While we are talking about the latest features and technologies at SAP TechEd Amsterdam 2013, our products continue to develop into new segments. By combining in-memory computing with virtualization technology, we are now entering into a new world of possibilities. In the movie Tron, Kevin Flynn once went as a user into a mainframe. It was a virtual world inside the real world. All programs and tasks were humanized and controlled by the “Master Control Program”, called MCP. Flynn’s adventures and journey inside the mainframe never really affected the normal world. Just like today’s virtualization technologies, which also make it possible to run different instances of SAP HANA databases, virtualized on the same SAP HANA host, and entirely separated from each other. With picture in mind, follow me through the rest of this blog and you will see that virtualization acts similarly: It is a world in its own right inside your system.
One of the great advantages of virtualization is the flexibility to assign dedicated CPU and memory resources to specific databases, making it possible to power your system how you want and when you want. In this context, it does not matter if you are using an existing SAP HANA infrastructure or a SAP HANA tailored data center integration validated hardware configuration. Virtualizing SAP HANA with VMware vSphere also provides great potential for TCO reductions, especially then already standardizing IT operations on VMware technology. All in all it simplifies resource delivery on demand by provisioning SAP HANA instances virtually, securely and fully managed.
Previously, virtualizing SAP HANA was only supported using VMware vSphere 5.1 within non-productive scenarios. During the last few months, additional effort has been invested into ensuring that all constraints can be met in order to support SAP HANA being virtualized with VMware for productive use cases as well. We are still not quite in a position to announce that virtualization of SAP HANA is supported in productive scenarios, but we are working hard in that direction. However, the SAP HANA tailored data center integration approach already allows installation of SAP HANA software through SAP certified staff. This also effects installation of SAP HANA in virtualized environments. See SAP HANA tailored data center integration overview presentation for more information.
SAP HANA tailored data center integration also offers use of central storage components, enabling techniques like VMware vMotion to be used in the context of SAP HANA. For VMware vMotion used with SAP HANA, the SAP HANA Guidelines for being virtualized with VMware vSphere needs to be followed however. In addition to these guidelines, which focus on the general conditions that apply when virtualizing SAP HANA, VMware is going to publish best practices explaining how to configure the underlying hypervisor to run SAP HANA smoothly in the VMware vSphere environment as part of the Global VMware SAP Alliance.
We will continue working on the topic of running SAP HANA virtualized. So far we decided to work mainly with VMware, one of the market leaders in this technology domain. There are other great virtualization technologies however, that are going to be interesting for SAP. One example is the open source project XEN. With a defined KPI driven validation process for SAP HANA support virtualized in production, it’s just a matter of time until others will follow. So keep posted. As soon as we have news about changed conditions and platforms under which SAP HANA is being supported to be run virtualized, we will update SAP Note 1788665 and provide you with additional knowledge and information.