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Spending Too Much on Hardware? Use the Quick Sizer Tool to Pinpoint the Right Amount of Hardware for Your SAP Landscape

by Dagmar Kirsamer and Sebastian Schmitt | SAPinsider

October 1, 2009

By determining your sizing requirements before you shop around for hardware, you'll ensure that your hardware purchase will meet your business and performance requirements. You’ll also lower your costs and reduce TCO. Walk through the four steps of using Quick Sizer — a self-service tool available for free on SAP Service Marketplace — to predict the hardware capacity needed to run your business smoothly.
 

As companies become more and more price conscious, they are realizing just how important it is to plan and budget their hardware expenditures. After all, a poorly planned hardware purchase will only result in added costs and headaches down the line. Key to a successful hardware project is accurate hardware sizing. Too many people rely on guesswork when choosing their hardware, either overstating or underestimating the power or memory that their solution installations will need.

By determining your sizing requirements before you shop around for hardware, you’ll ensure that your hardware purchase will meet your business and performance requirements. You’ll also be able to lower your costs and reduce total cost of ownership. Just consider the costs of unused hardware — beyond its initial price, you also have to account for the ongoing energy and maintenance costs it will accrue.

To help you determine your hardware sizing neesapds, SAP provides Quick Sizer, a self-service tool available for free on SAP Service Marketplace that can be used to predict the hardware capacity needed to run your business smoothly (see sidebar). In short, this tool can help you translate your business requirements into hardware requirements.

You’ll find an earlier introduction to the basic functionality and terminology around Quick Sizer in “Targeted Methods and Tools for Right-Sizing Your Hardware Landscape,” by Susanne Janssen in the January-March 2006 issue of SAP Insider. In this article, we take a deeper dive into how to use Quick Sizer and what to do with your results.

Quick Sizer: When to Use It

Companies can use Quick Sizer if they are planning a new installation of SAP software (an initial sizing) or if they want to add new SAP software to an existing SAP solution landscape (a delta sizing).

Say your company wants to implement SAP CRM. You’ll need to perform an initial sizing to determine the hardware requirements for this solution landscape. Using the Quick Sizer tool, you’ll gain guidelines for your hardware requirements — including required CPU time, disk size, and memory size — so you can start planning your hardware landscape.

How to Use Quick Sizer: 4 Key Steps

Let’s uncover how a company preparing to implement SAP CRM can use Quick Sizer to ensure that its hardware will support the application — and what it can expect to learn from the results.

Step #1: Create a New Project in Quick Sizer

To use Quick Sizer, you’ll first need to set yourself up as an S-user in SAP Service Marketplace (if you haven’t already).1 Then visit http://service.sap.com/quicksizing, where you’ll see the Quick Sizer entry screen (see Figure 1). For first-time users, the link labeled “Quick Sizer for beginners” may be helpful. It takes you to documentation that explains all of the functions of Quick Sizer.

The entry screen also offers several options for managing your projects:

 

  • To create a new project, enter a new project name in the “Project Name” field and click on “Create Project”
  • To change or view an existing project, enter the project’s name in the “Project Name” field and click “Change Project” or “Display Project”
  • To display a list of all projects you’ve worked on before, choose “Show my projects”
  • To copy an existing project’s data into a new project, choose “Create with ref.”
  • This article’s example takes you through the process of creating a new project.
  • Figure 1 Entry screen for the Quick Sizer tool

Step #2: Complete the Quick Sizer Questionnaire

Once you set up and name a new project in the entry screen, the Quick Sizer tool will open. Here you will see a navigation tree (see the left side of Figure 2) where you will find a list of all SAP solutions that are available to be sized. When you click on a solution name, you will see a questionnaire (see the right side of Figure 2) specific to that solution.

Note!

The data you enter into this questionnaire will remain available online so you can use it for sizing verifications during your implementation project.
Figure 2 SAP CRM Sales questionnaire in Quick Sizer

Note that Quick Sizer does not contain questionnaires for all SAP applications. This is because, when analyzing the resource consumption of a production system, we’ve learned that roughly 80% of the capacity requirements are occasioned by 20% of the transactions (the 80/20 rule). If you cannot find an application in Quick Sizer, it is likely because:

  • The application’s performance impact is negligible.
  • The application is very new — in this case, SAP can help you perform a one-on-one sizing project.
  • The application may be able to be sized with a simple t-shirt sizing algorithm.2

Quick Sizer does contain questionnaires for most SAP Business Suite solutions, as well as for several industry solutions (like SAP for Banking) and specific SAP NetWeaver components (like SAP NetWeaver Portal). You can also use the “Search” functionality to find the right questionnaire for your needs. For our example, in the left-hand navigation field, you would select SAP Business Suite > SAP CRM > CRM Sales. You’ll then see a questionnaire.

Most questionnaires — like our example in Figure 2 — will have multiple input tables for the two different types of sizing, throughput-based and user-based. In the user-based sizing table (Table 1 in Figure 2), you will need to enter the number of users that concurrently work with the solution you are sizing (in this case, we’ll enter 200 SAP CRM Sales users into the “SLS-USER” field). In the following sidebar, we’ve offered helpful guidelines on how to categorize your user activity. If you are unsure of how active your users are, we recommend entering this number under the “Medium activity users” column.

