The Intel Xeon Platinum Processor Is Put to the Test and Comes Out Shining

The new Intel Xeon Platinum processor has launched, and it’s already been put to the test. Not to be outdone by its predecessors, the testing proves it’s a winner with:

  • Up to 38.5 percent more query executions per hour compared to the previous-generation Intel® Xeon® processor E7-8894 v41
  • Up to 50 percent more memory support for online analytical processing (OLAP) and online transaction processing (OLTP) workloads on the SAP HANA 2* platform
  • 2x better density for 8-socket implementations

Those wins are only a part of the broader benefits provided by the Intel Xeon Platinum processor, which is designed for scalability, security, performance, and to take businesses into the future.

The Test

Lenovo tested the new Lenovo ThinkSystem SR950* server powered by an Intel Xeon Platinum processor—the top of the line processor from the newly launched Intel Xeon processor Scalable family—in the SAP BW Edition for SAP HANA (BW/4HANA) Standard Application Benchmark.[i]

The Intel Xeon Platinum processor isn’t the only Intel Xeon processor that SAP has put through this test. All of the most recent generations of Intel Xeon processors have been put through the same or previous-generation SAP benchmark tests. And each generation of Intel Xeon processor family has gotten better and better—a trend that continues with the Intel Xeon processor Scalable family. As noted earlier, the new Intel Xeon Platinum processor delivered 38.5 percent more query executions per hour compared to the Intel Xeon processor E7 v4 family, specifically the Intel Xeon processor E7-8894 v4.1

Top that off with the fact that the Intel Xeon processor E7 v4 family was already a winner in its own right, and you’ll get a feel for how exciting the results truly are.

The Memory

SAP has certified the SAP HANA 2 platform for OLAP workloads to support up to 3 TB of memory per 4-socket system on the Intel Xeon processor Scalable family. The certification is for a 4-socket configuration or for 6 TB in an 8-socket configuration. Compare that to the systems available four years ago, which represent the typical data center installed base, and which supported just 0.5 TB in a 4-socket system or 1 TB in an 8-socket system. Now, scale-out implementations for very large SAP BW workloads can support up to 94 6 TB nodes for a total of 564 TB—without the need for a storage area network (SAN), resulting in a lower TCO for large scale-out implementations.

How do we get to 50 percent more memory? Well, SAP certifies support for up to 2 TB of memory for the Intel Xeon processor E7 v4 family in a 4-socket configuration, so Intel Xeon Platinum processor-based systems are certified to support up to 50 percent more system memory than the previous generation. That’s pretty impressive, and it’s powerful for data centers and enterprises.

More memory for SAP HANA analytics on Intel Xeon Platinum processors.

The Server Side of World-Record Performance

To reap the benefits of a powerful processor, you need a server that harnesses all that power. The Lenovo System x3850 X6*, powered by an Intel Xeon processor E7 v4, held the overall world record for the SAP BW edition for SAP HANA* benchmark. With 1.3 billion initial records, it held the world record for total runtime of the data load, query executions per hour, and total runtime of the complex query phase. And the new Lenovo ThinkSystem SR950 server, powered by an Intel Xeon Platinum processor, has outdone that record by another 38.5 percent.

The Lenovo ThinkSystem SR950 server is one of the first servers available with the Intel Xeon Platinum processor. It’s an impressive system, and the combination of the server and its Intel Xeon Platinum processor provides powerful scalability—with 2-, 4-, and 8-socket scalability in a single 4U server. It also delivers high performance for mission-critical and mixed workloads as SAP’s testing confirms using half of the rack space of the previous generation system while incorporating up to 24 2.5” front drive bays, including up to 12 NVMe drives, and the speed needed to obtain real-time insights using the SAP HANA 2 Platform.

