By Scott McCullough, Solutions Architect at NetApp
The first release of SAP HANA was delivered via the appliance model. There are pros and cons to this type of delivery and I can understand why SAP chose this route for the initial rollout of SAP HANA – it ensures the HANA system will operate and perform as expected since every piece of the solution (storage, network, server, and OS) has been tested and certified by SAP. However, SAP has been around for a long time and there are many excellent BASIS and Infrastructure professionals that are very competent with installing SAP software on many different platforms and databases, so you can imagine how this might be an issue when these IT shops (myself included) were made aware that HANA was only delivered as an appliance and the BOM was fixed.
For example, I have been in many different IT shops where they have standardized on a particular NetApp storage controller and a specific server vendor. Using the SAP HANA appliance model, some customers had to change their IT standards in order to leverage HANA. NetApp currently has certified HANA appliances with Cisco and Fujitsu; both of these server vendors are excellent choices for the compute layer, however these are not the only two server vendors out there.
IT organizations are built on standards and documented processes to support their business, and the appliance model just doesn’t fit every organization.
The SAP HANA TDI program is the first step to giving flexibility and choice back to IT shops. The certification is very rigorous and requires an exorbitant amount of testing and documentation. The NetApp SAP team achieved this milestone in record time to successfully certify NetApp FAS 3200 and FAS 6200 series storage controllers, providing NetApp customers the choice of controllers based on their current IT standards and/or HANA workloads. In addition, it also enables customers – with different standards for server platforms (other than Cisco or Fujitsu) – to pair their HANA-certified server with NetApp certified FAS controllers. Standards are great and essential for a smooth running IT organization; giving IT shops the ability to keep their existing standards while still using certified servers in combination with NetApp FAS controllers is even better.