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Huawei and SAP Embark on New Ventures

By Pedro Kang, Power to Tech

Founded in 1972, SAP has played an indispensable role in propelling global enterprises toward industrialization and information transformation over the past half a century. Enterprises that collaborate with SAP are all top global companies, most of which are located in the West. In 2012, however, Huawei became SAP’s first partner in the East.

  • Huawei became the first Chinese company to establish a technical partnership with SAP, just one year after its IT product line was set up.
  • Soon the two parties released the FusionCube solution, Huawei’s first product certified for operating SAP HANA.
  • In early 2014, Huawei and SAP signed a global strategic partnership agreement, which marked the establishment of their strategic alliance.
  • Huawei and SAP then announced the official opening of the Huawei & SAP Co-Innovation Center in Shenzhen, which opened a brand new chapter in their strategic partnership.
  • After VMware, Huawei has become the second provider of cloud platform software certified by SAP.

However, these accomplishments were not easy to attain. So, how have Huawei and SAP been able to achieve so much in such a short space of time?

Close Partnership at the Enterprise Level

First and foremost, Huawei and SAP share the same goal: helping companies optimize their business operations.

Today, technology and business transformation are in full swing across the globe. Enterprises need the latest cloud computing and Big Data technologies to optimize their operations while also tapping into new development opportunities, staying ahead of the constantly intensifying competition.

As a top provider of enterprise management software, SAP has helped companies of all sizes in various industries optimize their operations. Huawei, meanwhile, is a leading ICT vendor that aims to help enterprises establish innovative and flexible information architectures, with its motto ‘Leading New ICT’ always in mind. Cooperation between SAP and Huawei will therefore enable enterprises to drive business growth and distinguish themselves from the competition.

SAP and Huawei have been working together to run SAP’s mission-critical services and applications on Huawei’s ICT infrastructure as efficiently as possible. Take the certification between Huawei’s FusionSphere and SAP HANA as an example. SAP HANA is an in-memory computing platform where data is stored in memory. This requires the virtual operation environment to have high performance and reliability. Through both parties’ close collaboration and joint innovation, Huawei’s FusionSphere has pushed beyond the conventional performance limits of cloud platforms, meeting SAP HANA’s requirements when it comes to operating environments.

Moreover, FusionSphere’s performance is equivalent to a Physical Machine (PM) in terms of running SAP HANA. However, it actually far outstrips PMs in flexibility, resource reuse, reliability, and maintainability.

As for collaboration on the hardware front, Huawei’s high-performance hardware platform and SAP’s revolutionary OS enhance companies’ real-time operations. With experience on implementing large-scale SAP HANA systems, Huawei provides exceptional infrastructure solutions.

Looking ahead, Huawei and SAP’s collaboration will continue to progress, and 2017 will no doubt witness more fruitful cooperation.

Calling for Open OS

Huawei does, however, have more to offer in its partnership with SAP.

UNIX servers played a crucial role in the SAP cycle before SAP HANA launched, but they have been gradually replaced by x86 servers, which are proven to be more competitive in terms of costs, efficiency, flexibility, ease of use, and scalability.

The biggest problem with a UNIX server is its enclosed architecture, which actually brings more harm than help. The world is embracing openness, and so too should OSs. Although enclosed systems maintain internal stability regardless of the outside environment, they are also rigid in a world where new improvements are being made every day.

System migration is paramount to any enterprise, but migrating from UNIX to Linux (U2L) is not easy. While there are many types of x86 servers on the market, none of them can shoulder the task of running mission-critical services.

Huawei had a solution.

The solution involved dividing its x86 servers into three categories: industry-standard servers, enterprise mission-critical servers, and converged-architecture appliances.

Thanks to its tireless efforts in R&D, Huawei has since distinguished itself as a mainstream server provider. Its mission-critical servers have been used across a broad spectrum of industries, especially in finance, telecom, and government organizations. Huawei servers have also been praised by numerous influential companies including SAP and Intel.

Given the status quo in many Chinese industries, however, there is still a demand for midrange servers, which is an area that Huawei has not given up on.

In March 2016, Huawei released its first 32-socket KunLun Mission Critical Server, running on Intel® Xeon® E7 series processors. To deliver solutions that use this server, Huawei collaborated with mainstream database, middleware, and OS vendors.

At the end of 2016, Huawei announced that a standalone KunLun server can support 12 TB HANA. Soon after, KunLun servers were certified and released to operate SAP HANA with 16 TB of memory. Huawei became one of the only two vendors capable of providing hardware for HANA of 12 TB and above. KunLun not only provides an open hardware platform where SAP HANA can play its performance to the full, but also opens up a new space for the SAP ecosystem.

Consistent Ecosystem & Mutual Benefit

In the past, Huawei and SAP both had large ecosystems with little overlap. However, as they collaborated, the two enterprises began to support each other at the highest levels, especially in terms of business fields and ecosystems.

Mark Gibbs, Global Senior Vice President of SAP and President of SAP Greater China, says he believes that Huawei is one of the most important partners for SAP. The collaboration between the two parties is at the highest levels.

Since they established their technical partnership in 2012, SAP and Huawei’s collaboration has only deepened. In 2015, they established a Co-Innovation Center in Shenzhen, China, where Huawei’s headquarters is located.

Huawei has not only provided hardware platforms where SAP HANA can demonstrate its performance, but it also has accelerated SAP’s cloud transformation. By implementing SAP HANA in various enterprises, including BESTORE and Sinopec, Huawei has enhanced its brand awareness and expanded its market share in the high-end enterprise server market.

In just a few years, Huawei-SAP solutions have been used in more than 50 countries. Some of these solutions have been applied on a large scale in China, Europe, and the Middle East, and have been recognized by some of the world’s largest corporations, including Deutsche Telekom.

One driving force behind the deepened Huawei-SAP collaboration is Made in China 2025, the Chinese government’s strategy to revitalize the manufacturing sector. This effort has fostered the companies’ cooperation in various fields, such as cloud computing, IoT, Big Data, smart manufacturing, and smart cities.

Made in China 2025 and Germany’s equivalent, Industry 4.0, both concern manufacturing, which is also SAP’s strongest domain. Collaborating with SAP means Huawei can better expand its market share in manufacturing. In contrast, Huawei’s strongest domain is telecom. With Huawei’s help, SAP can enhance its influence in both the Chinese and global carrier markets. Deutsche Telekom’s cloud services provided by Huawei and SAP serve as a good example.

However, SAP’s experience is not limited to manufacturing. It is also experienced in retail, consumer goods, healthcare, chemical engineering, and finance. Comprehensive collaboration with SAP can help Huawei deepen its knowledge of different industries and quickly garner industry experience.

As an economic powerhouse, China will undoubtedly take the lead in the next industrial revolution. At the helm, Huawei is willing to collaborate with industry leaders including SAP to provide efficient cloud computing and Big Data platforms, accelerating their digital transformation.

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