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SAP Co-Innovation Lab (COIL)

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I’m 50 plus days out from my last post which is a result of driving and managing co-innovation versus just writing about or being entirely academic and studying its many effects on business.

This far out since my last posting, I risk becoming very random and non sequitur in my approach to try and tell everyone about the 12 plus projects in flight and another 10 still in some stage of being proposed and developed. I’m better off this time around just focusing on one particular project area. The one most front and center and occupying my time most of all is the COIL IoT Kickstarter program.

As described in a previous post, COIL Silicon Valley zeroed in on 3 projects to pilot the Kickstarter program; the first out of the gate being a predictive maintenance solution for Oil & Gas. I’m going to soon publish an updated blog post to share the latest so stay tuned.

There is of course a lot of other IoT action going on all over SAP and we are staying connected to these activities too. One event we are in fact hosting this Thursday is the HANA 4 IoT Unplugged Event.  It will focus heavily upon sharing several HANA IoT demos which is the result of the feedback received at the last event back in November, again sponsored by Cisco via the SAP HANA Social Networking Group.

Those registered and attending either here COIL Silicon Valley or via Cisco WebEx will hear partner co-innovation stories and see demos targeting Mining, Oil & Gas and other industries all focused upon HANA and IoT.

To spin back to COIL, one of the demos being shown will be from our Oil & Gas IoT project with MTell and Rolta.  MTell data scientist Alex Bates will provide insight into the project and the target solution which gathers big data from sensor signals to learn minuscule patterns of normal and errant behaviors that indicate degradation, failure, and root cause. Early degradation warnings allow intervention; fixing small problems before they become big ones.

It’s going to be a great event that also features a few drawings and prizes plus a Happy Hour at end of day.

For those fortunate enough to attend live you will be seated in the SAP Co-Innovation Lab which was uniquely designed to drive SAP co-innovation with partners. As you listen and learn throughout the day, take the time to imagine how you can partner with SAP at the COIL to pursue business challenges and forge new IoT solutions so that we will perhaps see you presenting at the next HANA IoT Unplugged series. If you are interested in pursuing co-innovation for IoT with SAP please make a point of connecting with us –we’d love to hear your ideas. It’s why we are here. Become part of what is an unstoppable force that accelerates getting innovation to market like nothing else.

See you Thursday!

Now it's Thursday and it's a super sight to see- demos, demos and more demos!


There are multiple dimensions to co-innovation.  If you follow my COIL blogs you know that I touch on a number of them like tacit knowledge exchange, knowledge brokering, intellectual property management, multi-partner developed solutions and the practical value derived from recombinant innovation. We observe varying degrees of these dimensions across a spectrum of projects focusing upon cloud, mobility, big data analytics, security, sustainability and UI. There is also a variety of focal points- feature and function development, performance characterization, integration, inter-operability, validation and proofs of concepts. All of the aforementioned is experienced every day in our COIL Labs running in 10+ locations around the world.


It is in our lab in Palo Alto however, with its immediate proximity and persistent connection to Silicon Valley where I sometimes think that the projects run here with SAP partners who are also longtime residents in the valley, are somehow stitched together with a type of thread that binds our co-innovation practitioners in a way that is purely unique to the region. It’s a quixotic mix of history, legacy, dreams and aspirations underscored by a steady state of resilience and the attitude that a failure is nothing more than another step forward. I love the fact that despite being a German born company, SAP is deeply threaded into what makes this place so incredible.


I’m an innovation fan boy to the core and love all our projects but flipping through past blog posts suggest that I have a bias towards data analytics. I’ll go ahead and admit it given the fact that its fueled even more by the fact that SAP HANA flipped a bit that has forever changed the world and in a bold way. Silicon Valley Bold


So while I try to fairly cover as many of our COIL projects as I can, I cannot help but to come back to what we've had going on with SAPNS2 and the incredible work the team has done here to develop a number of engineered solutions built “inside” SAP HANA, taking advantage of all the processing engines (geospatial, graph, and text analysis, predictive analytics, XS and event stream) in the area of Geospatial Situational Awareness, Geospatial Immersive Analysis and Visualization and Multi-Source data fusion and analysis. When the team first took up residence in our lab, its original implementations of its many engineered solutions, were limited by a single 256GB server as its core HANA development environment where we needed to “split” the server into two 128GB SAP HANA instances.

Beginning last year, this inside the beltway team got its chance to dive head first into the Silicon Valley vibe when it teamed up with SGI to take its first steps to break away from its original hardware moorings to now take its situational awareness solutions into a scale up architecture.


With the SGI UV-300 environment, purpose built for SAP HANA, many of the scaling limitations that the team faced has now been resolved. As many of you know, the SAP HANA design is based on the concept of Massive Parallel Processing (MPP) which takes advantage of memory, CPUs and CPU cores to provide a High Performance Computing platform for massive data sets. The SGI UV-300 provides tremendous vertical scalability without the need to cluster smaller commodity servers.


With the UV-300 configured with 24TB of memory, SAPNS2 can now enjoy an environment that has a memory capacity of at least 96TB when taking into account a minimum 4X data compression. This vertical scalability allows for more simultaneous development environments, and the ability to have multiple instances of HANA for each of the Engineered Solutions (4) as well as a Hadoop/HDFS configuration to support “cold” data storage and data tiering across each of its HANA instances. Vertical ]scalability means the team can work with large single node data sets without having to cluster multiple nodes unlike before when using commodity blade servers. This type of scalability enables a Smart Content Exploration solution, to grow from a 10 million article repository to a 1.2 Billion article repository using only half of the 24TB physical memory space of a maximum UV-300 configuration.


Performance is outstanding considering a max configured UV-300 will accommodate 32 sockets and 480 cores. The result for this project is to realize HPC performance in a single 96 inch rack; 1 single node.


I chatted with Brian Freed, SGI VP of In Memory Architecture about this to gain some further perspective. He was quick to mention how SGI has a long history with respect to geospatial text analysis, from early on when nearly all analytics and processes were separated. What is so cool today is how analytics engines (geospatial, graph, XS, text analytics, streaming etc.), is now converged to become a single unified process.


Single node is proven superior to scale out over cluster largely because the latter uses a different partitioning schema which can only create barriers or limitations to multi-engine analysis. As a single example, graph likes to lie out across the cluster differently than text analysis so for each processing engine there is a need to configure and tune the multi-node cluster architecture to meet these disparate processes unique requirements to deliver the desired performance. Similarly, transactional efforts between clusters also will undermine or limit performance. For instance with OLAP where a user triggers a query, gets a results, queries again, then again but if the data updates mid query, performance is clipped by the need to update nodes across the cluster. Single node systems using a large data set do not become impeded in the same way. We are talking a single node system running multiple applications against the same data set where the user(s) do not experience the lag time due to multi-node updating. The latency is essentially around <500 nanoseconds between any of the UV 300’s 4 socket chassis'. Together with SAP HANA, that’s serious HPC for commercial applications.


There are some firms who will easily boast that hardware and software engineered together from them alone is what works best. Yet in light of what is possible to forge through diligent co-innovation work done through partnerships (especially here in the valley)  is something which offers up a degree of openness not so present from  engineered solutions spawned from a single source. SGI made a decision to engineer its UV 300 from the ground up to fully exploit SAP HANA’s defining capabilities. In turn, SAP HANA has been tuned to take full advantage of the SGI single node architecture. An example of two companies working in the in the heart of Silicon Valley recognizing purposeful collaboration and the exploitation of tribal knowledge best amplifies the innovation signal that in the end, resonates best with customers looking for a more evolved way to make informed decisions from gaining real time insights from the multiple gigabytes to soon multiple zetabytes of data coming not only from systems of record but from data now streaming from scores devices and sensors connected to the cloud.


Engaging in real co-innovation work unleashes an incredible force multiplier when leading innovation companies and the exceptional human talent found here in Silicon Valley bring their resources, ideas and their innovation spirit together to do something exceptional. It further accelerates the art of the possible to the delight of customers who can only benefit from such a dynamic mix of competition and collaboration not so easily found anywhere else. 

