vSAN Hyperconverged Infrastructure

Key Factors for SAP HANA Customers Considering HCI for Production Workloads

VMware Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI), powered by vSphere and vSAN, is an SAP certified enterprise-class platform that offers high performance, scalability, operational simplicity, and a low TCO for SAP HANA production deployments. As recently acknowledged by SAP, HCI is the fastest growing enterprise architecture that allows customers to benefit from the latest hardware and software technologies to drive scalability and lower operational costs for SAP HANA deployments.

VMware HCI: The Enterprise-Proven Platform for Mission Critical Applications

VMware vSphere is the industry-leading virtualization and cloud platform that delivers a scalable, secure infrastructure for enhanced application performance. vSphere has been certified to run SAP HANA across multiple releases on multiple Intel processor families. It is a proven platform for HANA production environments for customers around the world. Well established and battle tested architecture guidelines and best practices apply to new production deployments on VMware HCI in both an SAP HANA Scale-Up and Multi-VM configurations.

VMware vSAN, the only vSphere native storage and market leading HCI software, is built into the vSphere kernel, and does not require a storage controller VM (aka CVM) taxing the I/O path. vSAN optimizes the data I/O path to provide the highest levels of performance with minimal impact on CPU and memory resources, achieving the best resource efficiency while extending the vSphere management and operational experience to storage. vSAN allows customers to prepare for tomorrow’s IT needs in the multi-cloud era with software-defined infrastructure that leverages the latest hardware technologies, runs on the broadest set of OEM platforms, and supports next-gen cloud-native and mission-critical applications.


VMware HCI Provides Critical Advantages for SAP HANA Deployments

For SAP HANA customers considering HCI for production, there are a set of key factors to consider before deploying the workloads on HCI. These include performance with scalability and density, management and operational simplicity, and integrated one-stop support experience. VMware HCI is an enterprise-class platform that offers key advantages to enable customers to transform their SAP HANA environments with HCI.

  • Performance with scalability and density

o   Full access to CPU sockets

SAP HANA VMs cannot share CPU sockets with storage controller VMs (CVMs) used in other HCI solutions. vSAN runs natively in vSphere, it doesn’t require a CVM to run the storage stack, therefore vSAN allows HANA VMs to have full access to all available CPU sockets on each server in a HANA production deployment scenario, achieving the highest HANA VM density per node and per cluster. For instance, on a 4-socket host vSAN supports either a 4-socket HANA VM configuration or a maximum of 4 HANA VMs. In comparison, other HCI platforms running a CVM can only have 3 sockets available to HANA VMs on each 4-socket system.

o   Large memory footprint

SAP HANA is an in-memory database that combines OLAP and OLTP processing, eliminating disk bottlenecks and offering groundbreaking performance. The typical SAP HANA production database is between 2 and 6 TB for about 95% of all SAP customers who run HANA. vSphere has supported 4TB HANA VMs since vSphere 6.0. Now vSphere and vSAN 6.5 and 6.7 offer superior scalability to support single HANA VM memory size up to 6TB, containing roughly 10.4 billion records in the database. VMware HCI has the highest memory support for HANA by multiple times over competition.

o   Support for the latest hardware innovations

The strong hardware ecosystem of vSAN and broad choice of new hardware platforms provides customers the fastest path to next-generation server platforms and storage devices, including Day 0 support of the latest technologies like the new Intel Optane NVMe SSDs based on the 3D XPoint technology. Customers can confidently run their SAP HANA workloads on vSAN while immediately reaping the benefits of the latest hardware innovations in the market, including a fully integrated turnkey solution Dell EMC VxRail.

