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Case Study: How SAP Innovated for the Cloud with Lenovo and HANA

Organisations which are on a transformation journey use SAP HANA to get real-time business insights. Have you wondered what it takes for SAP, to power their HANA platform for internal use? Get a closer look at the innovative solutions that remade their data center.

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SAP HANA is an in-memory column-oriented, relational database management system. It brings together database and application platform capabilities, for businesses to access crucial information and analytics systems efficiently in real-time. Some of the business benefits seen are as below.

The Shift to Real-time Services
Business cannot afford high latency times when taking decisions, so everyone is moving from "what happened yesterday" to real-time visibility of complete data. This allows for faster analytics, reporting, and reactions to events impacting business. Access to big data processing is also unlocking new insights with predictive, complex analysis.

Accordingly, all internal enterprise applications at SAP are now based on SAP HANA in-memory database. SAP HANA delivers advanced analytics in near-real time, using in-memory database technology that would usually place unique demands on the supporting servers.

Explosion of Mobility and Cloud
Conventional patterns of work are changing. Work now needs to seamlessly transfer between mobile devices and workstations, as distinctions between home, office and travel continue to blur. Users expect to connect to corporate resources and tools, regardless of location, and need responsive, reliable IT wherever they may be.

Thomas Saueressig, Chief Information Officer at SAP, reports: “We have a highly mobile workforce. Our vision is to enable SAP to become a fully digital enterprise. This also applies to everything that touches an SAP employee, from the devices we use to the collaboration tools and networks.”

To this end, SAP has benefited from being able to run all its enterprise applications on cloud infrastructure.

Creating a Benchmark for High Availability
Thomas Saueressig explains: “Any workflow interruption damages our performance. With over 100,000 mobile devices to manage, we need outstanding reliability, excellent performance and fast response times. For example, if you are busy working and find yourself waiting for three or four seconds for data, not only have those seconds gone forever but also you will almost certainly have started thinking about something else. Recovering your lost focus and returning to productive work costs more than a few seconds. For an organization the size of SAP, even small changes can have a significant impact.”

Martin Heisig, Senior Vice President of SAP Cloud Infrastructure Services, states: “Our priority is to ensure that our internal on-premises solutions and cloud-based applications are always available, and to deliver a stable, reliable service.” By providing high reliability of enterprise applications and preventing interruptions, SAP’s HANA helps save time and optimise productivity.

Businesses Runs On SAP HANA, What Does SAP Run On?Download SAP Case Study
Lenovo+SAP Leading Performance Benchmarks
Lenovo+SAP Innovations

Improving IT Infrastructure While Lowering TCO
Martin Heisig elucidates: “The SAP IT organization must always deliver capacity and scalability within demanding total cost of ownership targets. SAP continuously examines how we can be more efficient and more effective, looking for ways to reduce operational costs while providing the best possible service. TCO efficiency impacts our server platforms, operational administration and management, and every component of our IT infrastructure.”

SAP HANA enables higher throughput and smaller data footprint on the servers. It also leads to fewer layers that need to be managed, all of which result in lower operational costs.

Powering SAP’s HANA Success
Faced with a potent mix of demands internally and externally, SAP has an incentive to select the best possible infrastructure platform, and relies on Lenovo systems and technologies throughout its IT infrastructure. On-premises and cloud-based SAP applications are hosted on Lenovo servers, powered by Intel® Xeon® E5 and E7 processor families.

SAP has deployed Lenovo System x3550 M5, x3650 M5, x3850 X6, and x3950 X6 servers, which provide a range of capacity, suitable for general office productivity right through to enterprise-scale, high-performance platforms. SAP also operates Lenovo Flex System, which provides a portfolio of integrated compute, storage networking and management solutions. Mission-critical and extremely demanding workloads are handled by Lenovo ThinkSystem SR950 servers, which offer modular design and All-Flash storage solutions as well. Deployments are made faster with Lenovo Solutions for SAP HANA®, Lenovo XClarity and Lenovo Professional Services.

Assuring Enterprise Grade Reliability
Martin Heisig avers, “Lenovo is our platform of choice to run our internal SAP S/4 HANA® system, because it’s so reliable and stable. Additionally, when it comes to TCO, Lenovo leads the way in terms of price-performance and reduced operational costs. Lenovo servers provide advanced management tools to help us orchestrate, optimise and manage the server estate, keeping administration easy and cost-efficient.”

Advanced X6 RAS features, such as predictive failure analysis, light path diagnostics, and hot swap components, provide high availability and maximum up-time for business-critical SAP HANA applications. SAP continues to develop its relationship with Lenovo, in support of customer-facing services and driving business efficiency, for mission-critical server-side solutions and personal productivity applications.

Thomas Saueressig concludes, “SAP has a very strong Lenovo footprint, which is part of our strategy. Lenovo helps SAP to ensure a consistently great experience and meet customer SLAs.” “The Lenovo servers and systems help SAP to enable new business models and optimise processes, and at the same time provide a modern workplace for our employees. For SAP, Lenovo is a key partner at every point of the IT infrastructure, including beautiful devices and enterprise-class reliability. That’s the key message for a great partnership.”

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