This blog contains experience gained over the years of implementing (and de-implementing) large scale IT applications/software.

SAP’s Deeper Partnership with Red Hat

An announcement back in February 2023 from Waldorf tells us of a “deepening” partnership between SAP and the Enterprise Linux Operating System vendor Red Hat.

They have a long history together already, with the SAP Linux Labs encompassing the Red Hat tech team to ensure SAP on Red Hat Linux works and performs as it should.

Here are the lines of significance from the SAP news article:

…SAP is boosting support for the RISE with SAP solution using Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the preferred operating system for net new business for RISE with SAP solution deployments.

The platform builds on this trust by offering a consistent, reliable foundation for SAP software deployments, providing a standard Linux backbone to support SAP customers across hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

…building on Red Hat’s scalable, flexible, open hybrid cloud infrastructure.

…SAP’s internal IT environments and SAP Enterprise Cloud Services adopting Red Hat Enterprise Linux can gain greater flexibility to address modern and future technology requirements.

“…Red Hat Enterprise Linux offers enhanced performance capabilities to support RISE with SAP solution deployments across cloud environments…

There are a lot of points to cover and, as always, a little history is useful.
Grab a bagel (that’s what American’s eat right?) put some Obatzda cheese on it (it’s German, I’m trying to equate eating with the subject of this article) and settle in for a read.

Who is Red Hat?

You can read all about Red Hat on Wikipedia here: , but suffice to say:

  • It is owned by IBM since 2019.
  • It owns Ansible.
  • It owns Red Hat Enterprise Linux CoreOS (RHCOS), which is the production Linux Operating System beneath the container platform OpenShift.  RHCOS is built on the same Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) kernel.

What is RISE with SAP?

There are many views on why “RISE with SAP” came to fruition and who it benefits, but the official line is that RISE with SAP is a solution designed to support the needs of the customer’s business in any industry, with SAP responsible for the holistic service level agreement (SLA), cloud operations, and technical support and the partner (insert any Global SI) provides sales, consulting and application managed services (AMS).

…SAP is boosting support for the RISE with SAP solution using Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the preferred operating system for net new business for RISE with SAP solution deployments.

When the article talks about “net new” that just means any brand new RISE subscriptions.

Notice that one of the significant lines I pulled out of the article says:

…providing a standard Linux backbone to support SAP customers across hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

Since SAP are doing the hosting, the “multi-cloud” part is probably referring to SAP’s hybrid and multi-cloud.  i.e. SAP’s own datacentres and also the hyperscalers.

An enticing option that comes as part of the RISE deal (depending on the customer spend) is SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP).
SAP BTP is a PaaS solution under a subscription model, in which SAP customers can combine and deploy curated SAP services from SAP or third-parties, or use services to code their own solutions in a variety of languages including SAP’s proprietary ABAP language.

The SAP BTP environments are hybrid and multi-cloud, as they are hosted in Cloud Foundry (the newest) or Neo (currently sun-setting), with these being run from a combination of SAP’s own datacentres and/or on the main hyperscalers (Cloud Foundry).  There are two other environments Kyma, a micro-services runtime based on Kubernetes and the ABAP environment, hosted in Cloud Foundry.

In conclusion on this section, I suggest that the described “net new business” is actually internal business inside of SAP and not directly the hosting of customer’s S/4HANA systems.  In fact, S/4HANA is only very loosely mentioned in the article, which leads me to believe that this announcement is purely for BTP and other surround services.

SAP HANA and Compute Power

In one of the statements from SAP on this:

“deepening” partnership, we see “…Red Hat Enterprise Linux offers enhanced performance capabilities to support RISE with SAP solution deployments across cloud environments…

I can’t see anything specifically mentioned about how Red Hat’s Linux operating system is more performant than SUSE, other than an article from 2019 where a SAP Business Warehouse (BW) on HANA system (maybe, could be BW/4HANA, difficult to tell) holds a world record.

