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Goodbye 2020! Summary of FlexPod accomplishments for SAP customers

Ketan Mota
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FlexPod Datacenter blog cover2020 has been a difficult year for many amid the pandemic. We’ve been forced to face uncertainty and deal with a global environment that no person or corporation can individually control. Despite this reality, the FlexPod team from Cisco and NetApp has continued to invest in innovation aimed at giving you a sense of security and confidence, with predictable outcomes.

This blog post highlights the various FlexPod® solutions we’ve developed to help SAP customers deal with their business challenges and continue their digital transformation journey.

FlexPod solutions for SAP HANA

FlexPod Cisco Validated Designs (CVDs), which are reference architectures, reduce your risk and help you confidently deploy HANA Tailored Data Center Integration (TDI) environments on FlexPod. This roadmap to success has never been more valuable than in today’s world, where distractions loom everywhere and everyone is being asked to do more with less.

Just recently, we published a FlexPod for SAP CVD that highlights FC SAN connectivity between the server and storage systems, delivering HANA appliance-like performance. Earlier this year, we published another SAP HANA CVD that highlights the NFS and iSCSI connectivity options. FlexPod offers both SAN and NAS storage connectivity protocols, all served from the same storage system. So, regardless of your preference, we have the solution for you. This capability helps reduce cost and complexity, especially when deployed for multiple workloads.

Also, with advanced data services such as storage efficiency and quality-of-service (QoS) capabilities, FlexPod is an ideal platform for you to simplify, standardize, and secure your entire IT infrastructure.

SAP application environments require several landscapes for things like dev/test, QA, staging, and production, which can require copying large amounts of data. NetApp® FlexClone® volumes use space efficiently and create instantaneous point-in-time copies of the storage volumes. FlexClone volumes make you more agile, because they’re suitable for quickly standing up the various landscapes that your organization needs.

SAP environments run mission-critical applications that require the most reliable infrastructure and data protection. NetApp SnapCenter® is a simple, centralized, scalable platform that provides application-consistent data protection for your SAP applications. It employs NetApp Snapshot, SnapRestore®, FlexClone, SnapMirror®, and SnapVault®technologies to provide the following:
  • Fast, space-efficient, application-consistent, disk-based backups
  • Rapid, granular restore and application-consistent recovery
  • Quick, space-efficient cloning
NetApp SnapCenter infographic What makes FlexPod stand out is a data fabric powered by NetApp. This data fabric enables seamless data mobility and data management across the edge, the core, and the cloud. It offers tremendous flexibility, enabling several hybrid cloud use cases and future-proofing your investments.

FlexPod enables edge to core to cloud

FlexPod solutions for legacy SAP applications

SAP has extended the 2025 end-of-support deadline for its legacy ERP Central Component (ECC) application to 2027. This extension implies that for many SAP clients, the transition to S/4HANA has been slower than anticipated. Although about 15,100 customers have already adopted S/4HANA (of which about 8,100 deployments are live), there are still about 35,000 customers out there who will be looking to begin this transition in the next few years.

FlexPod helps you make this transition at your own pace. Many companies running traditional SAP workloads are faced with aging infrastructure that no longer meets their needs. But they also realize that it just isn’t the right time to begin their HANA migration journey. With FlexPod, you can modernize your infrastructure and future-proof your investment so that your infrastructure is ready for your transition to HANA. For several years, we’ve been producing validated designs to simplify your Oracle and SQL database deployments. This year, we’ve also published the following two guides to deploying legacy SAP applications with traditional (Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server) databases:

FlexPod for SAP Data Intelligence (Data Hub)

Because big data landscape management in the enterprise has grown more challenging over the years, SAP introduced SAP Data Hub (now called SAP Data Intelligence). It enables data orchestration and transforms distributed data sprawls into vital data insights, delivering innovation at scale.

FlexPod infrastructure is an excellent platform for deploying SAP Data Hub as an all-in-one data orchestration solution with Cisco Container Platform and the NetApp Trident container storage interface (CSI) plug-in. With FlexPod, you can discover, refine, enhance, and manage any type, variety, and volume of data across your entire distributed data landscape. For more information about this approach, read the white paper Deploy SAP Data Hub on FlexPod with Cisco Container Platform.

FlexPod for SAP data intelligence Here are a couple of success stories from our large SAP customer installed base.

Customer success story #1: TasNetworks

Tasmanian electricity transmission and distribution company TasNetworks needed to transition diverse applications into a single platform, following the merger of two separate electricity supply organizations. FlexPod gave TasNetworks one source of truth and a seamless, integrated platform that delivered employee self-service, performance, and availability improvements; a 75% reduction in data center footprint; and a unified picture of data and infrastructure to help with planning.

Customer success story #2: All for One

All for One Group is a leading German SAP service provider that supports customers with a range of services, from the classic SAP managed service to digital transformation to cloud deployments. FlexPod is one of the success factors.

The company was able to standardize and optimize the management of 1,200 SAP systems, out of which approximately 170 were running SAP HANA. Whether in its own data centers, entirely in the cloud, or in a hybrid constellation, All for One can offer the best option without customers having to deal with details.

FlexPod customer success story Source: NetApp, All for One Group case study.

Learn more about FlexPod and NetApp through the sessions at the NetApp INSIGHT® 2020 digital event site, which are still available as of this writing. An especially relevant session is SPD-1150-2, “Digital Transformation with SAP HANA and DATAHUB on FlexPod.”

NetApp at SAP TechEd

We’re quickly approaching the end of 2020, and SAP TechEd is around the corner. Learn more about NetApp’s complete SAP offerings on the NetApp sponsor page. Another resource to learn more about NetApp at this event.

NetApp innovations offer several benefits to SAP customers, including:
  • Removing the risk of running SAP on premises and in the cloud
  • Optimizing backup and recovery processes
  • Minimizing performance impact on production systems
  • Enabling efficient replication to on-site or off-site backup location

More FlexPod resources

Ketan Mota

Ketan is a solutions product manager at NetApp managing a broad portfolio of FlexPod converged infrastructure solutions in partnership with Cisco. His focus areas include Enterprise Databases, AI/ML, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and Healthcare offerings. He has been in the Hi-Tech industry for 20+ years focusing on the cloud, storage and security technology domains. His diverse professional career includes Software Engineering, Professional Services and Product Management experience.

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