Consolidating sap applications for improved operational costs looking at sap and linux running on ibm power systems

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"Enterprise applications support the daily operations of a business, which means that
they are vital to its ability to generate revenue and profit growth — and to account for
it. Whether those applications support a supply chain, general accounting, personnel
management, or customer relationship management, they must be available to end
users and must be accessible enough to create ""snapshots"" of the business on a
daily, hourly, or, in some cases, near-real-time basis."

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Consolidating sap applications for improved operational costs looking at sap and linux running on ibm power systems

  1. 1. WHITE P APER Consolidating SAP Applications for Improved Operational Costs: Looking at S AP and Linux Running on IBM Pow er Systems Sponsored by: IBM Randy Perry Jean S. Bozman Aimee Bartlett Scott Guinn December 2010www.idc.com EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Enterprise applications support the daily operations of a business, which means that they are vital to its ability to generate revenue and profit growth — and to account forF.508.935.4015 it. Whether those applications support a supply chain, general accounting, personnel management, or customer relationship management, they must be available to end users and must be accessible enough to create "snapshots" of the business on a daily, hourly, or, in some cases, near-real-time basis.P.508.872.8200 IT customers have a choice of platforms on which to deploy these applications; indeed, the applications may run on a mix of platforms throughout a datacenter or across an organization. For organizations that rely on data to make business decisions, the platform choices must include consideration of the operational requirements and what it will take to deliver on the expected, and agreed-upon, levelsGlobal Headquarters: 5 Speen Street Framingham, MA 01701 USA of service for those applications. IDC studied a group of enterprises that had done just that: They had deployed SAP applications on IBM Power Systems servers running Linux server operating environments and had been working with those systems for several years. The study was conducted with the aim of finding out the results of initial investments in those platforms and how those investments had impacted operational costs over time. Key findings from the study include: Annual benefits totaled $25,000 per 100 users. For a large organization with 10,000 users, this would amount to more than $2 million in benefits. Hardware savings amounted to $11,500 per 100 users or more than $1.1 million per 10,000 users. The utilization rate for servers more than doubled, from 34% to 70%. Over a three-year period, companies saw discounted benefits of $59,967 per 100 users and an average investment of $13,625 per 100 users, resulting in a return on investment (ROI) of 340% and a payback period of 6.7 months. The results from the IDC study would be expected to be amplified if the study were repeated with POWER7 based systems because of the enhancements in POWER design that improve efficiency compared with POWER6 based systems.
  2. 2. SITUATION OVERVIEWThe economic downturn has greatly influenced how IT organizations and seniorbusiness managers view IT spend. The business value of that IT spend must bedemonstrated in order to be justified and paid for. And yet, if current infrastructure isnot evaluated and vetted for operational costs, maintenance of the status quo in thedatacenter can also prove to be costly — even if no new systems are added.That is why 2009 began an intense period of study and evaluation in which ITmanagers looked at servers, storage, software, and services with an eye to keepingoverall capex costs in check while driving operational costs down. In many cases,new IT purchases were kept to a minimum, while the study of what was alreadyin-house continued. Some of the results of this "inventory" process were surprisingwith regard to the rapid growth of small servers, which individually kept serverpurchases under the capex limits set by policy but collectively were causingoperational costs to rise, especially with respect to maintenance, IT staff costs, andenergy costs related to power and cooling.This year, many organizations cautiously reentered the IT purchasing phase but didso only if the avoidance of future hardware costs could be forecast and if existingworkloads could be consolidated into fewer server "footprints" in the datacenter. Thisapplied across the board — affecting all types of servers running all types ofoperating systems.Deploying Enterprise Applications in theDatacenterMany IT organizations have deployed enterprise applications across multiple "tiers" ofcomputing over time. This means that some are end-to-end applications — tappingthe Web-serving, application-serving, and database-serving "tiers" of the datacenter.In other cases, specific enterprise application modules are deployed within a businessunit, such as those that support business unit analysis or accounts receivable.The major enterprise applications, including those of SAP, are able to run on manytypes of servers, hosted