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SAP HANA has been taunting me for some time now. it’s like this mythical creature that i could never put my finger on, and whenever i used to attend a seminar, all information they used to through at us was mind boggling to me (you could guess that am not a SW guy).
i work in a Tier 1 International vendor in charge of designing Data management solutions based on Netapp portfolio. at that point of time i had no interest in anything even remotely near the HANA world until my colleague (SAP Infra consultant) ran up to me one day and went ” do you know that all of our solutions are based on Netapp”.
i felt i was smacked in the head and took it as a personnel challenge to simplify the matter for myself and for my follow consultants on how to pitch why this small box called netapp is necessary in an SAP hana solution.
here’s the result (why Netapp with SAP HANA for dummies)
1- HANA is an in-memory Database , it uses connectors to link to different data sets from different database. i.e, immaging you own a hyper market, and you need a system that look up items purshased VS the outside weather VS the time of the year VS different attributes all in real time as the purshases are happening, such information can help management analyse customer’s purchase behavior and guide them into better stocking or warehouse keeping.
2- as the transactions are happening in real life, some businesses requires in-line live analysis of what going on (like in currency exchange scenarios), normal disk processing is no where near enough (<1 ms latency wont cut it). the solution requires a micro second response to such intense workloads, thus the in-memory processing is born.
3-after the data has been processed it need to be flushed somewhere to make room for new data and that is where netapp comes in.
4-The HANA appliance will use an NFS dump to an external storage with low latency (and who is better than netapp for give this NAS functionality, they invented it for god sake).
5-After the dump has occurred, Netapp can use its snapshot technology to take a back up of that analysed and processed data. what about consistency point you may ask! Netapp have the unique feature to integrate with SAP cockpit (Management node of SAP) to make sure that data is consistent and everything is recorded and indexed by the book.
6-Netapp can also replicate those data on a block incremental from site to site without the need or use of any host based system. and yes since its based on consistent snapshot, the replication is also consistent.
7- Finally in an HA environment with multiple HANA appliance flown in the air, you have two options. either let the host replicate in an active active mode (something like SQL cluster in the old days) and by doing that needing a minimum of 20% more CPU power not to mention the shocked network (some customers went to the extent of creating seperate physical network for this) , or create 1 big lump of data across two NFS mount point (Node A and Node B) and if big PAPA goes to sleep than the wife wont have any issue, simply look at the pointer and pick it up as nothing happened.
so in short those are my inputs on the subject, hope it was clear enough and can help those who just need some pitching points in their next conversation with a SAP customers.