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Expanding Nutanix and HCI Uses and Value for SAP – Certification for Scale-out SAP HANA

By Krishna Kattumadam & Greg White

With over 16,000 customers and 10 years of putting hyperconverged infrastructure-based solutions to work on different applications, databases, and other workloads, Nutanix has proven the value of this infrastructure approach, but SAP data warehousing teams haven’t had a chance to experience it—until now. We’re excited to announce that we have added to our list of HCI industry first certifications that includes SAP Netweaver (2016) and SAP HANA scale-up (2018). In July, Nutanix also became the first HCI platform to be certified for SAP HANA scale-out, meaning that Nutanix is removing barriers to starting or scaling analytics projects for SAP BW/4HANA and also making it even easier and faster for greenfield and SAP HANA migration deployments.

Typically data warehousing projects are difficult to set up and tune to achieve the performance required and even harder to scale. This new certification brings data warehousing onto HCI and Nutanix cloud platform and enables the teams that own SAP BW and B4H and the infrastructure it runs on to experience the flexibility, pay-as-you-grow scaling, performance, and ease of management benefits that come from Nutanix software and our mantra of making infrastructure invisible.

In addition to the certification news, we’ve continued to innovate in our previous HANA certification by adding more coverage for SAP S/4HANA and other HANA scale-up landscapes with an increase to up to 4.5TB for a single HANA database. This is almost double our previous size and means we can now support the vast majority of HANA scale-up users on Nutanix AOS and our included hypervisor, AHV. Customers can feel confident that as their SAP landscapes grow over time, Nutanix cloud platform will be able to scale with them and do it with ease.

Finally, we are equally excited to point to the impressive results from our testing using the SAP HANA based scale-out performance BWH benchmark. This emulates real-life scenarios of both data loading and querying of a large SAP BW data warehouse running on a scale-out HANA database. Working with our OEM partner Lenovo on a Nutanix cluster of four nodes we were able to demonstrate both exceptional data loading and querying results. Read the Lenovo blog about the results here: ThinkAgile HX7821 Certified Node Sets World Record with New SAP BWoH Benchmark Result. This is something that is very difficult to do and usually requires optimizing for one or the other on traditional infrastructure approaches. Here, we’re able to again show the value of Nutanix cloud platform and our HCI architecture to simplify and optimize infrastructure and ultimately spend more time on your apps, insights, and business processes.

Now that we’ve shared the news, let’s look at the background and go into some more detail.

SAP HANA®

SAP HANA® is a comprehensive platform from SAP that is a foundational building block of The Intelligent Enterprise. It provides the next-generation in-memory data management foundation for all the industry-leading SAP® solutions and enables the development of cutting-edge and real-time applications to deliver intelligent solutions for the enterprise quickly. Running on premise or in the cloud, SAP HANA® untangles IT complexity and democratizes in-memory computing, bringing huge savings in data management and empowering decision-makers everywhere with new insight and predictive power.

Nutanix Cloud Platform

Nutanix shares SAP’s vision of untangling IT complexity that exists in the datacenter. We created the hyperconverged market with our cutting-edge software and hardware solutions that enable public cloud-like simplicity and consumption models without compromising performance, scalability, availability, and security. Customers can start small and as their needs grow, scale to large environments with the click of a button. Nutanix Cloud Platform can easily handle all types of workloads ranging from ROBO to business-critical applications such as SAP, databases, EUC, cloud native applications, and big data analytics. Nutanix software can run your applications in your on-premises datacenter and extend that same management to your hybrid and multicloud deployments. Such datacenter standardizations have helped customers reduce TCO of owning and managing their IT environments.

SAP HANA® on Nutanix – More Detail

Working closely with SAP engineering in Waldorf Germany, Nutanix engineering teams have made significant improvements in the overall simplicity and performance of our SAP solutions to meet the needs of small to large enterprise SAP customers. This latest certification to run scale-out HANA databases covers up to 27 TB (6 x 4.5 TB) SAP HANA database instances in a Nutanix cluster for SAP BW and SAP B4H. Customers are free to run the entire portfolio of SAP applications and SAP HANA database on servers from all the leading hardware vendors such as HPE, Lenovo, Fujitsu, and Dell EMC. And we’re not stopping with this milestone, so stay tuned for many more enhancements and capabilities being developed by the joint engineering teams at SAP, Nutanix, and our hardware partners.

