This post is part one of a three part series in response to the three major challenges related to SAP infrastructure articulated by professionals at TechEdAt the recent SAP TechEd conference in Las Vegas the theme from end-users was the same. From C-level executives and directors to everyday technology professionals, we heard the following concerns voiced again and again:
- Quality of experience is a huge issue when it comes to managing the latency of my organization’s SAP applications.
- I need to guarantee business continuity at all times.
- I need to ensure my SAP Applications are secure.
To be sure, the major challenge derives from the fact that SAP applications serve as mission critical infrastructure for the mainstream business processes that most end users touch throughout their day. SAP applications are designed to provide advanced business functionality to help organizations efficiently meet their business goals. Any SAP deployment counts on network and server infrastructure performance and availability as well as the ability to protect the deployment from malicious network and application attacks. In addition, SAP deployment is also dependent upon the ability to scale and support multiple applications and types of users, and all of this while being cost effective as well.
Over the course of three days, my colleagues and I spoke directly to these core concerns while presenting the Radware FastView for SAP solution more than 150 times. In this three part series, I’ll address the three biggest challenges associated with creating and maintaining an optimized, secure and cost efficient SAP environment.
First up, I address the challenge of accelerating SAP application performance to enhance quality of experience (QoE):
While huge efforts are often invested in integrating SAP applications into an organization’s existing business processes, it’s often the case that the performance challenges appear only well after the application is in production. Even if the application was optimally configured, latency could be sourced back to network infrastructure congestion or even poor traffic prioritization between applications sharing the same network resources.
But when it comes to a new deployment, social engineering is the hardest part. QoE is the key to employee morale and productivity. Changing the user community’s routine is difficult to begin with. But asking them to adapt to a slow application can be downright disruptive and certainly reduce productivity until the adaptation process is complete.
“How can we overcome this challenge?” was the question attendees asked of us. The answer? A solution certified by SAP for performance optimization functions.
The Radware Alteon application switch is an advanced application delivery controller (ADC) and is the only ADC tested and certified by SAP labs to provide significant performance improvements to SAP application deployments. The Alteon application switch accelerates the application response time, thereby providing a significant increase in QoE. Just imagine SAP users at branch offices in remote locations around the Globe having download times from their SAP applications that rival the response time of a well-tuned local network. Eyes would pop when we said that we could demonstrate 200X faster document load times with the Radware Alteon!
Eight capabilities make the response time optimal:
- Smart Traffic Redirection – An understanding of the load on various SAP application servers and intuitive redirection of the user requests to the most available server.
- Global Server Load Balancing – Ensures user requests are directed to the closest and fastest responding server even when located across multiple data centers.
- Remote Office QoE Optimization – Applicable for both SAP GUI and web based clients.
- Data Compression – Sent from the server to the user, reducing the amount of traffic required to complete the transaction.
- TCP Protocol Optimization – Reduces the latency experienced by the end user.
- Advanced Client Caching Management – SAP’s AccAD’s solution, integrated with Radware’s ADC, is the only solution that can assess which documents can and should be cached, and apply the security restrictions upon the cached documents while serving remote clients up to 200 times faster. Radware’s FastView for SAP solution is the only one that addresses acceleration techniques for both web and SAP GUI clients.
- Symmetric WAN Optimization – Intimate familiarity with the SAP application protocol that enables unique and advanced acceleration.
- SSL Offload, Caching, Compression – Increasing the efficiency of SAP servers by offloading CPU intensive tasks such as SSL processing, caching and compression in order to free the server to handle more users.
An organization can achieve significant improvements in SAP application performance through a straightforward and simple deployment of a single Alteon device in the SAP datacenter. This requires no change to the network or SAP application. By offloading CPU intensive tasks from SAP servers to Radware’s Alteon application switch, the same SAP application is free to handle more users without the cost associated with increasing servers, licenses, real estate, power and cooling.
In part two of this series I’ll take on the challenge of ensuring business continuity at all times – with a focus on unexpected disruptions, downtime and disaster recovery. Stay tuned!