SAP Partners with Sun, Fujitsu

At SAP's Sapphire '04 show in New Orleans this week, Sun and Fujitsu rolled out offerings designed to make it easier to deploy and manage SAP environments.

SAP AG is getting a lot of attention from the worlds top OEMs these days.

Two weeks ago, the software giant was sharing the stage with Dell Inc. as the two companies outlined an expansion of their alliance.

This week, at SAPs Sapphire 04 show in New Orleans, Sun Microsystems Inc. and Fujitsu Computer Systems Corp. rolled out offerings designed to make it easier to deploy and manage SAP environments.

Sun, of Santa Clara, Calif., on Monday rolled out its Sun Infrastructure Solution for N1 Grid for SAP Solutions, an offering that will be available June 1 and will include a mixture of hardware, software and services designed to enable SAP customers to drive down costs and increase manageability of their server infrastructures.

The goal is to move away from an architecture where dedicated servers run particular applications, to one where servers and storage devices can be pooled as a single resource and shared by the applications, according to Sun officials.

Suns offering includes its N1 Grid technology, which enables the pooling of the resources, and Solaris 9 operating system, which includes its N1 Grid Container technology and a cryptographic framework with process rights management. There is also a reference architecture for SAP software that helps tune the applications for optimum performance on Solaris. In addition, Sun offers consultants to help with planning, deployment and management.

For its part, Fujitsu, of Sunnyvale, Calif., is bringing the companys SAP infrastructure offering to North America. Fujitsu, in conjunction with storage provider Network Appliance Inc., on Tuesday rolled out its FlexFrame for mySAP Business Suite offering. Fujitus counterpart in Europe, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, released the offering in March 2003 on that continent. Now the parent company, Fujitsu Ltd., is launching it in the United States and Canada, said Hank Almeida, solutions marketing manager for Fujitsu Computer Systems.

Fujitsu, Network Appliance and SAP will demonstrate the FlexFrame offering at Sapphire.

The FlexFrame offering is a combination of hardware, storage and software designed to create a utility computing environment in SAP deployments.

The modular offering uses Fujitsus Intel Corp.-based Primergy servers, clustering software, storage devices, and SuSE Linuxs Enterprise Server—as well as SAPs NetWeaver integration offerings—to create an on-demand environment that Almeida said can reduce operating costs by 30 percent or more.

The FlexFrame environment includes control nodes—typically Primergy BX200 or BX300 systems—linked via the PrimeCluster 4.0A20 cluster software. There are also other servers—usually the BX300 or BX600 blades, although they can be any rack-optimized systems, Almeida said—that can support a single image of the Linux operating system, integrated TCP/IP Gigabit Ethernet network, and Network Appliances NetApp Filer storage device. In addition, FlexFrame Autonomous Agent 1.0 monitors every node, Almeida said.

The result is greater flexibility and less system downtime, Almeida said. Down the road, Fujitsu will roll out FlexFrame offerings for other software makers and will incorporate other operating systems, including Linux offerings from Red Hat Inc.

During the Dell event late last month, SAP CEO Henning Kagermann said it is the goal of his company, based in Walldorf, Germany, to partner with as many companies as necessary to give his customers what they want.

"At the end of the day, the thing we want to do is give customers choice," Kagermann said in an interview with eWEEK.

Included in many of these partnerships are jointly-run centers, including with Dell and Sun, where customers can come in and see how SAPs applications run on the OEMs hardware.

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