SAP on Pure – View from a customer

It is always refreshing when the most enthusiastic superlatives for your solutions come directly from customers. It has extreme value when customers share their positive experience with your product/solution and that it created a drastic business impact.

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I had the pleasure to talk to one of Pure’s new customers about their recent experience deploying their SAP environment, including production, dev/test on Pure’s FlashArray (//m50 – 80TB).

Customer is running traditional SAP ECC fully virtualized (VMware) on Microsoft SQL Server with an expensive number of other applications (e.g. BW, BOBJ, PBC etc.). The ECC environment is not very large (~1 – 1.5TB), but running their entire business processes, it is essential and mission critical for them. Protecting their SAP landscape is one of the highest priorities, besides performance. Interestingly, the customer answered my Valley Protein - Architecturequestion about the reason why they run SAP fully virtualized with – “Why Not?”. And that’s true. It very often puzzles me when talking to customers and they reveal that they run SAP application server virtualized, but not their traditional Oracle, SQL Server or other DBMS, even though it would fit perfectly into a virtualized environment without large performance degradation (~10%), but with all the benefits of virtualized environments, like live migration (vMotion), HA, DR, higher utilization, lower cost etc.

This customer shared his experience migrating and running SAP on Pure Storage dividing it into 3 parts. Simplicity, performance, modernization

Simplicity

SimplificationCustomer reported that from the time they received the gear to the point where it was racked, stacked, powered and ready for use, it took them only a few hours, compared to their legacy system that took them days just to rack and stack and then another few days to configure, since it needed to be configured specifically for the SAP environment. All of this was not necessary with Pure. After powering on he started deploying and migrating over 170 VMs from the old environment. Piece of cake. The savings in time, resources and ultimately cost was more than 80%. Another effect of the simplification therefore the reduced complexity and easy manageability is the redeployment of staff for more innovative tasks to do. Customer explained that now they have time to actually focus on IT modernization and added value for the business owner. They believe that they can increase the competitive advantage by developing new real-time services for the business owner to leap frog the market.

Performance

Everybody is talking about performance and how all-flash arrays can speed up even simple SAP tasks, compared to spinning disk, but it is not the only differentiator. True that for this customer the extracting, transforming and loading (ETL) of their BW was reduced by over 90% (traditional 3h, now with Pure only 20min) and even other SAP transactions are executed way faster. Customer also reported that they have a long term plan to migrate SAP from Microsoft SQL Server to SAP HANA, but that’s more a long term goal. They are aware of the 2025 deadline when SAP will discontinue support for non-HANA databases and that for certain new financial functionality in S4HANA it is only available for SAP HANA. Nevertheless the plan is to have SAP HANA-like performance as a stepping stone towards SAP HANA, why they upgraded their existing infrastructure to Pure’s FlashArray. Prerequisite is that the investment in a platform for a modernized SAP landscape is well protected and can also be used to run SAP HANA. This would reduce cost and complexity to run multiple, mixed workloads on the same platform, making the migration planning easy and simple.

Modernization

Part of the customer’s modernization strategy is to free up resources (time and money) to realize and develop more innovative and valued solutions for the company. Automation and simplification is key for truly modernized customer environments, why the customer takes advantage of Pure’s built-in snapshot, compression and deduplication capabilities to create copies and clones of the entire SAP landscape for backup purposes as well as to provide a development and testing environment to rapidly develop new functionality or fix bugs. Especially the easy to use snapshot capability and its automation of did free up resources (lower TCO). Since Pure provides consistency groups, it took care of the interdependencies of several SAP applications to assure data consistency and prevent data corruption. All-in-all the customer feels Pure’s solution for SAP helped them tremendously on their journey to SAP HANA, but providing chunkable steps on the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SAP HANA Dynamic Tiering or Extension Nodes

Just came back from SAP SAPPHIRE in Orlando and it was a great show, even though I didn’t hear anything spectacularly new. If you watched the keynotes (Keynotes here) you will hear a lot on Leonardo, of course SAP HANA and IoT/Big Data and AI.

One of the big topics that is all predominant throughout the entire show, and that’s for years now, is around Simple SAP. I understand that making a very complex architecture such as ERP or BW simple will take time. In the meantime I would like to clarify a topic that has been brought to our attention from several customers lately that demonstrate that SAP still needs some time to further eliminate complexity and confusion.