By Bert Schulze, Himanshu Sewalkar

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Should I get a more environmentally friendly car? Should I do more sports? Am I paying too much for my apartment? Weather it is the CO2 emission of your car, the size of your pants or the price per square meter of the area you live in; measurement is always important in order to know what’s going on and where to improve. It keeps track of change and helps us to make decisions – private as well as professional. Actually, it is fundamental. Driven by several macroeconomic trends we observe a significant shift towards the subscription economy. This drives new expectations and at the same time enables new qualities to measure consumption.


Why measure?

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The subscription economy is all about usage and consumption. There is no shelf-ware in the cloud. The expected agility and innovation cycles are at an unprecedented pace of change. Customers today are looking for ways how to transform their business to cater to our digitized, networked, and complex world. The prerequisite is to consume services rather than products, and if you want to digitally transform then everything needs to happen fast. So innovation with speed and running simple is the key.


Thus, consumption and respective benefits need to be measurable. Only with measurement it is possible to prove and derive value for customers and secure new business. The relatively low switching costs of services make it easy for customers to decide not to renew or reduce their footprint. The most significant advantage for enterprises in this new world is no longer about reduction of the bottom line but it’s about business nimbleness and time to value.


Consumption analyzes and behavior measures in the service will provide the capacity to improve continuously. Running the best businesses requires to continuously measuring achievements – benchmark against peers and going beyond expected business outcomes.


It is not an overstatement to say that usage measurement in the subscription economy is a key success factor for both, the customer and the service provider.


Diverse Benefits

Monitoring and measuring service usage is critical as it contributes to identification of process improvement initiatives within an enterprise. Analyze consumption and adoption, uncover usage patterns and benchmark organizations help customers improve processes, increase efficiency and drive fact-based Best Practices across organizations. There are many examples for usage measurement becoming handy and we will discuss different use cases in forthcoming blogs, but till then here are three main bites.


Do you know the quality of your data? Data Veracity

Veracity refers to the messiness or trustworthiness of data. Dashboards, reports – whenever aggregated data is consumed, executives want to understand the cleanliness of what they consume. How accurate and actual is the data? What data stamps does the raw data have? How much of the data in a report has been created automatically from the system vs manually entered into the system? Have defined quality-gates being passed or is the data what we call grey data?

Usage data is there to monitor the quality of data in automated in the background. The data that is collected is purely used for improving transparency and supporting fact-based decisions within a company and its subsidiaries based on clean, real-time data.



Are you a social enterprise already?

The traditional collaboration analysis mainly consisted of technical metrics such as number of page views, gigabytes of content, unique visitors. These metrics fail to address the business impact. The single way to know if collaboration is at work is to analyze it; by measuring usage. For example is a collaborative selling approach key in today’s transformed world: Do you compare the collaboration patterns of regional sales teams, and make a correlation between selling performance and sales team collaboration to instill change in behavior?


Insights from the internal collaboration usage data can be followed up on in two steps. First, improve collaboration of teams and simplify exchange of information. Subsequently, justify the investment in social tools and maximize the gain. In a 2012 global research study, businesses that improved their collaboration practices reported faster, more informed decision-making and improved training productivity.


What measures do you have in place to detect enterprise fraud at the earliest possible point in time?



Measure real-time data and access control. Identify unusual access pattern and uncover potential misuse or 3rd party attacks in customer tenants.

Usage data that is pointing to unusual behavior can lead to the detection of fraud attempts and cyber security attacks. An automated analysis of the data can help identify weak points and enables quicker reactions to potentially fraudulent behavior (e.g. blocking access). Examples require usual logon and usage behavior to be stored as “normal” patterns and to be compared in real time based on predictive algorithms with actual behavior to uncover misuse.


How it works - a golden opportunity for IT

For long the purpose of IT had been to store or compute things. Run the company, while others were focusing to achieve business outcome. Usage measurement presents a golden opportunity to IT to reinvent itself not only as a prized partner to the business but also as a direct contributor to help achieve economic results. Measuring usage starts at the business and ends with business - in between you have technology as the facilitator. This also means that there needs a continuous handshake between business and IT. Each step must add value. Don´t limit yourself by starting with technology.

First, build a use case with the end in mind. Begin by understanding the business needs. Describe the measurement goals as well as necessary decisions in order to benefit in a structured way. Determine how data has to be provided and who will provide it. This is the purview of business.


Next, according to available technology and data transfer channels, interfaces have to be built and data flows to be established. This forms the acquire part of the process governed by technology. In the third step, the acquired data has to be persisted in a way that it is available according to the use cases - In time, in the needed granularity, enriched with necessary context information. To comprehend the actions that were defined in the use case the data have to be provided to the stakeholders in an easy to consumable manner.


Benefit comes if decisions can be made on clear facts. The business processes within the company, ecosystem and customers must be set up to react on recognized information.




With the architectural framework of modern technology like Big Data Analytics, companies must apply measurement consistently across the solution portfolio to gain the right insights. Companies have to be watchful about what to measure. Becoming data fanatic is not the purpose – becoming data driven on the other hand is.


Consumption insight goes beyond pure usage measurement. The question is not only if the solution or its parts are used, but also how effectively it is used to optimize business outcomes.


Appetite for more? In our forthcoming blogs we will interact with subject matter experts to know the ground realities of cloud usage measurement and will also see how our private lives are conquered by cloud and usage measurement per se. In addition to the three mentioned above, there will be plenty more use cases of usage measurement, so stay tuned.


Let us know your thoughts

Bert Schulze (@BeSchulze ) and Himanshu Sewalkar (@HSewalkar)

With hundreds of pages emerging every day on the Internet of Things topic both inside and outside of SAP, I’m at a point where I now need to add a few more from COIL. I wonder what there will be more of by this time next year? The 1.3 zetabytes of information to be transmitted over the Internet from more than 25 Billion devices connected to the Internet or more articles, blogs and ads about the Internet of Things? 


It's not so difficult to find a lot of super useful and informative content on the subject and yet few of us would argue that there are also far too many IoT articles out there that amount to little more than some rearrangement  of what has already been said before. At least those which focus upon facts and conjecture over what is the  IoT addressable market and how it is being fueled by more and more devices, etc.


Given where COIL is focused- IoT co-innovation with partners, I am more interested  to describe COIL project work surrounding  potential IoT solutions that actually hit the mark because they are largely underscored by compelling use cases validated by customers in various industries with pressing need and are capable of deployment  of such solutions as opposed to being left to scratch their heads over how they could take advantage of some lab originated prototype or proof of concept that looks cool, but is still missing some fundamental elements required to deem it commercially viable.


COIL orientation to the IoT topic in this way is not really new. COIL has for some time now, been enabling such project work under the equivalent topic heading of Industry 4.0. The “Open Integrated Factory” is a project executed in SAP Co-Innovation Lab (COIL EMEA) and was the main attraction at the SAP booth at the Hanover Fair in April 2014, the world's largest industry fair. This Industry 4.0 showcase incorporates a real assembly line from SAP customer FESTO. Our COIL Future Factory located in Dresden has also been active for some time demonstrating  SAP innovation as it pertains to manufacturing integration. Earlier in 2014, our COIL lab in Palo Alto provided the backstop for development of an SAP Hana adapter for the OsiSoft PI server Energy management repository.


It was therefore a natural inclination for COIL to stay close to this topic through all of last year and it was the draft publication of an SAP Marketing MRD for the SAP IoT strategy (June, 2014) that lead to our efforts to devise an effective way to support that dimension of strategy meant to enable the rise of a robust ecosystem of IoT solutions that SAP and partners could bring to market. Some modest changes to strategy and a bit of shifting among leadership roles and responsibilities not withstanding, this has led to formation of the SAP Co-innovation Lab Kickstarter Program for IoT.


The approach for getting this program off the ground meant to first play to our strengths such as developing strong and relevant collaboration with other teams that could help to both accelerate IoT solution development and at the same time, bring a high degree of SAP value to help partners succeed in connecting their IoT applications to SAP IoT technologies and platforms. With so many different teams across the organization also focused upon IoT, it has been a positive experience to connect with others and to identify common goals and discovering how to take advantage of pooled talent and resources. Our COIL team is now collaborating with different colleagues across P&I, GPO, custom development, HCP, various IBUs, PSG, and the SAP field. This will be a program where we will not only work to provide rich IoT landscapes to support this co-innovation project work with partners but where we will bring additional value by applying SAP Design Thinking Principles as a way to test problem statements and assertions and to drive overall refinement of these co-innovated solutions. The end goal will be to produce solutions that can flow directly into go to market in the form of OEM, RDS, custom development engagements or even to further augment what SAP delivers from the Cloud.


