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SAP did not invent in-memory databases. In-memory databases were around for at least three decades, but unfortunately mostly in research labs. But SAP pushed in-memory databases into the mainstream market when the time was right, when memory became more affordable, and the customers had a need for more speed.

 

In comparison to cars, SAP HANA suddenly was shining like a high performance sports car.

 

But by now the first big “Wow” is over, and customers trying to figure out how to leverage this superfast technology in a more economic way for a day-to-day usage.  The HANA appliance model is kind of inflexible and not granular enough. Ironically SAP provided a very flexible, adaptable and customizable technology for many years with what now might be called “traditional SAP systems”. Not surprisingly the customer now would like to have the same flexibility from SAP.

 

In an automotive world the customers now would rather like to buy trucks with nitrogen infused super high performance engines instead of a docent sports cars with tiny trunks to carry the required payload.

 

With other words: More powerful servers and storage solutions with virtualization features are on the customers’ wish list. Virtual machines in the servers help to leverage the resources much better, but it does not stop here. The storage needs to provide very similar features, which is virtualization at storage level. And the secure separation of systems, which is multi-tenancy.

 

The new NetApp storage operating system Clustered Data ONTAP provides virtual storage called vServers. It can span across multiple storage systems, can be moved around, can get different disk types assigned, can grow and shrink effortlessly. And this all is happening without service interruption and at any time.

 

Besides SAP HANA customers will continue to run other non-HANA SAP system in the future, for instance in Cisco/NetApp FlexPods. These other systems interact with HANA systems closely.

 

In a truck items are nicely separated in boxes. Heavy boxes on the bottom, light boxes on top. In a perfect world, the truck is completely filled up to the ceiling, but nothing breaks.

 

In case of HANA and FlexPod, multi-tenancy provides the nice, secure separation.

 

NetApp clustered Data ONTAP provides the right, flexible and secure storage virtualization environment for that purpose.

 

The HANA/FlexPod solutions from Cisco and NetApp with built-in multi-tenancy will re-unite SAP HANA and traditional SAP systems in the customers’ IT landscape closely, but in the most flexible way with spot-on resource assignments.

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