Intel’s Optane DC Persistent Memory Amplifies SAP HANA

Intel’s Optane DC persistent memory is a higher density, non-volatile memory technology that retains its contents like traditional SSDs and spinning disks while providing speeds similar to main memory.

Intel’s Optane DC persistent memory and its Xeon Scalable processors are just two of Intel’s platforms that will be optimized for SAP’s end-to-end enterprise software applications as SAP and Intel announce a broader multi-year partnership.

Navin Shenoy, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Data Center Group at Intel, has expressed his view on the software collaboration during the launch of the 2nd generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors and Optane DC persistent memory earlier this year. He said:

 “No partner has been more deeply engaged with us in this space than SAP.”

For more than a decade now, SAP and Intel have been collaborating for groundbreaking innovations. One of the earlier products of the joint innovation from the two companies is Intel IT’s own internal open data platform that uses SAP HANA for real-time data management, with a Hadoop cluster running on Intel Xeon-based servers, for its supply chain data analytics system.

In the SAP’s News Center announcement by Irfan Khan, SAP’s President of Platform and Technologies and Lisa Davis, Intel’s VP and GM Digital Transformation and Scale Solutions Group, it was stated that the ultimate goal of the partnership is to:

“Provide customers best-in-class performance, reduce operational risk through improved resilience, deliver open and extensible frameworks, the lower total cost of ownership for SAP S/4HANA deployments, and enhance digital transformation projects geared to engage the Experience Economy with SAP C/4HANA and Experience Management solutions from SAP (Qualtrics).”

Innovation at Work

The joint innovation leverages Intel’s Optane DC persistent memory in SAP HANA, including early access to the technology to deliver the first major database platform optimized for persistent memory with the SAP HANA 2.0 SPS03 launch in 2018.

To detail further, the technology will be supporting a memory ratio of 4.5 TB/socket, which is six times more for analytical workloads than the prior generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor core-to-memory ratio. Most importantly, Intel Optane DC persistent memory modules greatly expand memory size without requiring additional memory slots, a huge leap from the conventional Dynamic Random-access Memory (DRAM) wherein SAP HANA in-memory data must be backed up to disk, and reloaded from disk after every planned or unplanned reboot.

Even without power, Intel Optane DC persistent memory’s main memory can be sustained. It also reduces recovery time from 50 minutes to four minutes on a 6TB HANA instance as shown in an internal SAP benchmark. A 12.5x improvement in SAP HANA data load on startup time was seen with Intel Optane DC persistent memory versus the traditional DRAM and an SSD configuration.

Consequently, aside from significantly increasing service uptime, Intel Optane DC persistent memory also reduces risk in the deployment of multi-terabyte systems. This brings confidence to customers, boosting efficiency through consolidation of multiple SAP HANA instances onto one system while continuing to innovate with disaster recovery, system replication, and resource-intensive use cases that leverage the built-in machine learning and predictive analytics capabilities of SAP HANA.

As more and more organizations migrate to S/4HANA, SAP’s joint-effort with Intel, essentially, benefits its customers’ through simplified and smoother transition with increased “visibility, focus and agility”.

Another progress to watch out for is SAP and Intel’s plan to establish a center of excellence (COE) that demonstrates the ability of Intel and SAP technology to provide strategic capabilities and enable digital transformation.

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