I am talking about SAP HANA and the ability to run it more cost effective by moving warm, not so frequently used data, onto another tier. Intention is to put more data into SAP HANA without increasing the cost for hardware, software or licenses. There are several ways of doing so. We believe that the most efficient and effective way of doing so is using SAP HANA Dynamic Tiering. It is HANA’s capability to use SAP IQ as the warm data store, residing on a storage layer. We tested SAP HANA DT (see blog on details here and joint SAP/Pure white paper here) with tremendous results.

  • Efficient – Run SAP HANA with up to 75% cost reduction in licenses
  • Fast – Run SAP HANA DT with HANA-like performance
  • Simple – No special tuning or configuration necessary
  • Easy – SAP HANA and DT on FlashStack

Now SAP HANA DT is currently only available for BW and not for Suite, but in our discussion with SAP’s HANA and HANA DT product management confirmed that availability for Suite is on the roadmap.

In the meantime SAP introduced another method on expanding the data footprint for SAP HANA in a more cost effective way. SAP HANA Extension Nodes for BW. It is essentially adding nodes to the scale-out environment that have less restrictive, more relaxed CPU/memory ratios, so customers can put more data into the HANA node. (more details here, or here). It is a simple way of providing a simple way of expanding the SAP HANA data footprint, but here is the comparison to SAP HANA DT.

Extension nodes are….

  • Costly – Since you need additional nodes, what means additional server (CPU, memory, network. A typical 1TB server can cost between $75k-$100k, so 4 extension nodes can cost between $300k and $400k!)
  • No cost savings for SAP HANA licenses, since all the data is still in memory
  • Less simple – It is only for scale-out, what’s a but more complex than scale-up
  • Temporary until SAP HANA DT is enterprise-ready in 2018
  • Higher risk – migration work neccessary

DT vs EN MatrixWhat SAP told us is that the reason for Extension Nodes is to provide customers an enterprise-ready solution for SAP HANA today. What it means is that they are eagerly working on making DT enterprise-ready as well. It also means that SAP HANA DT will be the de-facto standard for SAP HANA data tiering with cost savings and tight integration into SAP’s Big Data/IoT strategy using SAP VORA.

So what does that mean for you as a customer.

We suggest that you start using SAP HANA Dynamic Tiering today, since it provides you the cost savings you want with little performance degradation to get onto the road to HANA quick and easy. Once SAP HANA DT will be enterprise-ready you can simply upgrade your DT and done!

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Making SAP truly SIMPLE

Joining the Pure teams here at SAPPHIRE is great. We are prepared to showcase customers and partners that running SAP simple continues through the functional part of SAP all the way to the infrastructure supporting small, medium and some of the largest SAP deployments worldwide.

Data Platfrom

Why would an SAP Basis person, ABAP developer, head of applications or even the CIO truly cares about what is powering their mission critical SAP application. It is because they truly believe in SAP’s messaging around running SAP simple, but need the underlying infrastructure to support that promise, since every SAP system, traditional ECC, SAP HANA or even the new technology around cloud, Big Data and IoT requires an end-to-end infrastructure that is simple to setup, simple to run and maintain and simply fully supports all new SAP features to make it cost effective and efficient.

 

A lot of customers told us in a survey that it simply takes them too long to setup a new infrastructure to ultimately deploy SAP workloads. It is the configuration, optimization and interdependencies that make it very hard to deploy SAP simple and it is a part of the entire SAP infrastructure. Now what would be the solution to reduce the time to deployment is simply an architecture that does not require all these pre-deployment work to run SAP efficiently. That’s what you get with all-flash solutions from Pure. No configuration needed to optimize the infrastructure to run various SAP workloads with different block sizes and requirements on the infrastructure to make the interaction between functional and infrastructure side seamless. Customers reported to save more than 50% of time and resources to setup a brand new environment for their mixed SAP workloads. And the best part is that it stays that way, so in case you want to start with a traditional workload and later add SAP HANA workloads, you don’t have to go back to the drawing board to configure and setup the infrastructure to run most efficiently with the best performance possible. Simply deploy any SAP workload without time consuming optimization and configuration tasks. It is so simple that customers reported that the SAP teams can setup their infrastructure environment on their own, without worrying about making mistakes or misconfigurations.

