Building on its strong strategic partnership with SUSE, SAP SE is extending its renowned enterprise software platform into the cloud, making it more easily accessible to both new and existing customers. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications gives the global software company a stable, secure and highly flexible platform for building, testing, deploying and managing its solutions, helping it maintain rapid growth in its cloud offerings.
Building on its success as a provider of on-premise enterprise software, SAP wanted to expand its offerings and launch a cloud platform to deliver SAP solutions.
Creating comprehensive SaaS and PaaS offerings would allow existing customers to reduce their infrastructure investments while also lowering barriers to entry, potentially attracting new customers for whom SAP software was previously not viable.
To address demand for always-available business applications, SAP needed to ensure its cloud offering would meet enterprise requirements. Martin Heisig, Senior Vice President SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud at SAP SE, said: “To give customers the true SAP experience, we needed to ensure that they could take full advantage of the cloud across all their functions, from HR and procurement through to production and logistics. Offering this leaves no margin for service interruptions or maintenance windows.”
For its SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud service, SAP maintains approximately 6,600 servers with over 12,000 CPUs and 16,000 virtual machines running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications.
Martin Heisig said: “We operate 100,000 virtual machines in 50 data centers for our internal and external workloads. The majority of our servers run SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and we are working closely with SUSE to standardize our IT environment and reduce operating costs by automating more operational processes and increasing the number of virtualized systems.”
SAP’s cloud business is expanding rapidly, with the business currently experiencing triple-digit growth. “A challenge as we grow is to use our resources as efficiently as possible, so as to realize economies of scale, increase our profits and build a sustainable SAP cloud business model,” said Martin Heisig.
SUSE has proven to be an ideal platform for the OpenStack solution, which is crucial to SAP’s data center operations and the more general cloud strategy. By taking advantage of this technology, SAP benefits from an open, reliable, highly flexible platform that grows at the pace of business.
SAP also relies on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server to develop, build and test its application software. In the joint SAP Linux Lab, the team developed a reliable reference architecture for SAP HANA faster than would have been possible without support from SUSE. With the SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension—now certified for both SAP HANA System Replication and SAP Netweaver High Availability cluster—SAP provides automated system replication for SAP HANA as part of the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications platform.
SUSE continues to support enterprises using SAP, including the development of a security hardening guide for SAP HANA. This reduces the attack surface—trimming out 50 percent of the packages from the standard distribution—without compromising on features or performance.
Martin Heisig said: “We run mission-critical applications for thousands of customers who trust us to take security seriously. Working with SUSE, we are constantly tightening system security in our cloud platform, helping customers who run SAP applications in their own data centers to improve security without additional costs.”
Using SUSE technologies helps SAP to offer extremely high availability on its cloud platform. Martin Heisig says: “In part due to the great stability of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, our system availability is 99.999 percent.”
Running on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications has several advantages for SAP. For example, the company can patch servers faster than before and with less downtime—helping SAP to use its resources more efficiently and maximize uptime for customers.
SAP is now considering deploying SUSE Linux Enterprise Live Patching to get even closer to zero downtime. With 24/7 availability being critical for so many SAP customers, avoiding downtime while ensuring systems are on the latest patch level would be a great benefit.
Martin Heisig concludes: “The strategic partnership between SAP and SUSE has become a highly valuable asset for our business. This unique relationship enables us to focus on our core business, instead of solving operating system challenges. By making joint developments available to our customers, the partnership with SUSE not only improves how we run SAP, but also reduces operating costs for many thousands of global enterprises.”