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The innovation inside the HP ConvergedSystem 500 for SAP HANA

It’s easy to say the HP ConvergedSystem 500 for SAP HANA is optimized for in-memory computing, but proving it takes a little more explanation. To understand the facts behind the figures, I recently sat down with Doug Janes, Technologist for SAP HANA, HP Converged Systems, to ask for a more detailed explanation of some of the claims. As HP paves the way for even greater performance within complex SAP environments, it’s great to have a basic understanding of why this latest HP ConvergedSystem outperforms its competition. 

 

GB: We know the value proposition of the HP ConvergedSystem 500 for SAP HANA is that it’s optimized for in-memory computing. But what does that really mean in terms of performance?

Janes: To start, we’re reporting 2x the speed for analytics. This is a little different way of reporting  this statistic than we have used in the past. Traditionally these numbers are reported based on individual queries, and how much faster these queries run. So we would typically say, “This is 1,500 times faster,” or “100s of times better.” Again, this is referencing a single query, and the before and after performance. We’re two years into the program now, and the industry—along with SAP—are looking for an industry standard based on Business Warehouse-Enhanced Mixed Load (BW-EML) benchmarks, like those derived from SAP NetWever® databases.

 

HP supports this benchmarking effort, and for the first time we can see just exactly what our performance is against these benchmarks. The only other manufacturer that has posted this statistic is IBM. And we can say that the HP ConvergedSystem 500 for SAP HANA has 2x faster performance as IBM. That translates roughly into 129,000 transactions an hour for HP (as opposed to about 66,000 for IBM). That’s also based on a database with double the amount of data—we had about 1B records in the database versus IBM having about 500M.

 

Check out these results.

 

c04030239.pngGB: What about the claim of uninterrupted performance?

Janes: This is where we take the HP ConvergedSystem 500 for SAP HANA story to the next level. Any IT manager will tell you it’s all well and good that we can do more work in less time. But that’s not good enough if you’re going to entrust the system with all your enterprise data. That’s why SAP has integrated into their solutions the ability to have automated failover—where an inactive node will failover to a standby node. SAP has also set up something called System Replication that allows you to set up two separate HANA systems, so you can failover the entire system to another system—usually in a different datacenter. This is ideal for situations where you have mission-critical data and you have a power failure.

 

HP is able to claim uninterrupted performance because we’re the industry’s only system with automated unattended failover. This is the function of the HP Serviceguard Extension for HANA, which provides increased availability, reduced errors caused by human intervention, data corruption prevention and ease of deployment.

 

Right now, the systems that are in the market require a human to actually perform the failover. This is a common occurrence with what’s known as “Split Brain,” where a broken network connection will cause a standby system to engage, while the production server is actually still in operation. So you now have two systems running the same data operations—throwing the door open for corruption. In these datacenters, you need a systems administrator to actually verify that you’ve had an event, and if so, initiate the failover. That means your mission-critical systems are running on a human schedule, so if your system goes down at 3 AM, and it’s not noticed until 5 AM, you’ve been down for two hours.

 

HP Serviceguard automates that failover process, while improving data protection. HP Serviceguard introduces the concept of a quorum server. The server running the HANA database has access to the quorum server. By the way, this quorum server can be running on top of any application—it doesn’t have to be an SAP application. By having this additional server in the mix, we can eliminate Split Brain. In the case of automated failover, only the quorum server running the HANA database is allowed to run. This means we can automate the failover and really speed up the time the customer can get back in operation, using a uniform, automated process.

 

Read more about HP Serviceguard.

 

GB: You briefly mentioned how HP Serviceguard improved data protection. Having automated failover processes sounds great, but it can’t be the only data protection component of the system. Are there more?

Janes: Great question. While HP Serviceguard makes sure you maintain an accurate database, you also have to have a solid backup underpinning your HANA database. For example, automated failover doesn’t take into consideration human error. So if an administrator accidentally deletes necessary data, you need a solid backup so you can retrieve that data quickly and easily. Some of our customers don’t have the financial means to have a completely separate infrastructure set up for their HANA system.

 

HP offers two backup devices that are SAP certified—HP StoreOnce and HP StoreEver. For SAP HANA, we’ve been focusing on HP StoreOnce, because it’s  a bit deeper and has data deduplication capabilities. HP StoreOnce also has the ability to ensure data replication over Wide Area Networks on another StoreOnce device at a different datacenter. And we’ve now certified HP Data Protector as a software solution for SAP HANA. This is an enhancement over the old way HANA did backup—writing files to a file system. It improves the speed of the backup, and makes scheduling easier. You can now use the same scheduling tool for your HANA backups as you are using for other applications. You no longer have to run separate backup processes for HANA.

 

HP also provides a reference architecture, so customers can set this up in their datacenter. Of course, if the customer can’t do that themselves, HP can provide the services to put these systems in place.

 

Find out more about HP StoreOnce and HP Data Protector.

 

GB: We’ve typically heard of the customer journey to consolidation and simplification, using an HP ConvergedSystem. How does this relate to this SAP HANA system?

Janes: The journey metaphor works well with SAP HANA systems, because ultimately customers are going to be trusting HANA with more and more of their enterprise applications. This is the case with more productive environments where customers are running development systems. Customers typically have more invested in their development infrastructures than they have in their production environments, and they are looking for ways they can intelligently reuse hardware or manage hardware more effectively.

 

At HP, we create these sytems with components that will provide those development capabilities. In particular we introduced a 3PAR component to these systems—for both single-node and scale-out—that delivers unique capabilities. For example, you can provision storage as you need it.The system will audit your needs and virtualize the storage, so you can have the storage you need down the road, without having to enhance it with additional components. We’re already using this today where we have customers with multiple HANA environments using the same hardware.

 

You can also easily provision storage once for your SAP HANA environment without the need to dedicate storage to various SAP landscapes. In this way you can easily scale up and scale out when you need that capability. Also, you can receive transactional—and throughput-intensive—mixed SAP HANA workload support from a single 3PAR array with a single class of drives. This provides the best mix of price and perfomance for all the data that are on the storage array.

 

This is just one example of what HP is doing to enable consolidation of these SAP HANA environments.

 

Learn more about the HP 3PAR storage solution for SAP HANA.

 

Here's what others are saying about HP ConvergedSystem for SAP HANA:

 

Grantby

 

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Tags: 3PAR| SAP| SAP HANA| sharks
Comments
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