What took you so long?

On Aug 12th SAP relaxed SAP HANA Infrastructure requirements and support statements in non-Production environments: Cost-Optimized SAP HANA Infrastructure for Non-Production Usage.
The new article walks through Virtualized SAP HANA Production Support with VMware (available since June 2014) & TDI (Tailored Data Center Integration) for flexible deployment options.
SAP states, “These recent innovations help SAP HANA customers to realize better return on investment (ROI) and reduce total cost of ownership (TCO).”

My first thought reading this: What took you so long? 

In almost every SAP HANA Infrastructure conversation we are having, clients are stating they want more flexible models deploying SAP HANA on existing and/or consolidated infrastructure. One Fortune 100 client recently told me “I love the TDI model, very smart move…Virtual HANA just makes sense”.

Let’s look at some of the background on this topic: Virtual HANA for non-Prod has been around since Nov 2012 at Sapphire Madrid (where I got inspired to write my first blog post) and VMware production support was announced at EMC World in May 2014, and finally GA’ed at Sapphire in June 2014. Use this URL for all related info on Virtual HANA Production support including OSS notes
By the way, we are actually still having interesting conversations with SAP clients on a weekly basis, who are still not aware that there is full Production support for SAP HANA.

In addition, SAP TDI (Tailored Data Center Integration) has been around since December 2013. There are many storage hardware vendors on the TDI certification list, including EMC Certified Enterprise Storage Hardware for SAP HANA using EMC VMAX or VNX
SAP HANA TDI enables you to take a certified HANA server(s) in Production use cases (and any server which meets SAP recent requirements since last week for non-production use cases), combined with a certified storage configuration to build a HANA Infrastructure environment that meets SAPs KPI and Support requirements. This opens up the opportunity to leverage a client’s existing infrastructure (Investment protection!). Some may say, well, that puts you in a position to sell less new infrastructure…Yes, it does. However, it’s the “right thing” for clients and for the ecosystem, so it’s in my personal DNA to recommend it. The white papers for TDI best practices for deploying SAP HANA on existing or new EMC VMAX & VNX are located here. 

Ok, but what HANA server hardware can I use if I want to leverage TDI and Virtualized HANA;
Up until the Intel Westmere chip set, you could find HANA certified servers and appliances on the SAP HANA PAM (Product Availability Matrix) on the SAP Service Market place (Requires OSS login credentials to view)
With Intel Ivy Bridge and going forward you will find HANA certified servers and appliances on the SAP Community Network (SCN)

Update (Dec 2014): SAP has consolidated all HANA Certified hardware on the following Site: Certified SAP HANA Hardware Directory

With TDI and Virtualized HANA combined, it gives you the flexibility to build out virtual infrastructure running all of your SAP workloads: SAP ERP with traditional RDBMS, HANA environments, Apps Servers, SAP Bolt-on application in a consolidated virtual environment. I personally believe this provides the best optimized TCO, improved agility and ease of operations.
The idea of having SAP clients build and run SAP infrastructure for traditional SAP environments and then have separate HANA appliances for their HANA deployments, makes absolutely no sense to me. For example: there are Infrastructure vendors out there that recommend one type of storage protocol & file system for traditional SAP apps and a different storage protocol & file system for HANA workloads. That has to be more complex and costly to run, right?!

Let’s describe an example of a client who has deployed SAP ERP and HANA environment on a consolidated infrastructure: EMC IT
EMC IT went live on SAP ERP in a virtualized Private Cloud Infrastructure environment in July 2012. For their back office processes (Finance, Manufacturing and Supply Chain), EMC previously ran Oracle eBiz, however started their business and IT transformation project in 2010 to SAP ERP (project name: “Propel”).

They “happened” to deploy SAP on VCE Vblock (Cisco, EMC and VMware Converged Infrastructure) with Oracle DB, RHEL and VMware (1,000% virtualized as one of the lead SAP architect likes to describe it). In November 2013, EMC IT went live on BPC on Virtualized HANA with VMware in Production on the same Vblock that runs the SAP ERP on Oracle DB environment. EMC’s BPC on HANA environment was well within the limit of the 1 TB Virtual HANA scalability limit (which is rumored to go to 4 TB early next year).

EMC’s next step in their HANA Journey was BW on HANA. Earlier in 2014, EMC started a NLS (Near Line Storage) initiative to get their BW on Oracle Production database environment reduced from 7+ TB down to 3.8 TB’s. They were able to extend over 3 Billion records from BW to IQ without any impact to end user experience. Once the BW on HANA migration was under way, the final BW on HANA DB got sizes around 800 GB. So where does this 800 GB BW on HANA production environment live? NOT on separate HANA Appliances, EMC IT’s BW on HANA environment lives on a 4+1 certified HANA blade architecture through TDI on the same Vblock that runs Virtual SAP ERP on Oracle DB and Virtualized BPC on HANA.
This is what I would refer to as a consolidated SAP infrastructure environment and the right way to Deploy & Operationalize SAP HANA.

Another SAP HANA client who is all in with Virtual HANA on VMware is Mercedes-AMG. Check out a short video here on their Virtual HANA deployment by their CIO Reinhard Breyer.

I mention very little about certified HANA Appliances, and there is a reason for it. With Virtual HANA, TDI and the flexible HANA deployment models, why would a client or a service provider ever want to deploy certified (dedicated) HANA appliances going forward? The future direction for HANA infrastructure is sealed in a way that makes a ton more sense…

Looking forward to seeing you at VMworld in SF next week. You will find me in the SAP/VMW/Intel booth area talking to SAP clients about how to deploy and operationalize SAP HANA in the most cost effective and efficient way possible.
For all the EMC for SAP sessions at VMworld, please go to EMC’s presence at VMworld SF 2014 

3 thoughts on “What took you so long?

  1. Nice post Henrik. The advantages of running SAP HANA on VMware are many. We are seeing an increasing number of existing SAP HANA customers actively engaged in investigating migration from bare-metal implementations of HANA to virtualized (on VMware) implementations and I anticipate the adoption rate will continue to increase going forward.

  2. Pingback: What will we see more of in 2015? | Henrik Wagner

  3. Pingback: SAP & EMC Keeping it Simple at FKOM | Henrik Wagner

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