EMC XTREMIO ALL-FLASH SOLUTION FOR SAP

Technical White Paper EMC XTREMIO ALL-FLASH SOLUTION FOR SAP With EMC XtremIO and SAP Business Suite  Storage consolidation for substantial savings ...
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Technical White Paper

EMC XTREMIO ALL-FLASH SOLUTION FOR SAP With EMC XtremIO and SAP Business Suite  Storage consolidation for substantial savings  Consistently improved performance for a consolidated SAP

landscape  Transform SAP application lifecycle management  Fast and simplified storage deployment  Lower TCO

EMC Solutions Abstract This paper explains the advantages of consolidating an SAP landscape on an EMC XtremIO all-flash array, which enables extreme performance, quick nonproduction systems provisioning, data protection, and substantial storage footprint savings. February 2015

Copyright © 2015 EMC Corporation. All Rights Reserved. EMC believes the information in this publication is accurate as of its publication date. The information is subject to change without notice. The information in this publication is provided as is. EMC Corporation makes no representations or warranties of any kind with respect to the information in this publication, and specifically disclaims implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. Use, copying, and distribution of any EMC software described in this publication requires an applicable software license. For the most up-to-date listing of EMC product names, see EMC Corporation Trademarks on EMC.com. All trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners. Part Number H13859

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Table of contents Executive summary............................................................................................................................... 5 Business case .................................................................................................................................. 5 Key results/ recommendations ........................................................................................................ 6 Purpose ........................................................................................................................................... 6 Scope .............................................................................................................................................. 6 Audience ......................................................................................................................................... 6 Acronyms ......................................................................................................................................... 6 Technology overview ............................................................................................................................ 8 Overview .......................................................................................................................................... 8 EMC XtremIO .................................................................................................................................... 8 XtremIO Data Protection .............................................................................................................. 8 Writeable snapshots ................................................................................................................. 10 XtremIO Management Server ..................................................................................................... 10 VAAI support ............................................................................................................................. 11 EMC PowerPath/VE ........................................................................................................................ 11 VMware vSphere ............................................................................................................................ 11 SAP Business Suite ........................................................................................................................ 11 Solution architecture .......................................................................................................................... 12 Overview ........................................................................................................................................ 12 Architecture diagram ...................................................................................................................... 12 Hardware resources ....................................................................................................................... 13 Software resources ........................................................................................................................ 13 Solution best practices....................................................................................................................... 14 Overview ........................................................................................................................................ 14 XtremIO storage design considerations .......................................................................................... 14 Network design considerations overview ....................................................................................... 15 Physical and ESXi servers best practices ........................................................................................ 16 Execution Throttle ..................................................................................................................... 16 Queue depth ............................................................................................................................. 17 Multipathing ............................................................................................................................. 18 Configurations for VMware vSphere ........................................................................................... 18 Testing and validation ........................................................................................................................ 20 Improving SAP performance ........................................................................................................... 20 Test procedure .......................................................................................................................... 20 Test results................................................................................................................................ 21 Empowering full SAP landscape with XtremIO snapshot ................................................................. 22 EMC XtremIO All-Flash Solution for SAP Technical White Paper

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Test procedure .......................................................................................................................... 23 Test result ................................................................................................................................. 25 Supplementing SAP backup solution with XtremIO Snapshot ......................................................... 25 Test procedure .......................................................................................................................... 25 Test result ................................................................................................................................. 27 Sizing XtremIO for SAP ....................................................................................................................... 28 Overview ........................................................................................................................................ 28 Form factor..................................................................................................................................... 28 Performance .................................................................................................................................. 28 Capacity ......................................................................................................................................... 28 New use cases ............................................................................................................................... 28 Conclusion ......................................................................................................................................... 29 Summary ....................................................................................................................................... 29 Findings ......................................................................................................................................... 29 References.......................................................................................................................................... 30 White papers ................................................................................................................................. 30 Product documentation.................................................................................................................. 30

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Executive summary Business case

As business needs change, companies must transform their SAP infrastructure to provide greater agility; consistent and predictable performance; and a reinvigorated, modernized SAP platform for mission-critical applications. However, it is time consuming and difficult to enable new development, testing, and deployment methodologies for SAP applications. In terms of non-production systems, application development teams face challenges such as: 

