It is always refreshing when the most enthusiastic superlatives for your solutions come directly from customers. It has extreme value when customers share their positive experience with your product/solution and that it created a drastic business impact.
I had the pleasure to talk to one of Pure’s new customers about their recent experience deploying their SAP environment, including production, dev/test on Pure’s FlashArray (//m50 – 80TB).
Customer is running traditional SAP ECC fully virtualized (VMware) on Microsoft SQL Server with an expensive number of other applications (e.g. BW, BOBJ, PBC etc.). The ECC environment is not very large (~1 – 1.5TB), but running their entire business processes, it is essential and mission critical for them. Protecting their SAP landscape is one of the highest priorities, besides performance. Interestingly, the customer answered my question about the reason why they run SAP fully virtualized with – “Why Not?”. And that’s true. It very often puzzles me when talking to customers and they reveal that they run SAP application server virtualized, but not their traditional Oracle, SQL Server or other DBMS, even though it would fit perfectly into a virtualized environment without large performance degradation (~10%), but with all the benefits of virtualized environments, like live migration (vMotion), HA, DR, higher utilization, lower cost etc.
This customer shared his experience migrating and running SAP on Pure Storage dividing it into 3 parts. Simplicity, performance, modernization
Customer reported that from the time they received the gear to the point where it was racked, stacked, powered and ready for use, it took them only a few hours, compared to their legacy system that took them days just to rack and stack and then another few days to configure, since it needed to be configured specifically for the SAP environment. All of this was not necessary with Pure. After powering on he started deploying and migrating over 170 VMs from the old environment. Piece of cake. The savings in time, resources and ultimately cost was more than 80%. Another effect of the simplification therefore the reduced complexity and easy manageability is the redeployment of staff for more innovative tasks to do. Customer explained that now they have time to actually focus on IT modernization and added value for the business owner. They believe that they can increase the competitive advantage by developing new real-time services for the business owner to leap frog the market.
Everybody is talking about performance and how all-flash arrays can speed up even simple SAP tasks, compared to spinning disk, but it is not the only differentiator. True that for this customer the extracting, transforming and loading (ETL) of their BW was reduced by over 90% (traditional 3h, now with Pure only 20min) and even other SAP transactions are executed way faster. Customer also reported that they have a long term plan to migrate SAP from Microsoft SQL Server to SAP HANA, but that’s more a long term goal. They are aware of the 2025 deadline when SAP will discontinue support for non-HANA databases and that for certain new financial functionality in S4HANA it is only available for SAP HANA. Nevertheless the plan is to have SAP HANA-like performance as a stepping stone towards SAP HANA, why they upgraded their existing infrastructure to Pure’s FlashArray. Prerequisite is that the investment in a platform for a modernized SAP landscape is well protected and can also be used to run SAP HANA. This would reduce cost and complexity to run multiple, mixed workloads on the same platform, making the migration planning easy and simple.
Part of the customer’s modernization strategy is to free up resources (time and money) to realize and develop more innovative and valued solutions for the company. Automation and simplification is key for truly modernized customer environments, why the customer takes advantage of Pure’s built-in snapshot, compression and deduplication capabilities to create copies and clones of the entire SAP landscape for backup purposes as well as to provide a development and testing environment to rapidly develop new functionality or fix bugs. Especially the easy to use snapshot capability and its automation of did free up resources (lower TCO). Since Pure provides consistency groups, it took care of the interdependencies of several SAP applications to assure data consistency and prevent data corruption. All-in-all the customer feels Pure’s solution for SAP helped them tremendously on their journey to SAP HANA, but providing chunkable steps on the way.