While VMware extended the general support period for vSphere 6.5/6.7, which was originally scheduled to reach EoGS (End of General Support) on November 15, 2021 to October 15, 2022, now also this extended time is closing and all customers still running vSphere 6.7 or even vSphere 6.5 are advised to plan the migration to vSphere 7.
vSphere 7, released and SAP HANA supported in 2020, includes major new capabilities such, as larger memory and CPU support, support for containers natively on vSphere for non-SAP HANA workloads, improved operations capabilities such as workload-oriented DRS and significant vMotion and security enhancements. With vSphere 7.0 Update 2 new scalability features like more CPU threads and larger memory got supported, allowing SAP HANA database instance deployments up to 12 TB. With our latest SAP HANA validation we support by now also the latest Intel 8-socket CPU platform based on Cooper Lake CPUs.
Our SAP HANA release strategy is normally covering three CPU generations. The planned vSphere 7 CPUs for SAP HANA where initially Intel Skylake, Cascade Lake and Cooper Lake CPUs. While we still work releasing support for Intel Ice Lake CPU’s, we got a lot of customer requests to re-validate the Intel Broadwell CPU platform with vSphere 7 to allow them to seamlessly upgrade their Broadwell SAP HANA on vSphere 6.7 environment. Because of these requests and the economic situation, with limited system availability and worldwide supply chain constraints, VMware decided to re-validate the Intel Broadwell CPU generation for SAP HANA running on vSphere 7.0 and later vSphere 7 upgrade versions.
Therefore we are happy to announce that customers who are already running vSphere 6.5/6.7 on Intel Broadwell CPUs and do not observe any performance issues with their current workload can upgrade to vSphere 7.0 and later 7.0 upgrade versions (SAP note 2937606). The supported memory and vCPU configurations are described in SAP note 2393917. New installations of vSphere 7.0 on Broadwell are not recommended. In this case, more recent CPU generations should be used if customers need to run vSphere 7.0 with SAP HANA.
What are the implications upgrading your SAP HANA 2.0 environment running on vSphere 6.5/6.7 to vSphere 7.0?
A vSphere upgrade starts with upgrading the vCenter system to the latest vSphere 7.0 Ux version. After that upgrading the ESXi hosts can start. Putting the ESXi host in maintenance mode to avoid new VMs to get started and to automatically, or when DRS is deactivated then manually, evacuate running SAP HANA VMs (no SAP HANA VM downtime needed) to hosts with enough capacity to run this VM. Once the host is maintenance mode ESXi / vSphere can get upgraded to the latest vSphere 7.0 version (e.g. 7.0 U3c). Once successfully upgraded, the SAP HANA VMs can get migrated back. A short downtime must be scheduled to upgrade the latest VM HW version. After this the VMware tools running inside the OS should get upgraded as well to ensure that these drivers are corresponding to the ESXi host version. The required time to upgrade the virtual VM hardware is measured in minutes.
During our vSphere 7.0 U3c SAP HANA validation on Broadwell CPUs, the direct bare metal (BM) to virtual machine (VM) SAP HANA comparison has shown the virtualization limitations of this older CPU generation while running a simulated S/4 HANA system virtualized and where outside the maximal 10% deviation goal for network latencies to a BM system. With this result, the performance impact of the virtualization is higher than the general SAP expectations.
Nevertheless, we have measured a very positive impact of vSphere 7 on network latencies for OLTP and OLAP type workloads when compared to vSphere 6.7 U3. The throughput was in the CPU utilization range from 35% to 75% with around 2% higher and at the so-called maximal CPU utilization (>85%) close to 1% better. See next figures and results table for details
OLTP type workload:
OLAP type workload:
Broadwell vSphere 6.7 vs. 7.0 test results table:
Since the Intel Broadwell Platform is by now an aged system, you may also want to consider upgrading to a new hardware platform. This will not only provide a more stable and secure environment (Intel Broadwell CPU vulnerabilities), but also will allow to react on SAP HANA data growth and higher CPU requirements due to the adoption of S/4 HANA.
