Innovation Through Infrastructure

Jun 23 2017   12:54PM GMT

Improving SAP HANA Performance, Resiliency and Flexibility: It’s a lot easier than you think

Michael Tidmarsh Michael Tidmarsh Profile: Michael Tidmarsh


Early adopters of the SAP HANA in-memory database were stuck with one infrastructure platform option: industry-standard x86 servers. As some of these organisations have discovered the hard way, limited options have left them with limited performance, resiliency and flexibility.

These limitations are becoming problematic for many customers. It’s been more than five years since SAP HANA arrived on the scene, and it is taking on a much more important role in driving innovation and competitive differentiation for many organisations. Some may be new to SAP HANA, while others have older x86 implementations. But wherever they are coming from, organisations need to get more out of their SAP HANA investments.

There is a better way. Companies are no longer confined to using x86 servers for SAP HANA. They can now use more powerful enterprise-grade Linux servers. This is an important development in the evolution of the SAP HANA market. By leveraging more powerful servers, IT teams can boost performance, reliability and flexibility while lowering operational costs.

What kind of an impact can IT make with more powerful servers? Some companies see a price/performance gain of as much as 80% using IBM Power Systems versus servers built on Intel Ivy Bridge EX. They also benefit from twice as many transactions per core, four times as many simultaneous threads per core, and about four times the memory bandwidth.

Cost savings are another benefit. IT can run as many as eight SAP HANA instances on a single server, versus two on an x86 server. This provides a greater ability to run mixed workloads and reduces energy, space and maintenance costs. It also reduces scale-out sprawl for organisations that need to refresh older SAP HANA appliances. There is also more flexibility, particularly when using Tailored Data Center Integration (TDI), which is more versatile than an x86 appliance. With TDI, organisations can maximise the value of existing server, storage and networking assets.

Dispelling the complexity myth

The combination of these benefits leads to better business results, including faster and more accurate insights, better forecasting, improved customer service, greater support for individual lines of business, higher availability and myriad other competitive differentiators. Such gains are particularly important as data growth continues unabated and companies embrace big data analytics as part of their digital transformation endeavors.

As attractive as it may be to maximise the value of SAP HANA, there is still one obstacle some organisations must overcome: the inaccurate belief and unnecessary fear that deploying these more powerful servers—or migrating to them from an x86 appliance—is overly complex and requires resources that many IT teams don’t have.

This is simply not the case. In fact, with the open architecture of IBM Power Systems, combined with the high levels of support customers receive from IBM and SAP, IT teams will discover that once they make the move, they will actually reduce complexity in managing ongoing operations and scaling their deployments. These are the facts:

  • IBM Power Systems use the same Linux interface as x86 appliances, which means that the tasks involved in configuration are very similar.
  • By running SAP HANA on more instances on a single server, IT teams can scale far more easily, without the need to purchase, deploy and manage more hardware.
  • IT can increase physical and virtual capacity on demand through a cloud architecture that enables components to be added without disruption.
  • Greater reliability and resiliency increase availability and productivity, while reducing the amount of time IT teams must devote to troubleshooting and problem resolution.
  • Migrating an existing database is not nearly as difficult as you might imagine, and there is plenty of easily accessible support from SAP and its customers. In fact, IBM and SAP are both leaders in customer support and committed as partners to helping customers accelerate digital transformation with SAP HANA.
  • By using a more powerful, flexible, scalable and resilient server platform, you future-proof your SAP HANA deployment. Your team won’t have to go through a refresh cycle nearly as often, which saves time, hassle and the complexity involved in specifying, purchasing and deploying new systems every few years.


SAP HANA has the potential to be one of the most important drivers of innovation and competitive differentiation—now and in the future. Organisations can get far more value out of their deployments by using a server platform that delivers greater performance, resiliency and flexibility, specifically SAP HANA on IBM Power Systems.

With this solution, organisations can leverage the same architecture that enables top performing high-performance computing applications. SAP HANA on IBM Power Systems not only delivers greater performance, but is also simple to deploy, manage and scale.

If you are holding back from moving to a better platform over concerns about making a change, perhaps it’s time to re-examine things and re-evaluate the risks and rewards. You may find that what you now think of as a risk will actually turn out to be a benefit.

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