HP and SAP strengthen relationship via SOA push

As one of SAP's biggest global customers, HP has a vested interest

Hewlett-Packard is offering more services supporting SAP’s SOA (service-oriented architecture) approach to IT as part of the companies’ increasingly close relationship.

HP will make available a variety of new services to support users as they move to adopt SAP’s Enterprise SOA.

The services are designed to help very large global SAP customers as they migrate from older versions of SAP’s R/3 applications to the newer SOA-focused mySAP versions, says Tim Treat, manager of worldwide packaged applications for enterprise applications services at HP.

Such a migration is highly complex, involving not only the upgrading of software, but also refreshing of servers and storage to support the new applications, he says.

In February last year, HP announced a similar intensification of SOA services to support Oracle and its Fusion middleware. The latest move will position HP as offering the same level of SOA services for SAP as it already does for Oracle.

The new HP services will support core elements of SAP’s NetWeaver middleware and will include programs like workforce integration for NetWeaver Portal and information integration for NetWeaver Business Intelligence. The services target the different stages of an Enterprise SOA implementation from the initial envisioning of the IT system through to governance, development and deployment.

Close to 50% of all SAP’s global installations run on HP hardware, Treat says.

HP knows exactly what’s involved since it’s going through the same process as other SAP customers. Treat says HP has the world’s fifth largest SAP implementation, with many of the company’s 150,000 employees having access to SAP software. Like many other companies, HP has amassed multiple versions of R/3 over the years, particularly as a result of acquisitions like those of Digital and Compaq.

Implementing the SOA approach can take anywhere from one to three years, Treat says. HP’s own move to mySAP, NetWeaver and Enterprise SOA is going to take “many more quarters” to complete, he says.

HP has been strengthening its 18-year partnership with SAP in recent months. In November, the companies unveiled a major collaborative initiative between their respective research organisations around the further integration of HP’s Adaptive Infrastructure management technologies and SAP’s Enterprise SOA. Initially, the researchers are focusing their efforts on improving hardware and software virtualisation.

“SAP is one of the most complex solutions in computing,” Treat says. “If you solve a problem in SAP, you can solve problems across infrastructure everywhere.”

Treat promised more announcements around the partnership between HP and SAP later this year. While declining to elaborate on any details, he mentioned the analytical engine SAP co-developed with Intel that debuted in May. The Business Intelligence Accelerator (BIA) allows SAP customers to rapidly analyse and query huge amounts of information on the fly without having to pre-aggregate and store it in a database prior to querying it. HP also worked closely with SAP on the accelerator.

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