Industry Thought Leadership

KunLun SAP HANA Appliance: The Right Tool for Digitalization

July, 2018
President, Carrier Network Business Group

Huawei Middle East

As the Middle East undergoes rapid digital transformation, the regional leadership is putting strategies in place to accelerate their digital agendas as a part of their national visions. The reason is simple: investing in digitalization pays. To cope with market demands and maintain a competitive edge, organizations are moving to the cloud and adopting machine learning and AI technologies to enhance their performance and becoming smarter in the way they operate. All this requires a reliable, cost-effective and agile ICT infrastructure. This perhaps is the defining line between success and failure of a business or a country’s economy in todays’ world.

This is where the SAP HANA appliance comes in. It was created by Professor Hasso Plattner, a technological zealot who personally funded the establishment of the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) in 1998 with a commitment to promote academic research in software system engineering and industrial applications. For nearly two decades, HPI’s biggest achievement has been the development and successful application of SAP HANA, a High-performance Analytic Appliance that uses in-memory computing technology to enable the processing of massive amounts of real-time data in a short time.

Huawei KunLun: A Natural Fit with SAP HANA Software Features
Huawei KunLun has been certified for integration with a full range of SAP HANA appliance solutions. The KunLun SAP HANA appliance is based on the KunLun Mission Critical Server, which is engineered for business-critical workloads such as enterprise databases, decision support, and business processing. Supporting 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, or 32 Intel® processors with an ultra-large memory of up to 32 TB, the KunLun server is capable of efficiently processing massive amounts of data in large-scale in-memory computing systems. In fact, a single KunLun server can support a larger in-memory database than any existing 8-socket x86 server and, in so doing, greatly improve enterprise IT resource utilization and reduce management expenditures.

At present, the improvements in CPU performance have shifted from a sole reliance on faster clock frequencies to the use of multi-core parallel technologies. For example, each Intel® Broadwell processor supports up to 24 cores and 48 threads, and Huawei’s KunLun server provides a physical platform capable of supporting up to 768 cores and 1,536 threads. In accordance with the primary goal of SAP HANA appliances to keep data as close as possible to the CPU, KunLun servers are perfectly suited to supporting the SAP HANA software features for meeting customer demand for the ultimate in database performance.

For customers intent on selecting an in-memory appliance solution, SAP’s proposition is that the appliance be able to deliver best-in-class performance to customers. Based on this principle, SAP’s advice to customers is ‘scale-up first’ — which translates to a preference to meet memory capacity requirements in single-node configurations instead of cluster configurations. The implication of this principle is that cluster configurations cannot provide the best performance. In practical terms, if the memory required by a customer exceeds the capabilities of a single server (for example, a requirement for 100 TB cannot be met by any single x86 server), the customer system will have to be installed as a cluster. This is also when the experts in enterprise databases come into play with techniques such as dividing database tables into cluster nodes, or distributing data through the use of built-in algorithms.

For SAP HANA, differences in access modes lead to drastically different performance results between a single, high-performance node and a cluster of nodes that involve cross-node (cross-OS) I/O or Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) operations. Though not currently available, the roadmap is prepared for SAP HANA to support InfiniBand or RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE). As detailed above, the latency when reading 64 bytes of data from the local memory of an Intel® E7 v4 processor is 110 nanoseconds. Using an InfiniBand interface supporting RDMA, the typical latency for reading 64 bytes from the memory of another node is 1.5 microseconds at a 40 Gbit/s InfiniBand Quadruple Data Rate (QDR). There is a 15x difference between the two modes. If a 10 GE interface is used (10 Gbit/s line rate and 1 Gbit/s effective bandwidth), there is at least a 60x difference between the two modes.

There is an obvious necessity to avoid such cross-node data reads whenever possible, which requires databases or tables to be precisely divided. Though, in practical terms, making cross-node data reads is inevitable as the cross-node data accessed by enterprise applications is often correlated by nature. This makes the huge difference in the performance of single nodes versus clusters of nodes commonplace.

At present, the Huawei SAP HANA solution based on the KunLun Mission Critical Server supports up to 32 sockets with 32 TB of memory capacity on a single node. The 16 TB memory model is certified, the 20 TB model is planned for certification, and any specification above 20 TB will be certified on a case-by-case basis. KunLun single-node solutions, that experience shows meet the requirements for the majority of customers, support capacity expansion from 4 sockets to 32 sockets as may be needed to grow the customer’s business based on business need. KunLun provides a unique logical partitioning function that further divides resources. With the KunLun logical partitioning function, multiple SAP applications and HANA databases can be consolidated onto KunLun, meanwhile ensuring high performance and fault isolation. This feature is in the process of planning. For customers, the memory capacity and computing capability of the deployed Huawei SAP HANA appliance can be gradually expanded based on the actual service development requirements. In addition, the excellent performance of the single-node solution is always maintained. KunLun’s 32 TB memory capacity on a single node can meet most customers’ requirements. For hyper-scale applications requiring more than 32 TB of memory, Huawei can provide cluster solutions today and is well on track to providing next-generation KunLun-SAP HANA appliances capable of larger scales and higher performance.

Huawei: Best SAP Practitioner and Best Choice for Enterprise Digital Transformation
Used and trusted by many customers all over the world, solutions are serving more than 1,000 customers in over 40 countries and regions worldwide.

As the experience of delivering tangible benefits to enterprises with the SAP HANA system deepens, Huawei has risen to become the world’s best practitioner of SAP system infrastructure solutions and the best partner for enterprises undergoing their digital transformation. Huawei aims to bring cutting-edge products and solutions from around the world to the Middle East, to help equip our partners and customers with the tools they need to succeed on their digitalization journey, and Build a Better Connected World.