Modern systems for modern software

Not so long ago, heavyweight enterprise software from the likes of SAP lived in a different world from cloud-like hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI). Enterprise software was regarded as monolithic, and ran on large servers or mainframes, while HCI was a vehicle for operating private clouds or running multiple client-server type applications in virtualized form.

All that is changing following SAP’s transformational decisions, first to build its own in-memory database called HANA, and then to rebuild its data warehouse and ERP applications to use HANA as their essential foundation. Not only does HANA offer operational advantages, such as the ability for transactional and analytical applications to share the same platform, saving cost, complexity and time, but it is a much more modern software architecture.

This makes HANA well suited to the fast-growing world of HCI and cloud, a world in which technical resources are decoupled from hardware and are instead abstracted (or virtualized) and defined in software. By removing the need to dedicate specific hardware to each application this abstraction can cut costs, especially in the case of applications that need to be highly available. In addition, managing an application – for example, scaling it up or down, or moving it to a new home – is now done in software. This means it is simpler and faster and can be automated.

In this paper, we discuss how and why these two worlds are coming together, the need for validated HANA-on-HCI solutions, and what else SAP and HCI practitioners need to know in order to work together.

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