In the SAP world, the subject of the SAP HANA database remains unchangeably one of the most debated subjects. Most frequently, it appears in the context of migration from the current, traditional, row database to the row-column database fully loaded into the RAM, which significantly increases performance. The key question asked by our clients is no longer whether to migrate, but when.

Obviously the question of when consists of numerous elements, including business benefits, performance growth, as well as process safety and operational costs. Each of these factors is affected by the selected hardware-software platform, possibilities of its development and safe maintenance ensuring maximum business process continuity.

In the article, we will present the possibility of maintaining SAP HANA systems in All for One Data Centers, which ensures both migration safety, guarantees system administrators competencies, and allows companies to focus on their core business, without having to deal with the technical infrastructure.

Tailored Data Center

The SAP HANA system maintained in the All for One Data Centers use the hardware-software platform defined by SAP as Tailored Datacenter Integration (TDI). What is TDI? It is a guarantee granted by SAP that the hardware infrastructure resources used by the BCC (now All for One Poland) data processing centers are compliant with the strict requirements regarding performance, availability and safety in the context of maintaining the SAP HANA systems.

The manufacturer’s guarantee also covers technical personnel handling system installation and maintenance. When comparing the possibilities of maintaining the SAP HANA systems based on the TDI solution to maintaining them on dedicated technical infrastructure, so called HANA Appliance, we can indicate numerous advantages of the first model.

Firstly – scalability

In the maintenance model of TDI-based SAP HANA systems, the technical infrastructure for SAP systems can increase along with business needs and adjust to the current situation. In other words, it is the infrastructure that adjusts to the SAP system, and not the system that adjusts to the purchased or planned HANA Appliance. It obviously means benefits also from a business perspective. It is not necessary to plan purchasing hardware infrastructure with a perspective for growth of the system estimated for several years – it is sufficient to focus on its current size.

It is important to remember that the infrastructure in the data processing center is modernized on an ongoing basis and practically in a clear way for systems, which are maintained on it due to the application of the virtualization technology at several levels (servers, disk resources, networks, etc.). In the variant of maintaining SAP HANA systems using the dedicated HANA Appliance, update of the technical infrastructure is more challenging. It will additionally require cyclical replacement due to aging of the infrastructure, which results in a necessity for further investment expenditure in the perspective of several years and – most of all – conducting technical works involving transfer of the SAP HANA system to a newly purchased hardware platform.

Secondly – security

Maintenance of the systems in All for One Data Centers in comparison to the model of maintaining them on a HANA Appliance “on premise” is significantly more advantageous regarding maximum security. Security itself can be considered at various levels – physical security, unauthorized access, providing backup or the possibility of quick reactivation of the system in case of a failure.

All for One Data Centers consist of two independent data processing centers. It ensures significant additional possibilities regarding the security of the systems of our clients – data migration, a possibility to use geographically distributed high availability technologies and storage of system backups, including system recovery procedures in case of a failure.

It is also important to remember about competencies of people who are involved on a daily basis in maintenance of the system, taking care of the infrastructure, log analysis and – what more importantly – availability of expert competencies in case of emergencies regardless of the time of day or year. Proper care of “the company’s heart”, as the integrated enterprise management system is often called, is a key condition to ensure the required security level.

Thirdly – efficiency

Efficiency of the SAP HANA systems are scaled differently based on TDI and differently based on the HANA Appliance. In brief, the TDI infrastructure allows almost linear scaling of efficiency in comparison to a HANA Appliance where it can be performed in steps. In the SAP HANA Appliance variant there is usually one server containing computing power, RAM memory and disc resources. The entirety is verified and certified by the manufacturer and it constitutes a complimentary solution.

In the TDI variant at the infrastructure level, we speak of combining several layers, servers ensuring computing power and RAM memory, disc arrays ensuring access to data, and a network layer or a backup system that constitutes an integral part of maintaining systems in All for One Data Centers. Each of the listed layers is configured in accordance with recommendations of the software manufacturer, and logically combined it constitutes efficient infrastructure ready to host the SAP HANA systems.

Fourthly – availability

Availability of the systems is an essential condition to ensure the continuity of operation of our clients. Having two data processing centers in All for One Data Centers, we have larger possibilities to ensure proper availability than it is possible in the majority of clients’ server rooms. We must remember that the system will be available at such a level that ensures the weakest link in the availability chain – meaning the network layer, disc resources, servers, clustering possibilities, etc. One SAP HANA Appliance cannot ensure the system operation in the high availability variant, which is very important in planning the system for companies for which continuity of operation is essential.

When contemplating purchase or migration into the SAP HANA system, one should verify redundancy at all possible levels. The infrastructure of All for One Data Centers ensures redundancy of devices in all elements of the availability chain – which significantly reduces the risk of the system unavailability.

When planning development of the SAP systems, migration of the systems into SAP HANA or their installation, it is important to check the possibilities offered by All for One Data Centers. Maintaining systems using the possibilities offered by the Tailored Data Center is an option worth considering in all aspects: business benefits, efficiency growth, security and costs.