Infinidat Blog

Maximizing Your SAP HANA Workloads with Infinidat’s InfiniBox SSA II

If you use Infinidat’s certified InfiniBox SSA II with SAP S/4 HANA, you’ve probably already delivered significant value to your organization. When you use Infinidat’s InfiniBox SSA II certified SAP S/4 HANA, you can turbo-charge the environment to add even greater value, to truly set your organization apart.

SAP revolutionized the entire enterprise application world decades ago by effectively creating the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) market. Prior to SAP, traditional applications were usually developed for specific discrete tasks and to provide reporting and analysis of events that have already taken place, each using their own data. SAP was the first successful software environment to provide extensive real-time integration between many different application modules that access common shared data. Real-time events now triggered automatic real-time transactions. The benefits for SAP users are dramatic:

  • Improved productivity and efficiency
  • Improved customers service and delivery
  • Reduction in inventory and materials cost
  • Reduction in human errors
  • Faster, more effective business decisions
  • Reduction in IT infrastructure costs

In the early 1990’s while at Digital Equipment Corporation, I had the privilege to be involved with many of the earliest deployments of SAP R/3, including the very first successful production installation in the USA. The nature of systems behavior for SAP R/3 was a bit different from anything that the world had seen before, outside of possibly the high-end mainframe world. Many new lessons were learned about how to best deploy SAP R/3 - some of them learned “the hard way”:

  • Most users and virtually all IT systems vendors still had a “CPU-centric” focus in the early 1990’s that proved to be inappropriate for gauging SAP R/3 performance. It turned out that SAP performance is almost entirely gated by I/O and storage, and not the CPU. The nature of SAP typically requires relatively minimal processing calculations, but constant reading and writing of data.
  • The nature of I/O patterns for SAP turned out to be very predictive! While non-intelligent hardware-oriented storage can provide a simple low baseline for SAP I/O performance, intelligent storage proved that it can provide a massive performance boost for SAP. Storage software that can analyze and predict what data might be requested next based upon what was previously requested, and that can cache that data before it has been requested by an application, delivers radically higher performance for SAP.
  • The consolidation of all core software modules into one large integrated system means that this new system had better be online, available, and highly responsive all the time. SAP wasn’t just documenting your business, like earlier apps did, it effectively now WAS the business, in real-time. 100% systems and applications availability became a necessity.

Based upon what was learned, SAP then created the HANA database to move the primary I/O services for the applications directly into DRAM in the servers to achieve the highest-possible level of performance for I/O. A revolutionary column-oriented database approach (vs. traditional row-orientation) was chosen to provide great performance not just for OLTP, but also for  data analytics. HANA completely changed the role of storage for SAP. Where previously storage had functioned as the primary repository for all online SAP data, now it would serve as basically a real-time online backup source, as well as the real-time repository for write logs. S/4 represented the modernization of the primary application modules to integrate with and fully exploit HANA. Today the state of the art, and dominant market force, for ERP is SAP S/4 HANA. Which is why you probably run it in your organization! :-)

When you run SAP S/4 HANA for your enterprise, here’s why you should be using InfiniBox SSA II as the critical storage solution of your SAP Tailored Data center Integration (TDI) implementation:

  1. WRITE latency performance is critical for SAP S/4 HANA, particularly for the logs. InfiniBox SSA II caches (and protects) 100% of all writes to DRAM at DRAM speed and is, thus, a perfect fit for SAP S/4 HANA, which serves WRITES from DRAM in the servers.
  2. InfiniBox SSA can deliver the fastest response time for READs in the industry, proven to be as low as 35uS (microseconds) for real user applications such as SAP R/4 HANA - not artificial “lab experiment” benchmarks like most storage companies use to generate unrealistic “hero numbers”. As I’m writing this, in the last week 43% of the InfiniBox SSA systems installed and operational at customer sites experienced latency performance of 30uS or faster and 57% experienced 40uS or faster. If responding faster to your users, customers, and suppliers helps your organization, then InfiniBox SSA II will help you! 
  3. Infinidat offers a 100% data availability guarantee for your SAP S/4 HANA environment. InfiniBox SSA II is the only enterprise storage solution in the world to employ triple-redundancy of all critical components in the system, active-active-active. Autonomous and fully automated intelligent self-management and AIOps reduce “human touch points” and minimize the need for maintenance events, while reducing the operation expense and manpower needs for your storage deployed for your SAP HANA workloads. 
  4. InfiniBox SSA is a perfect fit for SAP HANA Dynamic Tiering and Native Storage Extension. When reducing the cost of your SAP S/4 HANA infrastructure by moving some data from server DRAM to adjacent storage, the DRAM caching architecture of InfiniBox SSA is the closest performance match for server DRAM or server-based Storage Class Memory (SCM) in the industry. 
  5. As mentioned above, one of the key characteristics of SAP is that the core applications are extremely predictive. The patented Neural Cache software of InfiniBox SSA II delivers the highest predictive cache-hit ratios of any enterprise storage product in history, so you get the highest performance possible for SAP S/4 HANA.

Both SAP and Infinidat have independently proven themselves as industry innovators, and our joint customers love what we’ve done for them. Please contact Infinidat or an Infinidat partner to learn what we can do for you!

About Ken Steinhardt

Ken Steinhardt serves as Field CTO at Infinidat. He has held many different roles in the IT industry over the last 49 years, having started as a mainframe applications programmer and systems analyst, part-time when he was still in high school. After receiving his BS degree in Computer Science from WPI, Ken was at Digital Equipment Corporation for 16 years, EMC Corporation for 20 years, and joined Infinidat from Pure Storage. His longest-tenured role was as EMC's Vice President of Enterprise Storage & CTO for Global Product Sales.