by many types of operating systems and processorarchitectures. However, earlier trends toward highly distributed computing led to theuse of many dedicated servers, which ran just one application module, or the use ofmultiple servers running the same application, for purposes of redundancy andavailability.In many cases, this approach kept applications close to the end user, but it did nottake advantage of improvements in high-speed networking and the ability toconsolidate workloads onto more scalable servers for more efficient operation. Today,customers have a wide range of deployment choices, and some have decided toconsolidate some — but not all — of these enterprise applications onto scalableservers for central site management and to reduce ongoing operational costsassociated with maintenance, repeated software upgrades and security patches, andthe need to maintain large numbers of small servers, many of them distributed overmultiple sites.2 #226173 ©2010 IDC
  3. 3. Reducing Operational Costs of EnterpriseApplications in the DatacenterIn recent years, IT organizations have developed a sharp focus on reducingoperational costs — including IT staff costs, management and maintenance costs,and the costs of unplanned downtime, which can take important systems offline forminutes, or hours, rendering those applications inaccessible for end users and endcustomers within the supply chain. Energy costs associated with power and cooling,which coincidentally increased during the recent economic downturn, are anothercategory of operational cost that has come under increasing scrutiny in recent yearsgiven cost constraints across the business and limits on IT budgets.IDC research has shown that rapidly increasing power and cooling and maintenancecosts have been top of mind for IT managers and datacenter managers — promptinga cycle of evaluating current IT infrastructure to improve overall efficiencies, includingthe use of datacenter floor space and energy efficiency. The adoption of virtualizationhas helped in this regard, with many IT organizations leveraging virtualization to beable to consolidate workloads onto fewer server footprints. But server design has alsochanged, with multicore, multiprocessor systems playing an important role insupporting workload consolidation and improved operational efficiency. Importantly,the ability to manage the physical servers — and the virtual servers that are hostedby them — has proven to be a key component of improving operational efficiency.Consolidating Workloads on Scalable Serversin the Next-Generation DatacenterIDCs most recent annual Server Workloads and Server Virtualization studies haveproduced demand-side, customer-based data that clearly demonstrates the steadymarch toward improved efficiency in the datacenter. In fact, IDC research shows that2010 was the "crossover" year in which the number of virtual servers exceeded thenumber of physical servers shipped (see Figure 1), demonstrating the business valueof virtualization and consolidation of workloads.©2010 IDC #226173 3
  4. 4. FIGURE 1Server Virtualization Crossover in 2010 18,000,000 16,000,000 14,000,000 12,000,000 10,000,000 8,000,000 6,000,000 4,000,000 2,000,000 0 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Physical servers Virtual machinesSource: IDC, 2010Whats driving this consolidation is economics; hardware investments can be morehighly utilized than before, and the workloads can still be isolated from each other toprevent unplanned downtime or contention for resources (processors, memory, I/O).Consolidation and virtualization are increasingly combined, across the board, whetheron x86 servers, RISC servers, or mainframes. At the same time, virtualizationmanagement, often involving automation, has become essential for keepingoperational costs low.It may be surprising to many to discover that a large percentage of all business-critical and mission-critical applications and databases are running on scalableservers. These larger servers offer in-the-box capacity on demand, advancedvirtualization, and highly granular control of all resources under management.As defined by IDC, business processing workloads running on servers today includeonline transaction processing (OLTP), ERP, and CRM. These are mission-criticalworkloads, which are highly demanding of computing resources. As seen in Figure 2,a large portion of business processing workloads today (34%) run on RISC serverplatforms — a type of server architecture on which the IBM Power Systems serversare built. Figure 2 also shows the other major types of platform architectures: EPIC,x86, and CISC (which is the basis for scalable host servers such as mainframes).Business processing is one of seven major workloads types studied by IDC on anannual basis, based on surveys of more than 1,000 customer sites. The other majorworkload types are decision support (analysis of data), collaborative (email andgroupware), application development, IT infrastructure (e.g., support of networkingprotocols and file/print), Web infrastructure (e.g., Web serving, proxy, and caching),and industrial R&D (e.g., technical computing and high-performance computing).4 #226173 ©2010 IDC
