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Running SAP HANA? What You Need to Know from a Basis Perspective

by Matt Lonstine

February 4, 2016

SAP HANA is becoming a reality for many SAP customers. As a Basis Administrator, DBA, or System Architect, you may be asking yourself what that will mean for you. What are the key decision points during the planning phases that will require your input? What skills will you need to attain and leverage during implementation, migration, and during steady state operations?

SAP Administration

Administration of SAP HANA in any context requires a deep understanding of its underpinnings and architectural elements such as the Index Server, XS Server, and Name Server, among others. Each play a vital and important role in the operation of this complex database. Managing the relationship between memory and data-persistent processes, and proper administration of the persistence layer itself (log and data volumes) is key to the health of the system. Additionally, SAP HANA only runs on supported versions of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL); something to consider when scoping potential administrative effort.

With an understanding of what’s possible with SAP HANA and how it will be used in a given environment, decisions about hardware and deployment can be made. Many are familiar with the concept of SAP HANA as an “appliance”: an approved version of SLES or RHEL pre-installed with the SAP HANA database on certified hardware. A comprehensive listing of certified appliances based on the Intel Haswell, Intel Ivy Bridge, and predecessor Intel CPUs can be found in the SAP HANA Hardware Directory. SAP HANA on IBM POWER8 is supported, but only within Tailored Datacenter Integration (TDI).

As an alternative to certified appliances, SAP introduced TDI as a means for customers to utilize existing infrastructure in SAP HANA solutions. No formal certification of TDI infrastructure is offered by SAP, however, server hardware and storage products must be selected from SAP HANA Hardware Partners in published offerings. While the TDI approach can be attractive from an operational cost savings and flexibility perspective, it does require that the underlying operating system and the SAP HANA database software itself be installed by an individual holding the “SAP Certified Technology Specialist- SAP HANA Installation” certification. SAP provides the SAP HANA Hardware Configuration Check Tool (HWCCT) as a means to determine whether a given TDI solution meets SAP’s performance KPIs related to throughput and latency. The version of HWCCT used must correlate to that which was used for certification of the servers and storage solutions by the vendor. KPI scenarios are different for OLAP and OLTP systems, and while they are geared toward production environments, it is ultimately up to the customer to determine whether test results meet their operational requirements.

Want to Learn More…

While we’ve only scratched the surface of SAP HANA from a technical perspective, it’s easy to see that administration of this platform requires a unique and diversified skill set. By leveraging Symmetry’s years of industry leading SAP Basis Managed services, and our enterprise class SAP HANA cloud, you can rest assured your environment will be expertly managed by certified SAP HANA experts.

For more information to get started with Symmetry’s SAP HANA cloud solution, request a free quote here.

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