Virtualization in SAP HANA Administration

Excerpt from the book SAP HANA: An Introduction by Penny Silvia, Rob Frye, and Bjarne Berg. Used with permission of SAP PRESS. All rights reserved.

Take a look at virtualization in SAP HANA administration, including its benefits and approved vendors.

Beginning with SAP HANA SPS 5, SAP-certified VMware Hypervisor was the first technology capable of virtualizing SAP HANA servers. Virtualization is the process of creating a virtual instance of a resource within a framework that can be used to run multiple logical instances of a resource in a single physical environment. This virtual resource may be an operating system, a storage device, a database, or even a network resource. See the figure below for a comparison of a standard and a virtualized deployment of SAP HANA.

Virtualization offers many advantages when compared to the cost, effort, and risk involved in maintaining numerous physical servers. For example, in a virtualized environment, you can quickly reallocate CPUs and memory resources to your SAP HANA servers to meet the changing needs of your business. The figure below provides a closer look at a virtualized SAP HANA landscape.

You will generally also have a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) in virtualized environments. A lower TCO is possible because many vendors allow on-demand access for your SAP HANA appliances. For example, Amazon Web Services offers on-demand licensing, which only charges for the time that your cloud environment is on and available for use.

On-demand licensing also offers a convenient and inexpensive path to creating and maintaining sandbox environments for proofs of concept (POCs). You can create a small SAP HANA instance with very moderate resource requirements and save a copy of this clean environment. When you need to test new ideas, you can simply bring a copy of the clean environment online, complete the POC work, and then delete the copy when you’re finished. The clean copy will still be available for you to use in your next POC effort. Using on-demand licensing for these sandbox environments is both much more convenient and much less expensive than maintaining both the physical hardware and licensing required for a physical sandbox environment.

Virtualization through a vendor also serves as a convenient and relatively inexpensive gateway to deploy SAP HANA for small companies. As your business grows, and the need for more CPUs and more memory increases, you can scale your licensing and hardware requirements easily within a virtual landscape. As a result, you can select the size of system that you need right now and re-evaluate your needs periodically. If you need to move to a larger environment, adding processors and memory is simple, and you won’t be left with older hardware that is inadequate to meet your needs.

Some of the benefits of virtualization include:

  • Easy hardware replacement, as there is no need to recertify the operating system and SAP software installations
  • IT ownership that can be separated into software and hardware layers
  • Independent monitoring of the operating system
  • Inexpensive high-availability capabilities

See the table below for a comprehensive list of approved virtualization vendors as well as the required SAP HANA SPS levels. Please be sure to check the SAP Community Network (SCN) for the latest guidance on supported virtualization vendors. As of this writing, SAP Note 1788665 is the most recent guidance about virtualization, but new vendors may be added frequently, and nonproduction vendors may be certified soon.

Virtualization is a rapidly growing field in the SAP landscape, so you may also want to examine the notes in the following table for more guidance before choosing your virtualization vendor and purchasing any hardware.

Excerpt from the book SAP HANA: An Introduction by Penny Silvia, Rob Frye, and Bjarne Berg. Used with permission of SAP PRESS. All rights reserved.

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