As a way to begin piloting our COIL Kickstarter program and to help ensure we stay on target to produce results that ultimately leads to delivering customers with a must have experience, we connected with our industry business leads from Oil & Gas, Mining and Insurance where we found fertile opportunity, high interest, strong need and an abundance of data and analysis as it relates to meeting and exceeding customer requirements.  In the weeks ahead we will certainly publish more information about each of our pilot projects and the COIL Kickstarter program via SCN, our Kickstarter JAM site as well as upcoming marketing events but the primary intent of this blog post is to give everyone a brief glimpse into where our first 3 pilot projects for the program will focus.


Pilot 1: Predictive Analytics and Operational Integrity; OIL & Gas



Predictive Analytics from SAP provide asset performance insight; to improve operations real-time decisions at the point of work execution. The solution utilizes performance indicators and machine learning to gather and analyze “big data” from networked sensor signals which monitor asset performance through the Internet and adjust operations and maintenance activities if variations are found. The result is dramatically improved equipment up-time, asset productivity, greater reliability and improved process safety, with a significant reduction in maintenance costs.



To be clear there is indeed an available sales play available today for SAP Predictive Maintenance and Service, cloud edition, an offering which helps maintenance and service engineers to remotely monitor equipment in order to predict failures and improve product quality.  There is however, no industry-specific O&G Predictive Analytics software solution right now.  The scope of the COIL project will therefore include working with two partners both using Asset Management global standard ISO 15926 to build their solutions. Our intent in the project to see both get fitted to SAP HANA to analyze disparate data sets to improve O&G asset operations. The target end user will be our O&G customers in Operations who are actively seeking to reduce maintenance costs, obtain higher degrees of accuracy in identifying assets that need to be fixed, reduced downtime, asset refurbishment vs. complete tear out and replace, and improved operating integrity and reliability for assets. The following solutions will comprise our offering as formed up with key partners in COIL:



1.) What base analytics are used today? What KPIs are used?  If customers don’t have KPIs they track, they can implement a solution, from one of the two partners we will engage with in this project which includes over 400+ KPIs based on ISO 15926, 26 pre-defined, job-specific dashboards focused on Operations personnel (maintenance workers, etc.)    This solution as of today already supports SAP BI, BW and HANA implementations.



2.) Machine to Machine Learning- the 2nd partner participating possesses a predictive analytics solution complementary to the complete solution by adding its functionality to this offering, we will seek to further entice customers to work with us, leveraging their auto-notification capabilities (sent to SAP PM for notification that something needs to get fixed), as well as leverage its neural ‘learning’ network into our story to monitor machine performance through identified performance signatures


Through this complete, co-innovated solution, the intent is to incent  customers to fully adopt an SAP Analytics ‘platform solution’ (based on SAP HANA) and work with us to integrate disparate data sources to perform the analysis on processes, machines and KPIs that they need to  improve overall operating efficiency.


What I also love about this project is the opportunity for it to spawn follow on projects (some already envisioned and in parallel discussions). One very plausible idea is to leverage the OsiISoft adapter for SAP HANA.(built at COIL) This 2nd firm we are working with has additionally built a historical data aggregation capability that is integrated with its M2M neural network supporting assets.  Once this partner completes its integration to SAP HANA, the adapter can be used to load OsiSoft historical data info into its solution for analysis and to offer asset signature development and performance operating range and use this input to monitor asset conditions for operations.


Pilot 2: Predictive Analytics and Safety, Mining Operations


Our second project in development also finds us working with two partners. The first offers a software platform to help organizations to bridge the gap between their IT systems and their mobile workforce. It is a real-time notification and alerting system that utilizes sensor data from mobile and wearable devices such as GPS, activity data, and heart rate to drive improved situational awareness for workers.



Improved situational awareness on industrial sites helps workers stay safe, make better decisions, and allows enterprises to manage their operations as safe and efficiently as possible. The second partner has already recently worked with SAP to create Fiori-based solutions on SAP HANA and has significant experience with developing solutions for the mining industry. The proposed use case is now being finalized and has been further validated by our IBU with some of our leading mining customers which surrounds the very real worker safety concerns related to what is known in the industry as “rock-bursting”.


Micro-seismic monitoring is a basic industrial tool used for daily safety monitoring at rock-burst-prone mines. Rock masses react to mining excavation by tiny readjustments that produce micro-quakes. Recording these micro-quakes and locating them in 3 dimensional spaces provides a means to monitor rock mass stability in real time, as much in underground mines as in surface operations. The partners will work together to get the situational awareness platform running over SAP HANA to take advantage of real time prediction related to the ingestion and analysis of micro-seismic sensor data  that can be validated and pushed out as a visual alert via ruggedized wearables for mining personnel. The project proposal is still being finalized and may additionally engage one or more of the firms specializing in sensors that do this type of monitoring including satellite based laser sensors that can provide additional data regarding mine integrity.



Pilot 3: Usage-based Insurance using Driver Behavior Data



This third project is as compelling as the other two but still in the early stages of project development. Some of this likely stems from the reality that insurance actuaries are acutely focused upon obtaining assurances that investment in the technologies underscoring usage-based Insurance (UBI) delivers and expected ROI. Driving Behavior Data (DBD) has the potential to bridge the gap between pre and post-accident factors used by actuaries today but innovations such as insurance credit scoring can still appear more appealing than the investment to obtain vehicle telematics capturing DBD.  The project is nonetheless still gaining momentum as our IBU reaches out to both customers and partners where there is emerging validation surrounding the need to evolve a solution that does in fact possess the right ROI arguments for telematics and DBD. Ultimately, this project will seek to craft a solution that can allow SAP insurance customers to build out Telematics Services for its customers creating an opportunity to both competitively offer discounts as well as to create new reoccurring revenues.


Kickstarting the COIL Kickstarter Program


Our team of COIL collaborators is off to a fast start at the top of 2015 with just these first 3 pilots and we are already seeing a pipeline of new IoT project proposals now forming up too. (That's my reward perhaps for spending quality time at FKOM 2015 San Diego!)  We’ve recently created an internal facing JAM site to try and keep us all informed and to allow us to rapidly share information and to keep everyone fully connected. It's our hope to open this burgeoning community to many more via our JAM site as each of the projects mature. If any or all of these projects sound like something you would like to learn where you might contribute and become more involved, please drop us note here in COIL Palo Alto.   If for some reason IoT is not your thing, well stay tuned to this blog space as we have some SAP HANA geospatial project work in the queue that is equally cool.


Sometime shortly after SAP TechEd & d-Code Berlin, my manager asked if I would be posting a year end blog. It seemed like a good idea when he asked and one that had in fact already occurred to me to do. It is of course now December 31st meaning I have less than a day to compose, edit and publish such a post. Covering the topic is pretty straightforward but doing the bloggy thing of including pictures and links is what takes time and only encourages procrastination. Nonetheless, I’m going for it as there is no question of it being a good thing to have a look back through one’s rearview mirror and reflect a bit on the days and activities past. 

At this time of the year we assess where we are by examining
where we've been and what we've done.  We then try and determine if it all lines up to our KPIs assigned at the beginning of the year. I want to focus more upon what I view as key yield from the efforts within the context of co-innovation. Since blogs and whitepapers past can fully account for much of the what, how and why of each COIL project, the intent of this short year-end summary is simply to refresh our view of the breadth of topics we explored and to offer a few call outs and shout outs relating to who and what drove our project work and the subsequent results. It’s also worth commenting upon what best describes COIL efforts (and its continuing aspirations) to measure the effects of its knowledge brokering between and among project teams, SAP and ecosystem business manager and subject matter experts.

In most instances approved projects do not always come into our lab with all of the right domain experts in tow to fulfill all of the skills necessary to affect a successful project. COIL technical project development includes a fair amount of knowledge brokering to fill such gaps and for getting the right people on to the right project at the right time. Through developing so many diverse co-innovation lab projects, we've come to understand what of efforts and behavior must be encouraged and nurtured to drive project success and it is through COIL knowledge brokering where we discover what contributes most to successful project outcomes.