See here for more:   which links to here:

The thing to note about those claims are that:

  • This was based on a 2nd Gen Intel Xeon (3rd Gen is already available).
  • The CPU used Intel Advanced Vector Extensions 512 (AVX-512) instruction set, which Intel says arrived in 3rd Gen chips (is the Red Hat article quoting the wrong chip generation?).
  • Generally we run HANA on hyperscalers on Intel Skylake or Cascade lake CPUs.  Only HANA on bare metal may allow Xeon CPUs.
  • The Red Hat Linux Operating System version was 7.2 for the world record, but 7.9 is the latest support pack version and  9.0 is out now.  Also, 7.2 is now only supported for older versions of HANA 2.0 (up to SPS03).
  • The use of Intel OptaneDC (Intel’s non-volatile memory persistence technology) was used in the world record, but recently announced in 2022 as defunct (superseded by another initiative).
  • 2019 was the year that the IBM acquisition of Red Hat concluded.  Coincidence?

My summary of this section is that I don’t believe performance is the reason for any switch by SAP from (mainly) SUSE to Red Hat.  The one article of relevance that I can find seems just too old and outdated.

What I think, is that the announcement from SAP is referring to something other than the Linux Operating System alone.

Red Hat’s Scalable, flexible, open hybrid cloud infrastructure

We maybe need to look past the Red Hat Linux Operating System and at the infrastructure eco-system that the Operating System is part of.

…building on Red Hat’s scalable, flexible, open hybrid cloud infrastructure.

When the article talks about “open” we are inclined to think about Open Source, freely available or even open APIs (sometimes just having APIs can make something “open”).

In my mind, something that can run seamlessly almost anywhere on hybrid cloud would involve containers.  Containers provide scalability (scale-out) and flexibility (multiple environments offered).

Let me introduce you to OpenShift.  Yeah, it’s got “open” in the name.

See here for a wiki article:

As a summary of OpenShift, the Red Hat Enterprise Linux CoreOS (RHCOS) underpins the OpenShift hybrid cloud platform and RHCOS uses the same kernel as Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

The orchestration of OpenShift containers is done using Kubernetes and Red Hat is the second largest contributor to Kubernetes after Google (Red Hat is a platinum member:

I think you might be able to see where we are heading in this section.

Could SAP be adopting OpenShift internally for its future container hosting platform strategy?

IBM Cloud deprecated support for Cloud Foundry in mid-2022.  As suspected, Red Hat OpenShift is one of the touted solutions to replace it:

Need greater efficiency and revolutionary delivery? Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Cloud might be your solution.

The above quote on the IBM Cloud site does provide some hint that operating Cloud Foundry platform services at scale, could be less efficient and less innovative compared to Red Hat OpenShift.

Maybe this is something that, internally, SAP have also concluded?

What Does SUSE Offer to Compete with Red Hat and it’s OpenShift offering?

The SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) Operating has been a solid foundation for running SAP systems.

Similar to Red Hat, SUSE has a varied portfolio of products in the Linux container technology space.
Rancher Labs is one of those products, and allows easier management of Kubernetes, especially once the quantity of containers accelerates.

SUSE is also a contributor to Kubernetes (it is a silver member).

SUSE also owns Rancher, which is an open source container management platform similar to Red Hat’s OpenShift. 

The SUSE Rancher product is open armed, in that it embraces many different operating systems and a number of license options, whereas Red Hat OpenShift supports only the Red Hat CoreOs and requires a SUSE subscription.

While being open is a good thing, it also adds complexity, since Red Hat’s CoreOs is a purpose built Operating System with all required features and it would appear to have a simpler method of deploying and maintaining it.

It’s possible that SAP’s announcement comes after some internal evaluation of the two products, with Red Hat’s being favoured the most.


We’ve looked at the article from the SAP site where the new “deeper” partnership with Red Hat was announced.

I think I ruled out performance as a reason for the Operating System change.  The article just didn’t have enough depth for my liking.

I have speculated on how this SAP and Red Hat partnership could be about the internal SAP hosting of PaaS and maybe SaaS related systems and not directly related to hosting of customer’s S/4HANA systems.

What we could be looking at, is the next generation of hosting platform for SAP BTP or possibly SAP S/4HANA Cloud public edition.
Red Hat’s OpenShift platform, underpinned with the Red Hat CoreOS and the Red Hat tools to monitor, automate and orchestrate, could all combine to provide a solid accompaniment to solve SAP’s internal strategic issues.

