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Special Feature: Global Partnering for the 21st Century

by SAP and Partners | SAPinsider

April 1, 2002

by SAP and Partners SAPinsider - 2002 (Volume 3), April (Issue 2)
 

>>I N S I D E<<

SAP’s Global Technology Partners
“SAP's Global Technology and Software Partner Ecosystem Casts a Wider, Tighter Safety Net Than Meets the Eye”
Compaq, The Solutions Provider for SAP Environments
Enterasys Networks Delivers Secure, Highly Available, and Mobile Enterprise Network Solutions
HP — One-Stop Solutions with Services That Make the Difference
Getting Older, Getting Better:
SAP and IBM Partnership Enters Fourth Decade with a Splash
Fact or Fiction: Windows 2000
and SQL Server 2000 Is an “Enterprise-Worthy” SAP Platform
Poised to Perform: Intel and SAP Deliver Outstanding ROI with Solutions Built on Intel Xeon and Intel Itanium Processor-Based Servers
Timing Seems Right for NetApp’s Networked Storage Solutions
Singular Alignment of Sun ONE and mySAP.com Delivers Economies of Scale for Collaborative Web Services

 

SAP’s Global Technology and Software Partner Ecosystem Casts a Wider, Tighter Safety Net Than Meets the Eye

By Stephan Rossius, Vice President, Global Partner Management, SAP

A huge, global enterprise running a multi-country, multi-solution SAP installation is rather like a high-wire IT balancing act whose performance is nothing short of amazing. One slip and it all comes tumbling down. Or does it? Not with a wide enough safety net. With that in place, if you’ll excuse my stretching this metaphor just a bit further, the whole act can be back up and winning accolades again in no time.

We have created an extensive “safety net” for our customers in the Global Partner Management Organization, founded in November 2000. Our mission is to work with our SAP Global Technology and Software Partners so that we present our customers with a “One Face, One Voice” perspective with regard to technology and development, services, marketing, sales and support, escalation management, and communication.

In effect, we have established a seamless SAP partner ecosystem in which our relationships with these strategic partners are harmonized to enable joint, working-together “cluster engagements.” The focus is on customer service, on synchronizing communications so that we can deliver the right resources and solutions at the right time to our customers.

This is no small feat: many SAP customers have vast global enterprises — multi-country installations that use multiple SAP solutions and varying hardware, OS, and database platforms. Many run numerous SAP software partner solutions, too. And only through a powerful intercommunication between SAP and our global technology and software partners — in the form of competence centers, development centers, integration centers, regional support centers, and global support centers — can those kinds of large, complex customer installations get developed, rolled out, maintained, and supported with reliability, performance, high availability, and scalability.

Making the “Safety Net” Work for You

This “safety net” I’m referring to is not some anonymous entity. And it’s certainly not a marketing concept. It is quite real, and often quite personal — formed by thousands of committed individuals within these SAP Global Technology and Software Partner organizations, and SAP as well, who are armed with the right skills to react quickly in a joint approach to your problems. (I emphasize the word “joint” to call attention to the fact that our employees learn from our partners and vice versa. I’m a firm believer that the closer technology partners work together, the better it is for the customer.)

What does this mean to you, as a customer? How does this safety net work to your advantage? Well, this kind of arrangement is ideal for escalation management, and for proactively ensuring your SAP systems are optimized for reliability, performance, high availability, and scalability, too. The customer benefits of this ecosystem clearly include quality and availability. What may not be quite as obvious is that there are cost-savings benefits to be had too, because there’s a fair amount of competition among our SAP hardware partners. The ultimate benefit, in my estimation, is that we can promise our customers solid reliability, high availability, and performance, regardless of who executes.

That’s the point of our ecosystem — a large and pervasive safety net for customers, woven from proven partner relationships.

SAP Software Partners

Within the SAP Software Partner Program, SAP engages with over 700 software vendors, representing well over 1,000 supplementary products with certified interfaces to SAP solutions. Currently SAP customers can pick from 48 different software categories to supplement their SAP solutions in our joint endeavor to deliver total solutions.

In the certification process, which is one prerequisite of becoming a Software Partner, software vendors need to prove and testify to the interface compatibilities of their supplementary solutions — all part of SAP’s ongoing commitment to quality and high standards.


Competence Centers: Part of the SAP Global Technology and Software Partner Ecosystem

For more than 10 years, SAP, together with its global partners, has been running Competence Centers at sites around the world. Competence Centers form a single point of contact between SAP and its partners, and promote better joint customer support and product development between SAP and its respective partners.

Within these Competence Centers, engineers for SAP and a partner company work side-by-side to ensure optimal and seamless escalation procedures, faster resolution of problems, and then ensure this shared knowledge works its way back into development of future customer offerings.

The central hub for activities between SAP and its partners and customers is the Partnerport building at SAP headquarters in Walldorf, Germany. The Partnerport building is home to representatives of dozens of partner organizations.

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SAP's Global Technology Partners

SAP’s Global Technology Partners include leading global vendors of hardware, database, storage system, network, and mobile computing technology. These partners provide SAP and its customers with a wide range of products to support mySAP.com Technology.
 
