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Microsoft and SAP Expand Partnership in the Cloud

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Microsoft and SAP recently announced, at SAP’s SAPPHIRE NOW conference, an expanded partnership.  This expanded partnership includes deeper SAP platform support in Azure including SAP HANA Enterprise workloads.  In addition to increased HANA support, the two companies will provide deep cloud service integration across their popular SaaS offerings, including Office 365, Concur, SuccessFactors, Fieldglass and Ariba.  Beyond these announcements, customers will also be able to manage SAP Fiori mobile apps using Microsoft’s Mobile Device Management (MDM) platform: Microsoft Intune.

Dropping joint announcements at SAPPHIRE NOW is nothing new for these two companies.  Twenty years ago, then Microsoft CEO Bill Gates and SAP’s Hasso Plattner announced Open Integration for an Internet Retailing Solution.  Since then, the two organizations have had mixed success in joint offerings including Duet Enterprise.  

The winner this time around appears to be customers that are heavily vested in both vendor platforms and are looking to transform themselves. Satya Nadella, CEO at Microsoft, explains:

At Microsoft, we are focused on empowering organizations to advance their digital transformations. Together with SAP, we are bringing new levels of integration between our products that provide businesses with enhanced collaboration tools, new insights from data and a hyper-scale cloud to grow and seize new opportunities ahead.

For SAP, they see this as an opportunity to unlock productivity for customers by leveraging a partnership.  Bill McDermott, CEO at SAP, explains:

We believe the IT industry will be shaped by breakthrough partnerships that unlock new productivity for customers beyond the boundaries of traditional platforms and applications. SAP and Microsoft are working together to create an end-user experience built on unprecedented insight, convenience and agility.

SAP HANA Support

Up until this point, only SAP HANA Developer Edition was supported in Azure. As part of this announcement, customers will soon be able to run development, test and production SAP HANA workloads in Azure including SAP S/4HANA.  Jason Zander, CVP at Microsoft, provided more details, on upcoming SAP HANA support in Azure, in a recent blog post:

  • SAP HANA on Azure with multi-node support for deployments capable of scaling up to 32TBs of memory for SAP HANA Enterprise OLAP applications like SAP BW
  • SAP HANA on Azure with single-node support up to 3TB each of memory for SAP HANA Enterprise OLTP applications like S/4HANA
  • SAP HANA One images in Azure Marketplace
  • Controlled Availability of SAP S/4HANA on Azure GS5 

Additionally, the following new scenarios are available today:

  • SAP HANA Enterprise on Azure GS5 for OLAP (single node) in production and non-production scenarios
  • SAP HANA Enterprise on Azure GS5 for OLTP NetWeaver solutions for non-production scenarios

Microsoft has also disclosed some customers who are participating in an early adoption program including: Coats LLC, Rockwell Automation and Nortek.  In addition, SAP is also evaluating Azure as a host for its internal deployment of SAP S/4HANA for Concur.

Cloud Service Integration

Beyond the HANA announcement, the two companies are also working on providing better cloud service integration between Microsoft’s Office 365 and SAP’s Concur, Fieldglass, SuccessFactors and Ariba platforms.  With both companies having “millions of business users”, this integration will focus on providing better productivity through streamlined communication, collaboration, calendaring and document sharing across the platforms.  The new capabilities are scheduled to be available in the beginning of Q3, 2016.

Mobile App Management

SAP customers requiring management and security capabilities when deploying SAP Fiori mobile apps on SAP HANA Cloud will soon have the ability to use Microsoft Intune.  This capability will be available through an open standards plug-in framework.  Vendors who publish Fiori apps will be able to embed Intune capabilities right within their application which will simplify deployment for customers already using Intune for deploying Office 365 mobile apps.  This integration is also expected to be available in Q3, 2016.

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