Think Hybrid, Push

DQW Bureau
New Update


Compared to some of its closest competitors like Oracle and Microsoft, SAP

has lagged behind in the cloud stakes. Even later start-ups like Google or

Amazon coming more from an Internet related background, has upstaged them. SAP

co-CEO Bill Mcdermott has been earlier on record that companies would never

trust their core business processes to software as a service; but things are

changing with CTO Vishal Sikka saying observers are dead wrong if they think SAP

does not care about the cloud.

Sikka, in fact, sees SAP's cloud strategy evolving over the next twelve

months into a mix of on-premise and on-demand business software running in a mix

of public and private clouds. Accordingly, SAP is girding its loin to deploy

more tools and services that will help enterprises manage their existing SAP

systems on a virtualized and cloud infrastructure.

The essence of SAP's cloud emphasis seems to be on hybrid infrastructures,

consisting of an internal cloud component and seamless access to external cloud

capacity as and when needed. This balanced approach of private and public clouds

is being officially touted by SAP as offering more choice to the customers.

Closer to reality would be the fact that SAP is driven more towards this being

relatively late in the cloud game; it is trying to aggressively emerge with a

private cloud strategy to embrace customers faster and make up some grounds, it

lost out to competitors.

The SAPPHIRE conference saw SAP re-emphasizing its cloud


SAP unveiled a plank in its strategy for private cloud computing at the

recent Sapphire summit with an announcement regarding its ERP software running

on the Vblock systems backed by Cisco, EMC and VMware. Vblock, announced last

year, combines servers, networking equipment, storage, management, security, and

virtualization components in a stack for building private clouds.

In fact, denim maker Levi Strauss worked with the vendors and consultants on

lab based tests that showed running SAP on Vblock could lead to cost savings.

Levi was a particularly apt customer for the companies to work with initially,

given the themes of cost savings and easier system management. While examples

like Levi is a boost for SAP's cloud strategy, SAP is clearly thinking beyond a

single customer while pushing its private cloud (and consequently hybrid cloud)



SAP is naturally starting at a slight disadvantage as unlike Oracle or

Microsoft, it does not have its own virtualization technologies. That means, it

will try to every other method to offset the disadvantage. One of them could be

the Project Gateway, which is about enabling easier access and consumption of

SAP software from any device or environment (example, Ruby, Python, mobile

devices, partner applications, etc).

For example on the partner front, Duet Enterprise, a product jointly

developed by Microsoft and SAP, is using project 'Gateway' to enable Microsoft

SharePoint and Office users to connect to SAP applications. It also offers

Microsoft SharePoint developers a way to create innovative solutions through

easier access to data and processes from SAP software without SAP knowledge.

This looks to counter the market impact of what Oracle is doing with Fusion,

which is using middleware to cobble together various acquired applications.

With hybrid being the focus of this cloud strategy, the emphasis is on

additional orchestration and adding more capabilities as services to its core

systems like ByDesign. Think of it more as 'on-premise on demand'. SAP's

gameplan would be to weave in collaboration throughout these on-demand add-ons.

That allows it to sell on-demand software that maps well to a company's existing

on-premise application. The rub: customers that already have gone with SaaS in

addition to an on-premise suite may not swap out for on-demand orchestration.

Rajneesh De