SAP's HANA in-memory database is one of the fastest-growing technologies in the history of SAP. While HANA is a software solution, it relies on hardware to work. Multiple hardware vendors have stepped up to the task of enabling HANA in recent months and now it's Dell's turn.
Dell announced a new workload solution for SAP HANA this week. Ben Tao, director for Converged Infrastructure at Dell, told Enterprise Apps Today that the new offering is not just another also-ran in the market for SAP HANA solutions.
"The fact that we have an SAP HANA-certified solution is not huge news, as other IT vendors have that certification too," Tao said. "We really think we fill gaps that have been left by our competitors that address serious requirements that customers have."
Cisco and HP are among the big name IT vendors with SAP HANA-certified hardware solutions. Both of those vendors released SAP HANA solutions in October, with Cisco's largest system delivering as much as 8 TB of RAM.
Dell's SAP HANA solution is based on the Dell PowerEdge R910 server node. The solution can be configured with up to eight R910 nodes clustered together to deliver 4 TB of RAM for in-memory processing. Tao stressed that Dell's approach is based on a modular architecture that enables easier scalability.
Memory vs. SSD
The entire Dell SAP HANA solution is a pre-integrated solution stack comprised of the R910 servers, Dell Force10 networking switching and shared storage with Dell Compellant SANs.
"As customers expand their use of SAP software running on HANA they are going to want to have a more modular, scale-out architecture," Tao said.
The memory specification for the Dell SAP HANA solution is all about DRAM and not SSD. "Dynamic RAM is still so much faster than SSD, especially on writes," Tao said. "SSD really is faster physical storage and at this point is not a competitor to DRAM."
SAP HANA software
From a bare metal perspective, the SAP HANA system runs on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES). Though Dell is selling the hardware solution, the SAP HANA software however must be acquired from SAP.
"SAP's directive is that no one can resell SAP HANA software," Tao said. "So everyone has to buy HANA from SAP, but we install the underlying Linux operating system."