Cisco Jumps on SAP In-Memory Computing Bandwagon

Michael Vizard

Cisco has become the latest server vendor to jump on the SAP in-memory computing bandwagon. The two companies today announced that SAP’s High Performance Analytics Appliance (HANA) software will now run on Unified Computing System (UCS) servers from Cisco.

Cisco joins IBM, HP and Dell in offering servers that run in-memory databases that have the potential to alter the enterprise application landscape. As more databases and the applications that run on top of those servers run in-memory, the physical amount of space needed to support those applications begins to contract largely due to the reduced dependency on disks to support I/O requests.

In addition, because the application code running on top of HANA is also running in-memory, the line between where a database ends and an application begins is starting to blur. In fact, Satinder Sethi, vice president of service access and virtualization technology at Cisco, says that along with the blurring, there is a convergence of roles between what were once separate database and application management functions within the IT organization.

Sethi says Cisco UCS is the fastest-growing product line in the history of Cisco, a fact he attributes to the platform’s ability to scale. SAP, meanwhile, claims to already have 600 customers for SAP HANA, making it the fastest-growing product in its history.

In general, Cisco UCS is at the leading edge of a change that is starting to see increased convergence across server, storage and network management functions. In fact, between the convergence of IT infrastructure management as represented by UCS on the one hand and the convergence of database and application management as represented by SAP HANA on the other, a major transformation of the way enterprise IT is deployed and managed is now well under way.

Obviously, that level of macro change inside the data center has the potential to create a lot of angst concerning IT job security in an age of dedicated IT specialties. But like it or not, enterprise IT technologies across the board are evolving in ways that are specifically designed to reduce the total cost of IT by eliminating the need for as many specialists as possible at a time when the single highest cost of enterprise IT remains the labor required to manage it.

That may not be the most comforting of all thoughts during challenging economic times, but as the saying goes: To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

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