From: eCRM Guide
By: Sean Michael Kerner
Red Hat and SAP are teaming up with new integrated support for SAP customers running Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).
The new support system will help streamline how customers are supported by way of an integrated trouble ticket system. The new support offering builds on the strength of an 11-year partnership between Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) and SAP (NYSE: SAP).
"Prior to the integration, customers would open separate support tickets with SAP and Red Hat in order to receive joint support," Marco Bill-Peter, vice president of Global Support Services at Red Hat, told InternetNews.com.
Bill-Peter added that in the previous system, communication between parties occurred via phone and email rather than in a single shared ticket where history and comments could be view by all parties.
"With the new integrated model, customers open one ticket with SAP, and when Red Hat support is needed the ticket can be routed directly to Red Hat," Bill-Peter said. "This benefits customers in a number of ways."
Among the customer benefits is the fact that there is no need for the SAP customer to open a separate ticket with Red Hat. Red Hat has access to the ticket history and work already performed by the customer and SAP. Additionally, communications occur in one place and are captured for historical reference by all parties.
While the new SAP-Red Hat support system is about solving customer issues, Bill-Peter noted that there are no common issues with the combination of SAP and Red Hat software.
"Our knowledge-centered support process ensures that problems get continuously documented on our Customer Portal (Access.redhat.com) and allow our clients to learn proactively about the right way to deploy environments," Bill-Peter said.
Red Hat and SAP customers benefit from over a decade of partnership between the two companies. Gus Robertson, vice president of Global Business Development at Red Hat, told InternetNews.com that Red Hat is a Global Technology Partner of SAP and the two have had a business relationship for the past 11 years.
"The solution is sold direct and through our channel partners globally," Robertson said. "SAP does not resell Red Hat nor does Red Hat resell SAP. We are joint technology partners."
While Red Hat Enterprise Linux can be used as a general purpose operating system, Robertson noted that there is a specific version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP.
"The purpose of the solution is to make it easy to install SAP on Red Hat Enterprise Linux," Robertson said. "The integrated support is just a new benefit within our bundle solution that has been in the market for over a year."
Robertson added that the Red Hat solution for running SAP applications has been specifically designed for the SAP business-critical workload and provides the integration of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and additional SAP specified functionality. Among that functionality is the specific IBM JDK that SAP requires for customers deploying their SAP applications on 64bit x86 Linux servers.
The Red Hat SAP solution also includes support for SAP High Availability implementations, including extensions to Red Hat Cluster Suite and utilities to support fail-over of SAP applications. Robertson added that the solution also provides support for SAP applications running in a virtualized environment.
"Vhostmd functionality enables SAP applications to query the hardware directly from a guest on the host," Robertson said. "This allows administrators to safely push some limited information about the host environment up to guests."
The integrated support with SAP is the first time that Red Hat has provided such a solution for an application vendor.
"We have integrated support offerings with many of our partners, such as the hardware vendors, for many years," Bill-Peter said. "Red Hat is also on the board of TSAnet, an industry consortium that enables cross-vendor escalations. However, this SAP-Red Hat support connection is the first fully integrated offering of its kind with an application vendor."