C9JDx_MUIAAXjpgThat’s just the start. Now imagine the same environment that makes SAP deployments super simple to also run simple when upgrading hardware or software components. Analysts estimate the monetary loss when SAP goes offline to $10,000 or more per minute. That’s a steep cost factor if SAP systems need to go down for modernization for hours or even days. These tasks can easily go into the thousands and millions of dollars wasted. What if the infrastructure architecture will allow any upgrade of hardware or software while running SAP under full performance workloads? Need more space in your array? More memory? Upgrading the controller to the next CPU architecture? Want to upgrade SSD modules for more efficiency and better performance? Or ultimately want to run SAP on NVMe, a low latency, high performance technology that will allow SAP response times to be in the sub-millisecond area and unprecedented performance that support and speed-up even very memory intensive SAP HANA workloads or IoT/Big Data environments. If your answers is “yes, would love to have such an environment, since it would save me tremendous downtime cost and risk” then come to our booth at SAP SAPPHIRE – Booth 1802 to see this live in demos. We simply call it Evergreen.

Running SAP simple is not just an effort when setting, maintaining and continuously running SAP workloads, but also for day-to-sap-hana-white-paper-sap-coverday tasks like copy, cloning or refreshing SAP systems. Of course simple SAP would presume all these features and functions out-of-the-box by the infrastructure, why Pure’s Data Platform with its included and integrated storage and server components provide exactly all these features at no additional cost, fully integrated and ready-to-use. Imagine also simplifying SAP data management fully integrated into the infrastructure for automation and further simplification.

 

Again, visit us at SAP SAPPHIRE – Booth 1802 to hear more about how to run SAP truly SIMPLE. We also published white papers, jointly with SAP explaining the simplification in more details that can even reduce SAP licensing dramatically up to 75%.

Pure Storage – SAP

SAP HANA Dynamic Tiering

Still questions, contact us here at Pure for any question

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Wow – Pure did it again

Traditional SAP and SAP HANA on the new Pure Storage //X sets a new standard on performance!

Pure Storage recently announced the availability of a new storage product that further expands the leadership in all-flash-arrays and is part of Pure’s Data Platform. More about this later.

C9JDx_MUIAAXjpgThe new //X is an NVMe based all-flash storage array with unprecedented performance on read/write and ultra low latency. If you are interested in understanding more about NVMe, the architecture and technology I suggest reading Kix’ (VP – Products at Pure) blog here -> LINK

Why is that important for SAP workloads, even in-memory SAP HANA? Now traditionally mission-critical applications, like SAP rely heavily on the underlying infrastructure to run most performant, since the speed of being able to execute and process transactions, run reports and batch jobs means more business. Traditional storage systems always represented the slowest link to process (read/write) data. Various approaches to minimize the impact that the physics of spindles in storage systems (Parallelism – More routes to the data, more capacity disks, disk tiering) actually did not really solve the fundamental problem that number one the device itself is slow and number two the data has to go through various layers (app, OS, virtualization, SCSI etc.) in order to read or write. Caching the data, again, did not really solve the problem, but provided a temporary remedy of the problem.

The new //X solves the fundamental IO problem of SAP systems, since Pure’s NVMe-based array provides direct-flash modules that minimize the layers between SAP and the raw flash storage. Additionally the technology unlocks massive IO parallelism. All this translates into lower latency and never-seen read and write performance.

The SAP team here at Pure is extremely excited about //X, but wanted to know exactly how good this new array is for SAP workloads and tested traditional and SAP HANA workloads and measured performance, throughput and scalability and compared it to traditional all-flash-arrays that already introduced a new era for SAP landscapes (see blog here).

The results:

50% lower latency

2 x faster read performance

3 x faster write performance

2 x more throughput

For traditional SAP landscapes the results have immediate positive impact on the business, since transactions, batch jobs and reports run faster. Imagine a nightly batch job that runs for 6 hours, now runs only 3 hours. Or SAP transactions run 3 times faster with response times under 0.1 ms. Amazing results.

