Lenovo, SAP expand partnership around SAP Data Hub

The Lenovo event in Orlando highlighted an intelligent enterprise transformation theme with show floor demos around this integration for both travel planning and IoT Smart warehouse management. Lenovo expects to see partner pickup from smaller vertically-focused boutique firms as well as larger integrators.

The travel planning demo on the show floor

ORLANDO — Last week, at the SAP SAPPHIRE event in Orlando, Lenovo and SAP expanded their partnership with the announcement of Lenovo Intelligent Insights with SAP Data Hub. This week at Lenovo’s combined Accelerate Partner and Transform customer events – also in Orlando – multiple applications of the solution were featured on the show floor, and highlighted by a mainstage appearance from SAP. It was a key part of a major theme of the event – that Lenovo intends to become a leader and enabler of the intelligent transformation for the enterprise.

“Last year, we introduced a reference architecture for the SAP Data Hub, SAP’s data orchestration solution that typically feeds into SAP HANA and the SAP Analytics Cloud,” said Tag Robertson, Director, Global SAP Alliance, at Lenovo Data Center Group. “The reference architecture is based on Lenovo’s SR350 and SR650 systems.”

“We have counted our relationship with Lenovo in decades, and expanded it with changes in the last few years, so that Lenovo is now a  partner, supplier and customer,” said Franz Faerber, EVP at SAP who is responsible for their Big Data development, and who was formerly the chief architect for SAP HANA. Lenovo also just received the SAP Pinnacle Award for SAP Infrastructure Partner of the Year. Faerber and Lenovo Data Center Group President Kirk Skaugen announced the new Lenovo Intelligent Insights with SAP Data Hub to the audience during the kickoff keynote at the Lenovo event.

Last year, at SAPPHIRE 2018, SAP and Lenovo unveiled the initial collaboration around Data Hub, which was based on a containerized Kubernetes cluster.

“That was the starting point,” Robertson said. “What we have done since then is added the ability to bundle Data Hub software with the reference architecture in a total solution. That’s the new news here.” It will be added to the Lenovo configurator this quarter, likely in the late May or early June timeframe.

“This is important because most companies today have data distributed in many places within the enterprise, so that their challenge is to track and know where the data is,” Robertson said. A “State of the Big Data” study prepared for SAP found that 74 per cent of enterprises say their data landscape is so complex that it limits agility and 86 per cent claim they do not get the most out of their data.

“You have shadow IT setting up own data sets, and you also have new use cases like IoT with all the sensors out there,” Robertson said. “SAP Data Hub gives the customer the ability to orchestrate and manage these data sources, and assure proper data governance. The reference architecture documents the whole process.”

The solution is a complex one, which Robertson said requires a minimum of nine to ten servers, and involves both a compute layer component as well as a storage layer. The demos at the show used SUSE enterprise storage, although the solution also works with Red Hat.

One of the show floor demos, both involving Lenovo partner Mindtree’s BlueFin division and demonstrated by their staff, was around a corporate Airport Journey planner, with traffic flows and travel periods calculated in real time. The speedy journey to SeaTac airport was due to the demo being shown a little after 900 ET in Orlando — 600 AM on the west coast! That solution also involved Here Technologies’ geolocation services. The other solution was an IoT Smart Warehouse Management solution, one of the vertical bundles around IoT that were specifically illustrated for customers and partners at the event.

Data from the IoT solution

“We see this as being a significant channel play because many commercial enterprises have this challenge around managing enterprises,” Robertson said. “For the last year, partners have been able to put this together by reselling both the SAP solution and the Lenovo hardware. Now they can sell a validated total offering. We see it as having appeal to larger integrators, as well as a key play for boutique consulting firms like Bluefin, based on industry and use case.”

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