The global marketplace is a highly aggressive, unforgiving arena. In this harsh environment, it is not enough to produce quality products and services because there are plenty of companies that do that. In order to survive and thrive, enterprises must be agile, they must be innovative, and they must consistently get to market first in order to claim and maintain the highest competitive ground.
The Big Data wave, business intelligence and analytics are complicating this scenario by inundating corporations with potentially lucrative information and challenging them to monetize it—while overcoming the restrictions of legacy storage architectures and increasing the performance of shared storage systems at scale. IT is under increasing pressure to drive a business and technological transformation — one in which people will be able to use their data and extract business insights in real time to exploit the business value and realize positive business outcomes.
To help IT accomplish this transformation, companies have to rethink the tools and business processes they provide to their customers. Through its SanDisk ION Accelerator™ all-flash array, SanDisk offers an open, shared storage environment as part of a high-performance, scalable datacenter architecture that can support SAP HANA in-memory database deployments. In its quest to provide modern-day tools for this new age of data management, SanDisk is accelerating the pace of business—and potentially increasing revenues—at companies from the smallest online retailers to the largest Fortune Global 500 corporations. Along the way, it is also accelerating not only Big Data, but virtualization, cloud computing and applications that drive our economy.
Organizations depend on their data for business insight that enables them to make key business decisions and promptly take action, but making these decisions can require petabytes of information that needs to be processed in real time. Despite its concerted efforts to rein in Big Data, IT is still playing defense, and the game is becoming ever-more costly. According to Highcalability.com, “Latency matters. Amazon found every 100ms of latency cost them 1% in sales. Google found an extra .5 seconds in search page generation time dropped traffic by 20%. A broker could lose $4 million in revenues per millisecond if their electronic trading platform is 5 milliseconds behind the competition.”1
What is keeping enterprises from improving their data management and analytics for better business intelligence?
Competing Requirements of Performance, Reliability and Scalability
Mission-critical workloads are getting bigger and requiring increased I/O performance, lower latency and higher throughput. This high performance requirement must also be balanced against the need for highly reliable, available and scalable infrastructures for such enterprise applications as ERP and CRM — since their mission-critical data is typically not moved to the cloud.
These objectives co-exist, but enterprises have not found a way to make them work together toward more favorable business outcomes. For example, in order to scale shared storage for growing workloads without sacrificing performance, enterprises tend to buy more of it to maintain acceptable performance. However, increasing the size of the storage area network (SAN) ties up precious capital, and most IT organizations don’t have the resources required to truly scale in step with projected data growth and maintain that growth over time.
Other counterforces include performance and reliability, where saving and logging persistent data—which is necessary for reliability—can create shared-storage bottlenecks that undermine the advantages of in-memory database speed. In addition, IT finds itself in an environment in which users have grown ever-more emboldened, and are demanding more strict service level agreements, along with the ability to meet storage requirements at scale without sacrificing data integrity.
Ongoing Cost Concerns
Against this backdrop of increased complexity, strategies that can cost-effectively utilize infrastructure are top of mind with CIOs who want to reduce datacenter footprints and other related costs as IT budgets remain relatively flat. With that priority in play, the promise of new, cutting-edge technology to achieve cost containment is alluring. However, the financial resources required to purchase and implement these technologies are not built into many IT budgets, which are seemingly immune to the idea that spending money on new initiatives will actually reduce costs.
With Big Data solutions proliferating throughout organizations, the speed, reliability and cost-effective scalability of shared SANs are essential. Most legacy infrastructures lack the underlying sophistication to generate the performance and massive scalability required for advanced, data-intensive applications. By generating delays in accessing data or delivering analyses, this inadequacy can have a direct, negative effect on revenue, profits and customer satisfaction. This is especially true in environments where enterprises are looking to ramp up by enlisting IT to broker services, applications and cloud-based capabilities. Legacy infrastructures focused solely on hard disk drives (HDDs) are dangerously insufficient for companies that want to maintain a high competitive profile.
Any organization that lacks operational efficiencies is less likely to succeed than companies that have them. IT is plagued by unwieldy migration processes, labor-intensive system updates and unplanned maintenance. In order to keep up with the competition, companies must focus on developing simplified deployment and management of their storage infrastructures and database workloads. This is especially true at a time when IT is managing increasing numbers of servers, applications and other workloads, and many legacy storage systems require significant time to deploy and/or maintain.
Market Trends Summary
The rapidly changing IT landscape is challenging enterprises. What’s needed is a new data management infrastructure that addresses these fundamental, complex challenges. At a time when many organizations are making sweeping architectural changes because they are not satisfied with their underperforming legacy systems, SanDisk and SAP provide attractive alternatives that optimize performance for Big Data, as well as offer reliable infrastructures and massive scalability that enhance business productivity and profitability.
