With increasing speed of business from digitization and other trends, enterprises are faced with greater transaction volume and speed than ever before. ASE 16 SP02 is a timely release that is targeted to address this extreme scale of transaction processing. As part of the ASE 16 release family and following the footsteps of ASE 16.0 that already supports linear scalability of transaction processing workloads on large core-count machines, ASE 16 SP02 takes the extreme online transaction processing (XOLTP) challenge head-on with the following key capabilities, which also address enterprise operational needs for enhanced business continuity and agility:

Business Acceleration

ASE 16 SP02 introduces a new MemScale option that includes new technologies to improve performance with the power of in-memory processing and hardware acceleration. More importantly, no changes are required in existing ASE applications to take advantage of this group of enhancements. The following capabilities are included in the MemScale option:

Simplified Native Access Plan (SNAP) improves the performance of repeatedly run queries, by compiling query plans into native code. The second time an ad-hoc query with a cached plan is executed, ASE generates an intermediate representation that is compiled into native code that provides better performance. Dynamic SQL and stored procedures are also supported, though this capability is currently available on Linux platforms only.

Latch-free B-tree enables users to create indexes that do not require a latch, thereby reducing contention and enabling faster scans of frequently accessed tables. Contention also reduced by use of Transactional Memory on Intel’s latest x86 chipsets (Haswell) in lieu of spinlocks implementing locking and latching mechanisms in ASE. Hardware-enabled transactional memory facility helps to keep track of memory reads/writes more efficiently compared to spinlocks and could provide significant performance gains for workloads that exhibit high lock contention profiles.

Buffer Cache Extension with Flash Memory (to be available in a release after general availability of ASE 16 SP02): To improve I/O performance, ASE makes use of flash storage, which supports higher I/O performance compared to traditional hard drives. ASE’s named caches can be tuned and bound dynamically to flash memory as an intermediate overflow area for buffer cache such that pages can be retrieved from flash memory much faster and dirty buffers can be stored in flash memory and written back to disk in a delayed fashion improving application performance. This is also attractive from cost considerations as Tempdb can be configured to use a combination of smaller size of expensive main memory and a larger, but less expensive, flash memory.

In addition to the new MemScale option, ASE 16 SP02 has enhanced buffer manager technology that helps to reduce cache contention for small tables bound to a named cache. This is enabled by a new setting when creating a cache and it allows multiple threads to access the cache without locking, which improves transaction throughput. This enhancement works on regular tables persisted with on ASE’s page-based store and without changes to the application.

Business Agility

ASE 16 SP02 enables business agility by allowing continuous monitoring, analysis and improvement in handling enterprise transaction workloads. Besides a newly architected ASE Cockpit for monitoring and management, this release introduces a new workload analyzer tool to diagnose and improve ASE performance without materially impacting the production environment.

The new Workload Analyzer option can be used to capture, analyze and replay a workload to ensure that businesses can stay agile and support the needs of changing application requirements. This support includes identifying slow queries and applying configuration changes or other fixes to resolve issues, enable and test new features and compare performance against baseline with same workload, and tune ASE for a given workload without impacting production server, among other benefits.

This release will also help businesses stay agile to the changing data access patterns of the application through support of data tiering using Data Store Access Management, which is part of the base ASE product. This functionality operates on data partitions and provides a facility to define policies and actions to take when policy conditions are met. The policies would typically be associated with an access tier, where the tier is defined by the access pattern of the data partition. For example, a high frequency access pattern on a data partition would characterize it as hot, and by policy the partition could automatically be stored in flash memory devices in uncompressed form for fast access.

This release also introduces a new management and monitoring tool – ASE Cockpit with Database Control Center (DCC) – with simpler alerting mechanism and support for all new ASE features. For details, please see: http://scn.sap.com/community/ase-custom-applications/blog/2015/06/11/whats-new-in-ase-cockpit

Business Continuity

With this release, SAP has integrated its market-leading data replication technology with ASE to provide an innovative, single solution for both High Availability and Disaster Recovery (HADR) that is available as Always-on option in ASE for custom applications. In comparison to storage replication technologies, Always-on provides a low-cost solution that does not require any special clustering software or hardware. The solution is implemented with a pair of database servers, which can serve as HA solution when the primary and companion servers are located within 35Km of each other. For larger distances between the primary and companion servers, configuration for DR is supported. One key difference between HA and DR configurations is that HA supports synchronous replication between primary and companion, thereby ensuring that there is no data loss. For DR configuration, asynchronous replication is supported, which does not guarantee zero data loss. The solution supports automatic fault detection and handling along with transparent client failovers for planned and unplanned failovers.

Some of the key advantages of Always-on that differentiates it from competitive solutions include:

  • Zero downtime upgrades – all upgrades and patches can be applied in a rolling fashion without requiring any downtime, unlike storage replication based solutions
  • Companion reporting – reporting workloads can be run on the companion node safely with no fear of accidental data modifications. DBAs do not need to take any additional steps to block logins or revoke write privileges from companion node.
  • Soft quiesce for planned failovers – avoids termination of in-flight transactions and waits for all active transactions to commit to achieve a soft quiesce state when connections are automatically disconnected with primary and reconnected to companion server. This eliminates the need to patch systems or re-issue transactions that were active when planned failover was initiated.

I am sure this has piqued your interest to learn more about this exciting release of ASE! We are putting together the following series of webinars to provide details of this release. You can register for each session by clicking on the links below, as they become available.

Date/Time

Title

September 15, 1:00 ET

Technology Innovations in SAP ASE 16 SP02

September 30, 1:00 ET

SAP ASE Database Always-On: Ultimate in Zero Downtime/Data Loss

October 14, 1:00 ET

Processing Extreme Transactions with SAP ASE In-Memory Technology

October 28, 1:00 ET

Workload Analyzer in SAP ASE

Please watch this posting for additional content pointers in the next couple of months.

For additional information on ASE, see http://www.sap.com/ase


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