IBM i is the perfect platform to support SAP implementations because it was designed to offer scalability, reliability, and availability at its core. SAP was designed to help companies run all aspects of their business with ERP, CRM, SCM, SRM, and PLM modules available. Running SAP on IBM i provides companies a scalable solution that is designed to meet business needs. Let’s take a closer look at why companies should consider running SAP on IBM i.
SAP and IBM i both scale from small companies to large enterprises
SAP is one of the most popular Business Applications used today. An investment in SAP on IBM i can help support your company’s growth strategy. Since you can start with a Basic ERP solution running on a small IBM POWER system, you can easily scale your hardware and software as your business grows. Not all applications scale well, and Windows servers need to multiply to support increased workloads. On IBM i with additional licensing, you can increase your processing capabilities for increased workloads and add additional hardware resources to the existing hardware, reducing server sprawl and administration costs. You can also add multiple instances of SAP to handle additional workload needs or to roll out complementary modules.
All the things we love about IBM i
For those of us who know and love IBM i on POWER, it’s not a surprise to hear why SAP runs so well on IBM I: reliability, scalability, and availability. The integration of the database, security, networking, Web Services, and storage management are what make IBM i so reliable. IBM tests all aspects of the POWER system and the core middleware components before they ship the system, which speeds application deployment. There is no need for you to integrate the database once the hardware arrives in your data center, as you need to when running SAP on other systems. IBM i systems have been designed to scale easily with virtualization built in, workload management included, and the ability to share system resources to maximize performance. It’s the reliability, scalability, and availability of the platform which make it ideal for running critical business workloads such as SAP.
IBM POWER systems support for virtualization make it an ideal platform for running SAP, because you can easily separate your production workload from your development and testing environment using Logical Partitioning. Since the IBM i database is integrated, SAP configuration is simplified. You can use Physical or Logical Partitions (LPARs) to segment your workloads and allow for testing.
Subsystems have always been part of the IBM i, and they offer the ability to segment workloads. Each instance of an application can run in it’s own subsystem, which allows you to run multiple instances of SAP in a single LPAR. This native feature of IBM i makes managing separate workloads a piece of cake.
Being able to allocate resources to a specific subsystem ensures that critical workloads perform as expected and can help ensure that your system utilizes it’s resources wisely. Another benefit of IBM i is the concept of Shared Processor Pools, which allow you to share processor resources across your Logical Partitions to maximize system performance. Defining shared pools allows you to “steal” unused CPW from other LPAR’s. You can define a minimum amount of CPW to be available at all times to ensure that you don’t negatively affect production users for example. The rest of the CPW is assigned as needed to the LPAR’s that have the most activity.
With IBM i, you can use internal storage which offers performance advantages with minimal administration. With integrated storage, you have the benefit of being able to start your entire system, POWER hardware and disk, by pressing a single button. There is no need to bring up the POWER system and then ensure that the SAN is up and connected. Integrated storage simplifies the administration of the system and reduces the total cost of ownership.
Of course, IBM i can also take advantage of external storage solutions, giving companies the flexibility to use options such as encryption at rest and flash copy. You can take advantage of IBM Easy Tier which automatically balances the data on your disks to ensure that the data accessed most often is put on SSD’s or Flash, and the least accessed data is moved to HDDs.
Support for High Availability
IBM i is known for its low failure rate. The hardware is strong and runs well. If production environments are unavailable, companies can rely on high availability environments for roll over abilities. IBM i can support several different high availability options, whether you want to use software replication solutions, such as MIMIX, iTera, or QEDD, or hardware-based replication with IBM POWERHA or flash copy. The IBM i platform can easily support a high availability model to reduce the risk of downtime of your SAP implementation.
2-tier or 3-tier Architecture Options
SAP can support either a 2-tier or 3 tier architecture; meaning you can either run SAP and the database in the same LPAR or on separate LPARS or servers. IBM i’s integrated database makes the 2-tier option easy to implement and manage. Offering a lower cost of administration and ease of use.
For companies who are used to Windows applications that require a 3-tier architecture approach, IBM offers IBM i Application Server Billing (5770-SSB) which offers a lower cost OS license for application servers. This entitlement is geared towards any server that will be used for application workloads versus DB intensive workloads. This license can support several SAP modules.
IBM i Solution Edition for SAP is another entitlement you can take advantage of, that can help lower the cost of implementing SAP on IBM i. The solution edition includes the POWER hardware, software, and maintenance. Check with your Business Partner to learn more about Solutions Editions licensing.
IBM and SAP are working together to deliver a complete hardware and software solution
Both companies invest in ensuring that the POWER hardware, IBM i OS, and SAP continue to be compatible and mutually beneficial. IBM is supporting SAP’s development of their applications by ensuring they have hardware and software solutions that can easily support the SAP environment. IBM’s investment in SAP is clear when you consider that the H922 and H924 POWER 9 Servers were specifically designed for supporting SAP HANA environments. While it’s true that these systems run LINUX to support HANA, you can run 25% of your processors on IBM i on this model, which would allow you to run your other SAP applications here. Alternatively, you could host a separate IBM i application on the same hardware.
SAP is also investing in the development of their application and their ability to support current IBM hardware and OS versions, working tightly with IBM to test their applications on new hardware and software versions quickly. Offering SAP customers running on IBM i the ability to be more secure in their environment and to take advantage of new features quickly.
This isn’t surprising when you consider the IBM consortium and the fact that IBM is working more closely with other vendors to be able to provide complete solutions to their customers. SAP HANA is an example of this and a true benefit to users of SAP on POWER.
If your organization is considering running SAP and you are concerned that this means you will either have to find a new job or learn a new platform, the great news is that you can encourage your company to continue to benefit from IBM I by running SAP on IBM i.