Inadequate storage capacity to hold full copies of production data



Inability to provide production-level performance



Denied requests for refreshes and additional copies because of limited disk capacity



Inability to perform a quick backup before a destructive test on a test system

Moving large amounts of data siloed between tier 1 production and tier 2 nonproduction storage uses a lot of an infrastructure team’s time and resources. Many infrastructure managers lack the budget to provide the capacity and service levels required for non-production storage. Operational teams face additional challenges including lack of available personnel for tuning databases and the need to manage downtime for creating system copies and reorganizing databases. These delays can negatively impact service level agreements (SLAs). Architecture teams need to simplify SAP infrastructure to facilitate changes to drive IT agility and functional team productivity. EMC® XtremIO™ all-flash-arrays enhance IT performance by: 

Delivering reliable performance for SAP applications and transactions that require all-flash-style sub-millisecond latency for mixed SAP workloads



Concurrently handling mixed SAP workload landscapes (OLTP and DW)



Enabling the high number of random reads and writes found in SAP ECC and SAP BW



Accelerating development cycles for faster application rollouts



Supporting innovative and flexible testing and development environments with XtremIO snapshots



Consolidating different SAP systems into a unified platform that achieves new planning and optimization efficiencies with zero performance and capacity impact on the SAP Landscape



Reducing the data footprint which lowers capital and operating expenses



Improving consolidation through inline deduplication, compression, thin provisioning, and snapshots



Simplifying deployment and operations

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Key results/ recommendations

This solution shows that the XtremIO all-flash storage array delivers: 

Fast and simple setup with little to no storage tuning required. SAP client copy job duration decreases 55 percent with consistent 10 percent array response time, compared with traditional tiered storage



Consistent extreme performance for consolidated SAP environments



Near zero performance degradation on a production system while running a workload on its snapshot



Substantial storage footprint savings by using XtremIO inline deduplication and compression. Deploying three additional instances (SDX, QAS, and PRE) uses only 3 percent more storage (7 GB) than a production system at the beginning of their lifecycle

Deploying all-flash storage for SAP also has the following benefits: 

XtremIO's unique architecture simplifies and consolidates production, real-time analytics, and rapid development and testing for SAP environments, and provides an agile multi-workload all-flash SAP infrastructure.



XtremIO eliminates traditional storage challenges associated with overprovisioning, tuning, performance, and scalability.

Purpose

This white paper describes a highly available and scalable solution for the SAP Business Suite that is deployed in both physical and virtualized vSphere environments with XtremIO storage.

Scope

This white paper: 

Introduces the key enabling technologies



Describes the solution architecture and design



Describes and validates the key components and processes



Identifies the key business benefits of the solution

Audience

This white paper is intended for SAP BASIS administrators, VMware administrators, storage administrators, IT architects, and technical managers responsible for designing, creating, and managing SAP deployment, infrastructure, and data centers.

Acronyms

Table 1 lists some of the acronyms used in this white paper. Table 1.

Acronyms

Term

Definition

FC HBA

Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapter

LAM

Loadable Array Module

RDMA

Remote Direct Memory Access

XDP

XtremIO Data Protection

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Term

Definition

XMCLI

XtremIO Command Line

XMS

XtremIO Management Server

XSMA

XtremIO Storage Management Application

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Technology overview Overview

EMC XtremIO

The key technology components used in this white paper are: 

EMC XtremIO



VMware vSphere



EMC PowerPath®/Virtual Edition (VE)



SAP Business Suite

The EMC XtremIO storage array is an all-flash system based on scale-out architecture. The system uses building blocks, called X-Bricks, which can be clustered together to grow performance and capacity as required. This solution was validated using one XBrick. XtremIO Data Protection Storage administrators are often required to make difficult decisions regarding capacity, data protection level, and performance. Performance-oriented workloads are typically provisioned on RAID 1, but at the high cost of 50 percent capacity overhead. Less sensitive workloads can use RAID 5, and large data sets with lower performance needs can be highly protected with RAID 6. However, it is not always possible to know which type of data is being stored. Data centers are dynamic, and today’s choice might leave data on a less-than-optimal RAID level in the future. Some storage systems allow live migration between RAID levels, but this requires proactive administration and may need to be repeated as data continues to evolve. XtremIO represents a new type of data protection scheme that combines the best attributes of pre-existing RAID levels, while avoiding their drawbacks. Furthermore, since flash endurance is a special consideration in an all-flash array, XtremIO features a data protection algorithm that requires fewer write cycles. This maximizes the service life of the array’s SSDs while also delivering higher performance, since more I/O cycles are available for host writes (front-end I/Os) as compared to internal array operations (back-end I/Os). The benefits of XtremIO Data Protection (XDP) are illustrated in Figure 1.