SAP customers can find more information about the latest offerings and programs as well as contact information for each of these partners at www.sap.com/partners/ technology.asp
SAP's Global Technology Partners include:
Bull
Cisco
Citrix
Compaq
Dell
EMC
Enterasys Networks
Fujitsu Siemens
Hewlett-Packard
IBM
Intel
Lexmark
Microsoft
Network Appliance
Oracle
Palm
Real Tech
Storage Tek
Sun
Unisys
   
  Highlighted in this Special Feature

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Compaq, The Solutions Provider for SAP® Environments



Karl-Heinz Cypris,
Compaq's Director,
Global SAP Alliance & Solutions

In mySAP.com® environments the impact, in business terms, of an IT infrastructure failure could be high, especially for those businesses that cannot afford to have any of their transactions interrupted by system downtime. “There will be components of the infrastructure that will need to be resilient or fault tolerant. Compaq is a leader in business-critical computing and clustering technology. Compaq has the expertise to help our joint customers to decide, given the risks involved, on the most appropriate course of action,” cites Karl-Heinz Cypris, Compaq’s Director, Global SAP Alliance & Solutions.

“Approximately 30 percent of SAP installations are deployed on Compaq platforms, and for every SAP installation deployed on Windows, nearly 50 percent are deployed on Compaq. Compaq is one of SAP’s leading technology partners,” says Cypris.

mySAP.com is designed to operate in a heterogeneous computing environment to enable companies to develop and build a flexible and resilient infrastructure with optimum price/performance. The options could be, for example, to have application servers running on Windows and the database server on UNIX, or for the existing ERP systems to remain on UNIX with the new mySAP.com solutions operating on Windows. Compaq has the people to help customers make the right decision, and the products to meet their requirements.

Large companies that intend to install mySAP™ BI and mySAP SCM may need very high processing power and very large memory. Compaq Tru64 UNIX systems are what is required. Compaq recently produced record-breaking benchmark results for these solutions. In addition, Compaq, according to Gartner, is the leading storage solutions provider. Compaq addresses storage within the context of the mySAP.com infrastructure — which includes storage, servers, networks, and applications to create comprehensive Storage Area Network (SAN) solutions. Compaq SAN solutions are an enabling factor for the highest reliability and scalability requirements of today’s and tomorrow’s mySAP.com customers.

“This is an ambitious goal,” says Harald Martin, SAP’s Global Partner Director for Compaq. “The mySAP.com solutions offer a wide breadth and depth of functionality and tight integration of various application and infrastructure components — Compaq’s focus is to take these components into the lab, work them up, and give the customer a realistic list of things they need to do to make sure everything performs reliably.”

“No other SAP Global Technology Partner offers this variety of products, ranging from mobile devices, such as the Compaq iPAQ series, to industry-standard servers as well as high-end clustered UNIX/Windows 2000 data center solutions,” says Cypris. “Compaq recently introduced Compaq Computing on Demand, a rich suite of integrated IT infrastructure solutions that offer a broad range of computing resources when you need them, where you need them, and at a predictable price and performance level. Uniting Compaq’s technology and services strengths, Computing on Demand lets you dramatically simplify IT acquisition, management, and support.”

“In summary, Compaq has the products and services to ensure that your IT infrastructure has the capability and reliability to meet the operational demands of mySAP.com environments,” Cypris concludes. “In today’s fast-moving and highly competitive business environments, information availability and speed of decision-making is the key advantage — failure can have dire business consequences.”

For more information, visit http://service.sap.com/compaq

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Enterasys Networks™ Delivers Secure, Highly Available, and Mobile Enterprise Network Solutions



John Roese,
Enterasys CTO

Enterasys Networks’ mission is to become the world’s most trusted provider of secure, highly available and mobile enterprise network solutions. Enterasys Networks, Inc. (the enterprise-focused entity spun-out from Cabletron Systems in August of 2001) provides end-to-end network infrastructure solutions for deployment of business-critical applications such as mySAP.com. In keeping with its legacy, Enterasys delivers technological innovation and best-in-class enterprise connectivity solutions around its core products: Matrix™ multi-layer switches, X-Pedition™ switch routers, RoamAbout™ wireless LANs, Aurorean™ VPNs, Dragon™ Intrusion Detection System (IDS), and NetSight™ network management software. With presence in over 30 countries, Enterasys is able to deliver its solutions to the largest global enterprises.

Enterasys is a leading proponent of the “intelligent edge” network infrastructure. One of the foundation points of its enterprise-focused strategy is the concept of a “User Personalized Network (UPN),” providing intelligent networking solutions uniquely capable of tying business needs to technology. Through a series of “edge intelligence” mechanisms embedded in the Matrix E7 switches, coupled with the NetSight Policy Manager software, an Enterasys network is able to recognize a particular user as soon as they connect to the network, then deliver customized services and access privileges based on the user’s role in the organization. “For example,” says John Roese, Enterasys CTO, “when Jane Doe attaches to an enterprise network (via either a wired or wireless connection) the network can recognize her as an SAP user and, upon that recognition, assign Jane Doe’s SAP traffic a higher priority to ensure optimal performance.”

