Data Centers as the “Power Plants” of the digital Economy

Data centers are the power plants of today’s businesses. However, planning high availability into a system landscape may often be an overlooked aspect by some businesses. As more elements ranging from devices, people, equipment and other systems become increasingly connected, the costs after an unplanned outage is definitely becoming more significant. In the always-on digital economy, companies that rely on data to make decisions, conduct transactions, and interact with consumers cannot afford data center blackouts.

Based on industry surveys mentioned in a Gartner blog here, the average cost of network downtime is over $300k/hour, although there is a large degree of variance depending on the business. The cost for a bank, or manufacturing company undergoing downtime would definitely be more due possibly to transactions that could not be executed. What is more important however is that the cost is significantly increasing year-on-year, from an average cost per minute of an unplanned outage from $5,610 in 2010 to $7,908 in 2013 to $8,851 per minute in 2016, as noted here by an Emerson report.

So how much downtime are companies experiencing today on average? As noted by Dunn & Bradstreet in this article, 59% of Fortune 500 companies experienced a minimum of 1.6 hours downtime per week. The principal cause for most outages is still UPS systems failure. While such overall unplanned outages including those causes from cooling failures and human error have decreased as processes and equipment becoming more reliable, planned cybercrime is increasingly becoming another cause of data center outages.

 

The Data Center Readiness Cycle

From SAP’s point of view, managing a data center could be broken down into a lifecycle – planning, building and running phases. Data center readiness begins often in planning, where IT managers should address the stages of installation and update, persistence as well as backup and recovery solutions. In the build phase, IT managers will need to focus on the various high availability options that can be leveraged cost-effectively. Lastly, the run phase includes setting to operation the various disaster recovery, monitoring and security capabilities.

We will cover each of these stages in detail over the next weeks in six different parts, so do refer to the below for the links to each individual blog. We will update the links once the blogs are ready.

Leveraging the SAP HANA Platform

Going forward, as IT landscapes become more complex, maintaining uptime will increasingly become a challenge. It is important for IT managers to consider technologies that can help them simplify their landscape and IT architectures, while getting their systems ready for the future.

Aside from combining transaction and analytical workloads and providing real-time performance, SAP HANA also comes provided with in-built high availability and disaster recovery features. These help to improve the overall enterprise readiness of a business, in a more cost effective way. This is because, while database reliability is essential today to ensure a continuous digital connection to the business network, it can be cost prohibitive for some customers to maintain it.

An example of improving enterprise readiness cost-effectively would be the continuous improvement to the SAP HANA system replication feature. Over the years, the system replication feature has been continuously refined with the customers’ TCO in mind. Starting with Delta data shipping in SPS11 to maintain better concurrency between the Primary and Secondary backup systems, we further introduced continuous log replay features to further improve the recovery-time-objective and also reduce the network bandwidth that may spike during delta data shipments. (see: figure 2).

These options may allow IT managers to better optimize their IT investments towards maintaining readiness in their data center, and free up more budget for innovation. But beyond just budget, SAP also focuses on reducing the “performance cost” for example on the networks, such as the continuous log replay feature above.

Customer Stories

To help provide references to help in your next project, here are some customer examples who have implemented HA/DR solutions into their landscape:

  1. Munich Re: Munich Re required high availability and a safeguard against emergencies. A highly available environment, including disaster recovery at the application layer, had to be ensured. A highly recommended read, find out more here in this detailed business transformation study.
  2. Infosys Ltd: Implemented cross–data center replication for disaster recovery to minimize business disruption and avoid data loss. You can read here the full business transformation study.
  3. Swiss Krono improved business continuity through the system replication functionality of SAP HANA. You can read here their business transformation study.
  4. Evonik Industries AG established a high availability reporting platform that is also disaster tolerant, thanks to the system replication functionality of SAP HANA. To learn more, read the full business transformation study.
  5. Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen GmbH created a high-availability environment using the system replication functionality of the SAP HANA platform. To learn more, read the full business transformation study.


More on this topic

To help IT managers better balance between the various options available for them in deploying the landscape, we will cover more on this topic in greater detail, in the months to come.

(more to come)

  • Jan 17: Building Your Data Center – Host Auto-failover, Sys. Replication, Storage Replication
  • Feb 17: Running Your Data Center – Storage & System Replication between data centers
  • Mar 17: Optimizing for Cost, Optimizing for Performance
  • Apr 17: Addressing Latency in replication, difference between delta shipping & log replay
  • May 17: Making use of new features in Active/Active read-enabled, log encryption etc. (Sapphire)

This blog series is a follow-up to last month’S HANA 2 announcement of the SAP HANA active/active read-enabled option in Tech Ed Barcelona, where we review the fundamentals of enterprise readiness, and the HANA features supporting it.

Find out more on the topic of SAP HANA High Availability and Disaster Recovery at our SAP website here.

To go deeper in detail, check out also the Open SAP courses on the general topic of “High Availability and Disaster Recovery with the SAP HANA Platform“.

You can also check out our existing playlist on SAP HANA System Replication at the SAP HANA Academy here.

 

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