SAP Digitally Transforms Itself and Its Customers with a Cloud Migration Powered by Intel

When it comes to digital transformation, talking the talk is one thing, walking the talk is another. Recently, SAP did just that—for itself and its customers—by migrating the database it used to run the SAP Business ByDesign* solution to the SAP HANA* platform in the cloud. That cloud migration affected SAP as an SAP Business ByDesign user itself, in addition to external SAP Business ByDesign customers worldwide.

In the end, SAP completed the migration with almost no disruption to customers. SAP also ended up with performance and operational improvements and a future-proof solution. Upgrading from the SAP HANA platform to the newer SAP HANA 2 platform can also be done without disruption and will extend SAP’s and SAP Business ByDesign user’s capabilities with a rich set of additional features.

SAP Powers Its SAP HANA Platform with the Intel Xeon Processor E7 v4 Family

SAP chose to use servers based on the Intel® Xeon® processor E7 v4 family to power the SAP HANA platform as the new database for the SAP Business ByDesign solution. SAP’s choice of hardware was, in part, a result of the long-time collaboration between SAP and Intel, which has led to servers ideally tuned to support SAP HANA. The collaboration, the SAP HANA platform, and Intel hardware SAP chose to run it on also supports SAP’s business-intelligence (BI) strategy, which is to “innovate the core and build the cloud.”

A key component of SAP’s BI strategy, the collaboration, and the solutions is digital transformation, which in today’s fast-pasted economy is one of the most potent of all competitive differentiators. It’s something that is made possible by the collaboration between SAP and Intel, which has led to advancements that are transforming industries by enabling access to the right information, in the form of analytics on sales and customer data, more economically viable and available in real time. SAP’s migration effort demonstrates the benefits of the collaboration in many ways.

The Benefits of the Intel Xeon Processor E7 v4 Family

The Intel Xeon processor E7 v4 family is an upgrade from SAP’s previous deployment’s Intel processor–powered servers, and it offered SAP expanded memory capabilities that range from 512 GB to 6 TB on 160 cores. The newer servers also enable increased levels of performance for the SAP HANA platform, along with higher real-time responsiveness, faster results, and greater productivity.

With the SAP Business ByDesign solution running on the SAP HANA platform and the Intel Xeon processor E7 v4 family, SAP and its customers can now process massive amounts of core business data along with unstructured data from new sources to uncover usable real-time insights. Users can ask computationally demanding questions and get an answer in 0.7 seconds. That’s not seven seconds, but point-seven or seven-tenths of a second, which is pretty darn fast.

Time to actionable real-time insights with the SAP HANA platform running on Intel Xeon processors

Performance Benefits Are Just Part of the Cloud-Migration Equation

The benefits SAP experienced from migrating the SAP Business ByDesign solution to the SAP HANA platform on the Intel Xeon processor E7 v4 family haven’t ended with performance improvements though. SAP has also realized operational improvements enabled by the newer servers, including:

  • Forty percent more capacity per server, which results from a combination of the servers’ higher core count and the SAP HANA platform’s database-compression capabilities. Benefits of the greater capacity for SAP include reduced management and power costs.
  • Scalability with room to add more tenants per server as the customer base expands, in addition to the ability to scale RAM on individual eight-socket systems from 6 TB to 8 TB.

Is Your Business Ready for the Performance and Capabilities of the SAP HANA Platform or New Intel Processor–Based Servers?

SAP’s migration and the resulting benefits is a pretty impressive story, especially because it all was accomplished in just four months and involved coordinating with SAP’s own internal operations and more than 3,500 customers across the globe. Total downtime affecting customers was just 30 hours over the course of a single weekend.

The story is a nice look at how seamless migrating to the cloud can be and, more importantly, how effective new solutions and new hardware can be at improving performance and operational efficiency. Find out more about the migration, the Intel Xeon processor E7 v4 family’s contributions to the migration, and the subsequent performance benefits in our “SAP and Intel Co-innovation Enables Global Cloud Migration to the SAP HANA Platform” case study.

You might also enjoy my previous post: “Digital Transformation: Intel and SAP HANA 2 Help Businesses Innovate and Compete.”

And don’t forget to follow me and my growing #TechTim community on Twitter: @TimIntel.


[1] Intel. “Business Intelligence with Intel Xeon Processor E7-8800/4800 v4 Product Families.” June 2016. intel.com/content/www/us/en/benchmarks/server/xeon-e7-v4/xeon-e7-v4-business-intelligence.html.

Configurations: submitted/published results as of 6 June 2016:

  • 4-socket Intel Xeon processor E7-8890 v4 family: Dell PowerEdge R930 with four Intel Xeon processors E7-8890 v4, 2.20 GHz (96 cores, 192 threads), 1.5 TB memory, running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11, SAP NetWeaver 7.50, SAP BW Advanced Mixed Load (BW-AML), SAP HANA 1.0. Source: SAP certification number 2016025, http://global.sap.com/solutions/benchmark. Score: 29,557 advanced query navigation steps/hour; 2 billion records.
  • 4-socket Intel Xeon processor E7-8890 v3 family: Dell PowerEdge R930 with four Intel Xeon processors E7-8890 v3, 2.50 GHz (72 cores, 144 threads), 1.5 TB memory, running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11, SAP NetWeaver 7.50, SAP BW-AML, SAP HANA 1.0. Source: SAP certification number 2016019, http://global.sap.com/solutions/benchmark. Score: 23,690 advanced query navigation steps/hour; 2 billion records.

For more information, go to intel.com/performance/datacenter.

[1] Intel. “Intel Xeon Processor E7 v4 and SAP HANA®: A Marriage Made in Heaven.” August 2016. youtube.com/watch?v=RX34C5ZlFWQ.

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Tim Allen

About Tim Allen

Tim is a strategic marketing manager for Intel with specific responsibilities related to the cloud, big data, analytics, datacenter appliances and RISC migration. 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 Tektronix, IBM, Intersolv, Sequent and Con-Way Logistics. Tim holds a BSEE in computer engineering from BYU, PMP certification and a MBA in finance from the University of Portland. Specialties include - PMP, MCSE, CNA, HP-UX, AIX, Shell, Perl, C++