How to deploy SAP HANA: parsing different methods

    SAP HANA is a popular in-memory database management system that includes Data Warehouse services and analytics, embedded middleware, an application server, a platform for configuring or developing new utilities. By eliminating the latency of traditional DBMSs with SAP HANA, you can greatly increase system performance, transaction processing (OLTP), and business intelligence (OLAP).

    You can deploy SAP HANA in Appliance and TDI modes (in terms of production environments). For each option, the manufacturer has its own requirements. In this post we will talk about the advantages and disadvantages of different options, as well as for clarity, about our real projects with SAP HANA.

    SAP HANA consists of 3 main components - host, instance and system.

    A host is a server or operating environment for an SAP HANA DBMS. Its required components are CPU, RAM, storage, network and OS. The host provides links to installation directories, data, logs or directly to the storage system. In this case, the storage for the installation of SAP HANA does not have to be located on the host. If the system has several hosts, you will need either shared storage, or one that is available on demand from all hosts.

    Instance- A set of SAP HANA system components installed on a single host. The main components are Index Server and Name Server. The first, which is also called the "production server", processes requests, manages the current data warehouses and database kernels. Name Server stores information on the topology of the SAP HANA installation — where the components work and what data is on the server.

    A system is one or more instances with the same number. In fact, this is a separate element that you can enable, disable or copy (make a backup). Data is distributed in the memory of the various servers that make up the SAP HANA system.

    The system can be configured as single-host (one instance on one host) or multi-host, distributed (several SAP HANA instances are distributed across several hosts, each host has one instance). In multi-host systems, each instance must have the same number. The SAP HANA system is identified by a System ID (SID), a unique number of three alphanumeric characters.

    SAP HANA Virtualization

    One of the main limitations of SAP HANA is the support of only one system - one instance with a unique SID server. You can use virtualization to make more efficient use of hardware or reduce the number of servers in the data center. Thus, other landscapes can coexist on the same server with systems that have lesser requirements (unproductive systems). For a standby HA / DR server, virtualization can increase the switching speed between productive and non-productive virtual machines.

    SAP HANA includes support for VMWare ESX hypervisor. This means that different SAP HANA systems — SAP HANA installations with different SIDs — can coexist on the same host (shared physical server) in different virtual machines. Each virtual machine must work in a supported OS.

    For productive environments, SAP HANA virtualization has severe limitations:

    • Scale-out scaling is not supported - virtualization can only be used with Scale-Up systems, whether it be BwoH / DM / SoH or pure SoH;
    • Virtualization must be done within the rules set for Appliance or TDI devices.
    • there can be only one virtual machine in General Availability (GA) - companies wishing to use virtualization with HANA productive environments must participate in the Controlled Availability program with SAP.

    In non-productive environments where the listed limitations are absent, virtualization can be used to optimize the use of equipment.

    SAP HANA Topologies

    Let's move on to deploying SAP HANA. Two topologies are defined here.

    • Scale-up is one large server. As the HANA base grows, so does the server itself: the number of CPUs and the amount of memory increase. In solutions with High Availability (HA) and Disaster Recovery (DR), redundant or fault-tolerant servers must match productive servers in terms of performance.
    • Scale-out - The entire SAP HANA system is distributed across several identical servers. The master server contains information for Index Server and Name Server. Slave servers do not contain this data - except for the server, which takes over the Master functions in the event of a failure on the main server. Working servers (Index Servers) manage the data segments that are assigned to them, and also respond to requests. Name Servers are aware of how data is distributed between production servers. In the case of HANA growth, another node is simply added to the current server configuration. In such a topology, it is enough to have one backup node to ensure the security of the entire server.

    SAP hardware requirements

    SAP has the hardware requirements for HANA. They relate to productive environments - for non-prod minimal characteristics are sufficient. So, here are the requirements for production environments:

    • CPU Intel Xeon v5 (SkyLake) / 8880/90/94 v4 (Broadwell)
    • from 128 GB RAM for BW applications with 2 CPUs, 256 GB with 4+ CPUs;

    Deploying SAP HANA in Appliance and TDI Modes

    Now let's get to practice and talk about how to implement SAP HANA in Appliance and TDI modes. We use our SAP HANA platforms for this on the basis of BullSequana S and Bullion S servers, which are SAP certified for working in these modes.

    A little help on products. BullSequana S powered by Intel Xeon Scalable includes various models, up to 32 CPUs in one server. The server is built on a modular design, providing scalability up to 32 CPUs and the same number of GPUs. RAM - from 64 GB to 48 TB. Among the features of BullSequana S is support for enterprise AI for improved performance, faster data analytics, improved in-memory computing, and upgrades using virtualization and cloud technology.

    Bullion S comes with Intel Xeon E7 v4 Family CPUs. The maximum number of processors is 16. RAM scales from 128 GB to 24 TB. A large number of RAS features provide high availability for mission-critical infrastructures such as SAP HANA. Bullion S is suitable for mass data center consolidation, work with In-Memory applications, migration of mainframes or legacy systems.