Let’s dive into the very competitive results we saw in the certification process with an SAP HANA based scale out performance benchmark called the BWH benchmark. This benchmark emulates real-life scenarios of a large SAP BW data warehouse running on a scale-out HANA database. Working with our OEM partner Lenovo on a Nutanix cluster of four HX7821 nodes, out of the total of approximately 24.7 billion records, we loaded a whopping 1.3 Billion records in 16,946 seconds, executed 2514 transactions per hour, and executed highly complex query transactions in a mere 181 seconds. You can see the details of the approved results for yourself on the SAP Benchmark Council page. This feat was achieved by our SAP benchmarking guru Rainer Wacker supported by his teammates Bas Raayman and Motahareh Kardeh. Having surpassed the performance of long time established incumbents in this race, Alexander Thoma who heads Nutanix SAP engineering team in Waldorf exclaimed, “We are playing in the champions league here—our platform clearly demonstrates exceptional performance and scalability,” both of which are critical infrastructure characteristics demanded by customers of all sizes running business-critical applications such as SAP. Our architecture demonstrated the ability to provide a very good price to performance compared to other vendors’ approaches.

Many of you who are familiar with SAP should be aware of the two distinct infrastructure deployment models: the Appliance or the Tailored Data Center Integration (TDI). Both models have their advantages and disadvantages but as you can see from the table below, Nutanix Cloud Platform in the new HCI model combines the advantages of an appliance and TDI-based models by being highly scalable, flexible, and easy to deploy and manage, while delivering outstanding and predictable performance.

Benefit Appliance TDI Nutanix
Quality of Service (QOS)   ?  
Ease of Deployment    
One Stop Vendor Support    
Fast Restart   ?  
Advanced Storage Capabilities ?    
Protection from Corruption    
Common Platform    
Cloning for Non-Prod Systems    
Storage Fault Tolerance ?    

World Class Recognition and Support

Nutanix has made it its mission to enable its customers to succeed in their transformation journeys. The foundation for the platform that enables this is created using hyperconverged infrastructure software, where we’ve been recognized as industry leaders by Gartner and Forrester. But we also extend beyond HCI by focusing on customer success as evidenced by our exceptional 97% customer satisfaction and 90 average Net Promoter Score for over 6 years.

The Forrester Wave™: Hyperconverged Infrastructure, 2020

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Hyperconverged Infrastructure, 2019

Untangling IT Infrastructure Complexity

IT administrators are dealing with a lot of complexity in managing and operating infrastructure, applications, and databases for their businesses. Nutanix breaks down this complexity with innovative products, a laser focus on customer choice, and simplifying the operational experience.

Nutanix addresses the specific needs of infrastructure administrators with intelligent and AI-powered management tools such as Prism Pro that provides one-click simplicity for executing complex tasks such as infrastructure upgrades, intelligent performance analysis, and capacity planning.

Nutanix Era provides database lifecycle management that allows database administrators to build efficient and elegant day-zero and day-two operations of all the popular databases, such as Oracle, Microsoft SQL, PostgreSQL, mySQL, and MariaDB right from their on-prem datacenters. Large multinational service providers and customers are already using Era and Nutanix Cloud Platform to build DBaaS business offerings. As one of the fastest growing products in our portfolio, we are constantly looking for feedback, adding new features and database engines. Watch here for more announcements of additional features and supported databases as we continue innovating.

Infrastructure automation through Calm as an integrated part of our platform enables customers to create blueprints of complex multi-tier applications and manage their operations, while cost governance from Beam can also be used to drive efficiency and accountability. All these capabilities help you easily deliver the private, hybrid, and multicloud infrastructure you need, not only for SAP, but also your other apps, databases, and workloads. It is delivered by on a single software platform through products that are well integrated and share one common objective—make operations simple and elegant and give valuable time back to the overworked IT administrators, app owners, DBAs, and LOB teams so that they can innovate for the business and spend more time pursuing passions outside work.

Conclusion

With hypervisors such as Nutanix AHV that can support very large memory footprints and negligible virtualization overheads of around 4%, virtualizing SAP HANA is now mainstream. Organizations that are looking to reduce costs and improve efficiency and the utilization of infrastructure by consolidating workloads without compromising security, availability, and performance need not look further.

If you’d like to have a deeper discussion with us about SAP HANA and Nutanix regarding your infrastructure planning, be alerted when additional information is available, or if you’re interested in our pilot program, please send us a note to sap@nutanix.com. Head to www.nutanix.com/sap to dive deeper into all our SAP solutions and take Nutanix software for a test drive to see what we’re talking about.

For more details on SAP benchmarks see http://www.sap.com/benchmark, and for the specifics on the benchmark results referenced in this blog, see the published benchmark here.

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