Data PlatfromAs I mentioned before, performance is not the only benefit of an //X, since the new array also provides all the features and functions you would expect from an all-flash-array (e.g. snapshots, dedupe, compression etc.). //X is part of Pure’s Data Platform that provides the foundation for business critical applications all the way to web-scale applications and analytics. Of course //X also includes Evergreen, why customers only pay for capacity once, and the array is expandable and upgradable without SAP downtime, saving customers hundreds and thousands (451 analyzed that 1min of SAP downtime cost $10k and more) of dollars.

Pure’s Data Platform is the only all-flash-based foundation for traditional SAP environments, the road to SAP HANA and even Big Data or IoT solutions, since it combines all ingredients to run structured and unstructured data, on-premise, off-premise or in hybrid mode.

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New SAP HANA Certification for R2

It is a great pleasure to announce that the entire Pure FlashArray family, including the brand new R2, are SAP HANA certified. This certification will enable customers to run SAP HANA in production on Pure’s latest and greatest FlashArray with a 20-30% performance sap-hana-pamincrease. Now for customers running older FlashArrays, they can seamlessly upgrade their hardware to R2 without any downtime or disruption on their SAP HANA production environment. How cool is that! Best TCO in the industry, when considering that every minute of SAP downtime can easily cost +$10k.

Please follow the link to SAP’s official listing for all certified enterprise storage solutions.

-> Click here

Want to know more details about the certification tests and best practices to run SAP on Pure, read the Best Practice Guide with great tips.

-> Click here

BTW, if you are still hesitating starting your SAP HANA migration project, we discussed how you can save up to 75% of software and hardware cost for SAP HANA by using SAP HANA Dynamic Tiering (DT). The same savings apply to the new R2 storage array family. More power and lower SAP HANA cost.

-> Read here

Any questions? Don’t hesitate to contact Pure.

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SAP HANA Dynamic Tiering – The next chapter!

A while back I blogged about SAP HANA Dynamic Tiering and why it is the only way how customers can start deploying SAP HANA efficiently with up to 75% cost savings, but remain SAP HANA-like performance.

https://astreichardt.wordpress.com/2016/11/07/sap-hana-top-performance-finally-affordable/

Now we have great news, because the SAP HANA Dynamic Tiering white paper is now published with SAP, since Pure Storage and SAP worked and developed this solution jointly.

The joint SAP white paper is available on SAP’s web site.SAP HANA white paper - sap cover.jpg

http://go.sap.com/documents/2016/12/b437d5d2-997c-0010-82c7-eda71af511fa.html

With this white paper, Pure Storage and SAP demonstrate that SAP HANA is at a tipping point and crossing the chasm. Now our solution provides an affordable way to get the first SAP HANA projects going without losing the advantage of unprecedented performance.

I also would like to share some great news about SAP HANA SPS13, or how SAP calls it now SAP HANA 2 that makes SAP HANA Dynamic even more powerful.

If you need all details I suggest reading SAP’s blog about the new Service Pack.

https://blogs.saphana.com/2016/11/08/sap-announces-sap-hana-2-next-generation-platform-for-digital-transformation/

In the past, SAP HANA Dynamic Tiering actually lacked the ‘Dynamic’ capability, since entire tables needed to be manually selected to be off loaded by SAP HANA onto the Pure storage array. Now with the new service pack it is possible to actually partition tables and put them partially in-memory and on the storage array. This will further enhance the dynamic capabilities. It is also planned that based on SAP HANA statistical values on the tables, SAP HANA can truly dynamically move the configured amount of data to the storage array.flashstack

Imagine, you can run SAP HANA now exactly the way it is needed, with the full advantages of performance, reduced license, software and service cost and the dynamic capabilities to further simplify SAP HANA. This will help customers on their way to SAP HANA, since they can start smaller, cost efficient SAP HANA projects and learn and discover the true value of running SAP and non-SAP workloads on SAP HANA.

Let SAP and Pure Storage help you with your SAP HANA deployment and make the transition from traditional SAP to SAP HANA a simple and cost efficient experience.

