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Hardware Performance Supplement

by SAP and Partners: Sun Microsystems

August 11, 2009

by SAP and Partners: Sun Microsystems, Citrix Systems, and VMware SAP NetWeaver Magazine - Volume 3, Issue 4
 

Inside

The following solution providers are highlighted in this supplement:

Sun Microsystems
Creating a Powerful, Efficient SAP Data Center
Citrix Systems
SAP Enterprise SOA and Citrix Application-Delivery Infrastructure
VMware, Inc.
Maintain Performance SLAs with Less Hardware Using VMware Infrastructure

Uli Marquard
SVP, Performance, Data Mgmt. & Scalability
SAP

Sizing Is Essential But It’s Not Rocket Science

For many SAP customers sizing is a daunting task. Many find it difficult to know where to begin or what aspects to consider. One of the difficulties, especially at the beginning, lies in asking the right questions. Another aspect is providing the correct input for your sizing outcome to be effective and realistic. The bottom line is that sizing is essential and when approached in the right way, it offers important benefits that have long-term effects on your system landscape. To help you carry out a successful sizing project, be it for a new installation or an existing one, SAP offers a wide range of tools, services, guidelines, and documentation.

Sizing and Its Influencing Factors

Sizing means determining an SAP system’s hardware requirem ents with regard to processing power (or CPU power), main memory, network bandwidth, database space, and disk I/O. On the one hand, user behavior and business processes within the enterprise determine the requirements of these resources. On the other hand, aspects related to the technology of both hardware and technical system components influence the needs of the resources.

A basic sizing requirement is that both hardware and software must be scalable. “Scalability” means that if you double the amount of hardware in your landscape, you will double the throughput of data. Conversely, though, this does not necessarily mean that doubling the amount of hardware will cut the response times in half. The response time primarily depends on CPU utilization and the business application.

Sizing is influenced by a vast number of factors; some of these you can anticipate, while others you can’t. The figure below gives an overview of what factors can influence the hardware requirements of a software application:

  • Platform-specific impacts, such as RDBMSes

  • SAP software-related issues, including code lines, applications, and components, where each has its own specific performance profile

  • Customer-related issues such as customizing, end-user behavior, and custom coding
A large number of factors can influence sizing.

All three areas play an important role in a system’s overall performance and carry an equal share of the responsibility for good performance. Therefore, you need to consider them during sizing. SAP offers extensive guidelines to support customers, developers, and partners with sizing and performance issues.

Sizing Is an Interactive Process

Likewise, it’s important to understand that sizing means different things in different situations. Therefore, you need different approaches and tools to do a sizing, depending on your requirements at a given time.

The most important sizing tool that SAP offers is the QuickSizer, which comes with comprehensive documentation on the sizing process and sizing tools. QuickSizer allows you to perform different levels of sizing, from the simplest budget sizing to the most advanced and expert sizing. Similarly, the method you choose depends on whether you are implementing a new system, or whether you want to size an already existing system, because of a change in throughput.

It is important to understand that the approach you take for upgrade sizing is entirely different from the one you take to size a brand new application. Even the initial sizing approaches differ depending on whether you’re sizing standard applications or custom coding. As the figure below indicates, initial sizings of standard software predominantly use QuickSizer’s standard algorithms. Expert sizings are based on customer data and use QuickSizer only in specific cases. Resizing and upgrade sizing don’t use QuickSizer at all, because they are based on actual system usage. Delta sizing is a hybrid of actual system usage and QuickSizer.

Which Method to Use

The decision as to which method you want to use in a sizing project primarily depends on your current situation. Is this an initial sizing or one based on experience? Once you have chosen a method, the critical point for success is the kind of information you provide as a basis for your sizing exercise. You also need to know which core business processes you need to map. Standard SAP sizing rules help you make these decisions, but these rules are subject to certain restrictions. Here are the aspects that you should typically keep in mind during your sizing project:

  • A sizing project can have different characteristics, depending on the phase of the implementation and the input data quality.

  • The success of each sizing project depends on how completely you describe the core business processes and on how reliable and comprehensive your input data is: “garbage in, garbage out.”

  • You can choose from a number of SAP utilities.

  • You can verify your sizing in the context of the GoingLive service, and load tests can be useful.

  • A successful sizing project collects sufficient and expressive sizing information and has different teams evaluate the outcome.

For more information, see Sizing SAP Systems by Susanne Janssen and Ulrich Marquard (SAP PRESS: 2007), http://store.sapinsider.wispubs.com.

Overview of sizing approaches and methods

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Jens Knoop
Partner Executive SAP
Sun Microsystems

Creating a Powerful, Efficient SAP Data Center

With global competition and budget cutbacks, enterprises struggle to contain expenses while improving service levels to more and more demanding users. IT managers need to increase datacenter efficiency with platforms that maximize technology investment, provide high performance and scalability, and reduce power, cooling, and space requirements.