SanDisk ION Accelerator disrupts the storage model for SAP HANA in the best way possible. Everyone wants storage to be better, faster and cheaper. ION Accelerator delivers on these imperatives with SAP HANA. This all-flash, sharedstorage solution delivers game-changing performance, scalability and reliability for SAP HANA databases and other data-intensive, business-critical enterprise workloads. It features highly available shared flash for use with SAP HANA on high performance x86 servers, and gives users a choice of capacity and the fastest SAN connectivity options. Powered by SanDisk’s industry-leading Powered by SanDisk’s industry-leading Fusion ioMemory™ family of NAND flash storage devices, and innovative PCIe architecture, SanDisk ION Accelerator is designed from the ground up for high performance that scales with capacity needs—without the bottlenecks typically associated with alternative disk-based storage options.
SanDisk ION Accelerator is an SAP Certified Enterprise Storage Hardware platform for SAP HANA and for the SAP Tailored Datacenter Integration (TDI) program. This increases organizations’ choice of deployment options for SanDisk ION Accelerator and SAP HANA, allowing the solution to fit with their existing or new datacenter infrastructures. Companies can now add a flash performance tier knowing it is part of a certified, supported environment.
Organizations that previously questioned the cost efficiency of flash storage are now able to justify broader use cases for powerful solutions like SanDisk ION Accelerator and SAP HANA TDI. These solutions provide multi-faceted benefits, which include the combination of high performance, scalability and reliability that are required by modern applications such as data analytics, ERP and CRM.
SanDisk ION Accelerator helps SAP HANA applications run at high levels of performance while maintaining high levels of data integrity and recoverability. It also has the ability to cost-effectively scale-out to up to 32 nodes, making it one of the industry’s leading scale-out storage solutions for SAP HANA.
In the storage world, the need for organizations to drive down cost and increase performance hasn’t changed in years. HDDs have not been very successful delivering both performance and capacity. With processing abilities and demands reaching stratospheric proportions, HDDs have not kept up with performance improvements, and have become costly and inefficient. Just to put things in perspective — five years ago it was unusual for the big storage vendors to have 10-petabyte customers, and it wasn’t all that far back when 160 petabytes was the entire industry. Now, that level of storage can conceivably be for one customer.
Flash has become a welcome alternative that can add performance and capacity across storage environments, while also making economic sense. Emerging use cases for flash include real-time analytics (online analytical processing or OLAP), online transaction processing (OLTP), ERP and low-latency needs such as virtual desktop infrastructure and e-commerce applications.
Today’s HDD technologies can deliver performance, but typically in a manner that leads many users to do economically illogical things. Short-stroking, for instance, means that users purchase extra HDD spindles for I/O even when they don’t need the capacity. That is a waste of resources and can lead to extremely low utilization rates, wasted CapEx and OpEx, and an effective increase in the cost per gigabyte of all system storage just to increase performance. Flash must make economic sense if it is to be adopted. Deploying flash may very well improve performance and reduce latency, but it will almost certainly reduce costs, which—whatever else may be going on in IT—remains a top priority affecting IT investments.
The all-flash capabilities of SanDisk ION Accelerator deliver the extreme performance and low latency that HANA read and write operations require, which is critical for ensuring the speed of data access and analysis for users. These performance benefits affect not only transactions, but failover scenarios, database startup operations and the loading of large tables. It is obvious, therefore, what high-performance flash storage in SanDisk ION Accelerator can do for demanding workloads like SAP HANA that drive high I/O to handle extremely frequent transactions and/or applications that are ultra-sensitive to latency. However, what’s also unfailingly true is that high-performance I/O capability can do wonders for storage economics. Put simply—and it can seem counterintuitive—extremely high-performance storage like flash can be used to manage costs because users can get the high performance and capacity without adding new infrastructure.
During its relatively short existence, flash storage has earned its praise. It has already made a lasting impact on the storage market with its high-speed performance, high-end Input/Output Operations per Second (IOPS) and low latency. Over the past five years it has joined other relatively new technologies — such as virtualization and cloud — to establish its identity and value as a major disruptor of the IT landscape.
With the expectations of high performance, scalability, reliability and productivity, maintaining a legacy environment to meet these requirements can present serious challenges. At some point, organizations realize they are spending more time and money on outdated legacy infrastructures than they merit, which drains corporate budgets and compromises data. These outdated platforms simply can’t meet the demands of large, sophisticated, data-intensive applications, nor the requirements of virtualization, cloud or mobility. Business can no longer wait to catch up. Newer, more agile competition will take down larger enterprises if they cannot react to market changes or new opportunities quickly enough.