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Figure 1.

XtremIO Data Protection benefits

With the traditional storage design for an application database, multiple RAID groups of different drive types are created, each with different levels of protection and distributed across multiple controllers. With XtremIO, all drives are under XDP protection, and data in the array is distributed across the X-Bricks to maintain consistent performance and equivalent flash wear levels. Databases like Oracle generate both random and sequential I/O as shown in Figure 2. With XtremIO, these are treated equally as data is randomized and distributed in a balanced fashion throughout the array.

Figure 2.

Database front-end random and sequential I/O

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Writeable snapshots XtremIO snapshots feature performance, property, and functions comparable to a production system. Figure 3 shows how XtremIO works in an environment with a demand for large amounts of testing, development, and quality assurance (QA) data from a writeable snapshot.

Figure 3.

XtremIO snapshot usage scenarios

XtremIO Management Server XtremIO Management Server (XMS) is a standalone, dedicated Linux-based server that is used to manage XtremIO system operations, such as: 

Initializing and formatting new systems



Monitoring system health and events



Monitoring system performance



Maintaining a performance statistics history database



Providing GUI and CLI services to clients



Implementing volume management and data protection operations



Maintaining (stopping, starting and restarting) the system

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XMS is preinstalled with and accessed by an easy-to-use GUI—the XtremIO Storage Management Application (XSMA)—and connects to the management ports on the XBrick storage controllers through TCP/IP. The XtremIO cluster provides storage that would be unaffected by a disconnected XMS. XMS can be deployed in a virtual machine running on top of a VMware HA-enabled cluster to improve its high availability in the event of server failure. VAAI support XtremIO is fully integrated with vSphere through the vSphere VAAI plug-in for virtual machine provisioning and cloning, virtual machine disk (VMDK) provisioning, and overall seamless deployment of large-scale virtualization. XtremIO delivers highperformance, low-latency response times, and low provisioning times for all storage provisioning choices at the VMDK level. XtremIO supports the VAAI block-zero primitive and writes zero blocks in a way that removes the performance drawbacks of provisioning eager-zero-thick (EZT) volumes for virtual disks. EMC PowerPath/VE EMC PowerPath/VE for vSphere delivers multipathing features that optimize vSphere virtual environments. PowerPath/VE is installed as a kernel module on the VMware ESXi host and works as a multipathing plug-in (MPP) that provides enhanced path management and load-balancing capabilities for ESXi hosts. VMware vSphere

The virtualization layer decouples the application from the underlying physical resources. This enables greater flexibility in the application layer by eliminating hardware downtime for maintenance and changes to the physical system without affecting the hosted applications. In a server virtualization use case, this layer enables multiple independent virtual machines to share the same physical hardware. VMware vSphere is a complete and robust virtualization platform that uses dynamic resource pools to virtualize business-critical applications with unprecedented flexibility and reliability. It transforms a computer's physical resources by virtualizing the CPU, RAM, hard disk, and network controller. This transformation creates fully functional virtual machines that run isolated and encapsulated operating systems and applications.

SAP Business Suite

SAP Business Suite is a bundle of business applications that provide integration of information and processes, collaboration, industry-specific functionality, and scalability. SAP Business Suite is based on the SAP NetWeaver technology platform . We used SAP ERP 6.0 in the featured test environment.

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Solution architecture Overview

This solution provides cost-effective performance for the SAP application environment through the use of the EMC XtremIO array. The SAP applications are deployed on both physical and virtual platforms. The XtremIO snapshots protect the applications and database data. Additionally, virtualized testing and development systems can access directly mounted snapshots of the production database with no performance impact on the production system.

Architecture diagram

The architecture of this solution is shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4.

