Last week I received some disturbing news about the license model of the new Landscape and Virtualisation Manager (LVM) which is entering Ramp-Up in November, before I get to the news I received lets look at what the LVM is.
The LVM is a new product from SAP which is the replacement for the Adaptive Computing Controller (ACC), the new LVM has increased capabilities over and above the ACC – for example the LVM has the ability to script and execute system copies automatically, it has dashboards and lots of management capability of physical, virtual and (hopefully soon) Cloud environments.
The LVM is, for me, one of the most exciting SAP products coming out in the next year, it effectively ‘closes the circle’ of the SAP technical administration tools – Landscape Management Database, SMSY (System Landscape) and System Landscape Directory.
By ‘closing the circle’ in terms of Technical administration I mean, the ability to have multiple sources of information cross-feeding each other efficiently providing a single version of the truth for each of the administration applications
LMDB – Analogous to the SLD, it provides many of the same functions and synchronises directly with SMSY
SLD – Provides information on each registered system, providing software component and patch levels.
SMSY – This is the central hub of all information in Solution Manager, everything that is associated with a system gets it’s information from here
LVM – Provides dashboards, control capabilities for instances like start/stop or relocate
During Teched Bangalore, a colleague of mine was attending a Virtualisation session, during this session it was mentioned that the LVM will be a licensed product and will not be provided as part of the SAP license like Solution Manager. This to me was a vey strange statement as it was always my understanding that the LVM, like the ACC would be provided as part of the SAP License and would be available to all for download. For me, not providing it in this fashion would be a bad idea for the following reasons
1. No-one will use it.
The ACC has taken many years to get to where it is today, and it is a far more useable product in the last 2 versions that it ever was before. Still there has not been great uptake for it with customers, again for a number of reasons (integration with SolMan being one of them), but at least the ACC was free, this encouraged people to use it, even if was a skunk works project by the Basis team after seeing it demonstrated. If you make people pay for it, and get the price wrong then you alienate your market. Also how do you really quantify the ROI in saving the Basis team nearly an hour when doing a kernel upgrade across 15 servers. SAP have been promising for years to make administration easier to reduce TCO etc…, now that they have delivered tools like Solution Manager 7.1, the LMDB and the LVM, those statements have never looked so attractive or achievable.
2. It will not function within the partner ecosystem
One of the key selling points for LVM is both the extensibility of the product to link up with different infrastructures (see top diagram), it will not replace your Tivoli or HP equivalent, but work with them in a push/pull fashion. Partners will provide good resources if there is a demand from customers, they will just provide plain resources if it’s contractual. If no-one uses the product, then SAP can expect to see poor partner development of add-ons for the product which would make it a killer application.
3. Value proposition disappears
One of the many things that SAP have touted within the LVM is the ability to run system copies and refreshes, for this capability there was an expectation of paying for a license – which was reasonable. The main value proposition is that by using LVM, and with it’s tight integration into all the landscape management components mentioned above, the whole management of the pre, during and post tasks was infinitely simpler. If the whole LVM incurs a license fee, and the partner ecosystem falters, then the 3rd party tools, which handle more than just SAP start to look attractive again and SAP will have developed a smart application which no-one uses.
Today I have a call with SAP to get to the bottom of this and hopefully I will be happy, although probably under NDA so will not be able to write about it until ramp up. Regardless of what SAP are going to do with the product, I would strongly urge you to look at the product – it is a great piece of technology and does ‘close the circle’ on technical administration. If SAP treat it right and nurture both it’s partners and the ecosystem, then LVM can grow into a cornerstone product for SAP applications, if SAP treats it’s customers as a way to make a fast buck out of licenses then SAP will have wasted both money and brownie points with the #sapadmin community. SAP will have pods for the LVM at Madrid and also check out session TEC120 for more information.