In the throughput-based sizing tables (Tables 2 and 3 in Figure 2), you will need to enter the number of objects that the solution you are sizing will need to process in a certain timeframe. For this example, let’s say that your 200 sales users process approximately 2,000,000 sales orders (enter this information in the “Objects” column), with 10 line items per year (“Items”), and that the data must be kept in the database for six months (“Mon.”).

It is very important to note that the results you get from Quick Sizer will only be as good the data you enter into the questionnaire. That’s why it is critical for the different parties involved in a sizing project to collaborate. For example, IT departments that are determining the input values for Quick Sizer should contact the user department to collect pertinent information, ensuring that they enter the input data that best describes the business. Once you’ve entered all relevant input values, click “Check” to scan for input errors. Then, click “Calculate result.”

Step #3: Analyze Your Quick Sizer Results

Based on your questionnaire inputs, Quick Sizer will then calculate the required system resources — such as CPU power, memory, database disk space, and disk I/Os — that your hardware will need to support your new solution. To analyze these results, you can break them down into seven distinct result levels, which provide different perspectives on the sizing result (see the “Result level” drop-down box at the top of Figure 3). Most companies will only ever use three of these result levels: “Software components,” “Results, statistics, inputs,” and “SAP solutions.”

Figure 3 Quick Sizer results page

With “Software components,” you can get specific sizing results for any separately installable deployment unit. If you are deploying SAP ERP, for example, you could see the sizing results for the SAP ECC server. “Results, statistics, inputs” contains all the data you entered into your questionnaire as well as all of Quick Sizer’s results. While this amount of information may look overwhelming, it is useful for documenting the sizing project.

By default, however, Quick Sizer will display the “SAP solutions” sizing results, as seen in Figure 3. In this case, Quick Sizer has calculated that the company will need hardware that supports 4,600 SAPS.3 For quicker, easier analysis, there are also result categories in the “CPU cat.” column, ranging from small (S) to extra large (XXL).

Note!

The user-based and throughput-based results you get from Quick Sizer should not be added together. In most cases, the results will be similar numbers. If there is a strong divergence between both results, there are probably entry errors in the questionnaire.

Step #4: Use the Results to Size Your Hardware

Now that you’ve used Quick Sizer to generate your hardware parameter guidelines, you can start looking for hardware that fits your needs. In our example, we’ll need hardware that supports 4,600 SAPS.

Note that Quick Sizer results also include requirements to support Unicode (as of December 2006). If you want to compare Quick Sizer results with non-Unicode benchmark results, you can deduce 10% processing capabilities from the final result. For example, our results rated 4,600 SAPS. If your configuration is running a non-Unicode benchmark, however, it is likely to achieve 4,140 Unicode-SAPS.

You can then take your results and visit www.sap.com/benchmark to browse suitable hardware options. You can also use your Quick Sizer results in conjunction with SAP GoingLive services, which include SAP GoingLive Check. Here, Quick Sizer entries and sizing results are checked against the performance capacities of the hardware you’ve purchased.4

Additionally, you can refer a trusted hardware vendor to your Quick Sizer results by giving them your project name and customer number. Your vendor can then view your results to gauge which of their hardware offerings will best fit your needs.

Conclusion

At a time when every IT project is under increased scrutiny and careful spending is an absolute must, Quick Sizer provides an easy way to ensure cost-effective hardware sizing. It also lets you work with your hardware vendor to arrive at a properly sized hardware landscape that best fits your needs. We strongly recommend that you get familiar with this tool before your next hardware purchase — you’ll save a lot of money, time, and effort. Visit http://service.sap.com/quicksizing to learn more.

Dagmar Kirsamer (dagmar.kirsamer@sap.com) joined SAP in 1996 after finishing her studies in biology and business informatics at the Universities of Karlsruhe. Since 2000, she has been a member of the product management team for Performance & Information Lifecycle Management, where she manages sizing processes and is responsible for the Quick Sizer tool.

Sebastian Schmitt (sebastian.schmitt@sap.com) joined SAP in 2007 after finishing his studies in marketing and sports management at the Universities of Cologne, Cáceres, and Barcelona. He has been a member of the Performance & Information Lifecycle Management team since 2008, and is responsible for hardware sizing from a product management perspective. He is also responsible for the cooperation of SAP and hardware vendors in the area of sizing.


1 You can set yourself up as an S-user at SAP Service Marketplace: http://service.sap.com/~sapidp/002006825000100141192000E. [back]

2 T-shirt sizing is a simple sizing guideline that uses basic algorithms (with many assumptions) to provide recommendations for small, medium, large, and extra-large configurations. [back]

3 SAPS stands for SAP Application Performance Standard. This measurement unit provides a performance yardstick; its results are determined by SAP’s de facto industry-standard benchmark, the SAP SD application benchmark. [back]

4 To learn more, visit http://service.sap.com/goinglivecheck. [back]

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