C-level executives want to know that their data can be quickly accessed and analyzed while being protected. This is particularly important in virtualized datacenters that have a diverse combination of vendor platforms. SanDisk ION Accelerator fits in well with these datacenters due to its speedy, all-flash array and shared storage platform that can be utilized by a variety of servers and networks, while meeting the high demands of virtualization. In addition to this flexibility, SanDisk ION Accelerator also provides these executives with data management and control that assures them that they are not exposing their companies to serious risks. A growing business may need support for thousands of applications, so it’s vital to have a storage solution in place that is compatible with an on-premises data center that includes infrastructure and disaster recovery functionality.
As companies update their datacenter infrastructures, it is natural for them to also modernize their storage solutions with more advanced systems like SanDisk ION Accelerator, thereby reducing their cost and operational inefficiencies, ensuring their competitive status and improving business outcomes. With its speed, scalability and flexibility to work with a number of different virtualized servers and networks, SanDisk ION Accelerator optimizes datacenter infrastructures, and allows decision-makers to visualize their shift to the next big thing—like the cloud or the Internet of Things—which can explode data requirements even more.
The SanDisk ION Accelerator all-flash appliance has been designed from the ground up to focus on high-performance, scalable, shared storage. SAP HANA was born in the analytics market for OLAP due to its speed. However, as enterprises move their full daily data transactions from ERP and CRM onto HANA for OLTP, the speed of those write transactions becomes more important. With SanDisk ION Accelerator, writing to transaction logs does not bottleneck HANA’s in-memory performance, which is often not the case with older HDD storage that causes logjams. With SanDisk ION Accelerator ability to handle high performance OLAP and OLTP processing, it enables enterprises to gain insight from information faster, increasing their competitive edge.
Based on an open architecture, the SanDisk ION Accelerator is an optimized design that is populated by SanDisk’s award-winning Fusion ioMemory PCIe-based flash devices. This makes it faster because the PCIe cards are closer to the CPU and application workloads, which allows SanDisk ION Accelerator to transform transactions and analytics so businesses can take advantage of their data in real time.
SanDisk ION Accelerator conquers other major pain points associated with OLTP and OLAP performance, including latency and throughput, both of which can significantly impact response time and lead to reduced productivity. Low throughput combined with high latency can bring data access and analysis to a standstill. SanDisk ION Accelerator breaks through I/O bottlenecks and ensures low latency, making it one of the fastest options for HANA TDI deployments, and ensuring maximum performance for HANA data management. In fact, when working in just a two-node HANA environment, a customer was able to load 128 million rows of data—60 GB of block data and 20 GB of persistent data—in only 6.5 seconds.
In terms of its raw capabilities, SanDisk ION Accelerator is not just notable for up to 1.7 million IOPS, but also for its ability to deliver those maximum IOPS at consistently low latency levels (less than 50 microseconds). That sort of consistency is important to good operational outcomes.
In addition to driving performance requirements, modern day applications and workloads are also propelling the need for high storage growth. SanDisk ION Accelerator can scale to meet these growth needs with far less infrastructure than its all-flash competitors. With the SAP HANA Enterprise Storage Certification, the SanDisk ION Accelerator is one of the most scalable shared storage platforms for SAP HANA databases. Supporting up to 32 HANA nodes on a single SanDisk ION Accelerator High-Availability (HA) pair, it is possible to deploy multiple terabytes of SAP HANA in-memory database capacity, and leverage the performance of the SanDisk ION Accelerator for all data snapshots, transaction logs and shared file system resources. This means customers can deploy their current HANA workloads on a minimal number of ION Accelerator pairs and still have room to scale their HANA compute nodes as capacity needs grow without having to deploy additional shared storage.
SanDisk’s closest competitor can only scale up to 16 HANA nodes—half as many as SanDisk ION Accelerator—and most others fall far short of that. With ION Accelerator, enterprises can stay on the same storage infrastructure longer than the competition because it accommodates more HANA database growth. By allowing enterprises to scale in step with projected data growth and maintain that over a longer time frame, SanDisk ION Accelerator gives them a strong total cost of ownership (TCO) position, and saves these organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars in capital expenditures.
Shared storage offered by SanDisk ION Accelerator provides greater reliability since data can be made highly available, and comes with well-developed backup and recovery policies. The flexibility of shared storage, like SanDisk ION Accelerator with SAP HANA, allows organizations to integrate their existing data management policies for such tasks as datacenter backup and disaster recovery into the shared storage tier, which further ensures data reliability, and is a big operational advantage over HDDs or other storage systems that are not shared. SanDisk ION Accelerator also supports reliability by providing managers with the data availability required to run their lines of business smoothly, while still minimizing the impact of data replication on overall database performance. This alleviates businesses’ concerns with achieving reliability without sacrificing performance.
SanDisk ION Accelerator can also be deployed in a HA clustered pair, providing additional data integrity and protection from component, appliance or software failures.