  5. 5. FIGURE 2IDCs Server Workloads Revenues by CPU Type, 2009 Business processing Decision support Application development Collaborative IT infrastructure Web infrastructure Industrial R&D Other 0 2,000 4,000 6,000 8,000 10,000 12,000 14,000 ($M) x86 EPIC RISC CISCSource: IDCs Server Workloads Multiclient Study, 2010By consolidating workloads onto scalable servers, customers gain the advantages ofmore computing resources, more capacity, improved management of workloads, andmore efficient use of real estate space and power than would be the case with largernumbers of smaller servers distributed across the datacenter or multiple sites.Although it cannot be suggested that all workloads could, or would, be fit onto just afew scalable servers, it is possible to identify mission-critical applications that wouldbenefit from running on a scalable, highly available server platform.IBMS POWER SYSTEMS SOLUTIONSThe next-generation datacenter is all about capability — capability to scale up,capability to be energy-efficient, and capability to host important workloads with highreliability and availability. Due to the operational characteristics of IBM PowerSystems, some customers have studied ways to consolidate workloads onto morescalable servers — even if they are accessed from multiple remote sites.The business benefits can be impressive, with some aspects of operational costsbring dropped dramatically compared with earlier scale-out deployments.©2010 IDC #226173 5
  6. 6. SAP on Linux Deployments: ContributingFactors Cited by RespondentsFor the SAP customers in this IDC study, leveraging Linux is an important way tooptimize their application deployment environment, making it easier to work with othertypes of open source software for ease of integration. Many of them have had longexperience in working with Linux, whether because of longtime use or availability ofLinux expertise in their geographic market.Importantly, access to a deep pool of Linux programmers and developers was oftencited by the studys respondents as a driver for choosing a Linux-based platform.Finding and retaining programmerswith deep Unix skills is often Deployment Scenarios for SAP with Linux on IBM Power Systemsexpensive and difficult, comparedwith the broader group of IBM is now shipping Power Systems based on POWER7 processors, refreshingdevelopers with Linux skills, many its entire line of Power Systems servers in calendar year 2010. These serversof the respondents said. range from small entry servers in the Power Systems Express series to midrange and high-end servers that offer scalability and advanced virtualization, partitioning, and management capabilities.In this study, all of the customerswere running SAP on their POWER7 processors bring faster performance, dramatically improved performance/watt energy efficiency, and up to eight cores per POWER7 multicoreenterprise systems. In some processor. POWER7 supports more scalable, highly virtualized systems, withcases, they ran it across multiple, granularity of as little as 1/10 of one processor devoted to a single workload.smaller servers within the business Virtualization Enables Consolidationunit, but in other cases, IBM Power Systems servers have built-in virtualization capabilities through IBMconsolidated SAP workloads found PowerVM hypervisor technology. They can be highly virtualized, with up to 10their way to the IBM Power micropartitions per POWER processor. Within the partitions, customers have the option to run one of three operating systems: IBM AIX Unix, Linux (Red HatSystems running IBM AIX Unix or, Enterprise Linux or Novell SUSE Linux), and IBM "i" (the follow-on product to i/OSin this case, Linux. or AS/400 for IBM System i servers). By isolating these workloads within partitions, PowerVM supports workload consolidation on a Power Systems server.A key driver for this deployment Consolidation of workloads leverages these virtualization capabilities, allowingdecision, customers explained, workloads to reside side by side within the same processor or partition — orwas economy of scale in deploying within different partitions within a Power Systems server. Finally, advanced on- board system management software directs the workload to available hardwareSAP on a large machine, where resources, dynamically reallocating workloads as processing requirementsmultiple instances could be change and as business needs change over time.managed more easily. Otherreasons included familiarity with the applications and operating environments andachievement of high levels of availability by hosting the applications on a high-endserver with little to no unplanned downtime.The centrality of SAP to many of the IT sites studied by IDC is made clear by thiscomment from one customer: "Creation of revenue is not part of the SAP system [wehave implemented], but our entire billing, help desk management, CRM, inventory, allthose areas — the entire shop for us — is on SAP," he said. "It is extremely critical —90% of our mission-critical operations are run either directly through SAP or associationwith SAP."Skill sets and familiarity with Linux were also factors in the decision to deploy SAP onLinux for these Power Systems, although these systems support three types ofoperating environments: IBM AIX Unix, Linux, and IBM "i," which supportsapplications that once ran on IBM AS/400 and IBM System i. For some, Linux has6 #226173 ©2010 IDC