    SAP HANA Appliance

    Appliance is a pre-configured solution that includes a server, storage and software package for turnkey implementation, with a centralized support service and an agreed level of performance. Here, HANA comes in pre-configured hardware and software, fully integrated and certified. The device in Appliance mode is ready for installation in the data center, and the operating system, SAP HANA, and (if necessary) the additional VMWare instance are already configured and installed.

    SAP certification determines the guaranteed level of performance, as well as the CPU model, the amount of RAM and storage. After certification, you cannot change the configuration without losing the warranty. HANA SAP offers three options for scaling the platform.

    • Scale-Up BWoH / DM / SoH - vertical scaling, which is suitable for single systems (one SID). Appliance devices are growing at 256/384 GB starting with SAP HANA SPS 11. This ratio shows the maximum capacity supported by one CPU and is common to the entire list of certified Appliance devices. The scalable Appliance BWoH / DM / SoH is ideal for BW on HANA (BWoH), Data Mart (DM), and SAP Suite on HANA (SoH) applications.
    • Scale-Up SoH is a light version of the previous model, with fewer restrictions on the amount of RAM. This is still a vertically scalable server, but the maximum amount of RAM for 2 processors is already 1536 GB (up to version SPS11) and 3 TB (SPS12 +). Only suitable for SoH.
    • Scale-Out is an option with horizontal scaling, a system that supports multi-server configurations. Horizontal scaling is best suited for BW and, with some limitations, SoH.

    In BullSequana S and Bullion S servers, vertical scaling is essential because it has fewer operational restrictions and requires less administration. For Appliance mode, there is a large line of different devices.

    BullSequana S Solutions for SAP HANA in Appliance Mode

    * Optional E7-8890 / 94v4
    Bullion S Solutions for SAP HANA in Appliance Mode

    All Bull solutions in Appliance mode with SAP HANA SPS 12 are certified. The equipment is installed in a standard 19-inch 42U rack, with two power supplies - internal PDUs. Servers have certification SAP:

    • BullSequana S with Intel Xeon Skylake 8176, 8176M, 8180, 8180M (processors with the letter “M” support working with 128 GB memory modules). In terms of price and quality, options with Intel 8176 look best
    • Bullion S with Intel Xeon E7-8880 v4, 8890 and 8894.

    Storage connects directly to the server through FC ports, so SAN switches are not needed here. They can be useful for accessing systems connected to a LAN or SAN.

    Here is an example EMC Unity 450F storage configuration in our setup:

    • Height: 5U (DPE 3U (25x2.5 "HDD / SSD) + DAE 2U (25x2.5" HDD / SSD))
    • Controllers: 2
    • Drives: 6 to 250 SAS SSDs, 600 GB to 15.36 TB each
    • RAID: level 5 (8 + 1), 4 RAID groups
    • Interface: 4 FC per controller, 8 or 16 Gb / s
    • Software: Unisphere Block Suite

    Appliance is a reliable deployment option, but it has a big drawback: there is little freedom in configuring hardware . In addition, this option may require changes in the processes of the IT department.


    An alternative to the Appliance is the TDI (Tailored Data center Integration) mode, in which you can choose specific manufacturers and infrastructure components depending on the wishes of the customer - taking into account the tasks and workload. For example, a SAN can be reused in a data center, with some disks reserved for a HANA installation.

    Compared to the Appliance, in TDI mode, the user is given much more freedom to fulfill the requirements. This greatly simplifies the integration of HANA into the data center - you can build your own customized infrastructure. For example, vary the type and number of processors depending on the load.

    To calculate capacities, it is recommended to use SAP Quick Sizer, a simple tool that provides CPU and memory requirements for different workloads in SAP HANA. Then, you can contact SAP Active Global Support to plan your IT landscape. After that, the hardware partner SAP HANA converts the calculation results into various possible system configurations - both on top-end and on simpler hardware. In TDI mode, it is permissible for servers to use Intel E7 CPUs, including Intel Broadwell E7 and Skylake-SP (Platinum, Gold, Silver with 8 or more cores per processor), as well as IBM Power8 / 9.

    Servers are shipped without storage, switches and racks, but the hardware requirements remain the same as in Appliance mode - the same single nodes, solutions with vertical or horizontal scaling. SAP requires only certified servers, storage and switches to be used , but this is not a problem - most manufacturers have almost all equipment certified.

    Performance checks should be performed using the HWCCT (Hardware Configuration Check Tool) tests , which allow you to verify compliance with specific SAP KPIs. And there is a requirement that is not related to hardware: HANA, OS and hypervisor (optional) must be installed by specialists with SAP certification. Only systems that comply with all of these rules can receive SAP support for performance.

    The line of BullSequana S servers in TDI mode is similar to the line in Appliance mode, but without storage, switches and racks. You can install any storage systems from the list of certified SAPs - VNX, XtremIO, NetApp and others. For example, if the VNX5400 meets SAP HANA performance requirements, you can connect the Dell EMC Unity 450F as part of a TDI configuration. If necessary, FC adapters (1 or 10 Gbit / s), as well as Ethernet switches, are installed.

