SAPPHIRE: A walk through the clouds

17 May 2017

Lloyd Palfrey

Lloyd Palfrey

Global Head of Database & Technology

Take one of our slightly jet-lagged HANA gurus, feed them a muffin for their breakfast and dump them at  SAP’s biggest commercial event of the year.  Aside from a little grumpiness at only being given one muffin, and not two, here he is; Bluefin’s Lloyd Palfrey, full throttle on the state of the Cloud for SAP.

I should be talking about Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and IoT - These were the big topics discussed during the keynote due to the re-launch of SAP Leonardo. However, I'm not going to do that, because my head is in the clouds, and has been since 'Google Next' earlier this year when this announcement was made. Instead, I'm going to look at the intriguing, and let’s be honest, really exciting developments across the SAP HANA and Cloud space.

Everyone wants a piece of SAP HANA

"SAP HANA was adopted quicker than any SAP product ever" - These words were muttered by Bill McDermott during the keynote. This isn't the first time, and it won't be the last time we hear this statement. The fact that SAP HANA deployments are going through the roof is reason enough to keep repeating it.

What is driving HANA adoption? Our team are on the frontline of this decision making process with customers, and the key factors are evident: in part it's the requirement to move off of legacy BW and ERP platforms and in part it's the end of support date, which is fast approaching.  Additionally, let’s not overlook another factor: the cloud is a pull to HANA.

Opportunities in the cloud  

Many companies now have a cloud first strategy, which means when the time comes for a hardware refresh, they'll consider the cloud before other options.  With cloud comes the opportunity to make larger, bolder changes that were not feasible (or justifiable) in an on-premise environment. Why shift your ERP on Oracle system from on-premise to cloud when you can also move it to SAP HANA at the same time, within the same time frame? This future proofs the landscape while reducing the amount of overall testing that needs to occur.

Anything you can do I can do better

There is now a quorum between public and private cloud vendors. Each one is playing a game of one upmanship on the others; trying to eclipse the competition by offering bigger, better, or unique functionality. A few months back we predicted this was in the cards - and the announcements coming out of SAPPHIRE this year have not disappointed. 

Here are some of the big ticket announcements for running SAP HANA in the public Cloud:
  • Google has expanded their initial HANA offering and is now providing both a 416GB scale-up and a 4 node scale-out configuration. Bigger is better, and it's impressive how quickly they've come in such a short time. 
  • Google and SAP have now certified NetWeaver on the Google Cloud Platform. Customers can now run solutions such as SAP S/4HANA and BW/4HANA in the cloud.   
  • Amazon have announced the X1e instance which will will contain 4TB of RAM and have certified the scale-out up to 34TB. They've also committed to a long term roadmap by announcing they'll have 8TB and 16TB scale-up instances available in 2018. 
  • Our friends at Microsoft also understand the importance of the roadmap and have announced a raft of new services. There is a new 3.5TB fully virtualised M series available immediately. HANA certification is pending but you know it won't be long. They've also announced that 20TB scale-up and 60TB scale-out instances are on their way, although there has been no commitment on date yet.  
And finally, not strictly HANA related but because I predicted it in my previous post, I have to allow myself a ‘told you so moment’: Google and SAP have launched the Google BigQuery connector for SAP Analytics Cloud (previously called BusinessObjects Cloud). Allowing customers to make use of the petabyte scale BigQuery platform for reduced price. OK, so it's not exactly what I predicted, but it's close enough, and will hopefully lead to more innovation between SAP and Google on their BigQuery platform.

So who is the winner? Quite honestly it's impossible to say.  They have all taken a completely different direction and have carved out a differentiator for their platform. The Amazon and Microsoft roadmap announcements are monumental for large enterprises considering their move to cloud; providing them with the scale they require to truly adopt ‘cloud first’. 

It makes me hugely proud to work in this field and I genuinely can't wait to see what is next. SAP TechEd is in November and while I am not a betting man, if I were I wouldn't bet against these three public cloud vendors announcing bigger, badder and faster instance types available to run SAP HANA. 

About the author

Lloyd Palfrey

Global Head of Database & Technology

Bluefin and SAP S/4HANA - welcome to the one horse race

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