By Zev Rubenstein, NetApp Data Protection Product Marketing Manager
Too Big to Fail
SAP® HANA is designed to crunch data in real-time using an in-memory database. When used in conjunction with a “Big Data” system, data streams can be loaded via APIs into the memory for processing. Customers using SAP HANA are using it to gain a competitive edge, with best of breed use cases doing real-time decision support. SAP’s future vision is to have a single store for data and analytics.
Just thinking about that makes me think about the cost of downtime for such a system. The fact is, as with other mission-critical infrastructures, downtime is not an option. In other words, it’s “too big (i.e. important) to fail”.
Cisco and NetApp Partnership with SAP
The good news is that Cisco and NetApp have teamed up to create the Cisco UCS with NetApp Storage for SAP HANA solution, which is an “appliance” that has been officially certified by SAP1. Similar to the FlexPod Datacenter for SAP Applications solution, it’s comprised of Cisco compute and networking teamed with NetApp storage. Growing HANA workloads require a shared storage back end, and our joint solution provides a building-block architecture for seamless scale-out as the application grows.
“Wait,” I hear you ask, “If the database is in memory, why do I need external storage?” Simple: it’s for data protection. If there is a hiccup in the memory, you have the data committed to disk so you can recover. And once you have it on NetApp FAS storage, you can take Snapshot copies, and replicate to a remote site for Disaster Recovery (with SnapMirror).
MetroCluster to the Rescue
For those SAP HANA deployments which require zero downtime and zero data loss, there is a version of the design that integrates MetroCluster, our solution for Continuous Availability. MetroCluster protects from both IT-related events (who disconnected the wrong cable?) and non-IT events (hurricanes, floods, fires, etc.). With MetroCluster, you get a storage cluster with synchronously replicated copies of the SAP HANA data. You can have the second unit in the building, on campus, or elsewhere in the metropolitan area.
Of course, you can still use SnapMirror to replicate the data to a more remote site to protect from regional disasters. In fact, MetroCluster is part of our Integrated Data Protection portfolio, so it works seamlessly with all of our data protection features, as well as with NetApp Storage Efficiency, FlexClone copies, etc. That’s one of the benefits of our Software Defined Storage heritage.
So, if your SAP HANA infrastructure is too big to fail, make sure it’s running on the Cisco and NetApp SAP HANA appliance with the High Availability option.
For more information, view the SAP with Cisco & NetApp webcast.
 The official title is “The Cisco UCS with NetApp Storage for SAP HANA” – see the blog by Tobias Brandl for more information.