Scott McIsaac: It comes down to having that experience and application knowledge. We don’t get into the functional support of the application. For example with SAP, the business process side is still handled by the customers. They handle all the workflows within the system and all the intricacies there. We typically manage the bases level, which is making sure that the database is running, that we understand that the job are optimized, and that the systems are performing.
That specialization is about understanding the infrastructure layer of it. A lot of it is database. In today’s world, it is about how the database works in virtualization and what virtualization technology we are using. We have a lot of expertise and experience in VMWare as an example and in running that on a particular infrastructure – the server and storage configuration, the storage platform – and how that integrates to support the application and the disaster recovery capabilities of that application.
Sramana Mitra: You are saying that there is actually application-specific knowledge as it pertains to virtualization that you need to understand to be able to run a particular application as a hosting provider.
Sean Donaldson: Having an understanding of the application infrastructure and the underlying infrastructure from a cloud platform and virtualization perspective. How do those technology components work together?
Sramana Mitra: Since you have experience across various ERP systems, how much difference is there in how these applications handle virtualization or other infrastructure layer components?
Obviously, these are applications that have been written a long time ago. SAP’s ERP system was written a long time ago. Of course, they’ve updated. How much change have they made to the infrastructure?
Sean Donaldson: Fundamentally, it almost varies more based on the market segment than it does on the underlying application. Even SAP can be significantly different if it’s retail. If I’m running a retail application with SAP, I’m looking at a very high transaction load. That means that my database needs to be designed in such a way that I have very high OLTP processing capabilities. I need to be able to handle hundreds of thousands of transactions per hour.
If I’m in different business segments, maybe I don’t have those same requirements. If I’m in manufacturing and using it for manufacturing, maybe I have other concerns. Maybe I’m more concerned about various types of consolidation reports. A lot of the workload on the underlying infrastructure is really a lot more market segment.
Obviously, the application has a fair amount to do with it. The BIs are generally always used for business consolidation, or it’s going to be very much looked at like, “You’re going to use it a couple days a month, but it really needs high-performance capabilities during that time.” That’s when you look at partners like Oracle, for example, who’ve engineered hardware to run those specific workloads. Even the Oracle Exalytics is running in a hypervisor virtualization type model. They’re still running Oracle VM. It’s just they’re running it on hardware that’s made and optimized to be able to take advantage of a system that runs highly analytical column or database type queries.