Absoft & SuSE Partnership – The Why and the What

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This week Absoft have announced our status as an Accredited Partner with SuSE.

Our history with SuSE at Absoft goes back almost two decades. We’ve run SuSE Enterprise Linux on-premises, hosted early cloud systems on it, we’ve run it in the private cloud for our customers and we currently run it in Microsoft Azure for SAP HANA and other products.

So why do we use SuSE?

SuSE Enterprise Linux is extremely popular for running SAP software:

  • SuSE Enterprise Linux runs 90% of SAP HANA systems, and over 70% of SAP NetWeaver on Linux.
  • SAP products are developed on SuSE Enterprise Linux.
  • SAP internal IT run on SuSE.  SAP products running on other operating systems are usually ported there from SuSE.

Less Downtime for Patching and Updates

SuSE offers Live Patching that allows up to a year of security updates to be applied to a running Linux kernel without any reboot or downtime.

Customers can also avoid the disruption of Service Pack updates, as SuSE are the only Linux vendor to offer Extended Service Pack Overlap Support (ESPOS). Customers can continue to run an older Service Pack for longer without going into Long Term Service Pack Support (LTSS).








High Availability

SuSE Enterprise Linux for SAP includes the Pacemaker cluster that is fully supported for SAP NetWeaver and SAP HANA, ideal for running SAP ERP or SAP S/4HANA.  There is no additional license cost to use the Pacemaker cluster with SuSE Enterprise Linux for SAP.




SuSE Enterprise Linux for SAP

SuSE Enterprise Linux for SAP (SLES for SAP) is a variant of SuSE Enterprise Linux (SLES) that is optimised for SAP applications. SLES for SAP includes features that SAP customers need like extended support, and comes in only one variant including high availability clustering.

SLES for SAP also offers the saptune utility that optimises the configuration of the operating system with the advice from hundreds of SAP Notes automatically. The firewall comes pre-configured for securing SAP applications.

Better SAP HANA Performance

The page cache function allows the Linux kernel to move pages of memory to disk when they are not frequently used. The benefit is more memory available for other processes, but the cost is a far slower access to the data that has been paged out to a disk. Disks are orders of magnitude slower than memory.

SAP HANA is an in-memory database, storing the data in memory and not on slower disk as in traditional databases. Moving SAP HANA memory pages to disk causes serious performance problems. The solution is a page cache limit.

SuSE is the only vendor to offer a page cache limit to improve SAP HANA performance, so SAP HANA can run faster on SuSE.

SuSE and SAP on Azure

SAP on Azure is a big topic at Absoft. SuSE Enterprise Linux is optimised for running in the cloud, and it offers many benefits for customers on Microsoft Azure. 

Azure is the only hyperscale cloud to offer 99.9% availability SLA on a single virtual machine instance. Most customers can run without the expense and complexity of a high availability cluster, until they need to patch the underlying operating system with a reboot.

  • SuSE Live Patching allows you to stay up to date and secure without a reboot, enabling the use of the single virtual machine SLA in Microsoft Azure to deliver an enormous cost saving.
  • The latest Azure innovations are available sooner with SuSE. New functionality is often three to six months later on Redhat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) than SuSE Enterprise Linux (SLES). For example, support for clusters with NetApp files and clusters of multiple SIDs have become generally available in the past year on SLES months ahead of RHEL.
  • You can buy your SuSE license through Microsoft Azure along with the Virtual Machine, on a Pay as You Go (PAYG) model.  That option is very popular with customers who do not have a relationship with SuSE as the vendor management and support are all handled through a single relationship with Microsoft. Others prefer to bring their own subscription (BYOS) whilst still gaining full support from SuSE and Microsoft.

Absoft can now resell SuSE Enterprise Linux through our new partnership, and we also resell Microsoft Azure itself. As a result, we can now offer both BYOS and PAYG models in Azure.

What about other operating system options?

Very slightly over half (53%) of the SAP systems we manage at Absoft run on Microsoft Windows. Windows is a preference of many IT departments, it runs the popular SQL Server database, and it works well. Windows is particularly suited to running in Azure for SQL and Oracle databases.

About a third (31%) of our customers with Linux run RedHat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).  RedHat is fully supported for running SAP and, in our experience, runs well. RedHat is often the choice of organisations who already run RedHat systems elsewhere and look for a consistent landscape, so we ensure we can run RedHat well to accommodate that important market.

The commercial UNIX operating systems are still used, with occasional sightings of HP-UX, Solaris and AIX.  We have even supported SAP on IBM System i (OS/400).

SAP HANA can only run on Linux, so many of our customers have been faced with bringing Linux into their landscape for the first time. This has lead to us guiding Windows shops into how to safely use Linux, helping with skilling up or managing it for them.

The trend in operating systems for running SAP is towards Linux, and specifically towards SuSE.

What does Absoft’s official partnersip with SuSE mean for you?

Absoft has worked with SuSE Enterprise Linux for almost two decades, and our new partnership opens up opportunities to go further in helping our customers.

Absoft can now resell SuSE Enterprise Linux through our new partnership to run on premises or in any cloud. We also resell Microsoft Azure itself. As a result, we can now offer both BYOS and PAYG models in Azure for our customers, and we often use our partner relationships to help consult for customers who buy both directly or from other vendors too.

Our Managed Service and SAP on Azure services make extensive and expert use of SuSE to deliver the best SAP platform for our customers.

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