No Accident

The performance and capabilities of the Lenovo server, the Intel Xeon Platinum processor, and the SAP HANA workload didn’t happen due to a random alignment of the stars. They are quite intentional and the culmination of the ongoing, strong collaboration between Intel, Lenovo, and SAP. Our companies don’t just collaborate and co-engineer to develop and deliver exceptional products; we actually use each others’ products. SAP uses Lenovo servers powered by Intel Xeon processors to run its own internal SAP HANA Platform implementation, and Lenovo uses the SAP HANA Platform to enable its own supply-chain transformation.

I invite you to learn more about the topics in this post in the Enable Possible” infographic. You can also find out more about the benefits of the new Intel Xeon processor Scalable Family, the Lenovo ThinkSystem SR950 server, or the SAP benchmark results.

You might also enjoy my previous post, “SAP Digitally Transforms Itself and Its Customers with a Cloud Migration Powered by Intel,” which goes even further into how SAP and Intel walk the talk. And don’t forget to follow me and my growing #TechTim community on Twitter: @TimIntel.

1 Comparing the Intel® Xeon® Platinum 8180 processor results for the SAP BW Edition for SAP HANA* (SAP BW/4HANA*) Standard Application Benchmark (see endnote 2) from June 2017 to the Intel Xeon processor E7-8894 results for the SAP BW edition for SAP HANA Standard Application Benchmark from February 2017 (See or

Configurations: Baseline: Lenovo System x3850 X6*, four processors, 96 cores, 192 threads, Intel Xeon processor E7-8894 v4, 2.40 GHz, 64 KB L1 cache and 256 KB L2 cache per core, 60 MB L3 cache per processor, 2,048 GB main memory for the SAP BW benchmark in February 2017; query throughput (higher is better): 4,273; query runtime (lower is better): 154; data load (lower is better): 14,939. Compared to: Lenovo ThinkSystem SR950*, four processors, 112 cores, 224 threads, Intel Xeon Platinum 8180 processors, 2.50 GHz, 1,792 KB L1 for the SAP BW/4HANA Standard Application Benchmark in June 2017; query throughput: 5,921 (38.50 percent improvement); query runtime: 143 (7 percent improvement); data load: 14,302 (4 percent improvement).

This benchmark fully complies with the SAP Benchmark Council regulations and has been audited and certified by SAP SE. The SAP certification number 2017024 can be found at the following web page: Details can also be obtained from Lenovo and SAP. The benchmark was performed at the Lenovo Data Center Performance Lab in Research Triangle Park, NC, USA, by Lenovo engineers. Configuration: Lenovo ThinkSystem SR950*, 4 processors, 112 cores, 224 threads, Intel® Xeon® Platinum 8180 Processors, 2.50 GHz, 1,792 KB L1 cache, 28,672 KB L2 cache, and 39,424 MB L3 cache per processor, with 1,536 GB main memory.

The SAP BW Edition for SAP HANA standard application benchmark is the latest addition to the list of benchmarks for SAP BW. It fully utilizes the capabilities of SAP HANA to process the benchmark workload. Allowed data volumes are a multiple of 1.3 billion initial records and can be run in single-node and multimode setups. This benchmark was released in July 2016.

Tests document performance of components on a particular test, in specific systems. Differences in hardware, software, or configuration will affect actual performance. Consult other sources of information to evaluate performance as you consider your purchase. For more complete information about performance and benchmark results, visit

Intel does not control or audit third-party benchmark data or the websites referenced in this document. You should visit the referenced website and confirm whether referenced data are accurate.

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Tim Allen

About Tim Allen

Tim is a strategic relationship manager for Intel driving enablement for enterprise software companies related to the cloud, big data, analytics, AEC, commercial VR, datacenter, and IoT. Tim has 20+ years of industry experience including work as a systems analyst, developer, system administrator, enterprise systems trainer, product marketing engineer, and marketing program manager. Prior to Intel Tim worked at IBM, Tektronix, Intersolv, Sequent and Con-Way Logistics. Tim holds a BSEE in computer engineering from BYU and an MBA in finance from the University of Portland. Specialties include - PMP, MCSE, CNA, HP-UX, AIX, Shell, Perl, C++