It is a combination of continuously working both formal and informal networks within SAP as well as across different ecosystem partner channels that we are able to help teams to become complete in gaining access to the skills and talent that underscores successful co-innovation. We know this knowledge brokering to be exceptionally valuable and it remains an ongoing effort to learn more precisely how to both quantitatively and qualitatively measure its value. As we enter into 2015 we will be taking extra effort identify the different knowledge brokering channels invoked at the start and during project work and the degree of frequency these channels are used to secure knowledge and resources.

The Projects and the Work

There were roughly 45-50 projects proposed to COIL PAL in 2014. (“Proposed” means that a COIL Project Request Form was completed and submitted for consideration). This number is even higher if were to include in the count all of the many initial and informal discussions occurring well before a PRF gets submitted to COIL.  From the total number of PRF-based proposals, 32 projects closed in COIL PAL this year. Globally, (I've yet to see the final report) COIL is tracking towards something north of 150+ projects completed across all of its ten locations. As we look at the yield from COIL Labs in North America, Central Europe, South America, Russia and Asia Pacific, we find successfully completed projects representing all of SAP’s favorite topics of Cloud, Analytics and Mobility.

Multiple projects at COIL PAL pursued by both lab sponsors and project members have spawned ongoing project work spanning Big Data, real time analytics featuring SAP HANA with Hadoop, SAP HANA with Customer Activity Repository (CARs), SAP HANA and IoT, SAS on SAP HANA, cloud security, application and network optimization and prediction, geospatial and graph engine, not to mention the important topic of SAP HANA HA/DR. It’s also worth mentioning that COIL PAL also played host to a variety of partner and partner customer events like SAP Fiori and Lumira workshops and the SAP HANA Operations Summit which took place just before the holiday break.

Project Highlights

Some of the project highlights that are still top of mind for me and stand as call outs for interesting and compelling project work in which each garnered a lot of attention from the start, then throughout the project as well as for the final results:

To begin somewhat chronologically, it was around this time last year that Intel introduced Vormetric to COIL.  Intel was already partnering with Vormetric and viewed working with them at COIL as a good opportunity to not only assess the degree of overhead that might stem from encryption of log file data for SAP HANA but to also characterize performance between Westmere and Ivy Bridge processors where positive results would be of value to the launch of Intel’s latest chip-set. In the beginning, there were lots of inquiries and interest into how the proposed project aligned with SAP HANA and its already well-established security architecture. Others took interest to more fully understand the target cloud-based use cases and the tests performed. I appreciated the strong support and interest expressed from a variety of operations and product management teams and how they find coil project of value.

The positive results from this project were shared through COIL and Intel whitepapers and became of real interest to cloud customers in banking, predicated upon use cases sourced from Virtustream. There was also early internal interest among security and cloud architects across HEC, SuccessFactors and Ariba teams to learn more about the results and what other potential follow on project work might be of interest.

One of my favorite aspects of COIL is to see such spillover effects derived from a single co-innovation project. It was rewarding to see so many new connections being made among all of the participants across SAP and within its ecosystem. Connections that may never had occurred without the initial work done at COIL.  This was important project work contributing to a richer understanding for what comprehensively drives secure cloud solutions. It is compelling to observe how such ongoing ecosystems-based innovation project work accelerates innovation and in turn helps meet and exceed customer expectations.

Another COIL PAL highlight was to finally become fully equipped to enable a series of SAP HANA HA DR workshops with the Hana Technical Academy team. This one took considerable time to get off the ground if for no other reason than the need to ensure that a million plus dollars’ worth of hardware and software to support a specific topic is time and money well spent.  With the business case finally realized, this project has now come to represent some exceptional collaboration with EMC and Cisco with a number of customers validating that SAP HANA clearly stands up to expected HA DR rigors.

Customers attending these 1 to 3 day workshops, can easily be shown an enterprise class representation of 3 Hana node clusters representing two physical locations and dive right in to the workshop content to obtain the proof points needed as opposed to the uglier alternative of trying to conger the time, effort and expense for all sides to do the same as a discrete on-premise POC. As an additional observation there was clearly a lot of value derived from SAP and partners in terms of the overall tacit knowledge exchange and collaborative spirit contributing to a quality workshop experience for the customers in attendance. I’m looking forward to seeing more workshops beginning early in Q1.

Another good call out for the year is for the ongoing project work pursued by CA & Cisco to explore application and network optimization and using different data feeds from each of these layers in the stack to drive predictive analytics on SAP HANA meant to predict downtime and increase up-time.

This ongoing project work continues to establish this end to end solution and I was thrilled to finally get the chance to deep dive on the topic in preparation to interview project participants from both firms on a segment of SAP TechEd & D-code Live. I’m impressed not only with what is a comprehensive solution predicated upon the use of real time analytics on Hana, but also at the depth of knowledge exchange, collaboration and the deeper trust relationships that form up between the participants when worthwhile project work is pursued and continues to evolve and become further refined with each completed phase.

It was also quite impressive to see Clark, Wes, Maik, Keith Renu, Yemun and team do some serious work early in the year with DSSD and demonstrate viable scale up SAP HANA cloud architecture. SAP working with Intel and DSSD, worked to develop the next generation of HANA Cells for the SAP cloud. The work done leads the way to large scale in-memory computing.  It was always an enjoyable experience to witness the profound and geeky moment the first time anyone saw the thin, sexy, techie flash drives in the DSSD chassis.

We saw even more flash based storage project work with Violin Memory and its 6200 array systems who subsequently laid claim to SAP HANA product certification via ICC as part of their COIL project efforts to validate significant performance improvements in cache swapping, writing logs, delta changes and backups.

I must absolutely call out the fine project work led by former COIL teammate and now SAP Alliance Manager for Citrix Systems (Roland Wartenberg) to explore SAP Visual Enterprise 3D with Citrix Systems and Nvidia. I've co-presented this project with Roland a few times this year (COIL, Citrix Synergy and SAP TechEd & D-code) and am excited to see the work progress to new ideas like surrounding the creation of 3D catalogs to augment purchasing and supply chain systems. As a former COIL guy, I always enjoy working with Roland as his projects can be expected to include a cool factor.

COIL has seen a small number of projects in the recent past focused on healthcare and we would love to see more such projects enabled by our lab as the projects and the various use cases are always interesting.  If you've never seen the now fabled Medicare Mapper App for the IPad from Critigen, then you should stop reading (bookmark me!) and go take a closer look. It runs on SAP HANA here in the COIL and Critigen continues to drive new project work featuring SAP HANA and geospatial with ESRI which we look forward to seeing more of in the New Year.

Adjacent to this project work on the same topic of geospatial, we saw some amazing project work coming from our SAP NS2 colleagues who also did some amazing jaw dropping demos. Matt Zenus tells me 2015 “will be the year of geospatial” and from what I’ve witnessed so far from just from this lab, I believe him. SAP NS2 will now be leading new project work featuring a brand spanking new 16 way 12TB scale up UV 300 HANA Server from SGI- our newest COIL project member. When I look at this rack now spun up here in COIL PAL I just know 2015 is going to be nothing short of amazing with respect to co-innovation in the SAP ecosystem. 

The final call out for the year goes to the RedHat OpenShift project work done here in the lab. Christine Puccio and Sherry Yu, both long time COIL practitioners have both worked tirelessly to drive an ongoing effort and engagement to tap into developer communities through OpenShift with the RedHat OpenShift cartridge for Sybase ASE, IQ, SQL Anywhere and SAP HANA to provide a P-a-a-S environment for customers to build applications on a Sybase database platform featuring on demand access.

There were so many cool projects in 2014. I've likely failed to rightly mention some of them here but our hats are off to everyone that graced our presence in the lab this year. We especially wish to acknowledge the generous contributions and participation from our longtime and esteemed sponsors, Intel, NetApp, Cisco and vmware who all equally play a role in the vibrancy of COIL and the important projects pursued with SAP across the COIL global network.

Events of interest-

In between all of the hours, days and weeks of hands on, heads down project work, there were plenty of events where COIL either hosted or participated. We had Co-Innovation in Action Sessions in COIL PAL; we had presence with GPO at its Partner Discovery Center at Sapphire Now, its InfoZones at SAP TechEd & D-Code plus a very good turn-out for our half day Geospatial Workshop with SAP NS2. The Mfg Conference in Hanover Germany for Industry 4.0 featuring a COIL Integrated Factory demo, the GeoInt Symposium in Tampa, and Citrix Synergy in Pasadena.