As an example, I want to show you the higher performance and scalability of an up-to-date SAP HANA and vSphere 7 validated and fully supported Cooper Lake 4 socket system we recently validated with the same SAP HANA, SLES and test tool versions. The table below shows the power of a modern up-to-date CPU and up to 83% more users can get supported by only 33% more CPU cores. These users generated an up to 73% higher throughput with up to 44% lower network latency. This system also provides 50% more memory to support your SAP HANA database growth by the same number of CPU sockets. Note, the measured network latencies at the maximum CPU utilization are not representative and to imprecise when compared between different CPU generations.
The graphic below shows the TPH gain when running a Cooper Lake based server at the CPU utilization range as an older Broadwell system.
The table shows the complete measurement for your reference.
The larger memory footprint of this server will also allow you consolidate more SAP HANA VMs per socket. Up to 8 SAP HANA systems, with a memory size of around 750 GB per VM, would be supported. If older Broadwell based VM are consolidated and the full 4 TB are yet not leveraged per VM, then two Broadwell based virtual SAP HANA systems could get consolidated on one Cooper Lake based server.
Call to action:
While it is still time till October, please start to plan to upgrade your vSphere 6.5/6.7 environment to vSphere 7.0 as soon as possible. For customers unable to upgrade their vSphere 6.5/6.7 environment, VMware is offering extended support up to 2 years for VMware ESXi 6.5/6.7. Customer can purchase the offering via TAM or VMware website. Please refer to the VMware Extended Support datasheet for further details on extended support program. We strongly recommend our customers to move to 7.x version to benefit from improved Reliability, Security, and Availability.
In the case you are still using Intel Haswell or Ivy Bridge CPUs (Intel Xeon E7-8800/4800/2800-v2 or Intel Xeon E7-8800/4800-v3) then you are advised to upgrade your server HW in addition. These 10+ year old CPUs are out of our SAP HANA validation scope and won’t be supported with vSphere 7.
As of vSphere 7 we start to discontinue older CPUs. While these CPUs will still work with vSphere 7, you will get following warning message shown by the ESX installer:
„CPU_SUPPORT_WARNING: The CPUs in this host may not be supported in future ESXi releases. Please plan accordingly.“
Please see KB 82794 for additional details.
- Please start to plan to upgrade your vSphere 6.5/6.7 environment to vSphere 7.0 as soon as possible.
- vSphere 6.5/6.7 reach EoGS (End of General Support) October 15, 2022.
- vSphere 7.0 SAP HANA support got extended for existing vSphere Broadwell-based systems.
- Upgrading is possible with minimal (planed) downtime and will positively impact SAP HANA workload network latency and throughput.
- No vSphere 7.0 SAP HANA support for Intel Ivy Bridge and Haswell CPUs
- Replacing aged Broadwell or older hosts can provide up to 50% more memory and can support up to 83% more users by the SAME number of VMware vSphere CPU licenses.
- VMware Lifecycle Matrix EoGS (End of General Support) (set filter to “ESXi”) and check for “ESXi 6.7”.
- VMware KB 82794 – Updated Plan for CPU Support Discontinuation In Future Major vSphere Releases (82794)
- SAP note 2937606 – SAP HANA on VMware vSphere 7.0 in production
- SAP note 2393917 – SAP HANA on VMware vSphere 6.5 and 6.7 in production
- SAP note 3102813 – SAP HANA on VMware vSphere 7.0 U2/U3 with up to 12 TB DRAM 448 vCPUs VM sizes
- Blog: Announcing Extension of vSphere 6.7 General Support Period to October 2022
- Blog: VMware vSphere and vSAN 7.0 U1 Day Zero Support for SAP Workloads
- Blog: SAP grants support for 12 TB SAP HANA VMs on VMware vSphere 7.0 U2/U3 and later running on Intel Cascade Lake based servers
- Blog: VMware vSphere 7.0 U2/U3c and Cooper Lake 8-Socket Support for SAP HANA