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SAP HANA – Top Performance, Finally Affordable

According to SAP is the number of SAP HANA deployments still slightly behind expectations. Mid 2015, roughly 7,200 customers have deployed SAP HANA what’s compared to the total numbers of SAP customers (335,000 SAP customers – 2% SAP HANA and 50,000 SAP ERP customers – 14%) is rather small. The question of the day is – WHY do customers not accelerate the adoption of SAP HANA, especially since every customer knows that by 2025 all traditional RDBMS systems (e.g. Oracle, DB2, SQL Server) will not be supported anymore and certain SAP S4/HANA functionality is only available on SAP HANA.img_0766

  1. Talking to customers in the last years and asking them about the delay in SAP HANA adoption reveals, that many are still struggling to find a compelling business justification for the steep investments necessary to deploy SAP HANA. Just the fact that SAP HANA will provide a 10x to 20x better performance is not a business justification.
  2. The initial investments in software, hardware and licenses are very steep and with the lack of business justification makes it even harder for CIOs and IT application/SAP manager tough to find the budget to get the SAP HANA projects going.

Now Pure Storage provides a solution that can help customers start their SAP HANA deployment with up to 75% less cost in hardware, software and license, but provides almost HANA-like performance. This will help customers

  • Get to SAP HANA deployments faster
  • Start with an SAP HANA environment that has almost the same performance characteristics as pure HANA in-memory
  • Helps developing SAP HANA use cases without the upfront investments
  • Gets compelling results fast

img_0745That sounds almost too good to be true. Dramatically reduced cost with almost the same performance? But it is true.

We use a feature called SAP HANA Dynamic Tiering (DT), what is an SAP HANA feature, but needs an additional license (~€10,000 per 1TB). The license for DT can almost be neglected compared to the SAP HANA license that can go up to €159,000 for the SAP HANA enterprise license.

Now in a nutshell, SAP HANA DT provides you the capability to offload certain SAP HANA tables that are not necessarily needed in-memory, due to its ‘warm’ data temperature, onto the storage system. It is quite easy to select the table in SAP HANA studio and SAP HANA will automatically offload the table, plus data onto the storage system. If you run a query against the SAP HANA system, it will fetch data from the underlying DT and provide the results back. It is therefore seamless and simple. I admit the word ‘dynamic’ is a bit misleading, since in my understanding ‘dynamic’ would imply that SAP HANA will determine automatically/dynamically what data can be offloaded and which needs to stay as ‘hot’ data in-memory, but talking to SAP’s HANA product team this ‘dynamic’ capability will be available in one of the next SAP HANA Service Packs. Hope so one rather than later.

Now we at Pure Storage actually tested the performance of the entire SAP HANA system when off loading 25%, 50% and even 75% and the results are astonishing. Of course we had to compare the results to an SAP conducted benchmarkiv that compares Oracle performance with SAP HANA (100% in memory).This test was done by SAP to demonstrate the drastic performance improvements of SAP HANA compared to traditional RDBMS databases. On average the benchmarks shows a 13.9x improvement for SAP HANA. This is also our solution baseline.img_0768

The detailed results are shown in the table, but it shows that SAP HANA with 25% of data in memory and 75% of data on Pure Storage the performance is still 10.42x faster than an Oracle system. If you would translate this into query performance then ….

  • Oracle would run 100sec.
  • SAP HANA DT 100% in memory 7.19sec.
  • SAP HANA DT 75% in memory/25% on Pure Storage 8.38sec.
  • SAP HANA DT 50% in memory/50% on Pure Storage 8.88sec.
  • SAP HANA DT 25% in memory/75% on Pure Storage 9.59sec.

Of course these results are only possible with Pure’s all-flash-arrays.

Performance is only one dimension, the other dimension is the cost savings. The table shows nicely the associated cost savings in software, hardware and licenses when tiering the data from memory onto Pure Storage.

Cost savings:

  • SAP HANA DT 100% in memory no savings
  • SAP HANA DT 75% in memory/25% on Pure Storage ~$757,000 savings
  • SAP HANA DT 50% in memory/50% on Pure Storage ~$1,480,000 savings
  • SAP HANA DT 25% in memory/75% on Pure Storage ~$2,270,000 savings

img_0767Putting both results together, then customers can benefit from dramatically lower SAP HANA cost, but can expect almost HANA-like performance. If you would like to see a demo about SAP HANA DT and the great performance results, let us know.

