Hewlett-Packard Co. is rolling out an infrastructure and services package aimed at mySAP Business Suite users seeking utility computing technologies to manage resources running SAP applications.
Called HP Virtualized Infrastructure Solutions (VIS) for mySAP Business Suite, the package enables SAP customers to centrally monitor and dynamically allocate computing power, storage and network resources as needed to respond to demand from specific SAP applications within the suite.
"The CIO's challenge is one of cost, one of agility and one of simplification," said Ron Eller, vice president and general manager of enterprise solutions alliances at HP. "What we find is that the monolithic architectures that have evolved over the last 15 years have resulted in silos of applications that are just not responsive in current world."
A majority of SAP customers are still using IT architectures in the application silo mode, Eller said. One reason is because SAP's customers have not migrated to mySAP ERP, the latest software suite that supports NetWeaver, SAP's integration and application platform.
Using virtual or utility computing begins with an assessment of the current environment, Eller said. Moving forward with a project also depends on how quickly a company wants to create a virtual environment.
"Customers don't have to truck everything out and truck new equipment in," Eller said. "They can start by upgrading parts of their SAP environment."
HP launched its Adaptive Enterprise initiative with support for SAP users on HP-UX and Linux in 2003. The latest version builds in support for users of Microsoft Windows-based systems.
The package also includes HP's Systems Insight Manager and Rapid Deployment Pack software, which provides a single virtual view of the SAP landscape. In addition, the HP tools can manage and give a view of applications from third-party vendors, such as PeopleSoft, and J.D. Edwards & Co.
"Now you can take the Windows environment and very seamlessly add application servers to the pool or take them out of the pool as necessary during the month depending on the need," Eller said.
For example, the HP software allows SAP users to keep an image of production, such as an SAP Financials application, on blade servers in a drag-and-drop method. A week later, the blades can be provisioned for supply chain applications when the demand rises, Eller said.
IBM, Sun Microsystems Inc., Microsoft and Computer Associates International Inc. have launched similar adaptive computing initiatives. Like Oracle Corp.'s grid computing strategy, software and infrastructure vendors are using virtualization to allocate resources where computing power is needed.
Companies have been able to dynamically deploy applications for a long time, Eller said. Many companies have begun implementing multi-year road maps and are beginning to reach utility computing.
HP, for example, is one of 10 SAP partners that have licensed SAP's Enterprise Services Architecture. ESA is SAP's name for transitioning its entire software suite to be service-oriented architecture-enabled by 2007.
At SAP's recent Sapphire user conference, HP and Intel unveiled an appliance that provides business intelligence capabilities for SAP customers. Designed for small and midsized businesses, the appliance comes preloaded with mySAP ERP software on HP ProLiant servers running Intel Xeon processors and HP StorageWorks storage area network systems. SAP said the appliance would speed business intelligence queries.