Choosing the Right Systems

Sun offers choice, enabling organizations to customize an architecture that delivers performance and value. SAP Business Suite supports the Solaris 10 Operating System (OS) on Sun SPARC, AMD Opteron, and Intel Xeon systems, enabling IT to utilize the best system for specific workloads. Many of Sun’s systems also run Linux or Windows.

The Solaris 10 OS is designed for multi-core and -chip multithreading, giving Sun systems enhanced functionality for optimized utilization, availability, security, and performance while reducing power, cooling, and space consumption.

  • Sun SPARC Enterprise servers: Created for virtualization, consolidation, and enterprise-class applications, these servers deliver mainframe-class features and reliability, up to 24 dynamic domains, and up to 64 dual-core processors.

  • CoolThreads technology servers: Chip multithreading delivers compute density and high throughput with space and power efficiency.

  • x64 servers: Fast, energy-efficient, and reliable, these cost-effective servers run Solaris OS, Linux, Windows, or VMware.

  • Blade servers: These servers are space- and power-efficient with AMD Opteron or Intel Xeon modules.

Optimizing Utilization

To net the greatest return on investment (ROI), servers must be fully utilized. Sun’s N1 Advanced Architecture for SAP Solutions helps transform the entire SAP infrastructure into a unified virtual system consisting of pools of resources that can be continually monitored, controlled, and managed for optimal utilization and performance (see figure below). Automated tools provide real-time status, enabling IT to make more informed decisions about allocating system resources.

Solaris 10 OS

Sun has 15 years of experience in scaling the OS to support throughput workloads. SAP leverages the scalability and performance of Solaris, whether on a 72-CPU SMP server, a 32-thread CoolThreads server, or a grid of x64 servers. With Solaris Containers, you can securely consolidate applications and increase the utilization of system resources by up to 80%. Solaris ZFS enables file systems to grow dynamically to virtually any size. All these features running on Sun servers create a powerful, efficient environment that can quickly scale and adapt to changes in demand or business processes.

To learn more about creating a more powerful and efficient data center for SAP solutions, visit www.sun.com/sap.

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Matt Lull
Director, Global
SAP Alliance
Citrix Systems

SAP Enterprise SOA and Citrix Application-Delivery Infrastructure:
Make SAP Run HQ Fast for Everyone

As businesses innovate to seek competitive advantage and increased efficiency, their processes and systems must adapt to support new capabilities. SAP NetWeaver provides a technical foundation for SAP’s enterprise service-oriented architecture, an enterprise SOA that can help transform inflexible data silos and legacy applications into integrated systems to meet modern business needs.

But providing a secure, high-quality, end-user experience for enterprise SOA can be tricky. The standards upon which Web-based applications traditionally draw (HTTP, HTML, and XML, for example) are inherently “chatty.” The increased network traffic can cause even well-designed architectures to suffer problems on slow networks, which in turn can degrade the users’ experience and undermine their productivity. Exciting new application-delivery technologies from Citrix Systems address these and other pain points.

As a member of SAP’s Enterprise Services (ES) Community, Citrix recently tested its application-delivery infrastructure in the ES Community’s Enterprise Networking Lab (ENL). The tests show that Citrix infrastructure produces remarkable results. For example, it can:

  • Reduce SAP users’ wait time over networks 50% to 99%

  • Improve overall network performance by as much as 97%

  • Reduce SAP NetWeaver Portal server workload by up to 60%

  • Deliver significant management and security benefits

  • … and more

Summary of Study

To simulate a user’s eye view of the effects large data transfers can have across a variety of access scenarios, the ES Community devised a series of tests that were representative of common business processes. One key measurement represented data-intensive transactions and was based on the time it took users to transfer 5MB of data from the SAP Knowledge Management module. Other measurements included performance of individual enterprise SOA calls and also datacenter resource-utilization improvements.

Citrix used the following products, all part of the Citrix family of application-delivery infrastructure solutions:

  • Citrix NetScaler: A single network-optimization appliance that combines the functions of many point products, including server load-balancing, caching, compression, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) acceleration, and attack defense

  • Citrix WANScaler: A high-performance application- and data-delivery appliance for branch-office users; automatically applies to each data flow a combination of performance-boosting techniques depending on the application, data, and network conditions that allow it to help deliver local-area network (LAN)-like performance across the enterprise

  • Citrix Presentation Server: Citrix’s flagship application delivery system; securely provides end-to-end application access to users anywhere, on any device, with any network connection, using virtualization and application-streaming technologies

  • Citrix Access Gateway with Advanced Access Control: A leading SSL, virtual private network (VPN) appliance with Advanced Access Control manages both information and users’ actions based on their roles, locations, device configurations, and network connections

  • Citrix EdgeSight: A quality-assurance tool that monitors users’ actual application experience; provides the summary and detailed data companies need to ensure their IT resources run at peak efficiency

Citrix Application Optimization

Tests measured response-time improvements over network qualities ranging from LAN conditions (0% data loss, 4-millisecond [ms] latency) to remote-worker or branch-office conditions (1% data loss, 150-ms latency). As the graph below illustrates, test results proved conclusively that a single, centrally located NetScaler appliance can improve large-file download times by about 80%. For WAN scenarios, WANScaler appliances (one at each end of the test WAN) delivered a first-time view of the 5MB data download 95% faster than did the SAP baseline configuration alone, and subsequent views 99% faster. This means branch-office users halfway around the world can enjoy the same rich application experience as their colleagues at company headquarters do.

