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SAP NetWeaver BPM @ Full Throttle


As market adoption and requirements towards SAP NetWeaver BPM (BPM) increase, we decided mid of 2011 to investigate  how much load a BPM system can handle on a certain platform. The project was run as a joint project between International IBM and SAP Competency Centre (ISICC) and SAP AG (BPM development) jointly in Germany.

The comprehensive project results are available as a case study document published on the IBM Techdocs library. Find below a summary of the main aspects around this. I recommend further reading inside of the actual case study document.

System Landscape

ISICC was able to provide a powerful IBM Power 750 Express system with 32 POWER7 CPU-cores. The system was separated into 5 logical partitions to accomodate a SAP NetWeaver BPM cluster landscape. The additional three partitions accomodated a SAP WebDispatcher, JEE mock-server for web service call simulation and the load generator client.

System Landscape

Business Process Scenario and KPIs

In order to test and measure the throughput we used a three-step approval scenario which is typical in many back-office processes. The KPIs to be achieved were:

  • Number of task instances per hour: 46,000
  • Number of process instances per day: 100,000    

According to the SAP NetWeaver BPM sizing guide number of task instances are the decisive factor in these considerations.

Business Scenario - Three Step Approval

SAP NetWeaver BPM Process Model: Three-Step Approval

Test Execution

The performance tests were conducted in two different variants:

  • BPM Ad-hoc Usage
  • BPM Business Day Simulation

BPM Ad-hoc Usage implements the load test for each concurrent user individually with log-in, task search, task completion and log-off.

BPM Business Day Simulation implements the load test for each user as a simulation of the entire business day with log-in at the beginning, continous processing of incoming task instances and only logging-off at the end of the test.

Further details on the test variants are detailed out in the case study.

Test Results – Throughput

In summary the following throughput was achieved:

BPM Business Day Simulation:

  • Task Instances per hour:   111,672
  • Process Inst. per hour:   37,223
  • CPU utilization:  71 %
  • Response Time:   0.26 sec
  • In-progress Rate:   < 0.1 %
  • SAPS / task rating:  0.54

BPM Ad-Hoc Usage

  • Task Instances per hour:   49,996
  • Process Inst. per hour:   16,665
  • CPU utilization:  84 %
  • Response Time:   0.24 sec
  • In-progress Rate:  0.14 %
  • SAP / task rating:   1.39

The tests show that SAP NetWeaver BPM is capable of running high-volume scenarios in an efficient and robust manner. Further details on the test results, setup and configuration can be read from the publication of the joint case study.

The document also provides in depth information on scalability of SAP NetWeaver, comparison of IBM POWER7 vs. IBM POWER6 system and other interesting technical research.

Happy Reading!

All the best for 2012,

Ralf Schaub

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