In addition to better performance, Enterasys provides an underlying security framework termed Secure Harbour™. According to Roese, Secure Harbour is a holistic approach to infrastructure security — consisting of multiple layers of security functionality integrated into the infrastructure, securing it from both external and internal threats. While other vendors have limited their focus to multiple “point” security devices that operate independently of one another, Enterasys has taken a comprehensive view toward providing multiple layers of tightly coupled security mechanisms throughout the network. Enterasys believes it is this approach that differentiates Secure Harbour and helps protect the overall application delivery system.

In the past year, Enterasys has established itself as an innovator in the security space with industry-wide recognition and acclaim for its Dragon Intrusion Detection System (IDS). “We have a very powerful offering in the intrusion detection space — both network and host-based,” says Roese. “What that provides, in addition to the preventive measures that exist within SAP security for SAP transactions, is an additional level of detective capabilities. If anyone should try to defeat the preventive methods or mount a denial-of-service attack, we provide the functionality to capture, filter, and analyze what’s happening, both on the network and on the host, so that appropriate action can be taken.”

Another aspect of Enterasys’ holistic security approach built into the infrastructure is port-based user authentication, delivered through support of the recently ratified IEEE 802.1X standard, which Roese co-authored. This feature mandates authentication of users prior to providing them network connectivity — something that’s never been done before. Through that mechanism the switch or wireless access point determines the identity of a user. User authentication via 802.1X is leveraged in the Enterasys UPN solution to provide identification of the user for dynamic policy assignment. In addition, Enterasys UPN offers the concept of guest networking for partners and customers. If a partner happens to be on the premises, within your intranet, Enterasys’ UPN can recognize that the user does not have internal credentials and will assign restricted usage privileges, such as access to only a very specific set of internal resources, or maybe just the Internet.

In the high-availability area, Enterasys has worked very closely with both SAP AG and SAP America, and has implemented in its solutions a number of high-availability features specifically for data center applications, resulting in unique, load-balancing capabilities in any SAP environment, particularly R/3 and mySAP.com. Enterasys approaches high availability from the system level, implementing functionality at different levels and on multiple elements of the system. The end goal is not necessarily to build devices that don’t fail — that’s simply not possible — but rather to provide multiple mechanisms that ensure the user-to-service connection is maintained, despite failures of individual components.

“We actually interlock very well with the high-availability server designs,” says Roese. “In a sense that’s what we do: through advanced functionality in the network infrastructure, we can provide several mechanisms to ‘virtualize’ the SAP service. For example, if you have a number of redundant servers running the CRM application, our equipment will ‘virtualize’ multiple servers to appear as just one service to the user community. That not only allows for automated fail-over, but provides for proactive maintenance on individual servers without affecting the availability of the application. One of the redundant servers can be taken down for maintenance without affecting the user community or requiring any additional configuration. The service is effectively ‘virtualized’ from the users’ perspective.”

One of Enterasys’ key differentiators in the high-availability area is the highly distributed design of its enterprise-class chassis switches such as the Matrix E7. All of the line cards in the E7 are independent switches, which continue to function within the chassis if another line card goes down. There is no reliance on a centralized control module. In the event one line card fails, only the users on that line card are affected, not the entire chassis. Equally important in the high-availability area is the fact that Enterasys has actively embraced and implemented industry standards such as Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol, for router virtualization, and IEEE 802.3w, which minimizes Spanning Tree convergence times.

A final key benefit is mobility. Enterasys’ RoamAbout wireless LAN platform has received industry-wide acclaim as an innovative solution. The new RoamAbout R2 access point is capable of supporting multiple WLAN technologies in the same access point. “It is truly an innovative product in its approach to providing multiple flavors of wireless connectivity, in addition to delivering the features enterprises require for WLAN deployment, such as 802.1X support today and UPN support in the very near future,” says Roese. “The flexibility to deploy emerging wireless technologies that provide the same user experience as wired connectivity gives our customers the best of both worlds: a lower total cost of ownership plus a significant competitive advantage. The unique R2 design and our continued participation in the IEEE’s efforts to revamp security for wireless LAN are just two examples of our commitment to lead in the wireless market.”

For SAP customers, the combination of security and mobility is going to be a hot topic, if not now, certainly in the near future. Clearly, security will always be the top priority in any business-critical environment. But when customers can extend the same level of security found in their traditional corporate LAN to wireless users “on the go” and to remote office locations — without affecting application performance — the foundation for long-term success is already in place. Look for Enterasys to maintain its focus on top-level enterprise network infrastructures, with the key characteristics being secure, highly available mobile solutions for next-generation enterprise networks.

For more information on Enterasys Networks, visit www.enterasys.com

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HP — One-Stop Solutions with Services That Make the Difference



Peter Knapp,
HP's Global SAP Alliance Manager

“We’re actually not surprised to find that in these economic times, customer investments in SAP’s e-business applications remain strong,” remarks Peter Knapp, HP’s Global SAP Alliance Manager. “Our customers view these investments as being indispensable to their competitive standing and to weathering the current business climate. This is obviously good news for SAP, and also good news for a one-stop provider of total IT solutions for SAP like HP.”

