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Intel Optane DC Persistent memory, Azure NetApp Files, and Azure Ultra Disk for SAP HANA

With the recent preferred cloud partnership with SAP, Microsoft and SAP are committed to ensuring that we provide a simplified path for the migration from on-premises SAP ERP to SAP S/4HANA in the cloud, on Azure. Microsoft Azure enables customers to be future ready, and for SAP customers our promise is to continue to offer market leading innovation to support mission critical SAP HANA and SAP S/4HANA workloads.

With the recent preferred cloud partnership with SAP, both companies are committed to ensuring that we provide customers with a simplified path for the migration from on-premises SAP ERP to SAP S/4HANA in the cloud, on Azure. Microsoft Azure enables customers to be future-ready, and for SAP customers our promise is to continue to offer market-leading innovation to support mission-critical SAP HANA and SAP S/4HANA workloads. With the recent general availability of Azure Mv2 virtual machines offering up to 12 TB of memory, purpose-built SAP HANA on Azure large instances offering scale up to 24 TB and scale-out up to 120 TB, 32 SAP certified configurations, global availability of SAP HANA infrastructure in 34 Azure regions, 99.99 percent SLA for availability, Azure offers the best scale, performance, global availability, and reliability for mission-critical SAP applications.

SAP HANA on Azure Large Instances with Intel Optane DC persistent memory

Today, we’re announcing another market-leading innovation for SAP HANA customers with the general availability of new SAP HANA on Azure Large Instances, powered by second generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors (codenamed Cascade Lake) and Intel Optane DC persistent memory. These instances are offered in single-node configurations with 3 TiB to 9 TiB of memory and 4 socket, 224 vCPUs and are generally available now. We are working with SAP towards TDIv5 certification for the Intel Optane persistent memory based instances.

SKU Total memory (TB) DDR4 memory Intel Optane persistent memory (TB) SAP HANA certification
S224 3 3 OLTP, OLAP scale-up and scale-out up to 16 nodes
S224oo 4.5 1.5 3 Planned: OLAP and OLTP; Customer workload specific TDIv5
S224m 6 6 OLTP
S224m 6 6 Planned: OLAP; Customer workload specific TDIv5
S224om 6 3 3 Planned: OLAP and OLTP; Customer workload specific TDIv5
S224ooo 7.5 1.5 6 Planned: OLAP and OLTP; Customer workload specific TDIv5
S224oom 9 3 6 Planned: OLAP and OLTP; Customer workload specific TDIv5

We worked with SAP and Intel to bring the power of second generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors and Optane persistent memory, which combines the properties of the persistence of an SSD and access time similar to DRAM, to deliver the following tangible benefits to SAP HANA customers. First, Intel Xeon Scalable processors provide higher performance and a higher memory ratio per processor. Coupled with Optane persistent memory, customers can now run these instances with much higher memory to processor ratio under SAP TDIv5 certification, reducing the number of instances required for scale-up and scale-out scenarios, enabling a much lower total cost of ownership (TCO.)  Since Optane technology is persistent, the SAP HANA column store is available even after a power cycle, which is required for maintenance situations. Intel’s tests with SAP HANA and Intel Optane persistent memory have shown load time reduction of 12x and this reduces the maintenance time window. Without persistent memory, the time for table loads from disk can take hours. Because of the rapid data load times for restart scenarios, for some non-critical production systems, this can eliminate the need for high availability (HA) configurations, saving cost and complexity.

Azure Ultra Disk for SAP HANA

Mission-critical SAP HANA deployments not only need the most scalable compute but also need high performance storage, to persist SAP HANA transactions quickly. Until now, Azure Premium SSD was the only Azure storage option that was certified for SAP HANA deployments on Azure Virtual Machines.

A few months ago, we announced the general availability of Azure Ultra Disk, a new high-performance storage offering, that delivers up to 160K IOPS and 2 GBps throughput with sub-millisecond latency on a single disk. Azure Ultra Disk is now certified for SAP HANA with M-series, Mv2-series, and Ev3-series virtual machines (VMs.) The low latency and high throughput offered by Ultra Disk can significantly accelerate SAP HANA database transactions. With the ability to dynamically change the provisioned IOPS and throughput on Ultra Disk, customers can now meet seasonal SAP workload needs at lower costs, without provisioning for peak performance year round.

