Aug 4, 2014

Is TDI going to make the HANA appliance obsolete-1?

Up until recently your only option for moving to HANA was to buy a HANA appliance. However, we know all too well that no single company does all things better than any other company. to solve this dilemma SAP introduced the TDI (Tailored Datacenter Integration) model which allows companies to mix and match their leveraged vendors and datacenter skills, without compromising the overall quality of the HANA solution. TDI is way ahead of its time and customers need to adapt to the future rather than hesitate. TDI allows customers to mix and match certified servers into existing enterprise storage systems. This reduces time-to-value, risks, and costs for strategic HANA adoption, and conforms to your datacenter standards rather effortlessly.
Note 1: At the current time we can clearly state that scale-out HANA systems are not truly an appliance as they are not enclosed into a single environment but interconnected in some way or the other. The same reasoning establishes that only the single node HANA Scale-Up actually qualifies as an appliance. 
Note 2: TDI is a concept ahead of its time. I predict that in another 3-5 years most of the HANA appliances will be replaced with generic TDI architecture devices with medium to large customers. So start thinking and planning for a cost mitigated HANA TDI architecture.
Note 3: Appliances do not allow companies to leverage their existing assets. for example if you have UCS servers from Cisco in your data center the appliance model from most companies will not allow companies to integrate. The same goes for Storage from EMC or Net App. TDI actually allows companies to leverage assets, lower costs and in my opinion get an overall quality that is higher.
Note 4: HANA-for-IOT (HANA4IoT) is also a concept ahead of its time. Most customers that adopted HANA in 2010 are now being faced with IoT (Internet of Things) architecture and infrastructure concerns. So plan your HANA4IoT along with TDI discussions

LETS FIRST LEVELTHE PLAYING FIELD- Core Benchmark's- Overall the quest here is to establish that no one company can do all things better that all others. My BVA (Business Value Attainment) question is asked towards the end of this section

Symantec leader in Archiving (for HANA-DR)
A. QUALITY Overall: The overall quality of the HANA appliance or TDI mix is certified by a common denominator - SAP Certification. Once a HANA HW is certified by SAP then its quality is a level playing field and should no longer be a concern for any enterprise or buyer.
A.1 Component Quality: It is a well known fact that no supplier manufactures the best of everything. Some are good in one area and other's good in another.  Lets look at what Gartner states.
Servers: If we look at X82 servers Cisco is the leading provider for Servers in North America as of June 2014. They just beat HP in 2014 and had beaten IBM by April 2014. So your best bet is to get your HANA Compute (Servers) from Cisco today
Backup and DR: There is only one partner certified for HANA DR and that is Symantec. Thus Symantec is your best partner for HANA Backup and DR. So your best bet for HANA Backup is Symantic today.
Storage: Once again the global leaders in storage are EMC and NetApp. So your best bet is to get your HANA storage from EMC or NetApp.
QUALITY- Takeaway: If you want the best you need to partner with the best. We have just built a TDI model for a HANA customer with EMC Storage, Hitachi Compute and Symantec backup. The reason for this was that this very large customer has existing leveraged contracts with these partners and could put together the appliance at around 50% of buying an appliance. However, they did not know about TDI, its certification or support. So we provide that. HANA with better quality at lower costs. We provide the KBS support (K-Keep Lights On; B=Basis; S=Security)

Cisco leader in wireless Devices & Access (for HANA4IoT)
B. COST Overall: Our experience so far is that whn you buy TDI the Quality is at par, and the costs are far lower. Just as an example (this is not cast in stone) I can get customers a TDI appliance of 1TB at around $250k with  3 years of 'Keep-Lights-On' support built in today. Rty that with an appliance today and then come talk to us.
BVA Question: So this TDI combination is as good in quality (certified by SAP) could cost you around 40-50% less; is under no threat of obsolescence (as it is a growth area). Then the important question is should you consider the TDI selection right-now- or simply pay more for less?
EMC & Netappare the global leaders for Storage

