Real-Time Analysis: From SAP Hana to the SAP Private Cloud
SAP accepted the challenge of analyzing even the largest data volumes in seconds using its High Performance Analytic Appliance (Hana) — with successful results.
In a practical test, Hana completed the required transaction data requests up to 3600 times faster than the Business Suite, which used conventional databases on hard drives. Real-time analyses of this kind are based on the latest in-memory computing — as well as Suse Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) for SAP Applications, since SLES is currently the only operating system that meets all of the requirements for use with Hana. The pioneering role of SLES as the appliance platform for the SAP real-time solution is hardly surprising: Suse offers all the benefits of open source—including wider market acceptance and proximity compared to proprietary solutions, and high stability and scalability—as well as impressive performance on virtually any system, such as efficient x86_64 CPU architectures. But there are other reasons why more than 70% of all Linux-based SAP installations are now run on a Suse operating system — Suse solutions such as SLES boast additional features that until now users could generally only expect to find on a specialized proprietary operating system.
Optimized for SAP
In developing SLES for SAP Applications, Suse to put together a package around the Linux kernel especially for SAP users to enable optimized server operations with lower installation and administration costs. For example, the integrated installation wizard is automated, so as to reduce the monitoring requirements for deployment, both for SAP applications and with respect to the Linux infrastructure and additional third-party applications. The Page Cache Limit keeps the performance of SAP applications steady by limiting how much the Page Cache is used by the Linux kernel if required. In this way, additional resources are made available for the actual applications — such as for processing large volumes of data like those used by SAP applications other than Hana. Suse has even extended service pack support for the SAP solutions from 24 to 36 months, thereby adapting it to the average release rate for SAP users. From the perspective of the applications, Suse has optimized SLES for SAP Applications for all NetWeaver-based software solutions — not just for Hana but also for solutions such as the Business Warehouse Accelerator and the software-as-a-service offer Business ByDesign. The high integration of operating systems and software is based on a close partnership between Suse and SAP, which has been in place since 1999 and has since had an impact right down to support level: Customers receive support as required from the integrated Suse Priority Support for SAP, regardless of whether their request concerns the Suse operating system or an SAP application.
Integration and Support Benefits
SAP now also uses SLES as a development platform for its software solutions. As a result, users benefit from new applications and upgrades. At the same time, the close relationship also guarantees a high level of investment security for users — particularly as SAP has made a point of establishing standards, including those for the certification of open-source products: The experts at the SAP LinuxLab develop reference architectures that are used as the framework for testing all relevant functions. SAP grants certification only if these tests are successful. Standardization means more efficient support for customers. Other benefits include faster integration, greater flexibility when adding new functionalities and increased reliability of all systems. Recently, users have also been benefitting from the certification through High Availability Extension 11 Service Pack 2: At the end of October, SAP approved the Suse High Availability Extension for integration in NetWeaver. In SAP environments, the cluster solution prevents unplanned downtime and ensures uninterrupted access to crucial business data and applications.
Clustering from a Single Source
The High Availability (HA) Extension from Suse is based on open source clustering technology. For instance, the Corosync Cluster Engine, OpenAIS as communications protocol for server and storage clustering and the highly scalable cluster resource manager Pacemaker, which supports clusters with any number of nodes, are all integrated. This combination allows physical and virtual server clusters in the SAP environment to be implemented quickly — on the basis of a single certification: Suse Linux HA Extension covers all central monitoring, messaging and cluster resource management functions. Suse Linux HA Extension even includes a large number of scripts for monitoring third-party provider solutions from the outset, eliminating procurement and licensing costs for proprietary extensions and their certification.
Fabian Herschel, Senior Architect for Suse, SAP LinuxLab, was instrumental in developing the Suse HA Standard for SAP.
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