    Now, so that you better visualize the described modes, we will talk about several of our real cases.

    Appliance + TDI: HANA for the online store

    The online store, part of the Mall Group, was founded in 2000. It has branches in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and Romania. This is the largest online store in the country, selling up to 75 thousand goods per day, its revenue in 2017 amounted to about 280 million euros.

    An upgrade to the data center infrastructure was required due to migration to SAP HANA. The estimated sizing was 2x6 TB for the prod environment and 6 TB for the test / dev environments. This required a disaster recovery solution for the SAP HANA production environment in an active-active cluster.

    At the time of the tender announcement, the customer had a system for SAP based on standard rack and blade servers. Two data centers, located at a distance of about 10 km from each other, were equipped with various storage systems - IBM SVC, HP and Dell. Key systems worked in disaster recovery mode.

    First, the customer requested a certified solution in Appliance mode for SAP HANA for all systems (Production and test / dev environments) with growth up to 12 TB. But due to budget constraints, other options began to be considered - for example, a larger number of CPUs with smaller RAM modules (64 GB modules instead of 128 GB modules). In addition, a joint storage system for Production and test / dev environments was considered for price optimization.

    We agreed on 4 CPUs and 6 TB RAM for the Production environment, with the possibility of growth. For test / dev environments in TDI mode, we decided to do with less expensive CPUs - we got 8 CPUs and 6 TB of RAM. Due to the greater number of functions requested by the customer — replication, backup, production and test / dev environments on the second platform — DellEMC Unity storage systems were used instead of internal disks in a full-flash configuration. In addition, the customer requested a disaster recovery solution based on the HANA System Replication (HSR) with a quorum node on the third site.

    The final configuration for the Prod environment consisted of a BullSequana S400 server on Intel Xeon P8176M (28 cores, 2.10 GHz, 165 W) and with 6 TB of RAM. Storage - Unity 450F 10x 3.84 TB. For disaster recovery for the Prod environment, we used BullSequana S400 on Intel Xeon P8176M (28 cores, 2.10 GHz, 165 W) with 6 TB of RAM. For the test / dev environment, they took the BullSequana S800 server with Intel Xeon P8153 (16 cores, 2.00 GHz, 125 W) and 6 TB of RAM plus Unity 450F storage 15x 3.84 TB. As a quorum, application servers (VxRail Solution) and backup solutions (DataDomain), our experts installed and configured DellEMC servers.

    The equipment is ready for a future upgrade. The customer expects the growth of HANA sizing in 2019, and he can only install new modules in the racks.

    Appliance: HANA for a major tourism integrator

    This time, our client was a large IT services provider engaged in the development of technological solutions for travel companies. The customer launched an ambitious SAP HANA project to introduce a new billing system. An Appliance solution with 8 TB of RAM was required for Production and PreProd environments. In accordance with the recommendations of SAP, the customer chose the option with vertical scaling.

    A key challenge was the introduction of hardware infrastructure based on Appliance certified devices for SAP HANA. The priority criteria were cost efficiency, high performance, scalability, and high data availability.

    We have proposed and implemented a solution certified by SAP, which includes two Bullion S16 servers - for Prod and PreProd environments. The equipment runs on Intel Xeon E7-v4 8890 processors (24 cores, 2.20 GHz, 165 W) and is equipped with 16 TB of RAM. Nine Bullion S4 servers (22 cores, 2.20 GHz, 150 W) for 4 TB of RAM were installed for BW and Dev / Test environments. As storage used hybrid EMC Unity.

    This solution provides support for scaling for all elements of the device - for example, up to 16 sockets with Intel Xeon E7-v4 CPU. Administration in this configuration is simplified - in particular, to reconfigure or partition the server into partitions.

    Appliance + TDI: HANA for Metallurgists

    MMC Norilsk Nickel, one of the largest producers of nickel and palladium, decided to upgrade its SAP HANA hardware platform to support critical business applications and projects. Expansion of the existing landscape in terms of computing power was required. One of the main conditions put forward by the customer was the high availability of the platform - despite the hardware limitations.

    For productive environments, we used the Bullion S8 server and storage in SAP HANA Appliance mode. For HA and test / dev, the platform was deployed in TDI mode. We used one Bull Bullion S8 server, two Bull Bullion S6 servers and a hybrid storage system. This combination allowed to significantly increase the speed of SAP landscape applications, increase the amount of computing power and storage resources and minimize operating costs. It is important that the client has the ability to scale up to 16 CPUs.

    Welcome to the SAP Forum

    In this post, we examined the deployment of SAP HANA in various ways, and tried to highlight the advantages and disadvantages of the available options. If you have any questions about SAP HANA implementation, we will be happy to answer them in the comments.

    We invite everyone who is interested in Bull solutions and the possibilities of their implementation under SAP HANA to the largest SAP event of the year: SAP Forum 2019 will be held in Moscow on April 17. We are waiting for you at our booth in the IoT zone: we will tell you a lot of interesting things and also give away many prizes.

    See you on the forum!

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