The most notable event perhaps was Fujitsu joining COIL as its newest sponsor! A warm welcome to the Fujitsu team and we all look forward to the future projects you will propose and enable in 2015. 

COIL Organization-

A few changes popped up organizationally this year that are also worth mentioning. Prior to the departure of Vishal and for a number of weeks following, COIL fell under Abdul Razack and SAP Custom Development. With Abdul’s departure this fall, followed by our exec lead Chris Turner taking up a new role within GCO, COIL and the Hana Partner Engineering team were reorganized within Tanja Rueckert’s Products and Innovation Services team.

Our long time and beloved leader for nearly all of COIL’s nearly 7 years of existence, Dr. Axel Saleck returned from a summer sabbatical only to pass his COIL baton on to Rudi Held. Axel has left an indelible mark upon the entire COIL team and SAP. With great significance, he helped to establish the fact that SAP is an undisputed thought leader on the topic of global co-innovation and built the COIL global network that stands today.  While it won’t be the same without this man wearing his signature cap at our helm, it’s a very lucky and fortunate team who ends up being led by Axel- good things will surely happen.


With Rudi as our new lead, the COIL team now joins our ICC and PQ teams under Nandagopal Prasad where we will all collectively work to grow the SAP ecosystem and drive its unbridled vibrancy.

External perspectives on ecosystem-based innovation-

To further expand upon what it means to help grow the SAP Ecosystem and to co-innovate with partners, some recent research I've been doing (in all of my spare time!) with Dr. Tammy Madsen, Santa Clara University indicates that what we do at COIL is rather unique with respect to a firm establishing what are known as ecosystem dynamic capabilities. Through our recent study of COIL Project Data since 2007, we explored the value both SAP and COIL partner participants (sponsors and project members) derive from having access to both supply and demand side SAP resources. We were delighted with being given the opportunity to present this work at the first annual Worldwide Open Innovation Conference held earlier this month in Napa, CA.

Our findings and observations garnered a great deal of interest and for us points to a clearer external view of just how valuable co-innovation is and is becoming; particularly with respect that so many solutions well up from recombinant innovation. I intend to keep exploring this further as we work to publish our work and delve into other dimensions such as the valuation of knowledge brokering. Sir Isaac Newton’s friend was certainly on to something when he wrote to him in a personal letter about the importance of “standing on the shoulders of giants” as the way in which new ideas are carried forward. We witness it over and over again with each each project team using resources and rearranging them in ways to make them more valuable. This is the bigger and more complex piece of the innovation engine.

Gearing up for 2015-

Of course I cannot wrap up this summary without mentioning the Internet of Things. There was project work done on the topic in COIL PAL with long time project member OSIsoft as well as with many relevant Industry 4.0 projects which our COIL colleagues in other locations enabled. There will be a major emphasis on IoT in 2015 and building off of an already formed stream of proposals, ideas and opportunities regularly brought to our attention for some time now,

Here in COIL PAL we will pilot a co-Innovation Kickstarter IoT program where we have the first 2 projects already in development (more on this in January).  We are also excited to see the COIL PAL lab emerge at the beginning of the new year with a fresh new look and feel- designed to support the most optimal ways to engage with partners whether it is the consistent application of design thinking principles to Co-Innovation project work or to tell the story of co-innovation solutions designed to address must have experiences for customers.

So let’s drop the ball in Times Square and get on with it shall we? Co-Innovation Happens Here!

It was great talking to you in Las Vegas last week.  Check out the materials we presented there, and feel free to contact me if you want like to know more about SAP Co-innovation Lab, the great place to co-innovate with SAP.


1. A prezi presentation on who we are and what we do, how to engage with us, what kind of projects we do, and what our members say about us.


Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 2.04.58 PM.png


2. A few highlights of the projects we are working on - check out the slide deck here.

No doubt that COIL had a great time at TechED && d-code Las Vegas last week. Let me share with you some of our glory times and a couple of scary moments.


What're glory


Starting from Monday, the by-invitation-only pre-event cohosted by COIL and our members SAP NS2, Critigen, Luciad, and SGI on  "Exploring Creative SAP HANA Solutions with Geospatial and Graphing" attracted more than 30 customers and partners and generated great interest on the NS2 Realtime Situational Awareness RDS solution incubated at COIL.


Then came Bjorn's keynote Tuesday morning.  Our sponsor Intel and member SGI appeared on stage with Bjorn, and the Apigee demo Bjorn and Ian ran on stage for about 20 minutes was live from a landscape hosted at our Palo Alto computing center.


For the rest of the event, we talked to hundreds of customers, partners, and SAP colleagues at the COIL pod in the show floor. It's really tiring to stand in the pod three day long, but it's definitely worth it. Many of the conversations there are leads to more co-innovation projects later on. As matter of fact, immediately following TechED, we have already started this week working with a strategic partner and a US customer on projects at COIL helping Q4 2014 deal closings.


sinan_david_kevin at COIL pod.jpeg


More than a dozen of our members exhibited in Las Vegas, and it was great to see COIL logos everywhere in the show floor. Just to mention a few - Intel, Cisco, VMware, Netapp, Virtustream, CA technologies, Redhat, Citrix, SGI, .... As you can see in the picture with our old friend Roland Wartenberg, our members take a big pride in their COIL membership:).




Of course, it's always worth the 15 minutes to check out the official TechED Live interview conducted by COIL. This year, David did a great job with our friends Rickey King and John Stone  talking about our CA and Cisco joint project Application-Centric Optimization for SAP HANA and Applications that Run on It

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 12.53.47 PM.png



and what's scary...


I usually don't tell what's behind the scene, but as Halloween is around the corner, it won't hurt to share a few scary moments at our Fishbowl (nickname for our computing center) in Palo Alto while our members were shining at Las Vegas.


No matter how well we thought we were prepared for a critical event, you never know where trouble may come from. This time is the air conditioners.


Before we left for Las Vegas, we checked and made sure everything were running in perfect condition in the Fishbowl. However,  Monday morning around 7 am pacific time, 2 hours before Bjorn's keynote where a demo was expected to run live from COIL, we got a notice from the SAP facility and security office in our Palo Alto campus that both of the 2 HVAC units at our Fishbowl were in trouble and the temperature was above 90 F degrees and running higher, some of the servers and network switches were starting to shut down. I have to say it's the right thing for the machines to protect themselves from being damaged by the overheat, and we all know that we are a crash and burn lab, but burning at the first day of TechED where we support the keynote and dozens of our members' live demos at the show floor? That's not a good timing.


Thanks to the heroic work of my colleagues Roger Guedes, Juergen Opgenorth, David, and the SAP Palo Alto facility team, four mobile cooling units were rushed in to the Fishbowl to keep the temperature low while the vendor was working on the AC.

COIL_AC diaster.jpeg


We survived the event very well, and actions are being taken to make sure we stay away from such scary moments.  The picture above was taken by Roger last week. Rudi Held, our global COIL head thought it looked like "an octopus from outer space had invaded our fishbowl", I have to agree with him. Of course, we will keep it for our Halloween decoration, but never for future events.

For those who have visited sap.com website recently, you may have noticed that our logo has been quietly changed to gold letters with transparent background. You may have seen the white letters with golden background variation somewhere too.

SAP_new-LogoTL.jpgSAP Logo_white_yellow.png

The square+triangle shape of our old logo is gone now.


Not sure if I am in love it yet.


Still remember when I joined SAP in early 2000, we went through a big change to our logo at that time.  As a result, we had the "smiling A" with a merged square and triangle shape for the last 10 years or so. At that time, most of us liked the idea to make our appearance a bit more "softened" by changing from a plain A to a smiling A.


Time flies, ten years are gone and it seems time again for another change.  This time, we are moving completely out of the blue and the shape, the only commonality with the old logo is the three letter "SAP".


Is it too much?  I don't know. I am still used to the well recognized iconic blue logo, it's probably not the mostly likable shape, but when people see it, they immediately know it's SAP, the software company. With the blue background and the iconic shape, it's hard for people to miss the "German seriousness" of our culture, and for many of our customers, it means the "good engineering" of our products.


Well, it may be just me, I would assume the gold/white theme is more appealing to the younger generations?


The funny thing is how fast time can erase the trace of changes. I did a search for SAP logo in Google images. You know what? It's hard to find a copy of the grand-old "not-smiling/plain-faced" logo any more.  Among hundreds of smiling A's, I only found one straight A logo in the archival.