This reference to HP’s being a “one-stop provider of total IT solutions for SAP” may come as a surprise to some. The breadth and depth of the HP-SAP relationship is often overshadowed by HP’s industry-wide reputation as a pure hardware vendor — a reputation that often upstages the recognition they are due as an SAP partner for solutions design, sizing, configuration, implementation, and ongoing support.



Rudi Wedel,
SAP's Global Partner Director for HP

According to Rudi Wedel, SAP’s Global Partner Director for HP, “HP’s excellence as a support vendor is in a class by itself.” He bases his conclusion on customer satisfaction ratings, explaining that “HP consistently delivers good response times and quality support to customers for both software and hardware, so our HP customers benefit from reliability of the entire service package, not just the underlying hardware.”

Supply Chain Management (SCM) is a focused application area where HP distinguishes itself from other partners, offering not only a powerful platform, but all the other infrastructure elements and services that need to work in concert to support a viable SCM initiative. In fact, SAP and HP are actively marketing SCM solutions together and have created joint global solution centers where SCM solution designs are pre-tested and configured to bolster and accelerate a solution’s ROI.

Based on its own experience as a manufacturer, HP knows what it takes to deploy an SCM solution, taking into account the cross-enterprise nature of the required infrastructure. SCM constitutes a company-wide endeavor that runs beyond the firewall to foster collaboration with suppliers’ systems. Achieving high availability and reliability of this environment is of the essence. These are mission-critical processes that cut across your enterprise, and those of your suppliers, to meet key business objectives.

Reliability and support aren’t merely a question of a server or printer properly operating. The entire infrastructure and every component therein must operate with mission-critical reliability.

Here, Knapp offers some advice. “Going live isn’t the ultimate goal. Running business processes that make your organization more competitiveis. HP understands this can support efficient ongoing operations for customers who outsource these activities or have in-house support arms. We ourselves are a long-time SAP customer and draw upon our own experience when delivering support.”

“The combination of comprehensive products and services from a one-stop IT solution provider is how HP should be regarded. At the end of the day, not even the best single hardware or software can get the job done without an integrated e-business infrastructure, comprehensive deployment services, and efficient service-level management that meets the company’s business requirements.”

Peter Knapp, HP’s Global SAP Alliance Manager



HP's jornada

Even SAP relies on HP support. Some of the company’s most sensitive applications, particularly in the key areas of development and production, run on HP machines and are supported by dedicated HP support engineers.

Mobility is another key application area for HP. HP is leveraging its wireless jornada devices for various mobile sales scenarios, enabling a mobile sales force to do things like download, enter, and update sales statistics, customer information, demographic data, and so forth.

The challenge in the mobile arena is keeping devices small enough to be comfortably carried around, yet large enough to get the job done. Achieving tight yet unencumbering security is another challenge.

The jornada strikes an admirable balance between these competing factors for use as a frontend for company-wide processes like those in SCM or CRM solutions.

The corporate decision to step into e-business with mySAP.com immediately fires the starting pistol for profound changes in IT due to the nature of the Internet.

Leveraging the best-practice expertise of numerous transition projects, HP has developed a 10-step transition path to deliver the quality services and solutions IT organizations need for a smooth and rapid transition to mySAP.com.

For more information on HP hardware and services for SAP solutions, visit www.sap.hp.com/public/

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Getting Older, Getting Better:
SAP and IBM Partnership Enters Fourth Decade with a Splash



Hans-Juergen Goetz,
IBM's Global Marketing Executive for SAP

The tale of Hasso Plattner and a few other IBM guys back in the early 1970s, envisioning application software that could run a business and setting off to launch what would become a multi-billion dollar company, is entrenched in SAP’s folklore. Unfortunately, the tale has been recounted so many times that it ceases to get much of a rise out of anyone these days. Perhaps it should. That event precipitated one of the industry’s longest-running and most successful partnerships. The synergies between the two are truly remarkable, the benefits of which have proved invaluable to the customers they serve — more so today, given prevailing economic conditions, than ever before.

IT organizations today are under inordinate pressure to deliver increasingly more sophisticated services with faster turn-around times and streamlined budgets. There is little, if any, margin for error at any point in a project’s lifecycle. Proper specifications must ensure that the scope and functionality of the solution mesh precisely with the corporation’s business objectives. Implementation must be on time and on budget, and then complemented with first-rate support, escalation mechanisms, and change management procedures. And as if this weren’t enough, there must be a demonstrable ROI.

“IBM consultants have extensive industry experience, not just SAP-centric knowledge….They establish solutions within the proper context of the customer’s particular needs and industry. After all, CRM in banking is vastly different from CRM in the retail sector, and SCM implementations vary from industry to industry.”

Holger Rasig, SAP’s Global Partner Director for IBM

IBM, in partnership with SAP, boasts the ability to support all these facets of an SAP solution’s lifecycle and has impressive technology laurels to back up that claim (see Figure 1). But by its own admission, IBM can’t rest on these laurels. Says Hans-Juergen Goetz, IBM’s Global Marketing Executive, “Our customers don’t focus on technology. They don’t want to be drawn into discussions about megahertz and gigabytes. Their expectation is that we will deliver outstanding technology. They’ll review, but won’t belabor, benchmarks from Gartner and SAP about IBM servers or DB2 performance. Their priority is to move on to the business of optimizing the right solution. They turn to IBM because we have deep levels of industry and technology expertise in areas of design and implementation of mission-critical applications. And they turn to us because once those applications are in place, we’ve proven ourselves to be a reliable and trusted partner. If they experience a problem, we fix it. There is no finger pointing. No playing the blame game.”