If you would like to read the results in more details, follow the link to our SAP HANA DT White Paper

SAP HANA DT – White Paper
http://www.purestorage.com/content/dam/purestorage/pdf/whitepapers/PureStorage_SAP_HANA_Dynamic_Tiering_WP.pdf
If you are also interested in the deployment guide and want more details about the setup, configuration of the SAP HANA system and read about best-practices, download the following white paper.

SAP HANA DT – Best Practice Guide
http://www.purestorage.com/content/dam/purestorage/pdf/whitepapers/IoT_Design_Guide_using_Virtualized_SAP_HANA_with_Dynamic_Tiering_on_Pure_Storage.pdf

Should you have further questions, please reach out to me or to your local Pure Storage representative.

img_0769

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SAP TechEd 2016 – A new era

SAP TechEd 2016 – Las Vegas

Pure enters the premier league/Bundesliga for SAP

Now that SAP TechEd in Las Vegas (~5,500 attendees) is coming to an end I would like to provide a quick update on my meetings, conversations, experience and learnings. TechEd itself was a good event, with a couple of suggestions for improvement, but I will share this at the end. The keynotes were good, but not spectacular with new information or new directions. Pretty much confirmation of SAP’s plans.

SAP TechEd 2016, Las Vegas, USA

SAP TechEd 2016, Las Vegas, USA

This year’s TechEd truly marks a new era for Pure. First we more than quadrupled the numbers of customer meetings and conversations we had around Pure Storage Solutions for SAP and Why customers should consider true simplification, always-on SAP, and unprecedented performance when modernizing SAP, on the road to HANA or throughout their journey to the cloud. In the last few years, after Pure announced their disruptive all-flash-array products customers loved the products and the unique value propositions it provided, but putting mission-critical applications like SAP on Pure was not an option. It was more a phase to test out and see that the promises Pure made were true. Too many times, customers have been misled by other vendors about simplicity, zero-downtime or performance and very often also misled by the discrepancy between marketing and reality. The reality looked more like img_0744time and resource intensive data migration processes to update or upgrade infrastructure with small windows of downtime. Simplicity was achieved in one area (e.g. Simplified operations), but introduced more complexity in others (e.g. maintenance).
Pure Storage has proven to thousands of customers in the last years that we keep our promises and claims leaving Pure with happy and satisfied customers resulting in a new NPS (Net Promoter Score) of 79 (http://www.purestorage.com/company/news-and-events/press/NPSrelease.html) in 2015 and above 80 in 2016.
Now that Pure has further matured it entered a new era with SAP customers. The confidence and trust in Pure Storage for mission-critical applications, such as SAP is very high now and more and more customers believe in the values Pure Storage provides for their SAP landscapes. The conversations I had with customers and partners at TechEd indicated that customers will move SAP workloads, traditional SAP and SAP HANA, onto Pure and I am not just talking about test, development or QA. I am talking about full blown production environments to take full advantage of Pure’s performance boost, consolidation measurements and simplifications that will help automate and transform and modernize SAP environments.
Another interesting topic was Pure’s SAP HANA Dynamic Tiering (DT) solution that demonstrates HANA-like performance, but tremendous cost savings on software, hardware and licenses. The first customer who deployed SAP HANA DT on Pure confirmed cost savings of >70% and almost no performance degradation when running 512GB in img_0745memory and 2TB on Pure storage on DT. What a story and this is just the beginning. I believe that our Pure solution for SAP HANA DT will be a game changer for customers who would like to start SAP HANA projects, but struggling defining and finding the business value. Now they can start small, but think big.
Pure has two white papers about SAP HANA DT coming very soon that describe in great details the technical setup and the cost analysis. Connect with me on Twitter (@aggi_gi) to hear the latest on Pure’s SAP strategy and our great solutions that help customers reduce risk and cost by introducing true simplicity and always-on architecture (Pure Evergreen).
BTW. The event setting was a bit strange and needs improvement. Instead of using the large expo area they used the downstairs basement space that’s usually used as food court. I felt a bit like going to a undercover hacker jam rather than an SAP TechEd.

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