  7. 7. already been selected as a cross-platform operating system that spans theenterprise. "Linux is a strategic server platform [at our company]," said one ITmanager, "because it supports open and vendor-neutral architecture and deploying itbrings cost benefits."In many cases, the familiarity came with working with Linux on x86 server systems first— prior to selecting Linux on Power. "We have a technical background and ourcolleagues have abackground in Linux running Implementation Trends of SAPdatabases and otherapplications," said one IT IDC sees ERP customers, amid the backdrop of an economic environment that hasmanager. For this customer, brought extraordinary levels of board-level oversight to IT budgets, continuing to look tothree Power Systems drive costs and risks out of their ERP upgrades. SAP and ERP vendors in kind areservers are supporting the responding by going beyond application delivery to provide even greater value for their clients in areas such as advisory and transformation services. For advisory services, thisLinux workloads that were means offering upgrade assessments, business process standardizations, andrunning on more than 15 architecture assessments. Transformation services come by way of enterprise applicationdedicated servers — with integration and process modeling, application upgrades, platform migration, or architecture and infrastructure transformations.each server devoted to oneSAP application — in the For customers, a key driver for consolidation of multiple ERP instances as part of the upgrade or reimplementation process is the desire to transform to a shared servicesdatacenter. platform among business units for back-office functions such as HR, financials, and procurement, gaining significant TCO reductions in the process. Further efficiencies areConsolidation of workloads gained by reducing the number of ERP suppliers, which will help pare the companys ITbrought important savings skills requirements and ease integration challenges. Streamlining the ERP datacenter and supporting infrastructure has similar benefits, not only reducing overhead and loweringby reducing operational TCO but also providing greater flexibility for adjusting to spikes in workload demands.costs, which the tables in SAP is a suite of modular applications for the enterprise. Originally developed for use onthis paper show. These the IBM mainframe, SAP was ported to many other operating systems over the years.operational cost reductions, Today, it runs on all major computer architectures and all major operating systems,as well as cost avoidance, including Unix, Linux, and Microsoft Windows.are critical to explaining how In the enterprise, scalable SAP systems tend to be sized to the number of end usersthe initial investments were they support, but the actual deployment is still shaped by customer preferences. So the choice of platform and operating system ultimately comes down to customer preference,recouped in just over a half- as well as performance.year of deployment. SAP has run on Linux since the late 1990s, making it a proven, well-described computing environment. Multiple Linux distributions are supported, but the main ones for PowerThe savings included Systems are Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise System (SLES) and Red Hat Enterprise Linuxnotable reductions on (RHEL). Both of these Linux distributions have been designed for use with enterprisesoftware licensing costs due workloads and have built-in support for high availability, security, and demanding workloads that are accessed by hundreds to thousands of end users.to the lower number ofinstances of IBM software SAP was originally developed for use on IBM mainframes, but that version (R2) was ported to Unix systems in the 1990s and later was ported to Linux and Microsoft Windows. Today,products (e.g., Tivoli customers can run SAP modules across their enterprise computing environment, but themanagement) or third-party characteristics of the platforms that run SAP applications may determine the deployment(e.g., Oracle database) patterns for specific instances.licenses needed to support In the case of Power Systems, overall system scalability; built-in, advanced virtualization;the consolidated SAP and the ability to run both the SAP modules and the database that stores the applicationenvironment on Power data on the same machine are factors that could lead to a decision to consolidate workloads. Frequently, SAP modules are deployed within business units, often running onSystems. Some customers Windows or Linux systems, but they may not be colocated at, or even nearby, the centralcited this as a major factor in datacenter site for the company. The IT managers in this study found it advantageous totheir decision to consolidate colocate multiple SAP applications on fewer "system" footprints, reducing management costs, licensing costs, and IT staff costs in many cases.SAP on Power Systems.©2010 IDC #226173 7