DB2 The only parallel database certified for the SAP data warehouse environment, DB2 uses IBM’s patented cost-based query optimizer technology. Joint SAP-IBM development teams specialize in integrating DB2, SAP, and each IBM server.
eServer Family Shops have unlimited scalability and flexibility when choosing to run SAP applications on IBM servers. From IBM’s smallest Intel box (xSeries) to the unlimited scalability of the mainframe (zSeries), there are midrange (iSeries) and UNIX (pSeries) offerings in between.
Linux IBM has given its support to Linux across all eServer platforms, and SAP has made the leading e-business platform mySAP.com available on Linux.
mySAP.com Mobile Solutions IBM and SAP have partnered to run a wireless prototype in the SAP Competence Center. DB2 Everyplace, a PDA with an 8K footprint, is now available.
Technology Partnerships Dual locations drive R&D. In Walldorf, more than 70 IBM technologists work side-by-side with their SAP colleagues at the Competence Center.
OEM Agreement An IBM-SAP DB2 pact delivers substantial savings to customers, up to tens of thousands of dollars less than competitors, when they purchase a mySAP.com solution with a restricted DB2 license (full support included).
Integrated Service and Support Line Only one PMR required, and a singular escalation path between IBM and SAP, transparent to the customer, rectifies service issues.
Figure 1 Joint IBM-SAP Technology Services and Benefits

The expertise referred to above is delivered by the 5,200 SAP-certified professionals who swell the ranks of the IBM Global Services (IGS) organization.1 This cadre of consultants, organized around industry segments, brings industry knowledge in addition to SAP systems and integration knowledge.

But it’s not just through its consulting arm that IBM gains expertise with SAP software. IBM itself is a huge SAP customer. Over 100,000 IBM employees have SAP installed on their desktops, and more internal rollouts are on deck for 2002, including mySAP.com CRM and APO. This company is intimately familiar with SAP usage, the role it plays in operations, and the day-to-day challenges of systems design, rollouts, upgrades, and integration efforts.

SAP, conversely, is a big consumer of IBM technology. Back in December 1999, SAP made the move to declare DB2 as its preferred database for UNIX platforms inside SAP. Today, SAP has more than 60 internal development systems running DB2, and is going ahead with a rollout to expand DB2 usage on more of their internal systems. Knowing each other’s technologies as well as they do helps achieve more effective escalation procedures and future product designs.

That bodes well for the nearly 30 years of IBM-SAP partnership. In a technology era defined by dot.com hype, and subsequent dot.com flameouts, IT departments are taking a hard and fast look at the viability of the solution providers they choose. Yes, there is — and always will be — a need for technically adept partners. But those partners must have some staying power.

“These days customers are concerned with meeting business challenges and getting an ROI on their investment,” says Goetz. “They need to choose the most reliable and trusted partners — global partners who offer global support coverage, understand their industry, and have a stronghold in it. That’s what SAP and IBM bring to the table.”

For more information, visit http://service.sap.com/ibm



1 An additional 1,300 consultants will be trained on mySAP.com solutions.

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Fact or Fiction: Windows 2000 and SQL Server 2000 Is an “Enterprise-Worthy” SAP Platform

“Passing extensive system tests that utilize our own SAP production systems is a shipment criterion for every version of Microsoft Windows and SQL Server. And with the rollout of Xbox, we can lay claim to a lot of SCM experience. Xbox manufacturing, production planning, shipment schedule, the literal making of the box, are all managed and optimized on the SAP APO component, which is part of the mySAP SCM solution. This forms an interesting synergy between Microsoft and SAP — one of the newest, most exciting parts of the Microsoft business runs on one of the newest, most exciting components of the SAP business.”

Steve Jenkins,
Microsoft’s Worldwide Manager of the SAP/Microsoft Alliance Partnership

If there remain lingering doubts among some customers as to whether or not the Microsoft Platform of Windows 2000 and SQL Server 2000 is fit for the kind of robust, mission-critical operation demanded by SAP applications, it’s time to dismiss them. The efficacy of the Microsoft Platform is borne out by day-to-day usage in customer site after customer site under rigorous real-world production conditions, which no doubt accounts for the fact that this operating system now supports the majority of new worldwide SAP installations. Nearly 60 percent of all new SAP installations are, in fact, implemented in Windows.1 Windows has been the majority shipping platform for three years running. “Our platform is ready for the most demanding SAP clients,” says Steve Jenkins, Microsoft’s SAP Global Alliance Manager. “Windows 2000 and SQL Server 2000 is unquestionably a platform for large SAP application environments, not just the small ones.”

What makes a platform “enterprise-worthy,” ready to support the demands of a taxing SAP production environment? Customers often group criteria into a broad set of four metrics: performance, scalability, availability, and ease of administration. And while the cost of a platform to acquire and operate can’t be used alone as a barometer for its satisfactory operation in a production environment, it is certainly a metric that needs to be factored into any “enterprise-worthiness” evaluation.

