SAPs Zencke Talks

By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2007-11-26 Print this article Print

ESA, Business ByDesign "> Q: You seem pretty far ahead in terms of service enabling your applications. Are there enough vendors out there who have also service enabled their applications that SOA works outside of the SAP environment? A: We are pretty much in isolation so far. By the way, its for sure that we need others as well. Networking only works with others, by definition. Nevertheless we do have one strategic advantage, which really is that business process networking is [implemented] by the big ones [enterprise customers]. They have business process networking and the smaller ones can [draft off that]. The good thing is that those are all being developed on our Enterprise Services Architecture and process platform—they do have the same services. And the Business ByDesign solution, everyone has the same services as well. So the full offer—Business One we will do something similar in the next year—so the full offer on the Business ByDesign side, on the collaboration aspect, is talking the same language, which is not solving the universe but its a much bigger footprint than only 12 months ago. Its a good selling point as well for smaller customers. By definition you can say who are your biggest customers, what systems are they running, what are they using? There is a high probably that we will fit.
Q: Is Business ByDesign multitenant? Is it hybrid? Or should tenancy not be part of the discussion with Software as a Service?
A: Maybe we have misstated. What we said is Business ByDesign is mega-tenant, which is beyond multitenant. That was our first statement and it is a true statement. What mega tenant is—what SAP has done over 30 years—is use one database schema for many tenants. That means the control of our tenants is on the application layer. That means that one field in the beginning of each table works with that tenant. All our structures are the same. The database doesnt recognize that at all—[data] is really managed through the applications. We have done this for over 30 years. I know the limitations of that concept. Therefore this time Hasso [Plattner, SAPs chairman and co-founder] said lets be a little more forward, that means the [segmentation] is in the database and not the applications I feel this is in the right direction because ownership and separation of concern with a clean database approach has a big advantage—we can take this one tenant data immediately out of human control. The ultimate goal for on demand is flexibility. That means the customer at any point in time should be able to make a change from one hosting provider to another hosting provider or to go to an appliance mode. This is only possible if one customer, one tenant, can make the decision independently of all the others—to take its [software] out, with just a normal database, and not change the application. That is a strategy. We have a great advantage over the others—we do own that database. Thats MaxDB. Then comes the next question. If people talk about multitenancy they talk about systems. They talk about something—can I share a system infrastructure across multiple tenants, or do I need one system per tenant. Actually this is a different discussion, it has nothing to do with database separation. It could still be one database management site, which runs multiple tenants in one environment, on that one server. So that is totally independent and MaxDB gives us the capability to run that kind of heavyweight database. We have that technology and it is independent of whether we run the technology on one server. The last one, which comes to systems, we made a decision that we would scale along a quite inexpensive blade infrastructure, then to do the tenants and service. That is a debate, which is the best we think that for the future; the low cost option is better for scaling out. If you think about what is the cost of a blade today, it is dimensions cheaper than what a customer still has to invest on the PC side, because the blade is more or less like a laptop. For the sake of security we are going with one blade for one customer, because we can take it out and put it someplace else. So part of the answer is we have more than multitenant, but not less. Its not an easy answer. Q: Can you suss out the roadmap a little bit for bringing Business ByDesign and NetWeaver together? A: Its more and more kind of indicating the direction. We will follow up with a roadmap next year at Sapphire. But lets say there is one clear statement. It is not using the business performance from BBD for the substitute. This is not our intent. The intent is to use the more, in the end, the more productive development paradigm, and use Enterprise Services Architecture for design in new application areas. Q: For example… A: Believe me we have a full portfolio of things we would like to do, but we have to go with some of our advisors—we have to figure out which make maximum sense Page 3: SAPs Zencke Talks ESA, Business ByDesign


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