Dell to Resell SGI Appliance for SAP HANA Workloads

The partnership will enable Dell to offer scale-up in-memory systems while SGI will be able to expand its customer base in the enterprise.

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Dell will resell SGI's scale-up appliance for SAP's HANA in-memory computing technology, a move that will enable both companies to expand their potential customer bases in the enterprise market.

Large enterprises increasingly are adopting SAP HANA and are demanding a single-node architecture that can scale to eight sockets or more, according to SGI officials. By reselling SGI's UV 300H servers, Dell will be able to offer a scale-up SAP HANA appliance and compete with other vendors, such as Hewlett-Packard, that offer such large systems.

Dell currently sells two- and four-socket systems for SAP HANA implementations.

For SGI, which has specialized in high-performance computing (HPC) systems for such workloads as data analytics and data management, the partnership with Dell greater broadens its potential customer base and gives it greater inroads into the enterprise space.

It also is a change in SGI's go-to-market practices, according to Brian Freed, vice president and general manager for SGI's High Performance Data Analytics business unit. In the HPC space, the vendor's deep customer relationships are better addressed through a direct sales model.

"By contrast, the enterprise space consists of thousands of potential customers, each with unique business requirements that require a level of customer intimacy that takes significant time to develop," Freed wrote in a post on the company blog. "Accordingly, we see the Dell partnership as a key growth vector given the strength and breadth of their enterprise relationships."

SGI officials first introduced the company's plans to develop systems to run SAP HANA applications in early 2014. SGI was joining a growing list of system makers that wanted to make it easier for organizations to embrace the in-memory computing software from SAP, which essentially takes advantage of the low cost of main memory, the data processing abilities of multicore chips and the fast data access of solid-state drives (SSDs) to help companies quickly process and analyze huge amounts of data to enable them to make faster and better business decisions.

SAP initially had certified four- to eight-socket systems for HANA in the fall of 2014, and SGI officials in April announced that they had expanded the UV for SAP HANA to 12 to 16 sockets that can provide up to 12 terabytes of in-memory computing capacity in a single node. The architecture is designed to scale up to 32 sockets and 24TB of memory.

The UV 300H is powered by 15-core Xeon E7-8890 v2 processors from Intel and SGI's high-speed NUMAlink 7 interconnects.

Dell has been growing its list of partnerships as it looks to broaden its portfolio. For example, earlier this week, Dell partnered with Mirantis and Juniper Networks on appliances designed to run Mirantis' OpenStack distribution.

According to SGI's Freed, Dell's decision to partner with his company was more than just convenience.

"As one of the largest server vendors in the world, they could certainly have chosen to engage with many potential manufacturers of 8-socket systems," Freed wrote. "It is my observation that Dell is evolving from its heritage as a price leader to a value leader. Accordingly, the selection of SGI as a partner reflects this cultural shift at Dell. While there exist many glueless 8-socket solutions that could expand the Dell portfolio with a 'cheap' solution, Dell looked beyond price and the decision to partner with SGI was driven by customer value proposition we provide."

The value proposition includes a future-proof architecture that can scale from four to 32 sockets and a design that offers single-node resilience through redundant hot-swap components and advanced management and monitoring software, he wrote.