The Innovation Journey – 25 years of Linux – the future is here

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By Danny Rowark, SUSE

Unless you’re Matt Damon in “The Martian” stranded on Mars, you will have noticed that the Olympics has just finished in Rio!  You will also note that TeamGB collected their greatest medal haul for nearly 100 years, and once again celebrated in the velodrome for the cycling.  At the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, Chris Boardman won our only cycling Gold for the “Track Pursuit”, the first cycling gold for 72 years. Dave Brailsford then joined TeamGB Cycling and introduced “The Aggregation of Marginal Gains” and took us all on a journey of innovation and success.

25 years ago, (a year before Boardman was winning his gold), Linus Torvalds started his “Linux” project as “just a hobby”. Roughly 9 years later Linux became “Enterprise Linux”. This was made possible by the large community of enthusiasts which came together to create something great and non-profit.

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Working at IBM in the 90s, I witnessed just how Linux became “Enterprise” on the IBM mainframe. I never imagined that some 20 years later in the UK, I would be planning an event at Mercedes World in Weybridge with SAP (and partners) to take our customers on a journey around digital transformation and the software-defined data centre (SDDC).

Today Linux is present in nearly every enterprise data centre and there is still more to come: big data & analytics, SAP HANA, S4/-HANA and cloud computing are just a few examples of the role Linux has to play in the current trend for digital transformation.

But why is SUSE Linux Enterprise Server present in so many data centres running mission critical SAP applications? The answer goes back to SAP and SUSE’s conjoined history. In 1999 SAP founded the Linux Lab to develop an Enterprise version of Linux capable of running mission-critical SAP applications. From the very beginning SUSE was a leading Linux partner. Today, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server has for 10 years now acted as the reference development architecture for SAP’s ongoing technological innovation through SAP NetWeaver and SAP HANA.

Throughout that decade, the SAP community has undergone a lively and fascinating journey. Topics such as consolidation, harmonisation, automation and virtualisation have all been successfully implemented. Based on the technology available today, the S/4HANA future builds on the software-defined data centre. Studies from various analysts reveal that the journey to the SDDC (SDDC) is in full swing. What is more, it is clear that the SDDC will provide tangible business benefits for SAP customers, including improved agility and reduced op-ex (operational expenditure).

A pain-free transition: cloud plus Linux with SUSE and SAP

SAP is ready: S/4HANA Cloud is the future. But how do enterprises ensure an easy shift to the cloud with SAP? There are several options. The good news for SAP HANA customers is that they only need to decide which sourcing model they want to use: private cloud (S/4 HANA on premise, based on Intel x86 or IBM Power) or private cloud as a managed service (SAP’s HANA Enterprise Cloud, or HEC.)

For public cloud environments, S/4HANA public cloud can be hosted on the SAP HANA Cloud Platform (HCP), as well as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. In future, even more providers such as Google or Telekom will be offering their services. For most real-world deployments, hybrid cloud is likely to be the most common approach. In this scenario, parts of the SAP landscape, like production, will remain in-house while others, such as testing, will move to the public cloud to benefit from the improved scalability and flexibility offered by public cloud environments.

No matter how you decide to run SAP HANA or S/4HANA Cloud, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is everywhere. Not only is it the operating system for the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud (private) and SAP HANA Cloud Platform (public), but it also works with AWS and Azure public clouds, running on x86 and IBM Power (on- premise).

From Linus Torvald’s first post 25 years ago to thousands of SAP customers running mission-critical SAP HANA and SAP applications on SUSE (and continuous success in the velodrome), we’ve come a long way in the past quarter of a century. But there is much, much more to come! No matter what lies ahead, you can be sure you are well prepared for digital transformation with SUSE and SAP.

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