  • Management and operational simplicity

o   Integrated vSphere management

Customers manage vSAN using vCenter, and other familiar tools such as vSphere Update Manager for end-to-end lifecycle management including I/O controller firmware and driver updates. No need to learn a new management tool.

o   Combination of vSphere and SAP HANA HA and operational features

Customers can leverage complementary High Availability and operational features of vSphere and SAP HANA to provide the most reliable BC/DR solutions, and simplify operations by using technology that is familiar to both database and vSphere admins, including VMware HA, SAP HANA System Replication, in-guest clustering, VMware SRM, vSphere vMotion, and VMware DRS. 

o   Health, capacity, and performance monitoring

vSAN offers comprehensive health check, capacity reporting, and performance monitoring both natively in vCenter and through advanced vRealize Operations Manager which also has a vCenter plug-in included with vSAN 6.7.

  • Integrated support

o   Certified for SAP HANA production deployment

VMware HCI is now a certified platform for running SAP HANA production workloads.

VMware OEM partners can build and certify HCI solutions for SAP HANA based on the VMware HCI software platform, the hardware platform must be certified and listed in the SAP HANA Product Availability Matrix and vSAN Compatibility Guide.

Dell Technologies has announced that the Dell EMC VxRail, powered by vSphere and vSAN, is an HCI appliance available in the market today that is fully tested and certified by SAP for SAP HANA production environments, reflecting Dell EMC’s continued leadership in the rapidly growing HCI appliance industry.

VMware will work with a broad ecosystem of OEM partners to certify and bring more HCI solutions based on vSAN Ready Nodes for SAP HANA to market.

o   One-stop support experience

Customers can use their familiar SAP Customer Support for any issues that they might have with their SAP HANA on vSAN deployments, production or non-production. VMware provides the one-stop support experience to customers running SAP applications on vSAN. To escalate vSAN related issues in these SAP environments, simply collect a VMware performance snapshot as described in note 1158363 and vSphere support bundles. Next open a ticket directly with VMware, and we will take it from there.

o   Rapid support resolution

Through the vSAN ReadyCare initiative, VMware has introduced a series of features and improvements, including vSAN Support Insight and Cloud Analytics,  to dramatically improve the time to resolution for customers and their environments. By providing proactive, and reactive intelligent insight into the potential cause of issues, vSAN allows data center administrators to focus on delivering SAP application services.

VMware HCI Delivers Leading Consolidation for SAP HANA Customers

Our joint SAP/VMware customers have come to expect rich capabilities and the highest levels of performance from their infrastructure. VMware’s HCI platform certification ensures that we meet or exceed those standards with unmatched performance and scalability while ensuring data integrity. VMware HCI provides simple evolution to full stack HCI, broadest flexibility from the industry leading ecosystem and multi-cloud capabilities today.

With full access to CPU sockets and large memory support, VMware HCI is the only enterprise-class platform that delivers a cost-effective option for SAP HANA deployments by allowing more and larger HANA databases to run on servers with the same CPU and memory specification than other HCI platforms. The highest density nodes for SAP HANA powered by vSAN lead to running HANA production workloads with lowest footprint in hardware and software licensing.


“Hyper-converged solutions provide a level of robustness and agility to data center workloads that is unmatched in the legacy, physical world,” said Eric Sheppard, Research VP for IDC’s Infrastructure Platforms & Technologies Group. “VMware has been at the forefront of hyper-convergence for many years and SAP HANA certification of vSAN with VxRail ultimately helps customers maximize HCI benefits as they confidently expand vSAN use cases to mission-critical environments.”

“With the recent migration of SAP HANA to vSAN, our IT product environment now supports all major databases on vSAN.”, said Chanh Chi and Varinder Kumar, senior leaders of VMware IT, “As vSAN evolves, we will continue to run early versions in our product environment. Customers can be confident in running vSAN in their large-scale deployments of ERP applications that include SAP HANA.” VMware IT’s migration of SAP application and SAP HANA to vSAN is blogged here.

The time has now come. We look forward to working with customers on their journey of IT transformation to deploy SAP HANA at scale and in production on various enterprise-class HCI solutions powered by vSAN!

Next Steps

Learn more about the latest vSAN release

Take a technical deep dive at Storage Hub

Attend the Running SAP HANA on HCI Powered by vSAN [HCI2019BE] session at VMworld Barcelona


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