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Dell integrates Compellent SAN in SAP HANA hardware package

Dell includes Compellent SAN arrays as part of its pre-integrated SAP HANA hardware packages, offering up three configurations to optimize HANA.

Dell Inc. remembered the storage when it brought out its pre-integrated SAP HANA storage and networking systems.

Dell's SAP High-Performance Analytic Appliance (SAP HANA) hardware configurations -- unveiled last week -- include Compellent storage arrays, as well as Brocade Fibre Channel switches and Dell's PowerEdge servers integrated with HANA database engines for faster queries.

SAP HANA was developed to process high volumes of operational and transactional data in real time. It uses in-memory analytics to query data stored in random access memory (RAM) instead of on hard disk or flash storage. HANA changes the way database servers pull data from storage arrays. Traditionally, high-transaction database queries would go across the network to pull data, causing bottlenecks in the network. HANA takes advantage of dynamic RAM (DRAM) to eliminate that step.

HANA pulls data queries directly from server memory rather than retrieving the information from the storage array. Dell's SAP HANA solution uses the Compellent array to hold another copy of data stored in server memory.

Dell's SAP HANA hardware family product line is offered in six configurations. Three entry-level systems are self-contained, single-server configurations, available with 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB of main system RAM, with internal SSD and SAS storage. The larger, multi-node scaleout configurations are based on the same 512GB PowerEdge R910 node (without internal SSD), and are available in 1 TB, 2TB, and 4TB configurations, with expansion certified up to 8TB. Each of these scale-out configurations uses a Dell Compellent Fibre Channel SAN array, with SSD and SAS disks shared between all nodes, and an active-passive node design to provide built-in high availability.

The systems uses Compellent's auto-tiering to keep the most frequently accessed data stored on server memory and the rest on the array's SAS hard drives.

Dell is not releasing pricing yet, but the offering is expected to ship this month.

"Before, the [database] search was [executed] in server memory, but it had a table or pointer to the storage disks, so it required queries to go back and forth between the [server memory] and storage disk," said Carey Dietert, Dell's product manager for SAP HANA products. "Now it pulls all the data off the disk in the server and searches for data in memory rather than accessing the storage disks. HANA is faster because it runs in memory. The scale-out allows you to grow, and it gives you failover for more mission-critical data."

Hewlett-Packard and Cisco also have SAP-certified servers, but Dell is the first to integrate its storage system into the package.

"Dell has been working with SAP for over a year, and this is the first solution that is entirely Dell-based from the hardware to the software," said Pund-IT principal analyst Charles King. "We are looking at an all-Dell hardware and software package. It's their first workload-optimized solution that is all Dell hardware and software."

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