New FlashArray//X Drives Application Acceleration for SAP HANA

Pure Storage FlashArray//X is the world’s first enterprise-class, all-NVMe flash storage array. It represents a new class of storage – shared accelerated storage (which is a term coined by Gartner) – that delivers major breakthroughs in performance, simplicity, and consolidation of mixed workloads. With latency as low as 250 μs, FlashArray//X’s all-NVME architecture brings new levels of performance to mission-critical business applications. With built-in Purity ActiveCluster, more applications can now benefit from the simple to deploy, always-on business continuity provided by via active/active metro stretch clustering. Pure DirectFlash with 100% NVMe also enables unprecedented performance density – the kind of density required for mixed-workload consolidation in your cloud. //X currently supports ultra-dense 18.3TB DirectFlash modules, for maximum density and full performance. In addition, Purity’s always-on and limits QoS features means you can consolidate radically diverse applications without fear of I/O contention.

The SAP HANA platform combines database, data processing, and application functionality, all in-memory. The platform provides libraries for predictive, planning, text processing, spatial and business analytics. By providing advanced capabilities, such as predictive text analytics, spatial processing and data virtualization on the same architecture, it further simplifies application development and processing across big-data sources and structures. This makes SAP HANA a highly suitable platform for building and deploying next-generation, real-time applications, and analytics.

While SAP HANA is an in-memory database that stores and processes bulk of the data in memory, it still needs to persist a copy of data for the purpose of starting-up, delta merges, and fault recovery without any data loss. The Pure Storage FlashArray//X delivers all-flash performance, built-in resiliency, and end-to-end simplicity. Above all, these are made possible at a cost that is often lower than that of a traditional disk or hybrid array.

The existing FlashArray//M exceeds SAP HANA performance requirements, but we wanted to see how the new flagship FlashArray//X90 compares to the //M70R2 which launched in late 2016.

//M vs //X:  Performance test with SAP HANA HWCCT benchmark tool

For this test we compared a FlashArray//X90 with a FlashArray//M70, with each running their respective version of Purity software available at GA. The server we used for both tests was a Cisco UCS Blade B200M4 running SUSE Linux 12 over VMware ESXi 6.5. SAP HANA data and log volumes as RDMs and we deployed a two-node scale-out cluster of SAP HANA using Hardware configuration check tool or HWCCT.

Hardware Configuration Check Tool (HWCCT) provides tests and reports for single host and scale out systems to determine if the hardware you intend to use meets the minimum performance criteria required to run SAP HANA in production use. SAP requires using HWCCT to check verify enterprise storage according to the SAP HANA Tailored Data Center Integration (TDI) approach.

HWCCT provides the following checks for measuring the storage performance: Measurement of data throughput rates and latency times between the SAP HANA computing nodes and the external storage system.

HWCCT Test

Avg. Bandwidth

Data Volumes(MB/sec)

Log Latency
//M70 152T 40  SSD ~1100 430
//X90 182T 20 DirectFlash Modules   ~4100 258
//X vs //M performance increase 370% 40%

Figure 1: HWCCT test results

These results demonstrate that the //X90 reached SAP HANA writes were almost 4 times faster which makes sure the delta merges are even faster.  The log latency with the //X was 40% less than on the //M70R2.  This demonstrate the improvements in density performance, meaning that the //X90 accomplishes more with the same amount of flash as the //M70R2.

Update as of June 6th, 2018:

SAP has listed the FlashArray//X family of products as certified on the SAP HANA Certified and Supported Hardware directory here.

Conclusion

This test results demonstrate that the new FlashArray//X90 is setting a new bar in density and performance for SAP HANA workloads, delivering higher performance with less flash than before.  For SAP HANA customers seeking to migrate their workloads to all flash to meet SLA requirements, both the //M and //X arrays are great solutions.   The new //X90 provides the greatest density and cutting edge performance for the largest SAP HANA customers, while the //M provides a great option that exceeds SAP HANA performance requirements. Pure’s Evergreen™ Storage program means existing customers on //M arrays can upgrade non-disruptively to the //X, and avoid re-buying the same TBs twice.  New customers have even more options for configuration and performance with the //X when sourcing storage from Pure, allowing them to take advantage of the next step in technology with NVMe and DirectFlash™.

For more information on announcements this year at Pure//Accelerate, check out our overall launch blog, Data Centric Architecture Powers Digital Business.