HP, SAP further cement ties around SOA


Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) is offering more services supporting application vendor SAP AG's SOA (service-oriented architecture) approach to IT as part of the companies' increasingly close relationship.

HP committed Monday to make available a variety of new services to support users as they move to adopt SAP's Enterprise SOA (ESOA) approach.

The services are designed to help very large global SAP customers as they migrate from older versions of the vendor's R/3 applications to the newer SOA-focused mySAP versions, according to Tim Treat, manager of worldwide packaged applications for enterprise applications services at HP.

Such a migration is highly complex involving not only the upgrading of software, but also refreshing of servers and storage to support the new applications, he said.

In February 2006, HP announced a similar intensification of SOA services to support SAP's main applications rival Oracle Corp. and its Fusion middleware. Monday's move will position HP as offering the same level of SOA services for SAP as the vendor already does for Oracle.

The new HP services will support core elements of SAP's NetWeaver middleware and will include programs like workforce integration for NetWeaver Portal and information integration for NetWeaver Business Intelligence. The services target the different stages of an ESOA implementation from the initial envisioning of the IT system through governance, development and deployment.

Close to 50 percent of all SAP's global installations run on HP hardware, Treat said.

HP knows exactly what's involved since it's going through the same process as other SAP customers. Treat said HP has the world's fifth largest SAP application implementation with many of the company's 150,000 employees having access to the vendor's software. Like many other companies, HP has amassed multiple versions of R/3 over the years particularly as a result of acquisitions like that of Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC) and later Compaq.

Implementing the SOA approach can take anywhere from one to three years, Treat said. HP's own move to mySAP, NetWeaver and ESOA is going to take "many more quarters" to complete, he added.

HP has been strengthening its 18-year partnership with SAP in recent months. In November, the companies unveiled a major collaborative initiative between their respective research organizations around the further integration of HP's Adaptive Infrastructure management technologies and SAP's ESOA. Initially, the researchers are focusing their efforts on improving hardware and software virtualization.

"SAP is one of the most complex solutions in computing," Treat said. "If you solve a problem in SAP, you can solve problems across infrastructure everywhere."

Treat promised more announcements around the partnership between HP and SAP later this year. While declining to elaborate on any details, he mentioned the analytical engine SAP codeveloped with Intel Corp. that debuted in May. The Business Intelligence Accelerator (BIA) allows SAP customers to rapidly analyze and query huge amounts of information on the fly without having to pre-aggregate and store it in a database prior to querying it. HP also worked closely with SAP on the accelerator.

"There will be other appliances throughout the entire ecosystem, and, like BIA, they will solve very specific problems," Treat said.

As well as SAP, HP said Monday it will also increase its partnerships around SOA with chip giant Intel Corp. and business process management company IDS Scheer Inc.

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