I firmly believe that the TDI model, is driven by, and establishes the confidence SAP has in their HANA platform by allowing open-ware configurations in a controlled manner for now. It allows customers to move from current HANA 'black-box' appliances towards a more IT determined open-ware environment based on leverage advantages of each company and their data center management.
As we proceed on the path of TDI we see models where customers mix and match their HANA components with their own leveraged partners for their world-class capabilities rather than buying a black-box that IT is not allowed to touch.
It is important to note that Typically customers have started choosing their HANA PRD environments on bare metal and non-PRD on virtual servers. However, a new kid on the block called ‘Docker’ is promising to even make virtual servers kind of obsolete. Docker with their disruptive technology is leapfrogging to provide the next generation of SW based virtual possibilities. Watch this one closely.
SAP HANA, though quite mature, is still a new kid on the block with exceptional business value and business benefit potentials. In its first step it came with very tight controls in the form of a lock-down appliance. As SAP HANA stabilizes we are seeing an adoption towards open-ware and TDI is that future option available today. One of the indications of maturity is SAP allowing TDI HANA systems that take customers from a single vendor monopolistic chokehold to a more open platform design. As SAP HANA continues to mature the market is clearly moving from HANA appliances to HANA TDI systems that leverage customer strengths and get out of the ‘Black-Box’ appliance model. We will start to see the best practices of HANA installation shift from a single vendor appliance model to a ‘mix-&-match' TDI one.

Historically the SAP Go-T0-Market decision- to start with an appliance model has solid reasons. BWA was an appliance and SAP HANA was a disruptive extension that took the same appliance route. However, as HANA matures and becomes more main stream  SAP is already allowing customers to opt for a more open platform. Customers can today chose an IBM or Cisco compute (HANA servers), and mix that with an EMC or NetApp storage. TDI is the first step to open platform of a maturing SAP HANA. It is also the first step to increasing ROI and decreasing TCO in HANA implementations.

Some facts about HANA (+ and -)

1.     The standard recommendation is scale-out for BI and scale-up for ERP.  
2.     (+) HANA comes on a shared cluster architecture allowing administrators to split tables (or partitions of columnar tables) across multiple nodes in a cluster. This is very different from an Oracle cluster but that is another discussion
3.     (+) HANA can run on both RDBMS and Columnar simultaneously allowing operations and analytics to run off the same database. This leads to large-scale Real-Time operational decision enhancement.
4.     (+) HANA is currently on SP 9 and so far we can store row tables on a single master node of the cluster. SP 9 now supports multi tenancy and a host of new functionalities.
5.     (-) today it is only possible to store row tables on a single master node of the cluster
6.     (-) All connections to the HANA system are controlled by a single ‘Master nameserver’ making this a potential bottleneck for very large scale-out deployments
7.     (-) Single commits from different HANA nodes, i.e. joins of data across different HANA nodes, and translates into performance costs due to distribution of tables across the various servers.
8.     (-) Business continuity of SAP HANA in a scale-out of clusters will always be more complex than operating out of a single node system
9.     (-) TREX is an essential part of HANA that SAP continues to leverage from their existing portfolio. TREX leverages the ‘shared filesystem’ to store all the data when in a multi host scale-out mode. TREX predates BWA and MAXDB. It was built on a NFS access to persistency.
10.  HANA, over time has evolved from being an analytic engine to become the SAP platform. Its historical evolutionary path still clings to some legacy considerations as we move forward beyond it being ‘just’ an analytic engine.
11.  SAP continues to make rapid developments and over time most of the current issues will become obsolete. HANA Scale out is still on a maturity path. HANA is evolving extremely rapidly and most appliance partners clearly state that all HANA scale-out appliances need to be on the same version control. So though 12-18 months today seems to be an eternity it will come very rapidly in real life.
12.  HANA appliances are evolving very rapidly with newer versions coming out every 6 months or so. So if you bought a HANA appliance 6 months ago then you have the following options today. [1] Continue with the current appliance that your appliance partner may stop supporting shortly, or [2] Totally reinstall/change all the procured appliances and change to the new appliances and new support contracts. Imaging doing this every 18-20 months. If you think this sounds far-fetched ask your appliance vendor as to 'till when will they continue to support BWA appliances" and therein you have your answer about proceeding on the appliance or TDI models

