by Ankur Jain, Director, BI and Advanced Analytics, VMware

One of the major IT initiatives in our IT transformation was to enable real-time analytics to enable our business stakeholders to make better and faster decisions.  To achieve this, we had to improve the speed with which our data was ingested into the enterprise data warehouse (EDW) and made available to our end users.

To achieve this, we implemented a SAP HANA platform for the enterprise data warehouse (EDW) on a completely virtualized, scale-out architecture. The legacy platform ran on a massively parallel processing (MPP) platform which can process large volumes of data but was not scalable for real time analytics.

Virtualizing the EDW on SAP HANA provided two benefits.  First, SAP HANA’s in-memory technology would provide real-time data access, moving away from the traditional batch-enabled data warehouse, which is not real-time. Second, virtualization would give us a scalable architecture that could keep pace with business growth, so users could make better decisions based on the most current data available.

Codename: NirvHANA

SAP HANA Current Architecture

Nicknamed NirvHANA, the EDW transformation project was vast in scope. We had four primary objectives: improve reporting performance, ensure consistency by consolidating metadata/reports and eliminating redundancies, simplify the architecture, and improve return on investment (ROI) and total cost of ownership (TCO).

The 18-month timeline included migrating all business users to the new platform and decommissioning the legacy applications and databases. NirvHANA would impact a wide range of applications and users, including:

  • 50+ subjects, including finance, sales, global services, marketing, education and partners,
  • Migration of 10,000+ business intelligence users,
  • Migration of 5000+ reports from legacy to new analytical software,
  • Migration to a new Hadoop distributed data processing environment that also provides a self-serve environment for power users,
  • Integration of data service APIs using XS HANA services for all enterprise mobile apps.

SAP HANA Current ArchitectureVMware is one of the first companies to undertake virtualizing SAP HANA on vSphere when implementing a scale-out architecture. Most companies do single-node, scale-up implementations. We can easily scale as our data warehouse grows. In addition, SAP HANA can be centrally managed and easily provisioned via our private cloud.

Our user experience has also dramatically improved. Data is refreshed in real-time, a significant change from twice-a-day updates with our legacy system. Adoption has been remarkable. On any given day, we support 1,100+ unique users accessing more than 20,000+ report runs.  In addition, APIs from SAP HANA enable VMware mobile app users, such as executives, sales, and support staff, to access more frequent updates about customers and partners on their mobile devices.

Our new enterprise data warehouse has left VMware well-positioned to make smarter decisions based on updated data while offering users a more positive experience. Watch for more updates on our data strategy, including real-time analytics.

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