IBM Launches Power Systems for SAP HANA

IBM and SAP teamed up to announce a new set of Power Systems solutions for SAP's HANA big data platform.

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IBM and SAP tightened up their existing technology partnership with a new set of integrated Power Systems solutions designed to help clients process volumes of data at high speed for both transactional and analytics workloads.

IBM tested the systems with customers during a trial period last year and today announced a series of Power Systems Solution Editions for the SAP HANA platform. The new solutions will enable the latest-generation POWER8 systems to run SAP HANA, allowing clients to quickly deploy the technology on a server platform built to handle the kinds of data challenges enterprises face today.

"The commodity servers used today by many organizations are increasingly stretched to their limits by new workloads, in the cloud or on-premises," Doug Balog, general manager of IBM Power Systems, said in a statement. "IBM's Power Systems' architecture is uniquely suited to provide faster access to critical business data stored with in-memory database technologies. New IBM Power System Solution Editions for SAP HANA are tailored to deliver enterprise-class capabilities to clients' growing core systems reliability expectations."

The Power Systems Solution Editions for SAP HANA are planned to be made available initially in two configurations, designed to manage different sizes of data warehouses. The first, based on the IBM Power Systems S824 with 24 POWER8 processor cores and up to 1TB of memory, is targeted at the SAP Business Warehouse application running on SAP HANA, with databases up to 512GB (compressed) in size.

The second configuration, based on the IBM Power Systems E870 with 40 POWER8 cores and up to 2TB of memory, is expected to be ideal for databases up to 1TB (compressed) in size. While SAP HANA is supported across all POWER8 servers from IBM, the new IBM solution editions will combine flexible infrastructure with rapid time to value for tailored support of SAP Business Warehouse version 7.31 or higher powered by SAP HANA on Power Systems.

"Today's announcement is an important step in the SAP and IBM partnership, further enabling customers to run their businesses simply and in real time," Quentin Clark, chief technology officer at SAP SE, said in a statement. "The new Power Systems Solution Editions for SAP HANA give our joint customers the opportunity to truly take advantage of the capabilities of SAP HANA, the ground-breaking, in-memory data platform for next-generation applications and analytics."

Charles King, president and principal analyst at Pund-IT and an avid IBM watcher, said, the HANA news comes at a very good time for IBM. "With the departure of System x for Lenovo, IBM would have been out of the running in popular HANA markets had enhancing Power for HANA not worked," he said. "All that aside, it appears that POWER8's overall performance and significant strengths in multi-threading make it a great choice for in-memory analytics workloads. That should enable IBM to successfully pitch its Power System offerings as solid HANA solutions. Given the continuing growth in analytics markets, including HANA, this latest announcement leaves IBM in a solid position competitively, and also allows existing customers to consider an entirely new analytics platform."

Indeed, customers are taking a similar view. "With more companies trying to extract valuable insights from complex information sources, SAP HANA provides a powerful and efficient platform for ever-important business decision making," Bhala Bhosale, senior vice president of Enterprise Services at NTT DATA, said in a statement. "NTT DATA has developed long, collaborative partnerships with both SAP and IBM, providing complete lifecycle services for applications, cloud and infrastructure systems with a strong focus on customer service and flexibility.

"Efforts like these Solution Editions in support of SAP HANA will provide rapid deployment and lower costs for our mutual clients. Our internal testing has shown that SAP reports run significantly faster when using SAP HANA on Power—queries that took an hour to run can now be completed in just minutes," Bhosale said.