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IBM Entry Cloud Clears a Path for SAP Users

Illustration by Jon Han

Starting the Cloud Journey

For many clients, moving to the cloud is the next step on their journey with IBM, a company that has already seen clients using virtualization and consolidation to improve operations. “Some clients have fairly advanced landscapes where virtualization and consolidation are part of their overall concept,” says Keith Murray, IBM Global SAP Alliance Leader Cloud Computing, Global Alliance Solutions IBM Sales and Distribution. “There are limitations if clients don’t take it a step further. That’s where cloud computing comes in. It’s the next part of the journey.”

IBM is very flexible in helping clients achieve their goals with the cloud. “If clients want to keep their assets in their own data centers, IBM offers cloud solutions such as automation of IT processes relating to how those services are deployed through metering and billing,” Murray says.

If a client would rather use a hosted environment, the SAP landscapes can be put into an IBM SmartCloud environment providing similar capabilities. “It’s an alternative method of deployment, which has its own advantages,” Murray says. “Using a hosted environment means the clients don’t have to go through a learning curve to obtain skills in that area. IBM delivers that straight out of the box with IBM SmartCloud offerings.”


Becoming Cloud Ready

As part of its holistic approach to cloud computing, IBM first determines if a client’s infrastructure is cloud ready. Using a consultative approach, the company analyzes the current infrastructure and makes recommendations about how to simplify the SAP infrastructure and operations. IBM evaluates the potential of reducing associated costs, including database and storage management.

Following recommendations, IBM works with the client on the cloud platform—whether it’s private, public or a hybrid. These clouds are based on IBM hardware, software, services and best practices. One factor helping IBM stand out is that it offers complete, cloud-managed services. “We don’t give you access to our hosted cloud and say ‘good luck.’ We help you with complete services,” Murray says.

Besides speeding SAP service delivery, IBM SmartCloud for SAP Applications provides a way for clients to employ resources and account for them more efficiently. “We can spin out systems faster and clients can sign on again for shorter terms,” Knobloch says. “If the standard configuration doesn’t fit 100 percent, we can customize it so it does fit. If clients have varying workloads, they can simply request to add or remove capacity from a self-service portal and IBM SmartCloud for SAP Applications can provide that for the short term.”

The newest service, IBM Entry Cloud Configuration for SAP Solutions for Power, enables cloud capabilities for SAP landscapes and leverages the advantages of Power Systems* hardware and software and the IBM SmartCloud Entry through integration with SAP Landscape Virtualization Manager. This gives clients a simpler way to deploy the cloud, enabling them to be more nimble in responding to business needs.

This new offering uses base-use scenarios, such as SAP Instance Provisioning, SAP Rename and SAP Post Processing; provides automation for key operations like SAP System Copy and SAP System Cloning; and allows capacity-management and monitoring of all SAP and IBM layers. Because it’s an entry-level solution, the configuration can be upgraded and expanded to accommodate advanced cloud offerings and business needs.

For clients choosing to go with an on-premise cloud, IBM Entry Cloud Configuration for SAP Solutions for Power gives clients a jump-start on the journey into a cloud environment, Murray says. “If a client’s storage and servers are already virtualized, then through the integration of the SAP Landscape Virtualization Manager and IBM’s Systems Director, we enable clients to start that journey. It’s a very simple implementation and gets clients up and running quickly.”

In fact, using IBM SmartCloud or IBM Entry Cloud will radically reduce the time it takes to deploy use cases, notes Nina Johanssen, IBM Systems and Technology Group worldwide SAP business development manager. “Instead of weeks or days, deployments can be made in hours.” Figure 1 (page 28) shows the deployment time projections. As part of the customization, IBM provides a sort of “cookbook” that explains what clients can use with their systems and when to execute the integration, Johanssen says.

Underlying the cloud offerings are IBM’s years of experience in hosting SAP in virtualized, shared infrastructures. IBM and SAP have been strategic partners for 40 years. “We are a global SAP partner for cloud services and one of SAP’s top partners,” Murray says. “We’ve won Pinnacle awards every year they’ve been given out. If a client wants to go with the company that has the most experience hosting SAP, IBM is the one.”


The Next Phase

The promise of cloud computing is now a reality. Cloud computing is changing the face of the enterprise with its inherent flexibility, accessibility and efficient use of computing resources. IBM is meeting SAP client demands for cloud-ready infrastructure solutions and managed SAP services. With options placing SAP applications and data in a secure computing cloud, IBM makes clients’ implementations more affordable. Lower risk and innovative technologies, such as LCaaS and IBM Entry Cloud Configuration for SAP Solutions on Power, give clients more flexibility and let them control the cost of the SAP software landscapes by reducing complexity. It’s an easy way to start the next phase of the journey.

Shirley S. Savage is a Maine-based freelance writer. Shirley can be reached at savage.shirley@comcast.net.

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