No matter what's changed and what's going to change, for good or for bad,  maybe it's time for us to save a copy of our "oldies" before they disappear even from Google searches. 

SAP Logo_light blue.png

SAP Logo_blue.png

SAP Logo_blue_square.jpeg

If you have more variations of the old-old logo, please send to me a copy or add a link to the comments section. Hopefully together we can keep a trace of our logo from time to time. It would be interesting to look back in 10 years again and see how things have changed with the company we love and respect so deeply. 


Oh, BTW, the three letter SAP is not only used by our company. In the same Google search, I came across a few other logos with "SAP" letters.  It reminded me that I actually saw a kid at Disney a couple of years ago wearing a t-shirt with the school-age-program logo below.


Without the background shape in the new logo, hoepfully people can still recoganize us as a software company just by the logo without having to get help from the context.


Wish SAP the best, as always.

Although Augmented Reality (AR) is a term that goes back to the beginning of the 1990s, it took almost a decade until with the open source ARToolKit by Hirokazu Kato of the Nara Institute of Science and Technology a first software became available that contained the key features of what we consider nowadays to be real AR: Combining real-world video tracking with overlaid contextual information and 3D virtual objects.


But only with the appearance of smartphones, lightweight tablets and now smartglasses did the use cases leave the restrictions behind that used to make its application in business use cases cumbersome: Either spatial restriction to your home computer or laptop, or the required usage of very specialized and often relatively heavyweight equipment that contained camera, information system, sensors etc.


There is no doubt that Augmented Reality (AR) gives developers magnificent ways to enrich the user experience of their applications: The application context information itself, either textual or visualized as virtual objects either in 2D or 3D, becomes a part of the reality of the end user by being actively linked to this reality via image recognition, location services and the measurements of various sensors.


With all these pieces of the game in place, business applications using AR are on their way to become state of the art. SAP itself has started on this path by recently making the SAP AR Warehouse Picker and SAP AR Service Technician available to the market.


Late in 2013, we at SAP Co-Innovation Lab (COIL) engaged with Austrian company Wikitude GmbH, a leading innovator in the AR space. While on one hand Wikitude offers its own cloud-based application for easy AR app delivery, it as well offers its technology via an SDK to application developers. In parallel, Wikitude is strongly in engaged in the standardization efforts around AR with their CTO Martin Lechner being the convenor of the ARML 2.0 SWG as part of the Open Geospatial Consortium.


As a first step, COIL and Wikitude focused on running a Proof of Concept for integrating this SDK with SAP Mobile Platform 3.0. Having succeeded, we connected Wikitude with Swiss customer Marenco Swisshelicopter AG and its consulting division Marenco Swissconsulting AG (since Jan 1 2015 named allvisual AG) to develop a first visionary showcase which was presented at the Augmented Reality Expo in Santa Clara:




[Click on the image above for a live demonstration.]


Based on this first vision of enabling Marenco service mechanics, COIL, Marenco/allvisual and Wikitude requested Orianda Solutions AG to join as implementation partner. Orianda is an internationally operating consulting company based in Switzerland that provides (amongst others) SAP consulting and implementation services with a focus on Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) and mobility applying future-oriented technologies like augmented reality or predictive maintenance.


The now complete team is currently jointly working on implementing an end-to-end AR-enhanced E2E Asset Maintenance Scenario tailored for both service mechanics as well as pilots to ensure the strong requirements for helicopter maintenance.


At SAP TechEd && d-code you will be able to see the results and learn about the building blocks needed to successfully build your own AR application within a realistic business scenario based on a complex overall SAP Solution Landscape [Expert Networking Session EXP17451 – “Augmented Reality and SAP – An End-to-End Use Case”; Wed Nov 12 14:00 - 14:30].


In addition, we have asked Wikitude to hold a separate Expert Networking Session to present to and discuss with you various aspects of AR like typical use cases, device-dependent form-factors and how to integrate AR features into your own applications based on SAP Mobile Platform. Hear as well about latest developments in the standardization efforts around ARML 2.0 within the Open Geospatial Consortium [Expert Networking Session EXP17452 – “Enhancing Applications with Augmented Reality: Development Aspects”; Wed Nov 12 15:30 - 16:00].


Please do not forget to add the following valuable sessions to your agenda as well! :


Session IDTitleWhen?
EXP17683SAP, Digital Eyewear, Augmented Reality, and MoreWed Nov 12, 14:30 - 15:00
EXP17683SAP, Digital Eyewear, Augmented Reality, and MoreThu Nov 13, 11:00 - 11:30
EXP17860How to Make Best Use of the Spatial Features of SAP HANAWed Nov 12, 16:30 - 17:00
TEC109Google Glass – SAP Experiences and Challenges of a New Interaction ParadigmWed Nov 12, 11:00 - 12:00
DEV103Mapping the World with SAP HANA Geospatial EngineWed Nov 12, 18:00 - 19:00

COIL @ SAP TechEd & d-Code, Las Vegas and Berlin 2014

COIL @SAP TechEd & d-Code is fast approaching but for me, the prep work begins much earlier so it has felt fast approaching to me for quite a long time. There’s always much to do but we somehow manage to feature a small number of exceptionally cool things each year  to share and to draw from in order to participate in a few interesting activities during the week.


You will find us in the Info  Zone on the Show floor at the events in both Las Vegas and in Berlin. (Pods 15 and 2 to be precise.)

From the show floor Info Zone Pods, we will feature a variety of SAP Co-Innovation Lab content such as Project Sponsor and Member profiles, Project highlights from a number of projects and in Las Vegas. Our colleague Shuuji Watanabe from COIL Tokyo will be on hand to show off some cool SAP HANA infrastructure demos during the week featuring some project work COIL Tokyo did with A10 Networks.  We also provide a lot content to share with prospective new COIL members and can describe some of our current and future programs.PartnerEdge Platform Innovation Series pre-event


We’ve  got a lot of ground to cover in the Las Vegas pod where COIL Palo Alto has enabled a number of exceptional projects being pursued with Cisco, Netapp, Intel, EMC, Citrix, CA, SAS, RedHat OSIsoft, Vormetric, Virtustream, Hortonworks, Tangoe and CoreMobile.


When we aren't at the COIL Pod, we can be found elsewhere in and around the event all week.  Beginning Monday Oct. 20, COIL is participating in a SAP .  PartnerEdge Platform Innovation Series pre-event by invite only, where registered attendees can opt to join these free sessions which will run from Noon until 5:00PM. The SAP Co-Innovation Lab is pleased to co-host an event exploring creative development Big Data Solutions featuring the geospatial and graph engines in SAP HANA with our colleagues from SAP NS2.  If you are interested in this topic and looking to solve problems and gain analytical insights with data enriched with GSS, this is the place to come.


During the week, we will co-host two Expert Sessions in the Network Lounge (Wed and Thurs.) One is the very cool and timely topic of cloud security and encryption.  I encourage you to read  about this very cool COIL project in Kevin’s blog and also check out the excellent white paper.


The second explores using Citrix Receiver to work with SAP Visual Enterprise 3D from literally anywhere. Our colleagues in Berlin get the cool factor award for their expert sessions featuring some augmented reality project work with Wikitude and Marenco Swiss Consulting.


Back on the show floor in Las Vegas, we are looking to do 2 SAP TechEd Live segments. One with Cisco and CA who have been collaborating together at COIL.   I will talk to John Stone (Cisco) and Rickey King (CA) about MTR Monitoring through Remediation. This is an end-to-end automated solution for managing SAP HANA operations that Leverages SED by CA Wiley and ITPA by Cisco. This solution identifies issues around SAP HANA operations and performance, as they are just starting to occur, and then analyzes and remediates the issues, in milliseconds, before they can impact the business. 

As an offshoot from the pre event on Monday, COIL and SAP NS2 we expect to sit on some Birds of a Feather Sessions to help keep the geospatial conversation at SAP TechEd  & & d-Code continue all week.


Time permitting I want to spend time over in the hacker’s lounge as there is sure to be a lot of interest and talk on the topic of IoT and where COIL hopes to cultivate some compelling COIL project work going into 2015.


So plenty going on with COIL at this year’s event and we look forward to connecting with colleagues, partners and engaging with other attendees interested in co-innovation with SAP.