EMC XtremIO high performance consolidation solution architecture diagram

The architecture is composed of the following layers: Compute layer: Two ESXi servers are configured as a VMware ESXi cluster with a total of eighty 2.27GHz processor cores and a total of 768 GB RAM. This cluster is supporting one or more virtualized SAP production systems and several snapshots, repurposed to become QAS/PRE, for example. One server with 40 2.27GHz processor cores and 384 GB RAM supports the physical SAP system. Network layer: Encompasses two director-class SAN switches and two IP switches. The SAN switches are designed for deployment in storage networks supporting both virtualized and physical SAP systems. Storage layer: One single X-Brick with two storage controllers and 7.58 TB of usable physical capacity provide storage for the SAP application and the database.

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Hardware resources

Table 2 lists the hardware resources used in the solution. Table 2.

Hardware resources

Hardware

Quantity

Configuration

Storage array

1

EMC XtremIO with single X-Brick

ESXi host

2

Four 10-core CPUs, 384 GB RAM

Physical host

1

Four 10-core CPUs, 384 GB RAM

Ethernet switches

2

10 GbE (gigabit Ethernet)

SAN switches

2

8 Gb FC

Software resources Table 3 lists the software resources used in this solution. Table 3.

Software resources

Software

Version

Notes

VMware vSphere

5.5.0

Hypervisor

VMware vCenter Server

5.5.0

vSphere management server

SUSE Linux

11 SP3

Operating system for SAP system

EMC PowerPath/VE

5.8

Multipathing software used in the virtual environment

EMC PowerPath

5.7 SP 5

Multipathing software used in the physical environment

SAP ERP

6.0 EHP 7

SAP system

Oracle database

11g R2

Database for the SAP systems

EMC XtremIO

3.0.0

All-flash storage

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Solution best practices Overview

In this solution, EMC XtremIO provides storage services for physical and virtualized SAP environments. This section describes a few specific design considerations for SAP systems and covers the storage, network and compute layers.

XtremIO storage design considerations

XtremIO uses its multi-controller scale-out design and remote direct memory access (RDMA) fabric to maintain all metadata in memory. This makes XtremIO arrays impervious to changes in workload. It does not matter what LUN sizes are used, whether the I/O patterns are random or sequential, or whether there is locality of reference. The performance is always consistent and predictable. A careful, painstaking storage design for optimized performance is no longer necessary. With XtremIO, disruptive database workloads can coexist in the same LUN with write-intensive transaction logs and still provide excellent performance. XtremIO’s patented data protection scheme is extremely efficient in every situation at limiting extra writes for parity. With overhead for parity at only 8 percent, it is the industry’s most efficient data protection scheme, optimized for flash media and tuned for partial stripe updates. XDP eliminates the need to configure different RAID protection levels for database and log files to balance the performance and cost, which dramatically simplifies management. With XtremIO virtual provisioning, the database storage design can be simplified. In this solution, two SAP systems running on vSphere ESXi (one for production and one for development) are deployed on the XtremIO array. We created uniform volumes for the database data, log, and SAP binary files for easy management, allocating storage as needed. We separated the redo volumes, not for performance considerations, but for database recovery. As shown in Table 4, we provisioned two 600GB volumes to store the relevant database data files, two 100GB volumes for database log files, and two 80GB volumes for SAP binary files and OS for both PRD and DEV systems. Table 4 defines the SAP volume design for the solution. Table 4.

Volumes design for SAP system

Detail

System

System name

PRD

DEV

Database data volume size

600GB

600GB

Database log volume size

100GB

100GB

SAP binary and OS volume size

80GB

80GB

Actual database size

340GB

126GB

Total volumes size

1.56TB

Total data and log size

466GB

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Note: This design is based on our test workload. In a production environment, database and log file sizes can vary depending on the type of transactions and queries.

With built-in thin provisioning, storage is only allocated when it is needed. This enables you to create larger LUNs to accommodate future or unexpected growth for databases, without wasting any physical space on storage. Most importantly, heavy metadata operations such as inline data reduction, thin provisioning allocations, and internal array copy operations are conducted entirely in memory without impacting I/O. For this solution, one single X-Brick is configured with 7.58 TB of usable physical capacity. We provision LUNs with a total 1.56 TB volume capacity for two systems. After XtremIO data reduction and thin provisioning savings, the solution uses only 227 GB physical capacity and the overall space saving efficiency is 7:1 as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5.

