IBM and SAP tightened up their existing technology partnership with a new set of integrated Power Systems solutions designed to help clients process volumes of data at high speed for both transactional and analytics workloads.
IBM tested the systems with customers during a trial period last year and today announced a series of Power Systems Solution Editions for the SAP HANA platform. The new solutions will enable the latest-generation POWER8 systems to run SAP HANA, allowing clients to quickly deploy the technology on a server platform built to handle the kinds of data challenges enterprises face today.
“The commodity servers used today by many organizations are increasingly stretched to their limits by new workloads, in the cloud or on-premises,” Doug Balog, general manager of IBM Power Systems, said in a statement. “IBM’s Power Systems’ architecture is uniquely suited to provide faster access to critical business data stored with in-memory database technologies. New IBM Power System Solution Editions for SAP HANA are tailored to deliver enterprise-class capabilities to clients’ growing core systems reliability expectations.”
The Power Systems Solution Editions for SAP HANA are planned to be made available initially in two configurations, designed to manage different sizes of data warehouses. The first, based on the IBM Power Systems S824 with 24 POWER8 processor cores and up to 1TB of memory, is targeted at the SAP Business Warehouse application running on SAP HANA, with databases up to 512GB (compressed) in size.
The second configuration, based on the IBM Power Systems E870 with 40 POWER8 cores and up to 2TB of memory, is expected to be ideal for databases up to 1TB (compressed) in size. While SAP HANA is supported across all POWER8 servers from IBM, the new IBM solution editions will combine flexible infrastructure with rapid time to value for tailored support of SAP Business Warehouse version 7.31 or higher powered by SAP HANA on Power Systems.
“Today’s announcement is an important step in the SAP and IBM partnership, further enabling customers to run their businesses simply and in real time,” Quentin Clark, chief technology officer at SAP SE, said in a statement. “The new Power Systems Solution Editions for SAP HANA give our joint customers the opportunity to truly take advantage of the capabilities of SAP HANA, the ground-breaking, in-memory data platform for next-generation applications and analytics.”
Charles King, president and principal analyst at Pund-IT and an avid IBM watcher, said, the HANA news comes at a very good time for IBM. “With the departure of System x for Lenovo, IBM would have been out of the running in popular HANA markets had enhancing Power for HANA not worked,” he said. “All that aside, it appears that POWER8’s overall performance and significant strengths in multi-threading make it a great choice for in-memory analytics workloads. That should enable IBM to successfully pitch its Power System offerings as solid HANA solutions. Given the continuing growth in analytics markets, including HANA, this latest announcement leaves IBM in a solid position competitively, and also allows existing customers to consider an entirely new analytics platform.”
Indeed, customers are taking a similar view. “With more companies trying to extract valuable insights from complex information sources, SAP HANA provides a powerful and efficient platform for ever-important business decision making,” Bhala Bhosale, senior vice president of Enterprise Services at NTT DATA, said in a statement. “NTT DATA has developed long, collaborative partnerships with both SAP and IBM, providing complete lifecycle services for applications, cloud and infrastructure systems with a strong focus on customer service and flexibility.
“Efforts like these Solution Editions in support of SAP HANA will provide rapid deployment and lower costs for our mutual clients. Our internal testing has shown that SAP reports run significantly faster when using SAP HANA on Power—queries that took an hour to run can now be completed in just minutes,” Bhosale said.
IBM Launches Power Systems for SAP HANA
Eric Borcherding, vice president of the Technology Solutions Group at Ciber, another IBM customer looking at the SAP HANA on Power solutions, said Ciber has been helping clients implement successful SAP solutions-based projects on IBM’s proven enterprise-class Power Systems for many years now.
“The announcement of Power Systems Solution Editions for SAP HANA with POWER8 is very good news for us and our clients,” he said. “We believe it will allow us to reduce risk on the infrastructure part of the project, because Solution Editions provide us with specially configured and priced systems for SAP HANA-based workloads. It will also help provide clarity to us and our clients that Power Systems will continue to be the standard for enterprise-class implementations of SAP solutions.”
Meanwhile, Michael Miller, SUSE vice president of global alliances and marketing, said: “Partnering with IBM and SAP to bring SAP HANA to IBM Power Systems allows us to help thousands of mutual clients increase performance, reduce costs and improve their business practices. The introduction of solutions that leverage SAP HANA with IBM Power Systems offers significant benefits to enterprise clients of all types, particularly those running SUSE Linux Enterprise, to further maximize the value of their investments in solutions from IBM and SAP.”
Last fall, IBM announced a partnership with SAP to provide cloud infrastructure to the enterprise software provider—leveraging IBM’s $1.2 billion investment to expand its global cloud footprint in every major market. SAP selected IBM as a premier provider of cloud infrastructure services for its business-critical applications—accelerating customers’ ability to run core business in the cloud.
The SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud offering is available through IBM’s cloud. SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud will expand to major markets with the addition of the IBM cloud data centers. This is expected to enable customers to deploy their SAP software around the globe in a faster and more secure environment that is backed by IBM’s cloud capabilities.
“This is the kind of move we expected when IBM bought SoftLayer,” longtime IBM watcher and industry analyst Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst with the Enderle Group, told eWEEK, at the time. “IBM can provide an enterprise-class cloud service now that is fully compliant with IT policy and this is generally also a requirement when deploying products from enterprise companies like SAP.”
IBM officials said that the company and SAP have the expertise, solutions and cloud infrastructure to deliver SAP business solutions on the IBM Cloud. SAP brings the power of real-time through in-memory computing capabilities of SAP HANA combined with the ability to run mission-critical business applications, like SAP Business Suite, in a cloud environment.
IBM brings enterprise depth and the open architecture of IBM Cloud Managed Services and SoftLayer—enabling customers to securely manage SAP workloads from trial to production on a consistent infrastructure, with transparency and control over where data resides.
IBM and SAP have a long-standing, proven partnership, with IBM being awarded a large number of SAP Pinnacle Awards since the program was introduced. Both companies recognize that in the modern era of computing, partnerships and strong technology ecosystems are essential to innovation that creates higher value for clients. The newest collaboration around SAP Business Warehouse powered by SAP HANA on Power Systems is the result of a close relationship between SAP’s and IBM’s technical and business teams, the companies said.