The history of SAP is fascinating. Back in 1972, five IBMers noticed that IBM wasn't leveragingits internal accounting/inventory software package. They asked if they could buy the rights to it, leave IBM to form their own company to fix it up, and sell it as their own. Since IBM had decided not tobe in the enterprise applications business any longer, they approved. These guys renamed the software to "Realtime Data Processing/1" or just R/1 for short, andformed Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung AG. In 2005, they renamed this to Systeme, Anwendungen, Produkte in der Datenverarbeitung AG,which is German for "Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing, Inc.", withSAP AG as the preferred abbeviation (the AG here is justthe German version of "Inc.").
R/1 became R/2, then R/3, and today is now called the SAP ERP forthe SAP Business Suite, although many still call it R/3. Other popular Business Suite components includeCustomer Relationship Management(CRM), Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), and Supply Chain Management (SCM),and Supplier Relationship Manager (SRM).The architecture had evolved in this time frame, separating out the application components from a base platform product line called NetWeaver, similar to IBM WebSphere Application Server (WAS). Other ISVs or in-house developers can build their applications directlyonto the NetWeaver base platform, creating a form of eco-system of software applications.
Today, SAP is now the fourth largest software company (behind Microsoft, IBM and Oracle) employing over 42,000 employees worldwide,and is considered the leading global vendor of Enterprise Application software, generating over $14 billiondollars in revenue each year.
- Server Platforms
SAP runs on all of IBM's major operating systems and server platforms, so it makes sense for IBM to continue its strong ties to SAP. Together, we formed the IBM SAP International Competency Center[ISICC], in Waldorf, Germany,where SAP has its headquarters. I have been to Germany and visited with the folks from the ISICC.Of my 17 U.S. patents, several were for a feature called z/OS DFSMShsm "Fast Replication" that was requested by SAPat one of these meetings. This featuretakes advantage of IBM System Storage DS8000 FlashCopy to make instantaneous backups of an SAP environment built on DB2 for z/OS databases. For more details read the [IBM Redbook: Fast Replication].
The #1 UNIX platform for SAP is IBM's AIX operating system that runs on System p servers. Some of our customers create a[Composite Application] by havingthe SAP front-end application server run on AIX, and use z/OS to host the SAP DB2 databases. Thisallows you to take advantage of DFSMShsm Fast Replication on System z, with the number-crunching power of theSystem p server.
Combining IBM server and storage is a winning combination for SAP performance as well, as evidenced by this[New IBM server achieves championship benchmark results] press release.
Last year, IBM introduced [Lotus Notes 7 access to SAP solutions],which has since been enhanced with Lotus Notes 8 support of Composite Applications, building on IBM and SAP'smutual efforts to get customers to adopt [Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)] and Java.
- Server/Storage bundles
What's most exciting to me about SAP is that for every dollar spend on IT hardware to support an SAP application,60% is for storage, and 40% for servers. Therefore, buying both from IBM is simpler and easier than shoppingfor these separately.
[Business Intelligence], abbreviated BI, attempts to evaluate and correlate data across many different business applications, to help executives make business decisions.An exciting development is [IBM Systems forSAP Business Intelligence Accelerator]. These are pre-installed, pre-configured server/storagebundles in four ["T-shirt"] sizes, based on 500-byte rows:
- Small, 10 user sessions, and 120 million rows
- Medium, 20 parallel user sessions, and 250 million rows
- Large, 50 parallel user sessions, and 500 million rows
- Extra Large, 100 parallel user sessions, and 1 billion rows
The "Accelerator" provides a performance boost by managing large queries in memory. SAP blogger Nenshad Bardoliwalla in his Bardoli Blog explains why [the future is in memory-based data warehouses].
IDC Insight has an opinion paper titled [SAP Business Intelligence Accelerator: A High - Performance Analytic Engine for SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence by Dan Vesset.
- Backup and Archive Support
IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) was the first product to certify to SAP's BC-BRS interface for copy/mirror/backup/restore. IBM provides additional support with TSM for SAP, TSM for Databases, andTSM for Advanced Copy Services (ACS). TSM for ACS supports the use of FlashCopy on SVC, DS8000, DS6000, and ESS; as well as SnapShot on the IBM System Storage N series.
IBM's recent push into the Archive and Compliance space offers[IBM CommonStore for SAP],which acts as an "archive file manager" between you SAP application and your archive repository, such asthe IBM System Storage DR550, DR550 Express, N series, and tape.
- What's Next: SMB and SaaS
Since SAP has saturated the market for medium and large size businesses, IBM is now focused on helping theSMB customer base. The majority of these are expected to deploy SAP on x86 platforms running Linux orWindows. For smaller companies, SAP has their "Business All-in-One" for companies with 100-500 users,and "Business One" for companies with less than 100 users. Note: not every employee may need to use SAP,so larger companies may have only a subset of their employees actually using the SAP system and find thesesmaller offerings a good fit.
Nicholas Carr on his Rough Type blog writes:[has SAP unleashed a cannibal?],referring to SAP's new "Business ByDesign" Software as a Service (SaaS) offering to compete againstSalesforce.com business model. Rather than installing and maintaining the SAP software yourself, youinstead pay SAP on a per-user/per-month basis to use their systems remotely. The reference to cannibalism comes from the IT slang "eat your ownchildren", the notion that IT companies may introduce a new offering that eats away at future sales of theexisting product set.
For more information on IBM's support of SAP enterprise applications, check out this [IBM and SAP website].
technorati tags: IBM, SAP, ERP, Microsoft, Oracle, DFSMShsm, Fast+Replication, DS8000, FlashCopy, R/3, MySAP, Business Suite, DB2, z/OS, AIX, Lotus Notes, Composite Applications, SOA, Java, Business Intelligence, BI, BIA, BI-A, Accelerator, Nenshad Bardoliwalla, NetWeaver, TSM, ACS, database, CommonStore, DR550, x86, Linux, Windows, ByDesign, SaaS, cannibalism,CRM, PLM, SCM