SAP HANA scale-out on Azure and Azure NetApp Files

SAP HANA provides scale-out configurations for SAP applications such as SAP Business Warehouse (BW) or S/4HANA. To improve the availability of such scale-out configurations, SAP HANA supports architectures where standby nodes are set aside in addition to the nodes performing the actual work. Such a standby node can take the role of an active node that is handling the workload, in case of patching or a malfunction of the active node. One of the basic requirements for such a scale-out plus standby node configuration is a high performing and low latency storage architecture that allows sharing of the HANA disk volumes across all nodes.

With Azure’s purpose-built SAP HANA on Azure large instances, we lead the industry in offering high performance compute with such a low latency shared storage, enabling many mission-critical SAP scale-out deployments. CONA services, the services arm for Coca-Cola bottlers, chose Azure to runs one of the largest SAP HANA deployment in the public cloud on Azure, at 28 TB in a 7+1 node configuration, because of the higher availability with the purpose-built shared NFS storage. Over the last few months, CONA services has been able to seamlessly grow their scale-out cluster to 40 TB in a 10+2 (10 active, 2 standby) cluster, an impressive scale, serving 160,000 orders a day.

Today, we’re sharing the unique possibility to create such SAP HANA scale-out configurations with standby node on HANA certified Azure VMs and Azure NetApp Files, our purpose-built bare-metal file-storage service powered by NetApp. The Azure native NFS v4.1 service offered on Azure NetApp Files is unique amongst all the hyperscale cloud providers, with low storage latency and high throughput to fulfill all SAP HANA certification criteria. Customers deploying SAP HANA scale-out with standby node on Azure VMs such as M, Mv2, and E-series and Azure NetApp Files can achieve significantly higher availability, simplified maintenance and higher performance at a lower TCO. Beyond offering scale-out plus standby node configurations with Azure’s HANA Large Instances, Azure is the only hyperscale cloud provider, that now offers SAP HANA scale-out with standby node configurations for Virtual Machines. Azure NetApp Files is now available in 11 regions.

Customers migrating SAP workloads to Azure

With Azure’s continuous innovation for SAP HANA infrastructure services, deep partnership offerings with SAP, dedicated expertise in-house and through partners for SAP migration, we continue to see an uptick in the number of SAP customers migrating their mission-critical SAP workloads to Azure. Here are a few recent customers that have completed that journey.

Cemex: Cemex is a global leader in building materials based in Mexico, serving customers in 50 countries. Cemex chose Microsoft Azure for its digital transformation with SAP starting with the migration of its Asia SAP landscape from SAP ECC on Oracle to ECC on SAP HANA. After migrating to SAP HANA on Azure, Cemex sees a 70 percent increase in transaction performance, 93 percent faster provisioning time. Cemex also leverages Microsoft PowerBI with SAP HANA to accelerate business insights with easy to use, self-service BI reporting.

Achmea: Achmea is a Fortune 500 company and one of the leading insurance companies in Europe, with ten million customers and annual gross premium revenues of almost €20 billion. To become future ready and increase business agility, Achmea migrated to Azure for its mission-critical SAP BW, SAP Fraud Management, and SAP HANA data mart applications, running on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. By migrating these SAP HANA based applications to Microsoft Azure, Achmea has gained a flexible, scalable, compliant, and enterprise-class platform for running mission-critical workloads.

TomTom: TomTom is a leading European Telematics service provider, serving hundreds of millions of customers. TomTom runs a SAP ERP and SAP BW at the core of their enterprise and when their hardware on-premises could not keep up with the growing SAP HANA database demand, TomTom decided to migrate their SAP systems to Azure and completed the migration in under three months. By running SAP on Azure, TomTom has benefited from the agility of spinning up SAP environments in hours vs weeks and higher availability and stability.

Thames Water: Thames Water manages the water supply for 10 million customers across London and the Thames Valley. The company relies on insights from data to solve problems on its network proactively, including leaks. To accelerate a manual, time-consuming process which could take 3-5 weeks, Thames Water decided to migrate its SAP systems to Azure to support faster, easier innovation. Working with Centiq, an SAP on Azure Partner, and Microsoft, Thames Water built deployment automation for its SAP BW and SAP S/4HANA systems by leveraging Azure APIs, Terraform, and Ansible. Today, they are able to spin-up an entire SAP system in under four hours, boosting agility, reducing operational costs, and increasing visibility into customer data.

To learn more about running SAP solutions on Azure, visit the SAP on Azure web page.

Intel, the Intel logo, Xeon, and Optane are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries.


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