SAP has a long track record in the back office. As ASUG readers will know, this is the place in the corporate enterprise IT environment where the server room powers SAP’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) offerings—which are now evolving into the next-generation SAP S/4HANA.

It is in this back-office server room that any SAP deployment initially begins. Because of this, so much of the latest from SAP has been engineered to work on the Linux operating system (OS).

Although Linux has never made massive inroads into the consumer desktop space (apart from it being the unseen lifeblood behind Apple Mac OS X at its core), it has retained and expanded upon its popularity in the server rooms of many organizations. Today, the Linux OS runs the global data centers of major cloud providers.

Linux 4 SAP HANA

When it comes to Linux and the SAP stack, we know that SAP HANA and SAP S/4HANA both run on computing environments built on Linux. But what exactly is supporting the Linux-based server room?

Fellow German software company SUSE reminds us that its Linux Enterprise Server was the first operating system for SAP HANA. The organization insists that it remains a co-innovation partner for solutions such as SAP S/4HANA, SAP Cloud Platform, SAP Data Hub, and other elements in the SAP arsenal.

This is essentially a “reference development platform” for SAP applications including SAP HANA. That’s another way of saying that SUSE’s flavor of the Linux OS has ironed out some of the criticisms and that there’s a lot of robustness, security control, and few incompatibilities.

The Wizard in the Server Room

While SAP HANA can replicate in-memory data within the same data center (or across two data centers), SUSE points out that its technology adds automated failover and recovery in minutes, not hours.

In terms of patching concerns, the company says that SUSE Linux Enterprise Live Patching eliminates the need for planned downtime of SAP HANA and SAP S/4HANA systems. Users can deploy critical security patches without rebooting servers or affecting performance.

According to the company, its wizard technology automates installation of SAP NetWeaver and SAP HANA solution stacks including the high availability stack. It fully supports SAP HANA Tailored Datacenter Integration (TDI) customized implementations. Installation times for a fully optimized SAP implementation can be reduced from days to hours. The wizard eliminates the hard-coded command line entries required to configure a highly available SAP HANA system.

SUSE also offers a maintenance and support service that integrates through SAP Solution Manager into the SAP global support backbone. It allows users to initiate support requests using standard SAP escalation channels: telephone, web front end, a support ticket, or through SAP Solution Manager.

SAP’s Linux Perspective

SAP’s footprint in Linux spans other key industry platforms and standards. ASUG Members will note that full digital backbone solutions exist including Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Solutions and Oracle Linux 5, 6, and 7 for x86_64.

“SAP S/4HANA is the next generation of our flagship application suite, providing the ability for customers to capture transactions and perform analytics on that information in real time on the same database instance,” said Dan Lahl, VP of SAP product marketing. “Relieving the enterprise from having to do lots of batch data movement and replatforming to a data warehouse with carefully designed schemas or multiple application-specific data marts removes complexity from the IT environment and delivers the information business users need to make decisions in their time window.”

Creating an Open-Source Linux Partnership

“Whether the deployment environment in question is located in the cloud or on premises, having a rock-solid platform to operate and report on the business in real time for SAP customers is critical—and SUSE has been there with us, creating this robust application platform from the beginning,” Lahl added.

The annual SUSECON conference took place the first week of April 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. Lahl was featured in one of the main stage keynotes talking to Thomas Di Giacomo, SUSE’s president of engineering, product, and innovation, about open-source innovation at SAP.

Developments in the SAP Linux Lab

ASUG News visited the SAP Applications Kiosk to discuss the SAP engineering currently happening in the SAP Linux Lab in Walldorf, Germany. Lahl explained to ASUG that the Linux Lab is a critical component in SAP’s joint platform delivery for customers and a key strategic advantage for SAP.

“Instead of decomposing the pieces of the platform into its component parts, doling them out to respective partners … and then relying on a loose confederation of parts the customer has to put together themselves, the Linux Lab is a place where SAP and our partners jointly engineer a comprehensive, integrated, and fully tested platform of apps, database, operating system, and hardware,” Lahl said.

A Better Experience for SAP Customers

In an exclusive interview with ASUG, Lahl told us that this integration factor guarantees a better experience for joint customers.

Lahl concluded, “When customers need help in troubleshooting platform problems—either on-premise or in the cloud—the Linux Lab rolls up its sleeves and goes to work with SAP and its technology partners together to deliver a combined platform fix. There is no finger pointing from the Linux Lab, just problem resolution.”

SAP’s efforts to provide platform-level technologies to suit enterprise Linux deployments now run at levels that are arguably as advanced as any other technology vendor out there. The age of enterprise Linux is driving forward.

ASUG Members interested in supporting SAP HANA with help from SAP Solution Manager can register for the webcast, “SOLMAN: Running SAP Solution Manager 7.2 on SAP HANA.”