New Intel® Xeon® “Broadwell” Processor Boosts SAP HANA Scalability and Performance to New Highs

On Monday, Intel released the new high-end Xeon E7 v4 microprocessor under the Broadwell-EX banner targeting mission-critical servers.  The new chips have up to 24 cores (plus Hyper-Threading), which is a 30% increase in core-count compared to the previous generation of CPUs (Haswell-EX). They also feature large, up to 60MB L3 cache (compared to 45MB L3 cache with Haswell-EX), and provide support for four channels of DDR4 memory per CPU.

The new Broadwell-based servers will be able to support much higher main memory capacities, which is of great importance to SAP HANA which keeps all data in-memory. Intel certified for the first time 128GB DIMMs  (3DS LRDIMMs) making it possible for an 8 socket Broadwell server to support  up to 24TB of main memory (which is twice more than Haswell-EX).

The rather substantial increase in core-count, much larger L3 cache and main memory capacity helped boost the SAP HANA system throughput and performance. As a result, SAP was able to increase the core to main memory ratio for transactional workloads to a whopping 1TB per socket (1 socket =24 cores), thus enabling new scalability limits for SAP HANA customers.

Intel also enhanced Broadwell processor support for Intel’s Transactional Synchronization Extensions (TSX) which helped with further boosting the SAP HANA performance. With TSX enabled, hardware automatically detects conflicting memory accesses. TSX provides hardware support for lock-elision by removing the locking mechanisms that keep threads from manipulating the same data in main memory, thus enabling all threads to complete all of their work in parallel. Intel debuted TSX support with Haswell cores and further enhanced its capabilities in Broadwell by enhancing TSX buffer structure for overflow reads, which led to reduced TSX capacity aborts and a significant performance boost.

The feature set for E7 v4 series comes with many new capabilities (such as Posted Interrupts, Page Modification Logging, Cache Allocation Technology, Memory Bandwidth Monitoring) and it has enhanced set of 70 Reliability, Availability and Serviceability (RAS) features ensuring increased system up time and application availability for SAP HANA customers.

The new Broadwell chips are incremental upgrades with the same sockets but new chips, making it possible for SAP HANA customers to upgrade the processors on current servers. By providing a platform that’s certified to support multiple generations of processors in a single socket type over a span of years, Intel made sure that SAP HANA customers do not have to worry about the cost and complexity of changing sockets every one or two generations.

Every time Intel announces new Xeon chips, SAP HANA partners waste no time in announcing new servers to take advantage of Intel’s latest innovations.  In fact, on Monday, Jun 6th – the same day that Intel made the new Broadwell chips announcement, more than half a dozen SAP partners were ready with their newly-certified SAP HANA hardware with Intel’s E7 v4 series of processors.

For an up-to-date view of available SAP HANA server configurations on the latest Intel’s Xeon microprocessor architecture, go to SAP HANA Hardware directory and select “Broadwell-EX E7” filter option. Also make sure to check the official SAP benchmarking site where SAP partners will be publishing server application performance based on SAP benchmarks on the new Broadwell chips.


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