  8. 8. KEY FINDINGS OF THE IDC ROI STUDYIDCs business value methodology is based on quantifying the experiences of end-user organizations and then translating those experiences into a financial analysisusing a standard approach and assumptions as well as commonly accepted financialmetrics and formulas. To make the results relevant to all types of organizations, wereport them in terms of a common denominator — in this case, per 100 users. Thedetails regarding the key findings can be found in the tables that follow.The CustomersIDC studied a group of enterprises that have deployed SAP applications on IBMPower Systems servers and have been working with those systems for several years.The study was conducted with the aim of finding out the results of initial investmentsin those platforms and how those investments impacted operational costs over time.Specifically, IDC conducted in-depth interviews of 10 organizations, each of whichdeployed SAP applications on IBM Power Systems (using the IBM POWER6processors) running Linux. These companies ranged in size from 350 to 5,000employees; they were based in a variety of geographies, including the United States,Europe, and Asia/Pacific. They represented many vertical industries, including retail,financial services, manufacturing, and energy. On average, these companies had1,900 employees, with an IT staff that numbered in the hundreds, and they had 600+physical servers under management. Most were running multiple SAP modules,including those for human resources (HR), ERP, and CRM.The interviews yielded information defining the organizations up-front investment costsin the technology, deployment, and ongoing maintenance of the systems. Theinterviews elicited the companies experience with tangible and measurable IT benefitsand end-user business benefits over a three-year period. IDCs Business Value teamcombined all of these factors in the synthesis of an overall ROI calculation.Each site managed a unique inventory and mix of server platforms. Most of theseorganizations were large companies in which the server infrastructure supported tens ofthousands of intraenterprise end users — and an even larger number of extraenterpriseusers, including end customers, accessing their enterprise systems. Each of theseorganizations deployed IBM Power Systems for purposes of workload consolidation ontofewer server "footprints," and each had used them over a period of three years or more.THE BENEFITS OF CONSOLIDATION OFS AP-LINUX ON POWERIDCs analysis of the interviews revealed that the organizations in the study haveexperienced the following benefits: IT infrastructure cost reduction — reduced capex spending by $11,150 per 100 users annually or more than $1.1 million for a company of 10,000 users8 #226173 ©2010 IDC
  9. 9. IT staff productivity increase — reduced the IT staff time spent on manual and maintenance activities, freeing up resources for more business-related activities and to expand SAP process automation applications without adding overhead by $5,840 per 100 users annually or roughly $600,000 for a company of 10,000 users End-user productivity increase — reduced SAP application downtime by 74%, increasing overall user productivity by 1% and adding $7,355 per 100 users annually or roughly $735,000 for a company of 10,000 users Revenue increase (operational income) — reduced downtime related to customer-facing SAP operations, increasing operational income by $676 per 100 users annually or roughly $67,000 for a company of 10,000 usersIT Staff and User ProductivityAs Figure 3 shows, combined IT staff and user productivity increases accounted forover half of total annual benefits.FIGURE 3Annual Benefits per 100 Users Operational prof it increase ($676) User productivity savings ($7,355) IT inf rastructure cost reduction ($11,150) IT staf f productivity increase ($5,840)Source: IDC, 2010This increase in productivity affected IT staff as well as company employees (userproductivity). IDC calculates these forms of productivity separately, but both are theresult of building a more efficient platform for delivering the SAP applications. ITproductivity (see Table 1) comes from time savings as a result of consolidatedoperations, higher quality of services, reduced maintenance, and the effects of reduceddowntime (which, in turn, reduces the need for additional IT staff time associated withbringing the systems back online and repairing whatever damage has occurred).©2010 IDC #226173 9
  10. 10. T ABLE 1 IT Staff Productivity IT Staff Productivity % Savings Value per 100 Users ($) Server installation 93 476 Data backup 57 655 Security (patching) 100 1,071 Help desk 62 1,797 Total IT staff savings 33 5,840 Source: IDC, 2010User productivity (see Table 2) is associated with improvements in the availability ofthe applications and in the ability to work. This effect of business continuity ripplesthroughout an organization, allowing end users — and end customers — to accessapplications and associated data, often on a 24 x 7 x 365 basis (around the clock).Todays global business has drastically reduced the "window" for scheduled downtimebecause end users and end customers around the world need to access the samesystems. This means that high levels of uptime for applications are essential to high-performing organizations. T ABLE 2 User Productivity/Service Quality User Productivity/Service Quality Hours per User Value ($) Downtime hours per year before 4.45 121 Downtime hours per year after 1.14 31 Downtime savings 12.77 hours (74%) 90 Help desk hours per year before 0.37 17 Help desk hours per year after 0.10 4 Help desk savings 1.06 (89%) 12 Overall user productivity increase from faster, more reliable SAP 1% 614 application operation Total user productivity benefit per user 716 Source: IDC, 201010 #226173 ©2010 IDC
