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Author's profile photo Kevin Liu

What magic to expect when SAP ASE MemScale is enabled with EMC XtremeIO?

An exciting new feature of SAP ASE

With the release of SAP ASE 16 SP02 in 2015, SAP took transaction processing to the next level by leveraging in-memory computing, intelligent data placement, as well as other hardware and software innovations. Most of these enhancements are delivered as part of the MemScale option.

The MemScale option is designed to significantly increases transaction throughput and minimizes latency. It improves the efficiency of SAP ASE in high-core count machines and leverages newer memory architectures, which results in faster query execution and response time. It also allows faster storage performance.

One of the new features in this new option is non-volatile caching (NV cache). It allows you to create named caches on All-Flash arrays.

Picture1.pngFlashdrives (otherwise known as solid-state drives or SSDs) within an array provide significant performance benefits associated with this new feature.

Configuring a cache for a database and associating named caches with the database allows these objects to automatically map to the NV cache. Once the NV cache is created and the database is bound to it, the transition is smooth and no special/additional action is required from the database administrator in order to start using the NV cache option. As with regular named caches, named NV caches can be created, dropped, and updated dynamically. The NV caches are minimally journaled for easy reconstruction at boot recovery.

When leveraging SSD flash technology, customers using SAP ASE have a number of choices as to which flash architecture and topology they prefer. One of the great choices is EMC XtremeIO, a full-featured, scale out All-Flash Array that has been designed from the ground up to unlock the full potential of SSDs.

What we did at SAP Co-innovation Lab

EMC and SAP have collaborated to highlight the performance improvements by combining the SAP ASE 16 SP02 database server with the EMC XtremIO All-Flash Array.  In the SAP Co-Innovation Lab in Palo Alto, California, we conducted an experiment to demonstrate what can be achieved.

We installed SAP ASE 16 SP02 on a Fujitsu machine and attached both an EMC XtremIO All-Flash Array v4.0.x and a Fujitsu Eternus HDD SAN Storage. We enabled the MemScale Option in SAP ASE  and used the new NV cache feature with XtremIO, and did hundreds rounds of performance measurements.

What’s the result?

With various configurations, we demonstrate between 280% and 420% performance improvements in SAP ASE query response time and the number of database transactions without making any changes to the applications or the way end users/applications interact with the database.


The above diagram provides a sneak peek of the test results.  All the details are presented in a SAP/EMC joint white paper.  Check it out.

The Team to Thank

All the work is done by a virtual project team between SAP and EMC.  Many colleagues from both participating companies contributed to this project, just to name a few here who spent months setting up the infrastructure, designing and conducting the test, drafting the paper, and managing various tasks. 

From SAP:  Prateek Agarwal, Stan Arnbrister, David Cruickshank, Syed Hussaini, Vaibhav Nalawade, Andrew Neugebauer, Kevin Liu, Lorra Moyer;

From EMC:    Hadas Avni, David Brace, Parmeet Dhaliwal, Matthew Lazaro, Deny Patel, Kurt Roedszus, Raj Singh. 

You folks are the best.

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