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SAP Automation – Foundation for the journey to Digital Transformation

I recently attended Australian SAP user group where customers discussed their current SAP environments, challenges and plans and strategies for future deployments. Interestingly, when asked by the keynote speaker Ken Tsai (SAP, VP Head of Cloud Platform and Data Management) how many of the over 500 customers/attendees already work on Leonardo, IoT or Analytics solutions only a few hands went up. The reality is that the majority (over 80% according to SAP) of all 65,000 ERP customers are still not on SAP HANA, yet, what’s the prerequisite for anything beyond.

One of the biggest challenges and roadblocks on the road to HANA, IoT, Analytics, AI is clearly the ability to automate very resource intensive tasks, such as SAP copy, clone or refresh. True, every customer has a solution to tackle the problem their own way, but that usually results in copy/clone times of several days or for a few customers I talked with, it takes more than a week. Reason for this very manual labor intensive task is clearly the lack of automation and the huge cross-organizational process necessary when copy, clone or refresh SAP systems.

According to analysts1, the cost to copy or clone SAP systems can exceed $1M easily, due to its complexity. On the flip side customers need to refresh SAP systems to avoid increased risk due to process inconstancies or even data corruption. Some customers are using external tools from third party vendors, but these tools can actually add complexity and cost. Some of the tools on the market are several millions of dollars in license and operational cost.

The solution for all existing ECC customers is clearly using storage array capabilities to use snapshot technology to make a very fast and easy copy of an SAP system. Pure Storage tested using our own snapshot technology to copy an SAP system database (e.g. Oracle, DB2 or even SAP HANA) in milliseconds with zero impact on the production system or any capacity impact on the array itself.

The results are amazing and the simple database copy process, including changing the SAPID can reduce the process time from hours to minutes. But the question remains for the rest of the end-to-end process of copy/clone/refresh.

Pure Storage developed an embedded solution

to provide customers a truly end-to-end SAP copy, clone and refresh capability. This solution takes full advantage of Pure’s snapshot and all-flash technology, but also includes all necessary tasks and steps to prepare the source and target systems. We call it the Pure’s Copy Automation Tool (CAT) for SAP and it will help customers to dramatically reduce:

– Cost (over $1M per year) to drive more innovation
– Risk by automating the refresh process
– Complexity since it is embedded in the array

The best part is that the tool is embedded into the array and runs on Purity//Run, a container environment provided in every Pure storage array and it is free of charge, so no additional cost. SAP customers can simply take advantage of this embedded tool, by invoking the GUI, define source and target and run the process fully automated. That’s what we call true automation to increase innovation.

SAP CAT is currently available for Oracle, SQL Server and SAP HANA and in beta, tested by customers around the world before finally launched November 1st, 2017. This blog therefore is also a continued description of the progress these beta customers are making, the challenges they have and how the tool actually helps them solving these challenges. It is also confirming the capabilities and benefits we anticipate for customers using this tool.

Check out the SAP CAT video (2:30min)

 

(Launch November 1st, 2017)

 

September 2017

  • Beta program opened
  • Several customers from US, EMEA and APJ participated in beta program
  • Customers have received the tool and test it against their current SAP environments. They also received the deployment and usage guide to attest to the simplicity using the tool.
  • ————————-
  • Ran the tool successfully at 2 customers resulting in a 80%-90% time savings. Even though we currently support Oracle on Linux/Solaris/Unix, the customer could run the tool on Oracle/AIX – Great success

 

October 2017

  • Continued fine tuning the tool
  • Tested SQL Server workloads
  • Started implementing SAP HANA workflows, making storage-based SAP HANA copy, clones simple and fast
  • ————————
  • We successfully ended and exited the beta program, confirming our initial findings that the tool dramatically reduces:
    • Time: Before 48hours – After 20min (99% reduction)
    • Resources: Before 4-6 FTE – After 1/2 FTE
    • Cost: Before $46,080 – After $26

 

November 2017

Launch and availability of Copy Automation Tool

Press Release

More info -> Microsite

 


1: https://www.redwood.com/blog/2012/08/24/survey-reveals-the-shocking-cost-of-manual-sap-system-copy

2: FTE cost per hour: $40,34 copies per months, $40*6FTE*48hours*4copies=$46,080

3: https//www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/how-to-calculate-what-your-employees-cost-you-per-hour