Back in October 2014, I attended the SAP TechEd && d-code conference in Las Vegas, where SAP boldly talked about the “next steps to deliver innovation in the cloud with the SAP HANA platform” so that customers can truly innovate and simplify their business and development process, and SAP reaffirmed that running SAP HANA in TDI mode continues to gain momentum everywhere as lots of customers are wanting to hear.
During SAP TechEd && d-code Las Vegas, EMC Global Solutions Marketing launched the EMC Hybrid Cloud for SAP Technical Demo Video to supplement the white paper released at VMworld in San Francisco in August (check out my blog post from that event). This 8-minutes video explains in simple terms how the EMC Hybrid Cloud for SAP (EHC for SAP for short) can be the bridge to the future to enable IT transformation while helping customers redefine simplicity, choice, & agility in deploying SAP landscapes in either on-premises cloud, off-premises cloud, or both.
When people discuss and debate the merits of implementing virtualized SAP environment, in the cloud so to speak, the conversation is often centered around the ease and simplicity of provisioning, for example, a new SAP sandbox or test environment can be stood up in minutes instead of weeks. But running SAP in the cloud, regardless of it is on-premises, off-premises, or both in a hybrid cloud fashion, provide benefits that go far beyond provisioning! In fact, the powerful capabilities offered in the areas of monitoring, workload relocation, and multi-tenancy chargeback will soon be the more interesting points to consider and understand!
Many customers and experts agreed that performance monitoring, alerting, and compliance reporting are afterthoughts, often put in place after some sort of crisis has occurred which caused an outage or a disruption to the business. Since SAP is such a mission-critical system, you must be able to have end-to-end monitoring of all KPIs (key performance indicators) involving the compute, network, and storage tiers on the same pane of glass in order to quickly react to any issues. EHC for SAP incorporates key monitoring tools offering unparalleled monitoring capabilities for your SAP cloud environment: EMC ViPR SRM and VMware vCenter Operations with the Blue Medora plug-in.
Let me spend the rest of this blog post discussing with you one of the key tools integral to EHC for SAP: EMC ViPR SRM which provides comprehensive monitoring and alerting on not only the storage tier, but also on the compute tier and network tier. For EHC for SAP however, ViPR SRM focuses primarily on the critical storage tier of the cloud infrastructure, including such critical components for long distance BC/DR such as EMC RecoverPoint.
People reason that since “it’s in the cloud”, there should no longer be any worry regarding storage since it’s now someone else’s problem, right? Well that may be true if you are talking about a public cloud, but if it’s a private cloud running on your premises, then you DO in fact have to worry about the performance, stability, and availability of your storage platform.
And since it’s a cloud environment, your storage is a shared resource servicing hundreds or thousands of SAP virtual machines, which makes it even harder to pinpoint which SAP environment and virtual machines are being impacted by a particular problem.
EMC ViPR SRM offers not only unparalleled insight into the popular EMC storage platform for SAP such as the VMAX, VNX, and XtremIO (and some popular SAP storage platforms such as Hitachi, IBM, and others), but it can provide visibility into the network and compute tiers as well. As previously mentioned, for EHC for SAP, ViPR SRM concentrates on monitoring the critical storage tier and you can drill down to the storage processor level and LUN level if needed as well as view the complex interaction of the data stores and the replication solutions for data protection and disaster recovery – you can easily perform root cause analysis to troubleshoot any problem and also have the necessary reporting to show that key SLAs (Service Level Agreements) have been met or even exceeded.
One could ask why anyone should care about a tool for visualizing, analyzing, and optimizing storage resources when one is running SAP in a cloud environment. Well, for a lot people, SAP on cloud typically means that it’s virtualized SAP running on VMware (the market share leader in SAP installations) and every VMware virtual machine needs a support VMDK data store which itself is a group of files! So yes, a tool for visualizing, analyzing, and optimizing storage resources when one is running SAP in a cloud environment is not only relevant, it is an absolute necessity to assure availability, performance, and resiliency of the cloud infrastructure both in a private cloud setting as well as hybrid cloud setting, where long distance disaster recovery and workload relocation are key drivers for adoption.
I know that details in the screen shot below are hard to read, but I wanted to provide a "blurry" glimpse of the richness of the EMC ViPR SRM console as integrated into EHC for SAP – however, you can download the EHC for SAP white paper to get a better view or go to the EMC ViPR SRM page on EMC.com for more details.
In the screen shot, EMC ViPR SRM easily allows Cloud Administrators to drill down to the following components of the storage tier:
- Storage Capacity: this one is obvious, as you need to know if the cloud environments being hosted on a particular array will run out of space
- Storage Path Details: this data point is crucial to deal with performance issues due to bottleneck in the data storage path
- Storage Performance: another obvious one, which would be useful to redistribute storage work load as needed to provide scalable performance required in a cloud environment
- Performance CPU of the array front end processor or engine: this metric provides more details on how the array is behaving, useful in capacity planning and performance optimization
- Performance Memory of the array front end processor or engine: another needed metric to better understand how the array is behaving, useful in capacity planning and performance optimization
- Events: now this feature is essential to Cloud Admins so that they can be alerted in case of any issue which may impact the performance of the EHC for SAP.
There is no question that EMC ViPR SRM brings unmatched Alerting and Reporting capabilities, with several hundreds of counters and metrics for not only EMC storage arrays, but also for non-EMC arrays as well as Cisco servers and switches, Brocade equipment, VMware products, and more.