It’s one of the platforms chosen by IBM Cloud (a no brainer for them really), with the justification that Cloud Foundry was no longer the strategic platform.

The announcement has no impact on the certification of SUSE for running S/4HANA and therefore should not reflect any customer decisions during their RISE with SAP journey for their S/4HANA systems.


Dynamic SSH X-11 Forwarding on RHEL Linux

Sometimes you need to use an X-client in order to perform certain operations with an SAP system.
An example would be using SUM (if the firewall ports are blocked) or SWPM to perform an installation, or if you’re running an AS Java system, the offline editor (configtool).

If you’re already using PuTTY to get into the remote system via SSH, then you are already part way there.

In this post, I will show you how to dynamically adjust the PuTTY and Linux configuration so that you can use MobaXterm (or any other X-client) to connect into the Linux using X11 (X-Windows).
This is not the same as using the standard method of ticking the X-11 forwarding option, because this option must be ticked prior to establishing the connection into the server.

Instead of exiting from your session and re-connection, you can simply use standard port forwarding to enable your X-client connection over SSL.

Step 1 – Connect into Linux using PuTTY.

You should ideally already be connected into the remote system using SSH and PuTTY (that is the aim of this post).
If you’re not already connected, then open your PuTTY session as normal.

Step 2 – Open X-Client on your PC/virtual server.

Open your X-Client on your local PC.  Ideally it will default to display 0.
The “0” simply refers to a subset of a port range.  It’s a virtual display.

In our example, we used the free MobaXterm tool to provide X-client capability.  Mainly because the tool is free and integrated into one nice binary that can be placed on a USB stick for easy access.

In MobaXterm, hover the mouse over the “X” in to top right frame of the window.
It should be green, and if so, it will display the current IP and display port it has been configured with.

However, you can use any other X-Client tool (XManager, Exceed, X-Ming, WRQ  etc).

Step 3 – Adjust Linux SSH configuration.

The Linux SSH configuration may not be setup to enable X11 forwarding.
This is usually performed by the Linux administrator at a global level in the ssh daemon configuration file.
However, it is possible to adjust the config for individual users only.

As your Linux user (in an SAP system this would usually be the <sid>adm user account), enable the X-11 forwarding:

echo “ForwardX11 yes” > $HOME/.ssh/config

The above command simply enables the current user to forward X11 connections over the SSH connection.
It puts this config into a file called “config” within the .ssh directory of the current Linux user’s home directory.

Step 4 – Setup the port forwarding.

Since this tutorial is going to show the setup of X11 dynamically, with an already established SSH connection, from within your already established PuTTY session, select the Windows window menu from the top left of the PuTTY window and select “Change Settings…“:


Expand the “Connection -> SSH -> Tunnels” settings area on the left hand tree menu:
(Notice there is no option to enable or disable the usual X-11 forwarding option)

On the right hand side, now add port 6000 as source and loclahost:6000 as destination, then select “Remote” and click “Add“:

Click Apply:

What is the above doing?
It is telling PuTTY to establish a listening port on the Linux server, listening on port 6000 (the port for display “0.0”).

The port is “remote” because it is remote to the PuTTY session (i.e. not on the computer where you are running PuTTY).

We’re telling PuTTY to only consider IPv4 because we don’t use IPv6 and have no interest in having it listen for an IPv6 connection.

The above setup will have now established a port forward over the SSH port.
If you were to run “netstat -an | grep 6000” on the Linux server, you would see one port in status LISTEN.

Now the port forwarding is established, all we need to do is configure our Linux session to make use of the display setting.

Step 5 – Configure DISPLAY

In your Linux session, set the DISPLAY variable appropriately.
In a C-shell you would use:

>  setenv DISPLAY localhost:0.0

In a Bash, Bourne or Korn shell you would use:

$  export DISPLAY=localhost:0.0

From within the Linux session you should now be able to run an X11 application and see the window on your PC/virtual server.
You can use the standard “xeyes” or “xclock” to perform the test, however sometimes on Linux installs these do not get installed.
I’ve found that it’s generally possible to call “firefox” or “totem” to perform an X11 test.

Alternatively, just call your intended SAP X11 application as discussed at the beginning.

That’s it.