 

 

“mySAP.com customers can benefit from the Windows platform on the enterprise level. The old fears and concerns about this product are gone.”

Michael Byczkowski, Global Partner Director for Microsoft at SAP

How does Windows 2000 stack up for SAP? Quite well, particularly when used in combination with SQL Server 2000:

Performance: SAP performance on the Microsoft Platform of Windows 2000 and SQL Server 2000 has grown over 430 percent in the past 28 months alone. Faster Intel-based equipment (such as the Unisys ES7000 and its ability to support up to 32 Intel processors in a single server) combined with software improvements by both Microsoft and SAP account for this astounding track record. Customers who elect to run SAP on the Microsoft and Intel platform position themselves to continue to benefit from the combined research and development investment being made, which dwarfs any single competitive platform research and development budget.
   
Scalability: In a recent Release 4.6C Sales and Distribution (SD) benchmark2 certified by SAP, the Unisys 32-way ES7000 running Windows 2000 Datacenter Server and SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition was certified at 24,000 concurrent Sales and Distribution (SD) users, the second-largest certified SAP result on any platform. Scale-up SAP database server performance is addressed through the ES7000, while scale-out performance is addressed through commodity-based Intel servers. Moving forward, support for concurrent users is expected to continue to grow aggressively as Microsoft leverages the next-generation 64-bit Intel chips.
   
Availability: Windows 2000 and SQL Server 2000 supports high-availability SAP systems through extensive product testing and availability features. Jenkins states, “To begin with, Microsoft runs 100 percent of our core business on SAP using Microsoft Windows and SQL Server. Before any version of Windows or SQL Server is released to the commercial market, we run pre-release versions on our production SAP systems to ensure quality. Thus, proper SAP operation is a shipment criteria for the Microsoft Platform. Next, the Microsoft Platform supports clustering, log shipping, online database reindexing, and online database backup for continuous SAP availability. Additionally, partners offer SAP availability guarantees on the Microsoft Platform.”
   
Ease of administration: The combination of SQL Server and Windows 2000 yields administrative results as well. With one software manufacturer behind both technologies, customers gain more automated administrative functions. Says Jenkins, “Compare administrative activities of Oracle vs. SQL Server on Windows, for instance, and you’ll find the latter offers significantly simpler administrative functions without sacrificing performance or functionality.”
   
Cost: Windows platforms are purported to offer significant cost savings. The recent Meta report concluded that Microsoft Windows offers two to three times better TCO than other enterprise platforms when used in Enterprise Resource Planning scenarios.3 A recent report from Aberdeen showed ES7000 at one-third the price of Sun E10000 at equivalent high-end SAP performance.4 For more details, see the Microsoft web site at www.microsoft.com/windows2000/server/evaluation/compare.

Where Do SAP’s Recent Java Announcements Leave .NET?

It’s easy to get the impression, with the avalanche of press, that SAP is dismissing Microsoft’s .NET initiative in favor of Java. “That’s not the case,” states Jenkins. “The SAP .NET Connector, released with the full support of SAP, will allow the millions of Visual Basic and C developers to continue to utilize their existing skills to create next-generation web services applications that seamlessly interact with an SAP system. So the notion that SAP customers should avoid Microsoft because SAP uses Java is misguided. The mySAP Technology announcements do not shut out .NET. .NET applications written using Visual Studio.NET will interoperate with SAP through the SAP .NET Connector.”

Moving to mySAP.com? Consider Microsoft

Microsoft’s Platform of Windows 2000 and SQL Server 2000 makes a strong case for customer investment, given its mission-critical features combined with its alluring price. As customers make plans to upgrade to SAP R/3 Enterprise or adopt various mySAP solutions, the Microsoft Platform is a high-value platform worth evaluating. New mySAP components can be implemented on the Microsoft Platform in a non-disruptive fashion, offering customers the ability to cap their investments in more costly platforms and begin realizing the benefits of Microsoft’s now “enterprise-ready” platform for SAP. Additionally, Microsoft now possesses a strong track record in helping SAP R/3 customers migrate from competitive operating systems and databases to Microsoft.

For more information, visit http://service.sap.com/microsoft and www.microsoft.com/sap


1 Based on Q3/2001 Installation Report.

2 Please see www.sap.com/benchmark.

3 See www.microsoft.com/windows2000/server/evaluation/compare/w2ksolaris.asp.

4 See www.microsoft.com/germany/ms/sap/information/default.htm.

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Poised to Perform: Intel and SAP Deliver Outstanding ROI with Solutions Built on Intel® Xeon™ and Intel®Itanium™ Processor-Based Servers

“Our long-standing solutions enablement relationship with SAP AG began in 1994 when the R/3 system was first ported to Intel architecture using the Microsoft Windows operating system,” says Steve Chase, director of Intel’s Business and Communication Solutions Group for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). “Intel is one of the few SAP Global Partners who supports core computing architecture rather than a particular platform. We are the world’s leading technology ‘building block’ or ‘ingredient’ supplier: we represent the Intel architecture, a hardware platform that ultimately appears to a customer via our computer systems manufacturers and solutions channels.”