I would have liked to add this in my earlier blog post (it wasn't yet confirmed) but for those attending or would like to attend our session at the PartnerEdge Platform Innovation Series Pre Event next week, here is the planned agenda:



At the age of the cloud, corporate and government data breaches are in daily headlines.  These breaches can be deadly expensive. 

As the most important asset of every enterprise, mission critical data must be secured using a combination of access controls, mature key management, and encryption.  Used by enterprises both for transactional data operations as well as for real-time analytics, SAP HANA stores and processes sensitive enterprise data. It is no longer sufficient to secure just the perimeter of data centers where HANA is hosted., encryption of the mission critical data managed by HANA becomes more and more critical for many of our customers, especially when HANA is deployed in the cloud and offered as a service.

However, the overhead of encrypting data often leads to tradeoffs between performance and security.



What we have found at COIL


Thanks to recent innovations in hardware to accelerate encryption at the processor level, tradeoffs between performance and encryption are no longer necessary.  Working closely with Intel, Vormetric, and Virtustream, , SAP Co-innovation Lab (COIL), with the help of our HANA product management team, HANA Enterprise Cloud team, and  many other SAP groups, has shown that with the recent AES-NI innovations in the Intel Xeon processor family and the Vormetric encryption software enhancements optimally exploiting AES NI, large data sets on SAP HANA can be encrypted or decrypted with virtually no performance overhead.


Motivated by real customer requirements provided by Virtustream and SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud team,  the COIL project focuses on evaluating an encryption solution for HANA that address the following challenges with minimal performance overhead:


  • Secure customers’ data using a combination of access controls and encryption
  • Lock cloud administrators out of access to the data without impeding their ability to perform administrative tasks (and even applying to “root” accounts)
  • Leave the owner of the data in full control of the encryption keys


The following diagram provides a high level overview of the solution we tested at COIL, and all our findings are documented in two papers:



Vormetric solution diagram.png


We have a lot people to thank…


The COIL project is a true example of great collaborations of teams across organizational the geographical boundaries. 


Here is a list of the core virtual team members from the 4 participating companies who have spent many days and nights together in the last a couple of months working on bringing our technologies together to address the encryption challenges of our customers:   David Cruickshank (SAP SE), Tariq Ellahi (SAP), Roger Guedes (SAP), Mark Hourani (SAP), Heather Li (SAP), Kevin Liu* (SAP COIL lead), Sergio Pacheco-Sanchez (SAP), Carmelo Ragusa (SAP), Jay Thoden van Velzen (SAP), Kathy Barboza (Intel Corporation), Todd Christ (Intel), Martin Guttmann (Intel), Bing Wang* (Intel lead), Ashvin Kamaraju* (Vormetric, Inc. lead), Sridharan Sudarsan (Vormetric), Carlos Wong (Vormetric), Michael Powell (Virtustream Inc.), Gregsie Leighton (Virtustream), Vince Lubsey* (Virtustream Lead), Pete Nicoletti (Virtustream).


As the lead of each participating company, Bing, Ashvin, and Vince have invested tremendous amount of time and efforts to make sure right resources from each company are brought to the team and real customer challenges are addressed with the solution we evaluated.   Many colleagues in the participating company helped the team in various phases of the project, just to mention a few we are thankful Frank Ober of Intel for getting us SSDs, Andi Kleen for helping us debug Linux kernel, and Craig Piece for helping us resolve our networking issues.


With the continuous support of the entire team,  Sergio and his teammates at Belfast, UK did an excellent job in driving the critical performance tests and documenting our findings.


As the COIL lead, I would like to thank all the SAP colleagues who supported us through out the lifespan of the project, in particularly our SAP executive sponsors for this project Clark Masters and Wesley Mukai, our HANA product management colleague Mark Hourani with support from Michael Eacrett,, Holger Mack, and Andrea Kristen; and the entire COIL computing center team. Nothing could have been done without your valuable support.

Earlier this week I posted some details about a really cool pre-event at SAP TechEd & d-Code that COIL will co-host with our colleagues from SAPNS2. The work that has gone into this so far began well before GPO and Event marketers began asking us fro details and getting us officially scheduled.


We've been in agreement from day one that the real time data platform the SAPNS2 team began to build in COIL signifies rich capability of value to many customers and industries regardless of the fact that the current project work at COIL emphasizes requirements of the intelligence community. All businesses want good intelligence gathering and analysis too. We also agreed that there exists a gap between raw capability and a solution manager or application developer determining how to leverage the technology applied in one way to help solve an entirely different problem.


So we came up with the idea that we could try to address this knowledge gap in some way by sharing what the SAPNS2 team has learned in its 2 plus years at COIL on how to creatively use SAP HANA, not just for its in-memory goodness but as a complete platform and as part of a  data fusion architecture that can address a wide range of need.


I caught up with David Korn this week to ask him some specific questions as to why an attendee at the Las Vegas SAP TechEd & d-Code would want to sit in on this half day session:



Cruickshank: Who should want to attend this session on Creative SAP HANA solutions featuring geospatial and graphing capability and use?


Korn: I'd say Developers interested in developing applications to be used for semantic analysis of Geo-spatially related events. Definitely developers interested in using SAP HANA as a multi-mode analysis platform. HANA is much more than a fast database.


Cruickshank:  What do you think will be the biggest takeaways for the participants?


Korn: How easy it is to create analytic applications that use all of the advanced capabilities of SAP HANA and to see demonstrated just how powerful HANA really is.  The attendees is this session will see how 1 platform  replaces 6 separate software components as a single, integrated platform.

Cruickshank: Participants will see specific some cool POC examples. How can session attendees use the underlying architecture and the techniques shared to apply to similar commercial needs?


Korn: We will show how SAP HANA can be used to build semantic networks; use text analysis for entity extraction of objects from open source data sources; create an object bases production capability to load data into property graphs using python; essentially how to use many SAP HANA functions integrated into a single analytic environment.

Cruickshank: Why cover the topic in the order described by the agenda, GSS, IAV, and Semantic Analysis. Does each module build on the next or do they each stand unique?


Korn: Our approach is to pursue as a progression of functionality. Geo-spatial, integrate Geo-spatial and text analysis followed by integrated application that uses Geo-spatial, text analysis and graph analytics using the graph engine.


Cruickshank: There is likely to be a number of people sitting in, most familiar with ESRI GSS. What will this workshop cover about it and how will it be compared to alternatively being implemented using Luciad?


Korn: SAP HANA can integrate with any map engine and through our journey of developing engineered solutions we used ESRI, google, Nokia and Luciad for real time Geo-spatial analysis for and control applications.


Cruickshank: What makes IAV so important? How does its use tie in to creatively using SAP HANA geospatial and graphing?


Korn: The IAV provides the ability to analyze large data sets In a spatio-temporal manner.  Hana processes queries with respect to time and spatial location simultaneously. When the team developed its multi-int engr solution, the same data set used for IAV was used to drive the property graph creates in HANA


Cruickshank: Will you cover anything like rendering out as an HTML 5 application?  Anything insightful/informative to share?

Korn: The Geo-spatial situational awareness application has 2 HTML5 applications. 1 app was developed using the EDRI SDK and 1 App developed in the SAP HANA Studio using SAP UI5.


Cruickshank: What will be the focus with respect to Semantic analysis? Is Domain design method or Ontology design variable? Will you demonstrate some interesting techniques, best practices or lessons learned?

Korn: We will provide a detailed  session on how to develop graph applications. We will focus on our design methods, beat practices, entity extraction, graph enrichment and ontology administration

Cruickshank: What makes property graph so valuable. What will be the biggest takeaways about it the audience can look for?

Korn: The ability to perform semantic analysis at large scale with high performance. RDBMS do not provide native capability to perform semantic analysis of objects

Cruickshank: Thanks for the overview David, lot's of good reasons to be there. Last question. Will there be snacks?

Korn: Yes.

If all this sounds like something that would be worth your time while joining SAP in Las Vegas, please contact me and we can send you an invite while space remains available.

As a part of the “Platform Innovation Series for SAP Partners” presented by SAP PartnerEdge at this year’s SAP TechEd && d-code 2014 Las Vegas , the SAP Co-Innovation Lab is thrilled to co-host a most informative session dedicated to exploring creative SAP HANA Solutions with Geo-spatial and Graphing.


