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New Intel® Xeon® “Broadwell” Processor Boosts SAP HANA Scalability and Performance to New Highs

On Monday, Intel released the new high-end Xeon E7 v4 microprocessor under the Broadwell-EX banner targeting mission-critical servers.  The new chips have up to 24 cores (plus Hyper-Threading), which is a 30% increase in core-count compared to the previous generation of CPUs (Haswell-EX). They also feature large, up to 60MB L3 cache (compared to 45MB L3 cache with Haswell-EX), and provide support for four channels of DDR4 memory per CPU.

The new Broadwell-based servers will be able to support much higher main memory capacities, which is of great importance to SAP HANA which keeps all data in-memory. Intel certified for the first time 128GB DIMMs  (3DS LRDIMMs) making it possible for an 8 socket Broadwell server to support  up to 24TB of main memory (which is twice more than Haswell-EX).

The rather substantial increase in core-count, much larger L3 cache and main memory capacity helped boost the SAP HANA system throughput and performance. As a result, SAP was able to increase the core to main memory ratio for transactional workloads to a whopping 1TB per socket (1 socket =24 cores), thus enabling new scalability limits for SAP HANA customers.

Intel also enhanced Broadwell processor support for Intel’s Transactional Synchronization Extensions (TSX) which helped with further boosting the SAP HANA performance. With TSX enabled, hardware automatically detects conflicting memory accesses. TSX provides hardware support for lock-elision by removing the locking mechanisms that keep threads from manipulating the same data in main memory, thus enabling all threads to complete all of their work in parallel. Intel debuted TSX support with Haswell cores and further enhanced its capabilities in Broadwell by enhancing TSX buffer structure for overflow reads, which led to reduced TSX capacity aborts and a significant performance boost.

The feature set for E7 v4 series comes with many new capabilities (such as Posted Interrupts, Page Modification Logging, Cache Allocation Technology, Memory Bandwidth Monitoring) and it has enhanced set of 70 Reliability, Availability and Serviceability (RAS) features ensuring increased system up time and application availability for SAP HANA customers.

The new Broadwell chips are incremental upgrades with the same sockets but new chips, making it possible for SAP HANA customers to upgrade the processors on current servers. By providing a platform that’s certified to support multiple generations of processors in a single socket type over a span of years, Intel made sure that SAP HANA customers do not have to worry about the cost and complexity of changing sockets every one or two generations.

Every time Intel announces new Xeon chips, SAP HANA partners waste no time in announcing new servers to take advantage of Intel’s latest innovations.  In fact, on Monday, Jun 6th – the same day that Intel made the new Broadwell chips announcement, more than half a dozen SAP partners were ready with their newly-certified SAP HANA hardware with Intel’s E7 v4 series of processors.

For an up-to-date view of available SAP HANA server configurations on the latest Intel’s Xeon microprocessor architecture, go to SAP HANA Hardware directory and select “Broadwell-EX E7” filter option. Also make sure to check the official SAP benchmarking site where SAP partners will be publishing server application performance based on SAP benchmarks on the new Broadwell chips.


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    • Hi Daniele,

      With every new generation of Intel Xeon E7 CPU ( E7 v1 “Westmere”, E7 v2 “Ivy Bridge” – Feb 2014, E7 v3 “Haswell” – May 2015, and the most recent E7 v4 “Broadwell” – just released), the software engineers at SAP and Intel would work together with our HANA partners to make sure that SAP HANA workloads are optimized to take full advantage of all the features the latest processor is offering. It’s a significant engineering effort to develop software optimizations that incorporate the latest hardware innovations , to tune the hardware and ensure different HANA workloads run optimally, and finally run benchmarking tests to determine incremental improvements. As a result, with every new generation of SAP HANA in-memory server we were able to gradually increase performance and scalability for different HANA workloads: For instance, with Haswell and SPS 9 we increased core to memory ratio for analytical workloads by 50%, and with continuous NUMA, TSX, etc. optimizations we were able to further boost the scalability limits for OLAP workloads, SPS 11 and Haswell (0.5 TB per socket) and OLTP workloads, SPS12 and Broadwell (1TB per socket).

      For more details on the new Broadwell-EX processor, including some of the latest benchmarking results of SAP HANA workloads - you may want to check the Intel’s data sheet on Xeon E7 V4 at

  • Hello Zora,
    According to SAP note 1995460 only Ivy Bridge / Haswell processors are supported to run HANA on vmware 5.5. Do you know if this is going to be extended to Broadwell processors as well?
    Thank you,
    Noe Hoyos

    • Hi Noe,
      Our partners prioritize their technologies enablement for SAP HANA: VMware's current focus is on enabling SAP HANA on vSphere 6 in multiVM and scale-out deployment scenarios, they have not shared with us any plans for enabling vSphere 5.5 for HANA on Intel Broadwell CPUs.

  • Hi Zora - Can you please provide a pointer to SAP's guidance on mixing different Intel generations on a scale-out HANA system. We have many customers with Ivy Bridge (V2) based systems that need to expand, but additional V2 nodes are going EOL.