middle of the week! So, what do you do? Do you take your vacation during the whole week, or a couple of days in the beginning or ending of the week? I took Monday and Tuesday off. This gave me a few days of rest and relaxation. I grabbed my iPad, went out to the hammock I received for Father’s day, and I caught up on some reading. I happened to find an interesting paper written by the International Technology Group (ITG) titled Value Proposition for IBM PureFlex System: Case for IBM PureFlex System for Cloud-Enabled SAP Enterprise Environments. Yes, this was the silver lining to my holiday cloud.
By day, I am an Architect. I enjoy working with my customers to develop Fit for Purpose (F4P) workshops, Total Cost of Ownership studies, and most of all developing the architecture to be used in deploying their solutions. When I find a paper of only twenty-three pages long that succinctly ties all of this together for PureFlex Systems and the SAP Cloud-Enabled Enterprise, I take notice!
I have architected SAP solutions using the IBM hardware solution set before. If you have done this, then you know how many different pieces there are to this puzzle. It can include x86, UNIX, System i, Linux, and Windows platforms, to name a few. For SAP, there can be many modules for BI, ERP, and CRM. And for each of these production modules, development, test, and quality assurance modules are required.
What if I told you there was a solution that ties all of this together in an easy-to-manage environment from both a hardware and software perspective? What if It also costs less to acquire, manage, and operate?
Well, you know what they say, “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is…” That is why we Architects and Technologists out there say, “trust but verify.” And that is just what the ITG has done for us. ITG presents use cases drawn from an IT services company, two manufacturing companies, a retail company, and a diversified company. Starting with the PureFlex System architecture, ITG describes how each of the components are technologically more advanced. Each of the components — servers, storage, and networking — are capable of driving deeper consolidation. When combined in a single platform, and managed with a single management interface called IBM Flex System Manager (FSM) you are now poised to deliver greater consolidation than ever before. The perfect basis for the SAP Cloud-Enabled Enterprise.
We have been saying that PureFlex Systems were built for the cloud. Here is a perfect proof-point: SAP NetWeaver Landscape Virtualiization Management (SAP LVM). SAP’s LVM works incredibly well with IBM FSM. Teaming with SAP, IBM wrote extensive code to implement SAPHostControl within FSM. This approach creates a tight integration between the virtualization delivered in the Flex System architecture and the SAP LVM architecture. This integration is quite profound when you think of it. When you can manage and deploy the virtualized hardware along with the virtualized application resources, you have formed the basis for a high-performing cloud.
Thus far, you might be thinking that the PureFlex System is the only platform for running SAP. ITG addresses that too. Other vendors are out there. Oracle and HP have some solutions that have not gained much traction in this area. The VCE consortium has attacked the SAP environment more aggressively, however, the ITG illustrates significant advantages in the PureFlex Systems including breadth of support and system integration. Probably even more important is that with VCE, you are dealing with three companies in the consortium. Who owns the vision and long term strategy? When you are investing in an enterprise level solution you want the confidence that your single solution provider owns the future of the product. Not even Rome could be ruled with three emperors!
I hope you are as intrigued with this as I was. The ITG has written a very compelling paper on the case for using PureFlex systems for the SAP Cloud-Enabled Enterprise. ITG has outlined all of the advantages from technical, cost savings, use cases, and competitive perspectives. I hope you trust me, but I want you to verify that for yourself. Read this paper and find your own silver lining!