Tests also revealed Citrix NetScaler’s ability to offload low-level, but CPU-intensive, Internet server tasks from SAP NetWeaver Portal, thereby lowering server workload by as much as 60% and generating corresponding savings in investment and maintenance costs.

Citrix Application Delivery

In addition to the application-optimization options noted above, Citrix Presentation Server reduced SAP response times by 60% to 97%, but the benefits of using it extend far beyond LANs and WANs. Citrix Presentation Server virtualizes client-side application interfaces for all users, thereby eliminating the task of assessing or configuring individual users’ PCs and laptops from the project team’s to-do list.

Sending little more than encrypted screenshots, keystrokes, and mouse clicks across any type of network, including the Internet, Citrix Presentation Server offers rich, LAN-quality application experiences to users who access SAP from any computing device, along with other benefits. For example, your company’s SAP users need a variety of applications to perform their jobs: SAP GUI, BEx Analyzer, Web browsers, and so on. Problems with delivering such a varied array of client applications abound. Citrix Presentation Server brings all of these moving pieces to your company’s data center from users’ PCs, simplifing management responsibilities, lowering costs, and improving user performance. Better yet, your company gets complete control of what data, reports, and other information users save to PCs and laptops outside its protected network, eliminating inadvertent data leaks via lost or stolen computers.

By adding Citrix Access Gateway with Advanced Access Control, your company can also protect data by controlling access to applications on a role-based, case-by-case basis. Every time users connect, Advanced Access Control considers their location and device and grants them an appropriate level of access. If you include Citrix’s innovative EdgeSight, your company can monitor each user’s personal experience and provide issue-resolution analytics, thereby helping your company to deliver on its performance service-level agreement (SLA).

The SAP and Citrix Advantage

With Citrix, you can guarantee secure, cost-effective, high-performance, anytime, anywhere access to the SAP applications and Web services that drive your company’s business — and simultaneously you can lower the total cost of owning them.

For more information about Citrix Systems’ application-delivery infrastructure solutions, please visit www.citrix.com/ HQfastSAP.

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Christoph Reisbeck
Director of Global
SAP Alliances
VMware, Inc.

Maintain Performance SLAs with Less Hardware Using VMware® Infrastructure

Virtualization allows multiple applications and operating systems to run independently on a server. Administrators can quickly move workloads from one virtual workspace to another, prioritizing business needs and server resources.

By creating a virtual pool of computing resources, users achieve enhanced flexibility in the allocation of computing capacity and can consolidate applications and servers. This eases IT management challenges and can help to control computing and datacenter costs while maintaining the same or enhanced levels of performance for end users.

Traditional SAP deployments can lead to server sprawl by provisioning separate systems for development, quality assurance/test, and production systems. Each solution usually has its own system landscape with at least these three environments. SAP enterprise environments may include multiple application-architecture layers, including database, application, and Web server layers. Typically, each layer is hosted on dedicated physical systems.

VMware Infrastructure contains server sprawl by running application layers on virtual machines consolidated onto fewer enterprise-class servers. Almost 66% of SAP implementations run on Microsoft Windows, averaging a CPU utilization of 15% to 20%. It’s critical to evaluate SAP solutions at peak load to understand the CPU, memory, and I/O requirements, to determine what can run together. For example, database servers may have higher loads at various times and may need dedicated resources.

Customer successes include a large hosting company that deployed SAP on VMware Infrastructure and gained a 25% to 30% price advantage over its competitors; other customers have saved $1 million over three years after consolidating servers with VMware Infrastructure. Using multiple virtual machines per physical processor has greatly increased server utilization and contained server sprawl.

Datacenter Optimization: Distributed Resource Management

VMware Infrastructure offers additional management capabilities that help optimize application use of infrastructure resources. SAP provides distributed transaction processing, automated load-balancing, and a replicated service framework that offer high levels of scalability and resource optimization. These solutions address resource management across the entire datacenter infrastructure and across multiple distributed SAP application servers.

VMware® Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) dynamically allocates and balances computing capacity across hardware resources in logical resource pools. VMware DRS monitors resource-pool use and allocates available resources among virtual machines based on predefined rules. When a virtual machine running SAP experiences an increased load, VMware DRS automatically redistributes the virtual machines across the physical servers. It aligns resources with business goals and ensures flexibility and the efficient use of hardware resources.

Deploying applications from SAP on VMware Infrastructure creates tangible benefits from development to production and maintenance, while datacenter optimization enables efficient resource-pooling and maximization of system resources. See www.vmware.com/products/vi/.

A sample architecture in which virtual machines that contain the SAP application components run on two physical servers.

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