Supercharge SAP workload on IBM Cloud with PowerVS
Few month ago, I released a blog about running SAP workload on VMware in IBM Cloud as a unique offer, well today I will talk about another major offer which is the IBM Power Virtual Server as an IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) offering.
Known as least hidden secret, running IBM Power system for SAP workload is the ideal platform due to their robustness, scalability, and ability to handle high workloads. IBM Power Server is specifically designed for high-performance computing, data-intensive workloads, and mission-critical applications.
Overall, as a powerful virtualization solution, IBM PowerVS can help businesses to run their SAP workloads more efficiently, securely, and cost-effectively.
In this article, I will provide detail around the PowerVS offer on IBM Cloud, design & architecture for SAP workload.
Best practice: Before to start anything make sure to read all necessary note relevant to your deployment, read the product guide for each component that you intend to deploy and make sure that you have done the sizing exercise properly.
Be careful on restriction and what is supported or not, this will avoid unnecessary hiccup.
Again, and always, before to start any action and to guaranty the success of the exercise, it is important to do some reading on our subject. Here is a collection of guides, references and SAP Notes to be reviewed.
These references differ from the previous article, so take the time to review it
2855850 – SAP Applications on IBM Power Virtual Servers
2947579 – SAP HANA on IBM Power Virtual Servers
2923984 – SAP on IBM Power Virtual Servers: Support prerequisites
2414820 – SAP on IBM Cloud: Support prerequisites
2932766 – SAP on IBM Power Virtual Servers: Key Monitoring Metrics
SAP workload on IBM PowerVS, what does it mean for customers?
Running IBM PowerVS for customers as mentioned in my first paragraph bring significant value for all reasons highlighted, existing customers familiarized with IBM Power on-premise already know how powerful and robust this infrastructure is, but for new customers it’s like traveling on a first-class Rocketship.
Remember the PowerVS is an IaaS offering, so in a context of hybrid architecture, customers can extend their existing on-premise or private DC SAP workload to the cloud without changing anything in terms of tools or operations, which save time and money.
Beyond the fact that customers run their operation as usual, they also can consume and integrate native cloud services with PowerVS.
Let’s get started
Hold on !!! not yet 😉 … before to put your system on a different solar system you must be informed of few things to clear out nuances with the classic approach of native cloud virtual machine like VPC.
PowerVS Responsibility Assignment Matrix
The first point is the RACI, once your PowerVS is provisioned you must manage the OS, software and data.
Design for the best and even better
IBM Power Server
Let’s get started with the servers, to operate SAP workload on PowerVS in IBM Cloud two server type will be available
IBM Power E980
To run SAP Hana, only this server will be supported operating SLES or RHEL. It brings massive throughput, performance and scalability in a modular high-end system with up to 192 POWER9 cores processor. It can go up to 64TB memory and is the fastest POWER9 processors in the Power Systems portfolio.
IBM Power S922
On the other side, this server can be used to run SAP NetWeaver and SAP AnyDB workloads on AIX or Linux operating system. At the glance the IBM Power Systems S922 is a mid-range server featuring the POWER9 core processor also, featuring a flexible core configuration ranging from 4 to 20 cores, making it a robust solution for resource-intensive applications and enterprise workloads.
Let’s continue with the processor, of course, IBM Power will not be named as such without running Power processor 😊. IBM Power processor permit to run with dedicated and shared configurations, the great thing with IBM PowerVS instance is the ability to resize virtual servers dynamically !!! feature that is fully supported by SAP NetWeaver.
The other major point in terms of hardware is the storage, both servers are attached with Block Storage powered by IBM Storage FlashSystem families such 5200/7300/9500. They are connected through fiber channel protocols and provide performance, cyber resiliency, scalability and power efficiency.
Within IBM Power Systems Infrastructure, there are two types of storage available:
Block Storage Tier 1 for mission critical application, e.g. NVMe flash storage. For SAP HANA workloads, Tier 1 of block storage is supported only.
Block Storage Tier 3 default storage type with optimized price/performance, e.g. SSD flash storage.
IBM PowerVS design for SAP
Now that we see what it consists of from a pure hardware, let’s dive on the specifics to understand how to articulate your choice around the virtual server instance.
Few lines above it talked about the Power Server E980 and S922 usage for SAP Hana or SAP Netweaver with AnyDB, well to make things simple here is a matrix of usage between server, processor core type, and SAP usage.
I’m sure that some of you are wondering what the meaning of the profile or core type is … Let me give you more explanation around this.
Let me start with SAP Hana, when you create your instance from the PowerVS portal, you need to start by selecting the OS and the image associated.
You will have the option to check the box “Use a custom SAP (Hana) profile” or leave it empty, if you leave the default box unchecked the instance profiles to be used will be based on predefine configuration regarding to fix core/memory ratio for production usage
Note the because of SAP Hana OS usage, E980 server and dedicated core type is selected and can’t be changed, you will find the list of profile available for SAP Hana on the link below.
SAP Hana PowerVS Profile Offering
Now, what if you select the check box for the boot image?
For a non-production system, it is acceptable to run custom profile which will allow you to customize the number to core and memory to your server instance. You will notice that E980 server and dedicated core types are selected and can’t be changed also.
Ok now that we understand the SAP Hana matrix let’s talk about Netweaver and AnyDB. As previously mentioned you will need to select your OS combination and image, but unlike SAP Hana the choice of OS has much broader options.
However, here there is no specific instance profile to select. The same rule as custom profile will apply but with a choice given for the machine and core type.
When you run SAP workload on PowerVS obviously you need to be very precise to get maximum benefit from the environment, here the core type allows you to operate the core processor Dedicated or Shared (capped/uncapped).
What does it mean? First, there is a correlation between the processor core type and the OS chosen. Indeed, if you want to run SAP Hana, as mentioned previously you will select Linux for SAP (Hana) and de facto because of that the core type processor will be dedicated so as the machine type (E980).
If you chose any other OS, then you will have the ability to go with dedicated or shared, ok I see you with “ok, so what ? and ?” … I got you, in other words:
With dedicated core type, you have the SAPS value per cores guaranteed based on the system type (E980/S922) with resources allocated specifically for you.
With shared core type the same rule will apply, however you will share the resource with others 😊 Note that If you are using shared processor configurations for SAP NetWeaver, it is recommended using uncapped mode.
What about integration with cloud service and native components?
Running SAP in IBM cloud native VMs (VPC) is nice because you can consume and integrate cloud native service and components easily.
Running SAP on IBM PowerVS is awesome for many reasons and I already talked about it above, so for customers who want to leverage this unique offer here is a classic simplified architecture view.
One of the main elements in this picture for the integration with IBM Cloud native service or components is the transit gateway. This specific network component is commonly used in hybrid scenario to interconnect multiple layers in IBM Cloud, here the TG will provide connectivity between IBM PowerVS and the VPC layer to interact with native VM.
On top of it because of the interaction with the VPC layer, the Cloud Service can be consumed from Virtual Private Endpoint for VPC.
Running SAP on IBM PowerVS as mentioned previously has many advantages, to me one of the major benefits is also the fact that customer who runs on-premise Power, can make the move PowerVS seamlessly, and leverage the full power of the technology.
Moreover, that customers can push to more innovations and transformations by integrating IBM cloud extended native features and specific platform offers for SAP like VPC and more.
In my IBM Cloud PowerVS blog, I will talk how PowerVS help to increase ROI for SAP workload, followed by detail technical migration and automation.