SanDisk ION Accelerator provides business continuity via its recovery capabilities in the event of a HANA node failure. Indeed, the whole reason enterprises have a storage system with transaction logging and data snapshotting behind an in-memory database is so they can recover that database if something goes wrong. The data is then not at risk of being lost, ensuring data availability and integrity.
With a lot of analytics being done on Big Data and exported to HANA, there is a concern about recovery time. With SanDisk ION Accelerator high speed, read-optimized storage capabilities, it’s a lot faster to retrieve data from the failed node off the storage device, rebuild it and get the node back online. The value of that fast recovery is manifested in less business interruption, higher data integrity and more business integrity. Having that business continuity is an enormous advantage in a marketplace where the mantra is better and faster. Those characteristics can only be realized if an organization is, in fact, able to access its data.
Operational efficiencies are at the heart of any successful company, and SanDisk ION Accelerator with SAP HANA TDI meets that criteria because it is easy to deploy, manage and scale. SanDisk ION Accelerator deployments integrate like any other SAN-attached storage, meaning enterprises will not have to worry about re-architecting their datacenters to accommodate it. It can simply be added as a new tier using the same protocols, but results in a much faster migration process than found with traditional systems due to its use of NAND flash.
When deploying SanDisk ION Accelerator, the tools and environments are interchangeable. This means different datacenter environments don’t translate into isolated, siloed teams of people who don’t talk or share resources with each other. This provides business value by improving productivity, and freeing up IT administrators for other strategic initiatives just as their IT organizations are accommodating the influx of major new technologies such as mobility and cloud.
Cost definitely matters. Indeed, faster ROI and reduced TCO are always on the minds of decision makers in the C-suite, and they are essential elements in the formulation of budgets. Storage outlays are of the utmost importance to organizations, but in today’s environment of tight budgets and high expectations to do more with less, they must be justified.
Many IT professionals are strict adherents to the notion that price per GB is the only way to accurately measure the economic value of storage. However, the relevant measurement should be effective cost for a given workload or performance—i.e., dollars per IOPS as opposed to dollars per GB. When measured this way, flash storage—particularly when scaled for high capacity, multi-terabyte databases—is a welcome alternative to HDDs. It adds performance across the storage environment, and does so while making economic sense by increasing the ROI.
When it comes to capacity, SAP HANA environments are more cost-efficient than HDD systems because they are highly scalable and able to meet growing demands for capacity on an as-needed basis. In comparison, HDD storage users may buy additional systems for performance only, leaving their capacity largely underutilized, increasing capital expenditures and decreasing business value. With only four storage processors of flash memory needed to manage up to 32 HANA nodes, IT is able to reduce its datacenter footprint to roughly a quarter of that required for most other storage environments. This results in significantly lower capital expenditures necessary to accommodate storage growth, and secondary cost savings on power and cooling, licensing and support.
By providing faster access to transactions and data insights, SanDisk ION Accelerator with SAP HANA has the potential to increase revenue, resulting potentially in improved profitability. Businesses can now get a better handle on what customer needs are, what sales leads are coming in, how customers are reacting to their products, and what new product features and services are wanted.
Successfully navigating the perilous waters of change in this disruptive time of data transformation requires rapid decisions and reactions based on data, which is forcing enterprises to either manage it or be overwhelmed by it. C-level executives are finding value in managing this never-ending influx of information, and they are spending money on advanced technologies tuned for data management, business intelligence and analytics. The new reality dictates that data management is a key business requisite, and managing and advancing enterprises’ infrastructures to optimize that data is critically important.
As enterprise customers look for ways to improve the performance of data-centric technologies like ERP and CRM systems, they are increasingly finding the benefits of an in-memory architecture like SAP HANA meet the needs of even the most demanding workloads. But getting SAP HANA deployments to integrate well with existing data management procedures, and meet restrictive IT budgets — yet still scale to meet current and future needs — requires a new type of storage infrastructure. Existing SANs are expensive and complex to scale and can create a performance bottleneck that will undermine the advantages of in-memory databases.
Given these complexities, customers who rely on HANA for their applications also need a storage solution that will keep pace. SanDisk has just such a solution with the SanDisk ION Accelerator. With industry-leading performance, unmatched scalability, reliability and an extremely competitive cost structure, SanDisk’s ION Accelerator is the premier storage solution for HANA TDI deployments.
Every business decision is critical. This gets back to having the right data on the right device at the right time so businesses can gain better insights and intelligence. This allows them to capitalize on opportunities, provide lines of business with the tools to drive innovation, reduce costs, and ultimately, improve business outcomes. SanDisk and SAP are providing highly functional, innovative technologies for business intelligence and Big Data that are driving significant business benefits for their customers, and helping them prosper in the competitive marketplace.
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