  11. 11. The amount of unplanned downtime experienced by the study sites was one-quarterthe amount they had reported before workload consolidation onto Power Systems.This avoidance of downtime translates into cost avoidance, improved userproductivity, improved IT productivity, and more revenue to the business throughavoidance of system downtime. In general, IDC finds that the reduction of downtimeaffects all aspects of a customers business because it optimizes business operationsand business results and avoids costs associated with IT staff, such as help deskactivities, and improves user productivity (across the organization).Creating a More Efficient PlatformAs Table 3 shows, the average utilization rate per server rose from 34% to 70%following consolidation of SAP workloads on Power Systems running Linux. Increasedresource utilization is a consequence of virtualization and consolidation, which result inhaving the applications run more efficiently on the consolidated platform and, in theprocess, avoiding the hardware costs by deferring the need to have additional capacity. T ABLE 3 Key Operational Improvements Key Operational Improvements Before After Utilization rate (%) 34 70 Number of CPUs supporting SAP 24 9 Source: IDC, 2010In the study group, the number of processors running the SAP workloads wasreduced from 24 to nine, improving the administration and management of thehardware resources. Because the Power Systems are already virtualized through theuse of the PowerVM hypervisor on Power Systems, these customers have the optionto increase the number of processors, as needed, when new workloads are added tothe system. Further, new workloads that would eventually be added to the machinecould run on IBM AIX or Linux, depending on the nature of the workloads and suchfactors as customer preference. This promoted customer choice for deployments.The consolidated, more efficient platform enabled a reduction in hardware costs of 55%(see Figure 4). This result reflects not only the immediate benefit of reducing serverhardware today but also the avoidance of future hardware purchases related to theexpansion of the SAP modules to support continued process automation. In most cases,reductions in the current hardware environment also drove reductions in related IT costssuch as software (18% reduction), datacenter space (5% reduction), networkinginfrastructure (4% reduction), and energy for power and cooling (18% reduction).These cost savings, in combination with the increase in IT staff productivity, enabledthe companies to reduce their costs to deliver SAP business applications by 31%.©2010 IDC #226173 11
  12. 12. FIGURE 4IT Infrastructure Cost Reduction Before After 0 1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 6,000 ($) IT staff Hardware Software DatacenterSource: IDC, 2010Increased Operational IncomeBased on the respondent data, 40% of the organizations in the study recognizedrevenue associated with SAP operations that were interfacing with their endcustomers. By reducing application downtime by 52%, thereby improving time tomarket and reliability, they were able to increase their top-line revenue by an averageof $1.7 million annually. For the purposes of combining revenue benefits with costsavings as part of an ROI analysis, IDC converts revenue to operational income. IDCdoes this by assuming that every $1.00 of revenue requires $0.90 in costs (10%operating margin). In this analysis, $1.7 million in revenue translates to approximately$170,000 in operational income benefit.ROI AnalysisIDCs methodology for ROI analysis involves assessing the discounted cash flowsthat were generated by the investment over a three-year period. Our standarddiscount rate, which typically is the cost of capital invested, is 12%. This is sufficientlyhigh to cover most organizations cost of capital, plus any additional risk associatedwith higher than average investment or with delayed recognition of benefit. Theinvestment in consolidating SAP-Linux on Power platforms consists of any initial costsfor hardware and software, installation, consulting services and additional laborassociated with consolidation and migration, up-front training, annual support, andmaintenance. The consolidation process varied significantly because somecompanies chose to stagger deployment over time; however, on average, companiesconsolidating as one continuous process required 10 months to complete.12 #226173 ©2010 IDC
