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Motivation to Migrate

Conventional databases are located on hardware external to the processing system. They can be effective, but the distance introduces latency that mounts up over the course of millions of I/O operations. This issue prompted the development of in-memory databases that use primary system memory to hold data.

In-memory databases may significantly speed I/O. SAP HANA, SAP’s in-memory entry, combines memory management software with a suite of application-specific analytic tools. An additional development environment within SAP HANA enables organizations to write their own code to customize operations. Hardware must be purchased separately.

Today, businesses are adopting SAP HANA for various reasons. Companies already running SAP Business Suite on AIX or IBM i may need functionality they can only get from applications supported by SAP HANA. Alternatively, the IT shop might be directly interested in shifting to SAP HANA, whether for the in-memory database functionality or for some of the associated analytics and industry-vertical solutions. In other cases, senior executives may mandate the move as part of a calculated digital transformation.

“The important message is that if you’ve decided you need to be using SAP HANA as part of your overall solution, then IBM can help you do it. It runs better on IBM Power Systems than it does anywhere else.”
–Jennifer Lin, senior offering manager, AIX

Timing may be one of the biggest reasons to migrate, given that SAP is actively guiding users toward SAP HANA. Although the company has pledged support for SAP Business Suite through 2025, many organizations are developing their roadmaps to transition to SAP HANA now.

With these factors in mind, the question becomes less about why companies would want to move and more about why they haven’t already made the switch. And yet, many organizations running SAP Business Suite on AIX and IBM i are hesitant. In some cases, their existing SAP applications are addressing their business needs, so they don’t yet feel compelled to make a change. In other cases, the issue might be a skills gap. An IT shop may be well-versed in AIX or IBM i but lack Linux or SAP HANA expertise—and the time and funding to acquire it.

Often, it comes down to simple risk aversion: Organizations with mission-critical workloads running stably on AIX and IBM i may be reluctant to make changes, particularly if their implementations involve a significant amount of custom code. They have a stable system. They have built their staff around the needs of their infrastructure. Why spend money and take time to switch over to a system that may not work as effectively?

From Follower to Leader

The most immediate response is that change is coming whether they want it or not. The reality is that companies that wait until change is forced upon them are inevitably the followers in their markets and not the leaders. For organizations that want to be leaders, the true solution is the combination of SAP HANA and the IBM Power Systems platform, which delivers top computing performance with a migration path that mitigates many of the pain points experienced with other platforms.

“We offer a path for moving to SAP HANA on Power Systems hardware that is faster, less disruptive and more cost-effective than the alternatives,” says Vicente Moranta, IBM director of Offering Management, SAP on IBM Power Systems. “You can use your existing infrastructure. If you like your existing OSs and the workloads you run on them, you can continue to run them side-by-side with your SAP HANA partitions. If you have a skills gap, we help you close it. IBM has your back.”

Kristin Lewotsky is a freelance technology writer based in Amherst, N.H.



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