5 + 1 Considerations to Select the Ideal Platform for Your SAP HANA Environment

| 7 minute read

SAP HANA is one of the first data management platforms to handle both transactions and analytics in memory on a single data copy. It converges a database with advanced analytical processing, application development capabilities, data integration and data quality.

The journey to SAP HANA can be a major transition. The decision of how you choose to implement S/4 HANA and the underlying platform may impact your organisation for many years to come. Our view is that a mission-critical application and database like SAP HANA requires the same care when it comes to the underlying infrastructure platform.

Database Size (and projected growth)

According to SAP (Link: https://www.sap.com/documents/2016/10/26db7b76-8f7c-0010-82c7-eda71af511fa.html), Memory is the leading driver for SAP HANA sizing. This feels obvious since SAP HANA is an in-memory database.

Sizing your memory therefore becomes critical to success. Size incorrectly and this could lead to HANA underperforming. With the natural growth of structured data at 30% per year, accurately estimating your memory needs means both success now while avoiding unnecessary costs to replace an undersized platform. So, it is therefore essential to plan for the future, all the while optimizing total costs. The larger the database, the more suited platform is on-premise.

System sizing is an exercise that is now supported by using various computing calculator tools provided by SAP and IBM in order to build the ideal configuration according to the size of your database, planned use cases, and projected data growth.

Cost (and Risk) of Downtime

SAP Applications typically run the mission-critical processes inside an organisation. In this scenario, if SAP goes down, portions of the company may stop too. As systems (and data) continue to become integrated and connected inside the organisation, the importance of uptime increases dramatically.

The Enterprise Specialists at TES hear from other customers that unplanned downtime costs are increasing. We account for this increase due to an increase in higher lost revenues from digital operations. For many enterprises, the cost of unplanned downtime is running into the millions an hour in lost revenues and fixes.

Poorly configured or chosen infrastructure options can cause unplanned downtime to occur several times a year ( click here for a Forrester report on the potential cost of downtime), meaning that ‘cheap’ upfront investment could lead to costly 10x challenges down the road.

Sensitivity of Data

With persuasive encryption now common for data at-rest and in-transit, cybercriminals have shifted their attacks to target (memory) in-use. This is because data in-use has been slow to adapt to persuasive encryption and thus accessible.

If your SAP instance contains significant volumes of personally identifiable information (“PII”), financial or health data, then platforms with integrated confidential computing capabilities are best suited for you.

Infrastructure Consolidation

One often overlooked consideration when selecting the ideal platform for your SAP HANA environment is the state of your current infrastructure. In some cases, it can be economically feasible to invest in a modern platform that is not only the ideal choice for your SAP HANA environment, can also enable you to consolidate existing workloads onto the same platform choice.

When this occurs, the total cost of ownership (TCO) receives a multiplying effect. This type of consolidation can lead to significant software license savings (in some instances, 33%), reduced administration time and resources, and reduced operating costs.

Analytics and AI Workloads

AI is a very resource intensive workload. Your SAP HANA environment should provide significant data that AI would like to ‘consume’. Selecting a platform purpose-built (instead of general purpose) for AI strengths your chance of AI strategy and execution success. Such success would then impact the value you could receive from your SAP HANA environment.

No Longer a Consideration: OPEX Spend

The need to shift IT spend from CAPEX to OPEX was a high consideration five years ago, as many organisations sought to shift their IT consumption from Capex to Opex by leveraging Cloud. The perceived core benefit of this shift is an efficient IT environment in which you only pay for what you use, whilst having the capacity to expand quickly.

With advances with on-prem pricing models, organisations can now enjoy the same pay-as-you-go pricing popularised by cloud vendors with their on-prem environment.

Many Enterprises Depend on IBM Power for Enterprise SAP HANA environments

IBM Power is designed for the demanding, high volume, mission-critical transactional and analytical workloads that are produced by a SAP S/4 HANA environment.

IBM Power is purpose-built for Big Data and AI workloads, and is industry-leading in avoiding disruptions and disasters. (Read how one customer recorded 18 straight months of uptime here).

IBM Power Systems is certified by SAP to run both non-SAP and SAP on the same server (i.e. Oracle database and SAP production applications on the same physical server).

IBM Power Systems is certified by SAP to run both HANA production and HANA non-production on the same physical server.

Power Systems can run the largest SAP HANA virtual machines with almost zero overhead. SAP has certified 24TB in scale-up configuration for both OLTP (S/4H) and OLAP (BWH) environments. This scalability also allows customers to run large SAP-certified, scale-out SAP HANA configurations. Power Systems also delivers 2X faster core performance versus compared to x86 platforms. The higher throughput helps in reducing the number of cores needed, further reducing the cost.

Additionally, IBM Power Systems offers a predictive failure alert capability. Using heuristics running in the background, IBM Power can pre-emptively warn DBAs when a failure is likely to occur.

The Easier Method to Assess the Sizing Ideal for You

With so much choice, much can go wrong with the wrong decision. The Enterprise Specialists at TES can provide a no-charge assessment of the platform ideal for you. Contact a specialist today and start your SAP HANA deployment with the right step forward.