  13. 13. Over a three-year period, companies saw discounted benefits of $59,967 and anaverage investment of $13,625 per 100 users, resulting in an ROI of 340% and apayback period of 6.7 months (see Table 4). T ABLE 4 Three-Year ROI Analysis per 100 Users Average Average benefit (discounted) $59,967 Average investment (discounted) $13,625 Net present value $46,342 Discount rate 12% ROI 340% Payback period 6.7 months Source: IDC, 2010This short payback period may be surprising to some. Although Power Systems arepriced from less than $10,000 to more than $1 million per server, the midrange andhigh-end models have generally gained the most attention. But due to highly efficientvirtualization and efficient operations, the Power Systems show attractive operationalcosts when used over a three-year period. Given the overall costs examined in thisstudy and the detailed IDC analysis of actual costs seen by Power Systems sites, itcan be seen that operational costs were greatly reduced through the use of POWER6based systems, which led to the conclusion that initial costs could be recouped withina year. IDC notes that the use of POWER7 based systems, which began shipping inFebruary 2010, would be expected to further reduce operational costs and to improvethe average benefits and the ROI results shown in this study.CHALLENGES/OPPORTUNITIESChallengesWhile this study has demonstrated that deploying SAP-Linux on Power Systems ishighly efficient, it is not the choice of all Power Systems customers. That is becausemultiple deployment decisions can be made, depending on IT experience with thespecific computing environment under discussion (in this case, Linux on PowerSystems) and depending on the familiarity of programmers and system administratorswith that specific environment.©2010 IDC #226173 13
  14. 14. This study found that SAP-Linux deployments on Power Systems brought notablereductions in operational costs compared with earlier deployments at these customersites. However, other decisions could have been made that would also have broughtoperational benefits, compared with older systems, such as running the sameapplications under IBM AIX Unix, depending on customer preference and skill sets.Customer preferences for operating environments and for hardware architecture oftenare high of the list of selection criteria; therefore, some customers may lean towardother choices, including deployment of SAP-Linux on x86 servers, especially if theirbackground has been deeply rooted in the x86 world. However, it is equally clear thatIT sites should fully explore the option of leveraging Power Systems given theirscalability, availability, support for security, and ability to consolidate multipleworkloads that may have been running on x86 servers in the datacenter.OpportunitiesThe datacenter is being transformed, and many of the traditional deployment patternsare undergoing change, prompted by economics and by an interest in reducingoperational costs. Because of this, workloads that once ran on many dedicatedservers — servers running only one application — are being consolidated to run onfewer servers running consolidated workloads, often for the purpose of reducingenergy costs related to power and cooling and IT staff costs.Taking an inventory of where applications are being run today and an IT "snapshot" ofcurrent deployments could lead to changes in an IT sites future deployment patterns.As this inventory is under way, factors to consider include the following: energyefficiency, ease of use, IT staff time, and high availability for the enterprise applicationsthat run the business.Customers have an opportunity to change their traditional patterns for deployment withinthe datacenter or computer room. They can look at new deployment patterns that couldreduce the use of datacenter floor space as well as reduce energy costs andmaintenance costs. While there are many possibilities in this wave of datacentertransformation, those themes will be a guide to next steps in building a more efficientdatacenter infrastructure.CONCLUSIONIDCs study of organizations that had deployed SAP applications on IBM PowerSystems running Linux found that these sites experienced operational cost savingsover a period of three years following initial deployment. These companies, whichranged in size from 350 to 5,000 employees, were based in a variety of geographies,including the United States, Europe, and Asia/Pacific.The study, which was based on in-depth interviews, determined the extent of customerinvestments in existing Power Systems technology and the resulting IT and businessbenefits associated with those systems. The IBM Power Systems servers studied wereconsidered to be "critical" to the businesses that deployed them. That means thatdowntime would have affected both user productivity and company revenue.14 #226173 ©2010 IDC
  15. 15. The systems, which were scalable, supported workload consolidation from largernumbers of smaller servers.By leveraging consolidation, and by combining it with virtualization, customers sawefficiencies associated with hosting the SAP modules on IBM Power Systems.Overall, the respondents reported that they saw measurable IT and business benefitsfrom these deployments, amounting to millions of dollars per year in savings for largeenterprises. In addition, they saw ROI payback periods of just over half a yearfollowing initial investment in/acquisition of IBM Power Systems.Copyright NoticeExternal Publication of IDC Information and Data — Any IDC information that is to beused in advertising, press releases, or promotional materials requires prior writtenapproval from the appropriate IDC Vice President or Country Manager. A draft of theproposed document should accompany any such request. IDC reserves the right todeny approval of external usage for any reason.Copyright 2010 IDC. Reproduction without written permission is completely forbidden.©2010 IDC #226173 15

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