Enough time has elapsed since its introduction for most attendees to know SAP HANA supports text analysis, quantitative analytic methods, geospatial processing, property graph-semantic processing and event stream processing against a single data set, (no movement of data) for complex, multi-function applications. What remains is the challenge of how technologists learn to readily apply this capability to address their biggest business challenges and to help companies capture more useful insight into the business.


This half day workshop, guided by members of the SAP NS2 Dev team (and partners) is designed to help and encourage data analytics developers and implementers to discover, how to leverage the deeper capabilities of the SAP HANA platform and how to establish an architecture, that can serve multiple big data needs versus building something new for every problem encountered.


SAP NS2 CTO David Korn and members of his team will lead the sessions and additional content from participating SAP NS2 COIL project partners Luciad and SGI will be shared. This portion of the content will provide some insight into scale up hardware configurations and visualization options for deployment.


The team will begin with a short introduction into the topic and project to set the stage for discussing creative SAP HANA solutions featuring geospatial and graphing. The agenda will present and explore GSS, IAV and Semantic analysis using Property Graphs. Rich content will be offered with each of these topics.


Some Insight-
Consider the topic of Immersive Analysis and Visualization (IAV)tm. To offer  some glimpse into one of the SAP NS2 COIL projects  will demonstrate to you that the team’s efforts to include it as part of its data fusion solution set.  This team views it as useful to enhance the capability in decision making (both organizational and individual). To do so means to deliver increased processing performance, “smart data integration” of data resident in multiple places in the enterprise, and automated tradecraft capabilities with real-time examination and correlation of past to present conditions and events.


SAP NS2’s IAV Engineered Solution consists of three major components which is certain to be discussed  to some degree during this segment of the material: These are:

- the SAP HANA real-time data platform
- an integrated geobase, and
- a user interface implemented using the Lightspeedtm
tool from Luciad Inc.

The SAP Real Time Data Platform (RTDP) contains the Geobase and performs all of the geospatial functions including real time clustering, as well Natural Language Processing unstructured text analysis (entity recognition, identification and extraction). The high speed, in-memory processing of the SAP HANA platform allows real-time association of the extracted entities with the processed events.

At the heart of the IAV Engineered Solution is a map-engine neutral, memory resident geobase which integrates physical geography elements, human geography elements and armed conflict events that are not constrained by country. It is global. This geobase can be integrated with any external map engine such as ESRI, Google Earth, Nokia or custom developed application.

Hopefully this gives you a small flavor for the sorts of technologies and methods this team works with. The content is largely predicated upon all of the SAP NS2 COIL project work to date so I can already predict that the half day will go by quickly and questions will surface as to when we can host another session.

A Foundation of Important Work-

SAP NS2 has been active in COIL since SAP TechEd 2012 where the team first took up residence at COIL Palo Alto and where it has worked with partners like Critigen,
Encryptics, Cisco Systems to build and validate its big Data Fusion architecture optimized to fully engage the SAP HANA Geo-spatial and Graphing engines. You can link back to previous blogs on the project work to learn more. The session in Las Vegas will draw from this foundation work along with the newest project work to date.


Demanding data analytics requirements has driven the development of an exceptional architecture that will not only meet and exceed the demands of multiple government agencies and communities but additionally represents a real time data platform that can serve many similar challenges in private sector industries; particularly highly regulated industries like Health Care and Utilities. Geo-spatial intelligence factors in multiple markets like Oil and Gas, Mining, transportation and logistics, even retail.


From sharing this knowledge and responding to attendee questions as it relates to broader applications, we think the take away knowledge is very real. Maybe there’s a brand new COIL project out there waiting to happen triggered simply from what gets learned and shared during sessions like these.


Our hope is that from hearing from this team firsthand about its project work, its expertise, how tos, problem solving techniques and lessons learned, we can help those attending to understand how this same architecture and set of capabilities can be used by others facing similar big data challenges.


There are still slots open to attend so if this topic is of value to you, we encourage you to sign up now. Send me an email me if this event is for you and you'd like to get an invitation sent to you.


With your RSVP to the invite, you can pick up your registration materials the morning of Oct 20 (Monday) and then come down to the Platform Innovation Series for SAP Partners where lunch and sessions will start.

UPDATE: Content from the session is now available.

If you regularly attend SapphireNow, then you certainly know of the surge of energy that not only emanates on day one, but there are usually a number of major SAP announcements during the keynotes that when combined with the knowledge and information shared and absorbed among its employees, partners and customers not only sustains that surge for the entire week, but contributes to what makes this event so special year after year.

This is certainly something that all of us that comprise the SAP Co-Innovation Lab Global Network team feel particularly tapped into this year with nearly two dozen COIL sponsors and Project Members exhibiting or presenting sessions in Orlando.

I covered some of the highlights in my last post from the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud Encryption and Key Management project but I’d like to share a bit more about some of the other lab participants and projects too.

Cisco and CA are both at SapphireNow where you can find out more about their project with SAP at COIL to explore ways to that all of the enhanced performance and real time business management is never negated by bottlenecks stemming from sub optimal network policies. Cisco and CA have teamed together at COIL to capture real time traffic and to effectively monitor complex Java and .Net web apps, app servers, portals and other key infrastructure components.  Of course this project is not just about Cisco and CA bringing respective technologies and expertise to simply monitor but to help adapt an SAP HANA IT environment as business needs change.

Cisco and EMC are teaming up with SAP at COIL on the important topic of SAP HANA High Availability and Disaster Recovery, building out two three node SAP HANA clusters to demonstrate a number of different scenarios to be shared as part of a series of HA/DR workshops.  These Workshops will provide a repeatable and programmable way to help customers to obtain a deep understanding of HANA operational capabilities.

In recent postings I've described what our colleagues at SAP NS2 are covering these days with respect to combining geospatial and text analytics of value to real time situation awareness but if you are at the event, stop by the SGI exhibit to see their demo examining armed conflict and seeing the insights possible from correlating geo and human intelligence data. Even if you don’t work for the government, I saw firsthand how people focusing on things like re-inventing retail that saw the demo and take real interest in how these same technologies can be applied. In fact, we already have COIL project spinoffs from the SAP NS2 project with Critigen (a spatial systems integrator) build up a landscape to take its Medicare Mapper app to pursue other geospatial and predictive analysis of healthcare data.

It’s a big show floor but make your way over into the Technology Campus to have a look at the next generation of the HANA Cloud Cell and Fabric. This clearly represents an upwelling of co-innovation where SAP again, teaming with Intel, DSSD and others collaborate to engineer next gen cloud systems using high performance flash and high speed interconnect fabrics.

I’m not going to be able to cover everything in a single post but for the benefit of those at the event this year we really encourage you to check out all of the partners mentioned. Two more very interesting projects include one where SAP and SAS are working with a common customer to migrate to real time marketing capability and a second project with Vendavo price and margin management on HANA. This project has a number of goals but in sticking to the theme of “Simple” one is to simplify the ETL process required to load ECC data to the Vendavo Profit Analyzer.

The COIL team has worked with RedHat on a few notable projects over the past 3 years but the current project work is one that in fact will get covered in a future blog post. RedHat is working with SAP to grow the ecosystem by connecting directly with developer communities through OpenShift. The development of the OpenShift Cartridge for Sybase ASE, IQ, SQL Anywhere and SAP HANA is to provide a P-a-a-S environment to enhance building applications on the Sybase database portfolio.  These Cartridges is how OpenShift installs languages and middleware. Again if you are at the event, stop by the RedHat exhibit to learn more. 

If you find yourself chatting with RedHat, walk a few steps more and be sure to also visit Citrix and Violin Memory Systems- both very active in COIL this year. Have our friends at Citrix show you a very cool demo of using the SAP Visual Enterprise 3D viewer from pretty much anywhere you can connect to the Internet using a variety of devices. Violin Memory will happily walk you through what it means to build an exceptional flash memory storage array and can tell you more about its recent SAP ICC certification. 

Before the week concludes you will also want to check out a few more cool companies working with SAP at the COIL Labs. AlertEnterprise, IRise, Qnovate, Arteria and Sigga are all here this week.

Whether you are a SAP partner, customer (or both) and you not only want to know more about any of these projects or would like to learn how you can participate in co-innovation projects at SAP, make a point to visit the Partner Discovery Center and we can have that conversation too.


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