Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Tuesday, June 28, 2022

VMware Props SAP HANA Up On Hypervisors 

VMware and SAP announced the release this week of the German software vendor's in-memory computing platform, HANA, running on top of VMware's vSphere 5.5 server virtualization software. The agreement means vSphere has now achieved production support for HANA, the partners said.

The combination is expected to provide vSphere 5.5 customers with an alternative method for accessing the HANA computing platform. SAP's Bernd Leukert said in a statement that the deal would allow customers to "operate their SAP HANA-based mission-critical applications in virtual environments."

VMware portrayed the agreement certifying HANA for production use on vSphere as part of a trend towards hastening the evolution of IT infrastructure from physical environments to software-defined datacenters that would provide greater access to computing assets.

VMware and SAP said HANA platform support for the ESXi 5.5 hypervisor at the heart of vSphere 5.5 's virtualized environment also would help streamline datacenter operations for customers rolling out their virtualization strategies. HANA support for vSphere 5.5 also would accelerate provisioning of new HANA implementations for production use, the partners claimed.

Running on VMware in production mode, HANA can crunch 1 TB  of data. It also supports 32 physical cores or 64 virtual cores. That means joint customers can run and scale single-node HANA databases up to 1 TB in virtual environments with access to vSphere features while running critical workloads, a VMware executive said in a blog post.

Other vSphere features that can be used with HANA workloads include: the ability to migrate HANA databases from one certified host to another; a VMware distributed resource scheduler that balances HANA virtual machines and prevents HANA migrations to uncertified hosts; automatic deployment of vSphere hosts using an optimized HANA host profile; and monitoring HANA hosts and virtual machines to detect hardware and guest operating system failures.

In the last case, virtual machines would be automatically restarted on other HANA certified hosts when a server outage is detected, VMware said.

VMware first presented performance data for HANA running on an earlier version of vSphere in 2012, about two years after SAP launched HANA as a key component of its data management and analytics lineup. The earlier version, vSphere 5.1, was supported to run HANA, but only in non-production scenarios. This week's announcement means vSphere now has production support for HANA.

SAP and VMware said they expect to deliver upgraded capabilities for HANA running in virtualized environments that would give customers more deployment options. Likely upgrades are expected to include expanding beyond the current 1 TB memory and 32-core compute capacities.

Several joint customers moving to software-defined datacenters said they are now in production with HANA running on vSphere in the 1 TB configuration. These customers include the German auto engine builder AMG-Mercedes and storage specialist EMC. The latter, of course, is the majority shareholder that owns VMware.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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