 Evolution of SAP HANA
·         Started as an analytics database
·         Evolved as the preferred database for SAP BW
·         Becoming the preferred platform for operational Suite on HANA (ERP, CRM and SCM)
·         Stage 1:  – Platform safeguarding- HANA Appliances only
·         Stage 2: - Platform maturity and open-ware = TDI HANA model
-         Stage 3: - S/4HANA the new SAP platform currently enabling Finance
a.     TDI releases IT from the choke-hold of a single appliance vendor by allowing mix-and-match by established leveraged customer vendors. Currently this is limited to certified partners.
b.    There is already a large enough SAP HANA customer base that is selecting the HANA TDI options. Which allows customers to choose their preferred, server/ storage/ networking/ IoT vendors independently.
c.     Critical Note: when thinking TDI also consider your strategic IoT data acquisition in the partner mix.

Strategically TDI is the first sign that SAP HANA is maturing and opening to meet the terms of the customers focused solutions based on an open market adoption. There is clear evidence that HANA adoption will continue to grow. So while some customers choose the appliance route to HANA we see a clear long-term adoption to best-in-class, multi vendor solutions.
As more and more customers adapt to HANA we are also seeing many of them take the TDI route to HANA. This allows more and more customers manage to extricate themselves from the choke-hold of the ‘black-box’ approach of HANA appliances. In the 2014-16 timeframe we predict that SAP HANA will  become just another SAP application in your datacenter freeing customers from the chokehold of HANA appliances.  One that can be deployed on approved infrastructure of the TDI model.

What we are providing to customers today:
Customer 1 is a large financial institution that loves their HW partner but does not like their support experience. So they have chosen the TDI route with neutral support capabilities, they are choosing their own preferred vendors for server and storage and allowing us to integrate the two components along with a SAP TDI certification. This directly impacts their initial costs, support costs and strategic costs without compromising quality of support.

Customer 2 is a large data-center where ROI and TCO are critical considerations. They plan to run hundreds of HANA customer as hosted or on the HANA cloud model. They already have strategic alliances with Compute/server, storage and network partners and clearly see the benefits of not going on the ‘Black-Box’ monopoly chokehold of the appliance model. TDI is every customer’s answer to break free from current monopolistic control appliance model to a more open infrastructure model. Open architecture allows customers to leverage market competitive forces. Appliances, on the other-hand, locks customer into monopolistic command and control scenarios.  
TDI is as close to how you run your current net weaver platform today, where the customer chooses their partners-A procures the components-B and installs their SAP applications for SAP HANA.

1. There is no single vendor that does all thing best on the planet. Server, Storage, network devices, communications, IoT and IoE security fabric, certified HANA backup, etc.
2. TDI allows customers to get out of the choke-grasp of a single vendor monopoly and launches them on a path of open-ware selections based on world class providers.
3. Appliances are surely on their way out and TDI is on the way in- so plan your HANA Infra with the future in mind.
4. VM servers could be on the way out with the Docker disruptive technology options as it promises to both enhances the quality and capabilities and lowers TCO.
If unclear then reach out for your TDI solution and launch your HANA Infrastructure with world class end-to-end leveraged partners and not get into a choke-hold grasp of an
appliance and what it truly represents. 


  1. Thanks for illuminating the technological direction (TDI) in the space and intersection of BI, HANA, Data Centre and IoT. It will be nice to hear about the interplay of these technologies and expected valuable deliverables in energy/utilities industry segment (especially for Smart Grids and Big Data). Kindly keep your audience posted if possible. Regards.

  2. Sreekath PeramAugust 27, 2015

    Hi Hari - I have been reading your posts. Each and every post is well explained. Keep it up.