This ain't Larry Ellison's locked down world. Unlike some other industry vendors, SAP isn't aiming to be the alpha and omega of Corporate IT. Instead the Enterprise application turned database platform provider chooses to focus on what it does best and builds deep partnerships with others in the stack.
“All the way down to the silicon,” says Rayn Veerubhotla, vice president of Ecoystems and channels at SAP.
And when SAP talks about deep partnerships, it doesn't mean focusing on simple product interoperability and customer issues, but something that’s far more valuable and meaningful to its customers -- namely that the underlying products were architected and optimized especially for SAP solutions, such as its super-fast, in-memory database HANA and SAP NetWeaver Landscape Virtualization Management (LVM).
“These partnerships are key to us as we transition from being an application company to a platform,” says Veerubhotla. “We are not an A-Z provider, we orchestrate with our partners.”
To the SAP customer the approach brings better value, better Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and greater flexibility.
The SAP/NetApp Partnership
SAP and its strategic partner, storage and data management provider, NetApp today announced that they are deepening their relationship -- the companies will innovate together at the core. SAP’s HANA needs storage, back-up, disaster recovery and the like, and Net App is one of the SAP partners that customers can choose from. The orchestrated solutions provide mutual customers with an agile data infrastructure for SAP applications and a bigger, better bang for their buck.
The NetApp/SAP solutions are also more agile, as business needs and requirements change, often frequently and on short notice, they scale-up and scale-down quickly, accelerating time to market. This, of course, yields a competitive advantage for customers as well as data protection, while at the same time allowing for greater management of data growth and adaptability on demand as needs change.
Innovations from NetApp Partners Cisco and Fujitsu, Too
In order to enable SAP Hana customers to analyze big data at stellar speeds and make decisions in real time, SAP and NetApp leverage solutions from other vendors too. They have partnered with Cisco to build the Cisco UCS with NetApp Storage Solution for SAP HANA. This solution delivers unprecedented scalability, simplified management and extremely high system availability, according to an SAP press release.
SAP has also leveraged NetApp’s relationship with long-time partner Fujitsu to deliver cutting edge appliances and converged infrastructure solutions such as FlexFrame Orchestrator for SAP HANA as well as SAP’s traditional application workloads.
The deepened SAP NetApp relationship yields one other primary win: NetApp’s flexible data solutions are also integrated with SAP NetWeaver Virtualization Management to automate routine administration tasks to reduce costs, utilization of hardware resources and power, and to simplify landscape management of SAP solutions.
Why Does all of This Matter?
SAP is hell-bent on delivering big wins for its customers and being second to none when it comes to getting the job done. In order for HANA to perform at record-setting speed, every level of the stack must be optimized without compromise. Partnerships that SAP has formed with NetApp, Cisco, Fujitsu and the like should result in unparalleled performance, increased flexibility, greater agility, lower TCO and rapid deployment (60-90 days).
As a market strategy, SAP’s message to its customers is clear: work with vendors you respect and love, we’ll work with them too to deliver better solutions than any single vendor can.
And to vendors like Oracle (which will soon be competing with Hana among SAP customers, to say the least) whose pitch to customers is often perceived to be, “buy everything from us, we’re the best" poses a threat -- loss of market share rather than maintenance of a near monopoly.