New Intel Xeon “Haswell” Processor Delivers Exceptional Performance for SAP HANA Platform

Earlier this week, Intel released new “Haswell-EX” Xeon E7 v3 processors aimed at the high-end of the enterprise server market. This third generation of the Intel Xeon E7 CPU family features up to 18 cores, up to 45 MB of last level cache, and support for larger amounts of physical memory.

CPU designers are facing new challenges to deliver the high performance and efficiency gains required by memory intensive workloads and database processing. Thanks to its innovative design with 20 percent more cores and a large and efficient cache hierarchy, the newest generation of Intel Xeon E7 CPU family delivers exceptional performance improvements for SAP HANA platform in-memory database processing.

Given the additional cores and the performance improvement per core SAP could extend the core to main memory ratio for analytical workload by 50%.

The new Haswell processor architecture also includes the Intel Transactional Synchronization Extensions (TSX) capability which provides hardware-supported lock elision for improved transactional data processing. This innovative technology boosts the performance of in-memory transactional data processing on systems with high core counts by increasing the scalability of thread synchronization.

On one hand, the increasing number of cores that comes with every new generation of processors enhances the performance of large in-memory database systems, but it also poses greater challenges to programmers who need to develop new ways to improve synchronization performance. Writing sophisticated algorithms to run multiple queries in parallel, while at the same time maintaining a synchronized access to internal data structures is not a trivial effort. The Intel TSX capability alleviates this problem by leveraging hardware to dynamically determine whether threads actually need to synchronize even in the presence of conservatively used synchronization. SAP HANA is leveraging the Intel TSX capability to improve its existing lock-based programming model, resulting in faster system performance and extended scalability.

Another important benefit from the new Haswell processor architecture is the enhanced Advanced Vector Extensions 2 (Intel AVX2) processor instructions. AVX2 expands most integer commands to 256 bits, delivering up to 68 percent more computing power (GFLOPS) to help solve complex technical problems faster. The performance of SAP HANA platform scan operations, which determine how many items in a database can be scanned per second, have been enhanced to benefit from Intel AVX2.

In addition to delivering enhanced performance, the new Intel Xeon processor E7 v3 family provides more than 40 new and enhanced reliability features as part of the latest reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) features of the Intel Run Sure Technology. Customers can leverage the 40+ RAS features available only on the Intel Xeon processor E7 family to increase their infrastructure uptime with specialized capabilities that can diagnose and recover from system and memory management failures.

With its exceptional performance, advanced reliability, and extended scalability, the new Intel Xeon processor E7 v3 family provides ideal processor for SAP HANA platform running the most demanding enterprise and mission critical workloads.

SAP partners have already started introducing their newly-certified SAP HANA hardware with Intel’s E7 v3 series of processors. To find out more about HANA availability and supported configurations, check the SAP HANA Hardware Directory, or contact your SAP Account Representative to learn more.

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