Looking to boost SAP HANA performance? Look no further than Power9



If you’re looking for a competitive edge – and who isn’t? In-memory computing with SAP HANA can be your gateway to better customer experiences, faster time to market, and major efficiency boosts. The transformative analytics and decision-making capabilities these next-generation ERP technologies offer, can drive the real business value you are looking for.

But choosing to migrate to SAP HANA isn’t the only big decision you’ll need to make. Many businesses are already using SAP HANA. So, the real question is, which server platform will lift you above the crowd? A new wave of IBM Power Systems servers, built on the impressive new POWER9 processors, could be the answer.

SAP software is integral to many businesses in the Middle East. This is reflected by SAP’s commitment to investing US$200 million in the region.

However, as you might be aware, SAP software is changing… and businesses are required to change with it. Yes, all SAP environments must be migrated to the new in-memory database platform, SAP HANA, by 2025.

2025 might seem far in the future, but migration takes significant planning and is best approached with the help of an experienced technology partner.

So, in this post, we’re helping you get started with a look at what the new POWER9-based IBM Power Systems can do.

First though, in case you’re new to the topic, let’s have a quick refresher on in-memory computing and databases – since this will help us understand the advantages of the POWER9 solutions.

What is in-memory computing?

In in-memory computing, your entire data set is stored in system memory (i.e. RAM, rather than storage drives). Even if that dataset is multiple terabytes in size.

This brings two key advantages:

  • Faster reads and writes – because RAM is much faster than even the fastest SSD. (In fact, an in-memory computing system only ever writes to storage, for backup purposes. It never reads from storage, except in recovery, because the whole database is already in memory.)
  • Real-time analytics – the system can perform analytics on any part of the database instantly, without having to swap data to and from storage.

As you can imagine, this delivers extraordinary business value. But as you can also imagine, it requires modern infrastructure with massive memory.

What can the new IBM Power Systems offer?

Fortunately, the new scale-out POWER9-based IBM Power Systems servers are designed specifically for mission-critical SAP HANA workloads. And they bring advantages over any other available solution.

They can support an in-memory database of up to 4TB in size, ideal for growing enterprises.

The servers have also been optimized specifically for SAP HANA, with features such as:

  • Pre-loaded firmware designed to maximize the security of SAP HANA environments
  • Built-in PowerVM virtualization that enables businesses to easily build a private, hybrid or multi-cloud environment for use with SAP HANA
  • Scalability that allows businesses to start small and grow their data flexibly

But what about the POWER9 processor itself – what makes it especially valuable for SAP HANA and in-memory computing?

Fast enough to reduce your licensing costs

We recently took an in-depth look at POWER9 and found that it provides incredible data bandwidth, as well as industry-leading processing power.

It’s the first processor to feature on-chip support for the OpenCAPI interface, which provides unbelievably fast data transfer between memory and CPU (up to 150GB/s) and can increase datacenter server performance by up to 10x. That’s ideal for in-memory computing.

It also supports new PCI-Express 4.0, which is twice as fast as the older v3.0 standard that x86 systems are locked to.

Speaking of x86, POWER9 has been shown to deliver at least 2x the performance per corecompared to x86-based Intel Xeon Skylake processors in database workload benchmarks. And with SAP HANA, as you may be aware, better performance per core means lower software licensing costs.

These performance numbers translate to major improvements in real-world business outcomes, too. Indus Motor company, a leading auto maker in Pakistan is an example of SAP HANA on IBM POWER servers and this has delivered:

  •   95% faster material requirements planning, reducing supply chain disruption
  • 10% improvement in sales order accuracy
  • 20% reduction in defects per unit, accelerating manufacturing

That makes the combination of SAP HANA and IBM Power Systems an all-round winner.

Find out more

POWER9’s generational leaps in performance and data bandwidth could give you a major competitive advantage when running SAP HANA.

If you’re already an SAP customer, migrating to HANA is going to be mandatory soon. Given the planning involved, and the benefits that HANA can deliver today, it may make sense to start planning now.

And you don’t need to do it alone. GBM’s long-standing partnership with IBM, 26 years of system integration expertise in the region and our vast history in designing and deploying SAP solutions, means we can advise you on the right step forward, and partner with you if you choose to digitally transform.

Get in touch with me if you would like to know more.

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