Adds John Skinner, director of Intel’s Global Software Alliances in Santa Clara, California, “Intel server technology helps to enable the SAP ecosystem — an ecosystem that includes relationships with computer manufacturers, system integrators, and operating systems’ vendors who work together with SAP to provide leadership enterprise solutions.”

According to John Skinner, Intel’s engineering and development efforts with SAP benefit customers because they receive a total solution optimized for Intel architecture. “These optimized SAP solutions can be deployed today by large, medium and small enterprises on high performing, cost effective servers powered by the Intel Xeon™ processor family. Together, Intel and SAP are applying their market-tested technological leadership to lower a customer’s total cost of ownership while providing data center-class performance, reliability, availability, and scalability.”

Intel’s new Itanium™ architecture family of 64-bit processors is gaining significant momentum in the industry, receiving justified attention as an architecture to be deployed for mission-critical applications, like mySAP.com. Intel and SAP AG work closely together to deliver robust e-business solutions that are optimized for Itanium processors, so customers will continue to receive high performance solutions while expanding business opportunities.

“There’s minimal risk in deploying any Intel-based server,” adds Steve Chase. “Quite the contrary: customers can expect market-tested, leading-edge technology that scales to every customer’s need for the highest levels of reliability, availability, and performance at the most cost-effective price. Ultimately, this means that the widest possible range of applications are available on the Intel platform, forming a calculable, reliable technology base for implementing new enterprise solutions. Without a doubt, Intel architecture-based servers have proven themselves ready for the most robust, mission-critical responsibilities.”

Concludes John Skinner: “According to research group IDC, 80 percent of all servers sold worldwide are powered by Intel processors. In addition, IDC predicts that by 2005 Intel’s 64-bit Itanium processor family will be the most widely deployed architecture in all enterprises. So, in the next 6 to 18 months as you plan to upgrade your R/3 system to R/3 Enterprise and/or to mySAP.com solutions, Intel encourages you to evaluate both the Intel Xeon and Intel Itanium processors for mySAP.com platforms, because Intel and SAP can provide the best- performing, most cost-effective solution on an Intel-based server for all the modules you’d want to deploy today into your heterogeneous environment. Intel-based servers, widely available in both large SMP and cluster configurations, are increasingly being deployed as an alternative to RISC and mainframe systems in backend data centers. You would be well-served to consider these Intel server platforms, and you can be assured that they will perform robustly at a fraction of the price of proprietary alternatives.”

For more information on Intel-based server solutions for the enterprise, visit www.intel.com/go/SAP


Intel, the Intel logo, Pentium, Intel Xeon and Itanium are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others. Copyright © 2002 Intel Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

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Timing Seems Right for NetApp’s Networked Storage Solutions


Lawrence Wilcox, Director of Business Applications at Network Appliance

Horst-Udo Shulte,
Global Partner Director
at SAP AG

In today’s competitive environment, executives must continually strive to coordinate business processes within and beyond their enterprise. Customers may deploy the mySAP.com e-business platform with an integrated landscape of mySAP components including, but not restricted to, R/3 installations, CRM, SCM, and others, together with non-SAP components and legacy systems.

Consequently, the systems now face increasingly complex data management issues. Among these are the shortening of backup/recovery windows, increased disaster recovery requirements, and testing of new application functionality and data integrity across multiple systems. Meanwhile the sheer volume of information continues to increase.

The answer, according to Lawrence Wilcox, Director of Business Applications at Network Appliance, lies in a simplified storage network approach like that offered by NetApp. “In order to adapt quickly to changing business conditions and deliver timely solutions, there must be an effective simplification of the information infrastructure. This allows greater flexibility and a reduction of the overall cost of implementing any solution. We manage the filesystem itself, which allows us to provide a storage network that can store and manage uniformly all of the SAP data, whether it resides in databases or just files, across a heterogeneous IT infrastructure. A lot of benefits accrue from this approach: expedited online backup and recovery, increased availability to the applications themselves, database storage that can be changed or expanded without disrupting users, more rapid response times, higher throughput, and dramatically lower TCO costs.”

Network Appliance claims to offer the lowest TCO for database environments of any storage providers. The firm claims rates up to 75% lower, in fact, defining TCO as implementation costs (including hardware, software, and training), maintenance and upgrade costs, operational costs, and downtime costs. Network Appliance also refers to another impressive statistic — availability — claiming an industry-leading uptime of total availability greater than 99.99%.

“Network Appliance solutions are designed to address the needs of mySAP.com customers,” states Horst-Udo Schulte, SAP’s Global Partner Director. “The ability to provide customers with a simplified global data management solution today is NetApp’s strongest selling point.”

According to Schulte, NetApp’s appliance-based storage solutions are network-centric, designed from the outset for networked applications. “They have really simplified global data management, making it easier to deploy and manage, and from an end-user perspective, their high availability translates into non-stop access to information across even a global user base.”

“Department Managers will realize better productivity and utilization of staff resources; Database Administrators will eliminate pain from backups and recovery; CIOs and CTOs will enjoy the lowest TCO; and everyone else will benefit from a proven record of availability,” Wilcox claims. “No one else can offer what Network Appliance storage and content delivery solutions are providing to mySAP.com customers today.”

