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A Look at The SAP HANA Hardware: Our Install is Complete

by Dr. Berg

May 13, 2012

As I mentioned in my last blog, Penny Silva and I are working with IBM Labs, ComeritLabs and SAP press on developing a new text book for HANA.

In the process we are building a complete HANA system with the latest components. In our second week, the HANA system is now installed and we have started implementing the SAP BW on HANA solution (yes, we did it really that fast). However, there are quite a bit of hardware involved. So, in this blog I will show you some pictures of the many components.

By Dr. Berg

The HANA Hardware

In our development system at the lab we have installed IBM’s high-end x3950 X5 server for HANA. This is a massive 4U rack-mounting server (4U = 7 inches high) that weights 70.5 lbs.  Inside we have 256 GB main memory in 2 memory banks installed, however, this is expandable to 512 GB with all 4 memory banks filled (the HANA DB resides here).

For disk space (yes, HANA has disk space for the database failover and boot), this is stored on a GPFS file system. For us, this is a 3.3 TB HDD (actually several HDD acting as one virtual disk and one hot-swap).

Inside the box, there are also two processors, for a total of 10 Intel Xeon E7 series 2.40 GHz processors and a 320 GB internal fusion card, used on a separate GPFS file system for the HANA logs. Looking from the front and back (open box) we have the following components:


IBM’s x3950 x5 HANA Solution (front)


 IBM’s x3950 x5 HANA Solution (back)


Connections and Scalability

There is also a bunch of connectors. There are one dedicated Ethernet connection for IMM (IBM's Integrated Management Module, this manages the server) and two QPI ports, used to connect to a second x3950. Using this connection type, the two physical servers can be scaled up to act as one big server (important for those who want multi-terabyte HANA systems). We also have two 10 GB connections on an Emulex card, four 1 GB Ethernet connections on a PCI card, and two 1 GB Ethernet connections on motherboard.

The software in our system is a bit simpler. The operating system is Linux SUSE (SLES 11 SP 1), and we have installed the two IBM GPFS file systems as well as the SAP HANA software (the server components such as HANA Studio, XML and SQL parsers, logs and much more).

Next Steps

The hardware is now ready, and over the next few weeks I will relay our experiences and benchmarks for this interesting and exciting technology from SAP. So stay tuned as we share more of our experiences.

Dr. Berg

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