Accenture launches private-cloud service for SAP customers

The on-premise cloud option is based on the FlexPod architecture that combines NetApp storage with Cisco's UCS

SAP customers seeking to move from traditional deployments to a private cloud architecture have a new option from Accenture, the companies announced Wednesday during the Sapphire conference in Madrid.

Under the offer, SAP customers can move their core ERP (enterprise resource planning) software as well as the Business Warehouse data-warehousing platform to a private cloud, ostensibly gaining the usual benefits that cloud deployments provide, such as system resource elasticity.

Accenture is using the FlexPod architecture, which combines NetApp storage with Cisco's Unified Computing System, with VMware virtualization and Red Hat's Linux and Network Satellite server management software also in the mix, said Eric Renouard, global technology lead for Accenture's SAP practice.

Accenture has come up with three specific configurations aimed at medium, large or "extra-large" deployments, he said. "If [the customer] fits within the sizings, it's totally turnkey. Our objective in building this is to make it as transparent as possible to the user." The configurations can be tweaked as needed, however, he said.

Pricing "varies by geography, but we are not talking tens of millions," Renouard said.

Customers have the option of a fixed-price deployment but "that dictates you have to pretty much fit square in line with what we've designed," he said.

The systems are meant to be run and managed from within a customer's own data center, not hosted by Accenture, he said. That's key to the systems' rapid deployment as, for example, Accenture won't have to extend a customer's security envelope to a remote environment, Renouard added.

SAP is also supporting private cloud reference architectures from Dell and IBM, and last year announced a new "landscape manager" tool with which customers will be able to oversee complex virtualized environments.

The company originally said the tool would be available in the fourth quarter of this year. An SAP spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for an update on those plans, but a document from September on the company's website states that a "ramp-up," SAP's term for early-adopter programs, was set to begin this month.

Also Wednesday, SAP announced a number of efforts meant to cement its relationship with and support for VMware, including include the delivery of VMware vSphere virtual appliances for private clouds and a jointly delivered extended support program.

Sapphire continues through Thursday in Madrid.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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