For more information, visit http://service.sap.com/netapp

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Singular Alignment of Sun ONE and mySAP.com Delivers Economies of Scale for Collaborative Web Services


Christoph Reisbeck,
Sun’s Senior Director,
Global SAP Alliance

Michaela Hohlwein,
SAP’s Global Partner
Director for Sun

Infrastructure is a top priority these days. In addition to traditional ERP solutions and customers’ in-house developments, now come solutions for Customer Relationship Management, Supply Chain Management, and Business Intelligence, just to name a few. SAP itself has made it quite clear that they will continue to deliver open, flexible, and scalable applications to the customer while leveraging the latest technology trends.

One example? Their announcement of the integral J2EE support for the SAP Web Application Server. This is key to the SAP strategy that customers and analysts have bought into. It’s key to the cross-systems and cross-enterprise integration that is at the heart of all the new mySAP.com solutions and the Sun Open Net Environment (Sun ONE). Both SAP and Sun regard this alignment of their visions and architectures as an exciting new chapter in their relationship.

In addition, technology alignment between SAP, as an applications provider, and Sun, as an infrastructure provider, enables customers to work from a common architectural blueprint to obtain a maximum return on their assets. With the integration of the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) platform into the SAP Web Application Server, customers can rely on the proven Support Alliance between SAP and Sun for support of Java applications. Also, the growing community of Java developers can now combine the strength of mySAP™ Technology with that of the Sun/Solaris platform.

Alignment of applications and infrastructure has never been more important than it is now, when fast response to changing business requirements is key. The mySAP.com e-business platform is a holistic approach to serving all the needs of companies that seek competitive advantages beyond ERP. Within mySAP.com solutions, expansion isn’t simply a matter of a bigger server. The architectural infrastructure must scale.

Says Christoph Reisbeck, Sun’s Senior Director, Global SAP Alliance, “A scalable, flexible infrastructure is critically important because no one has the luxury of predictable business conditions anymore.That’s why Sun is such a strong player in this market. We not only provide the enterprise products with which to build a scalable, reliable, and flexible infrastructure, we are the shaping force behind how these structures work.”

“Sun is in line with SAP when it comes to architecture and vision, which means an optimal fit for the products and services we provide,” Reisbeck continues. “Sun complements the SAP application layer with a flexible platform layer designed with integration and scalability in mind.”

“In the SAP world, Sun is perceived as a leading provider of scalable, high-availability hardware for mission-critical environments,” states Michaela Hohlwein, SAP’s Global Partner Director for Sun. “Moreover, Sun is recognized for the openness of their platforms, which enables customers to easily integrate SAP solutions with home-grown or third-party solutions — not to mention Java, which opens up application development initiatives to a vast developer network.”

Among the “scalable, high-availability products” Hohlwein refers to is the Sun Solaris Operating Environment. Many customers with large SAP installations rely on this platform.

According to Reisbeck, “Sun is a major vendor providing one operating system, Solaris, which scales from the desktop to the high end of the SAP performance spectrum.” Reisbeck further notes that “while with other server vendors, operating system license fees start at the smallest boxes and add up as shops scale — say from a 4-way to an 8-way solution — these charges are non-existent with Solaris. TCO is dramatically lowered in this way.”

With the compatibility of Solaris across all Sun server lines, Sun systems provide excellent investment protection, because they can grow so easily. Sun takes this even further with its recent announcement of a new class of Edge Servers — so named because they are located at the “edge” of the corporate network — that run on Linux/Intel. With Java at the heart of Sun ONE, Linux at the edge of corporate networks, and Solaris at the core, you have a foundation for a better return on IT assets through reduced integration costs.

Sun itself does not provide business consulting services, but rather works through SAP’s Service partners. This, states Reisbeck, “enables customers to choose an implementation partner with expertise in their particular business area.” But this does not mean Sun has absolved itself of customer-facing implementation issues. Sun’s Solution Sets offer ready-made templates for various business scenarios. Sun’s iForce Ready Centers provide SAP customers with a test environment that approximates real-world conditions, giving customers an opportunity to validate a “proof of concept” for integration (see sidebar).

iForce Ready Centers
Sun’s iForce Ready
Centers for SAP are
located worldwide:

  • Menlo Park,
    California, USA
  • Paris, France
  • Tokyo, Japan

For more information on
iForce Ready Centers,
visit www.sun.com/iforce

For instance, a customer might want proof that SAP BW will operate with a specific third-party product and handle certain load conditions. mySAP.com components are put through the testing phases, as specific product versions of systems, software, functions, and configurations are challenged to determine what works before applications are deployed in a customer’s environment.

The firm belief among SAP and Sun executives is that tight alignment of their infrastructure approaches will yield key advantages throughout the entire lifecycle of an SAP project. Chief among them are easier, standards-based integration, a programming approach that can be leveraged across all sorts of application scenarios — not just SAP’s — and scalability such that the infrastructure can grow right along with a customer’s business.

For more information on the
SAP-Sun partnership, visit http://service.sap.com/sun
and www.sun.com/sap

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