Eliminate Barriers in Storage Infrastructure to Support High-performance and Scalable SAP HANA Deployments

By Gerald Schreyer posted 11-20-2019 09:02

Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform 5000 Series achieves record number in block storage, accommodating up to 222 HANA nodes in one Enterprise Storage system

SAP customers implementing business applications based on SAP HANA Platform might think that the importance of having enterprise-class storage solutions is decreasing. Ultimately, HANA is using in-memory database technology, isn’t it? 
Why is there still a need of having a high-performance and scalable storage platform for HANA?
In this blog I will give some evidence why SAP customers should care.

First of all, HANA is still a database using storage as the primary layer for persistence. This has not changed with the advent of in-memory and even HANA’s recent support of Intel DC Optane Persistent Memory: DB logs and ‘dirty’ memory pages have to be written to persistent storage ensuring data consistency and supporting a fast DB start up. In addition, storage remains to be the infrastructure layer used to protect business data (backup/restore, fail-over cluster).
Over the last years, SAP has silently abandoned the idea that all business data has to be fully populated in HANA memory. New concepts like Extension Nodes, Native Storage Extensions (NSE), Data Aging, binary large objects (BLOBs) and BW Near-Line-Storage functions assume that data can be read on-demand from persistent storage quickly helping to reduce required capacity and cost for HANA memory. Installations using inferior storage solutions will suffer from bad response times, an unnecessarily high RTO after incidents and from a reduced system availability after planned downtimes.
However, not only the performance of a single HANA system has to be considered, in fact, the ability of the storage solution to support dozens of HANA systems has also to be taken into account (scalability). SAP HANA landscapes will continue to grow, either because additional installations within one system chain needs to be operated (pre-prod, sandbox, QAS …) or due to the increased functional usage of SAP solutions running on HANA platform (ECC system conversion to S/4HANA, C/4HANA, …).
SAP acknowledges the importance of high-performance and scalable storage infrastructure solutions and, therefore, provides guidance and support through:
  • the Tailored Datacenter Integration (TDI) program allowing customers to consolidate storage for multiple HANA systems within one Enterprise Storage
  • the definition of storage KPIs for HANA. Customers can measure these KPIs through tools provided by SAP (HWCCT, HCMT)
  • a certification program for Enterprise Storage solutions, scrutinizing IO performance.
    The certifications are publicly available on the SAP HANA Hardware Directory.

In October 2019, Hitachi Vantara announced the availability of Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform 5000 series, a high-performance, large capacity data storage system supporting mixed environments of NVMe solid-state devices (SSDs), serial-attached SCSI (SAS) SSDs, Hitachi flash module drives (FMDs), and SAS hard disk drives (HDDs). This storage system represents the industry’s highest performing and most scalable storage solution. Built on 57 years of Hitachi engineering experience and innovation in the IT sector, Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform 5000 series offers superior performance, resiliency, and agility, featuring response times as low as 70 microseconds, and all backed by industry’s first and most comprehensive 100% data availability guarantee. For more information, please see introducing Virtual Storage Platform 5000 series.
Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform 5000 series has been certified for HANA and proved to accommodate up to 222 HANA nodes, a number which has previously been unmatched by any block storage solution for HANA.

Using the scalability options from Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform 5000 series, customers can efficiently deploy much smaller HANA landscapes at the beginning of their HANA journey with an unprecedented option to support future growth of their SAP landscapes.

Certification at SAP

Reference Architecture for HANA Deployment on Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform 5000 Series
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