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Using Hyperconvergence to Simplify SAP Infrastructure

by Krishna Kattumadam and Michael Dilio | insiderPROFILES, Volume 8, Issue 3

July 20, 2017


As enterprise infrastructures become more complicated by mixtures of on-premise, cloud, and hybrid technologies, simplicity is becoming more important. An emerging need is for an enterprise cloud built on “hyperconverged” infrastructure, one in which a variety of technologies, including virtualized solutions, can be accessed from a single point. Find out how a simplified hyperconverged environment that includes virtualized SAP workloads can consolidate companies’ data center footprints and provide easier migrations and management and improved performance and availability.

SAP touts simplification as one of the chief benefits of deploying its enterprise software. Companies often think about this simplicity in the context of business processes; for example, how SAP solutions help shorten a financial close or enhance inventory management. However, simplification can also be applied to an SAP customer’s infrastructure as a way to accelerate deployment of new SAP modules and ease the ongoing management of the SAP environment, particularly as customers move to hyperconverged infrastructure and begin to virtualize more SAP workloads.

The ease of infrastructure management is a top consideration for companies — on par with data protection, performance, and availability — in meeting business needs. Enterprise cloud software company Nutanix aims to help enterprises achieve this goal by making infrastructure not only simple but invisible — at least in the eyes of system administrators and IT departments tasked with managing a virtual environment. Nutanix believes that realizing the full potential of infrastructure should not have to come at the expense of navigating a labyrinth of little-used features or elaborate deployment options.

A Simplified Approach

To ease the complexities associated with moving SAP workloads to a virtual environment, a rapidly growing number of organizations is looking toward a single, unified hyperconverged platform delivered by a single vendor to combine the ease and speed of a public cloud with the control and security of an on-premise IT landscape.

Helping enterprises accomplish this goal was one of the motivations behind Nutanix partnering with Lenovo in 2015 to co-engineer and deliver world-class hyperconverged appliances from Lenovo backed by the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform software. Nutanix bundles its Acropolis software — which includes application mobility fabric, distributed storage framework, and hypervisor — together with a consumer-grade management interface called Prism; this software is layered on top of Lenovo’s industry-standard HX Series systems for SAP applications. The hardware and software abstraction together provide SAP customers with a simplified journey to an enterprise cloud and the ability to experience the public cloud-like benefits — such as elasticity, agility, and speed — in their private, on-premise infrastructure.

A Hyperconverged Solution for SAP Applications

One result of the Nutanix and Lenovo partnership that aims to resolve any potential complexity is the joint offering of a hyperconverged solution for SAP applications. This solution offers an on-ramp, if you will, to run SAP HANA on an SAP HANA-certified stand-alone Lenovo server (such as the System x3850 X6 or ThinkSystem SR950) — and to run all SAP Netweaver applications (such as SAP Business Suite, SAP S/4HANA application servers, and SAP Business Warehouse) as well as traditional databases (such as Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM DB2, SAP Sybase ASE, and other supporting applications) in a virtualized environment on separate Lenovo HX Series servers with Nutanix software.

The hyperconverged solution for SAP applications offers unparalleled simplification for customers transitioning to a virtual SAP environment in their own data center without the layers of complexity that are usually associated with having to manage and support bare metal and three-tier Storage Area Network (SAN)-based infrastructures. A hyperconverged solution enables customers to run their SAP workloads and elastically expand the capacity of the infrastructure as they add users or as data demands grow. They no longer have to worry about configuring and maintaining individual application servers or server capacity for each SAP application.  

Migration Made Easy

Many SAP customers that are new to a hyperconverged infrastructure and choose to deploy Nutanix software on Lenovo HX Series appliances report simplification as a primary driver and requirement. Many of these customers choose to virtualize a test environment first to ensure that a virtualized environment accomplishes business objectives. They discover that a “one-click” workload migration is possible, and this discovery is often used as a springboard to begin migrating other SAP workloads. A “one-click upgrade” as it pertains to SAP Business Suite and SAP NetWeaver application workloads means that just one click on the Nutanix user interface (UI) upgrades the entire cluster — from firmware that exists in the hardware to the hypervisor — without any downtime.

What’s important for the customer to know is that all of this is done under the covers and non-disruptively; system administrators can focus on more value-added tasks while an upgrade is completed without their involvement. Furthermore, a more simplified and automated infrastructure allows system administrators to avoid spending nights and weekends manually addressing complex updates. Management at the abstraction layer means that increasing capacity entails adding a node to the cluster to support a start-small approach and then a pay-as-you-go approach — again, without any of the complexity typically involved in expanding a traditional SAN-based infrastructure.

Consolidating a datacenter footprint, however, is a secondary benefit to what most customers of an enterprise cloud solution for SAP applications are interested in. Primarily, SAP application administrators are focused on the technical and practical advantages derived from having a simplified roadmap to migrating and managing SAP workloads. These benefits include ease of use, control, security, the ability to handle rapid performance and data growth, and predictable licensing costs. Organizations in every industry have to keep pace with a rapid increase in data volumes, increased complexity, and growing business needs. 

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Krishna Kattumadam

Krishna Kattumadam is a Senior Director of Solutions and Performance at Nutanix who has over 25 years of IT experience ranging from application, database, operating system, and virtualization administration to data center operations and solutions development. He is responsible for architecting and building solutions for enterprise business applications as well as vertical, end-user computing, unified communications, and cloud-native applications on Nutanix. He can be reached at

Michael Dilio

Michael Dilio is a Senior Product Marketing Manager in the Data Center Group at Lenovo who is responsible for marketing Lenovo’s SDI solutions. Mike supports sales, marketing, and partner and ecosystem to grow awareness and market share, and he also evangelizes globally. Prior to joining Lenovo, Mike worked with NetApp marketing FlexPod, Cisco, and IBM when virtualization was done on mainframes. He can be reached at

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