Network design considerations overview

XtremIO Storage Management Application (XSMA) dashboard storage panel

This section briefly describes the best practices used in this solution for SAN and IP network configuration, and for an ESXi server network configuration. When you deploy a critical production application such as SAP, EMC recommends that you consider both compute and network redundancy when designing your network for fault tolerance.

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EMC recommends that you use the following SAN best practices: 

Use path management and dynamic multipathing software, such as PowerPath/VE and PowerPath, on the hosts to enable the failover process to alternate paths and to provide load balancing.



Partition each FC port from the servers to the ports on the XtremIO X-Bricks for high availability and performance.



Use multiple HBAs on the servers and two SAN switches to provide multiple paths between the servers and the XtremIO cluster.

An XtremIO single X-Brick cluster is used in this solution. A host can have up to four paths per volume. Figure 6 shows the logical connection schemes for four paths.

Figure 6.

Connection between a single X-Brick XtremIO and host

EMC recommends that you follow these IP network best practices:

Physical and ESXi servers best practices



Use multiple network cards and switches for network redundancy.



Use 10 GbE for ESXi HA cluster interconnection.



Use virtual local area networks (VLANs) to logically group devices that are on different network segments or subnetworks.

In this test environment, we deployed SAP ERP systems on physical servers running SUSE Linux, and on virtual machines running on vSphere ESXi 5.5. This section describes the best practices for physical and virtualized server configuration including the following parameters: 

Execution Throttle



Queue depth



Multipathing



Configurations for VMware vSphere

Execution Throttle For optimal operation with XtremIO, we set the Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapter (FC HBA)’s execution throttle to the maximum value, which controls the amount of outstanding I/O requests per HBA port. This can be done on the HBA firmware level using the HBA BIOS or CLI utility provided by the HBA vendor. In this solution, both physical and ESXi servers use the Qlogic HBA. We set the Qlogic HBA’s execution throttle to the maximum value of 65,535 using the management utility (QConverge Console) as shown in Figure 7.

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Figure 7.

Adjust Qlogic HBA Execution Throttle settings

Note: Most server default HBA throttle settings are not optimized for the high throughput provided by a flash array. It is important to choose the highest value for this setting so it will not limit the I/O throttle.

Queue depth The queue depth setting controls the amount of outstanding I/O requests for a single path. For optimal performance with XtremIO storage, follow the HBA and server vendor recommendations. As a general rule, you should set the queue depth to the highest setting allowed by the HBA manufacturer. In this solution, we set the maximum queue depth to 256 for the Qlogic HBA. For a physical server running SUSE Linux: 1.

Download and install the HBA driver from the Qlogic website.

2.

Create or edit the /etc/modprobe.d/qla2xxx.conf file and add or modify the following parameter:

options qla2xxx ql2xmaxqdepth=256 3.

Reboot the server and then verify that the parameter is set as shown in Figure 8.

Figure 8.

Verify Qlogic queue depth of physical server

For servers running vSphere ESXi: 1.

Open an SSH session to the host as root user.

2.

Run the following command to adjust the HDB queue depth:

3.

Reboot the ESXi server and verify that the parameter is set as shown in Figure 9

# esxcli system module parameters set -p ql2xmaxqdepth=256 –m qla2xxx

Figure 9.

Verify Qlogic queue depth of ESXi server

Note: The highest execution throttle and queue depth values are different for other HBA manufacturers. Refer to the EMC XtremIO Storage Array Host Configuration Guide for details.

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Multipathing EMC PowerPath software provides array-customized LAMs (native class support) for XtremIO volumes. PowerPath array-customized LAMs feature optimal failover and load balancing behaviors for the XtremIO volumes. PowerPath and PowerPath/VE multipathing are recommended with XtremIO arrays for physical servers and ESXi servers as shown in Figure 10 and Figure 11. For details on native class support with XtremIO for your host, refer to the EMC PowerPath Release Notes document for the PowerPath version installed.

Figure 10.

XtremIO multipathing with PowerPath

Figure 11.

XtremIO multipathing with PowerPath/VE

Configurations for VMware vSphere To optimally configure the ESXi host for XtremIO storage: 1.

Set the SchedQuantum to 64, DiskMaxIOSize to 4,096, and SchedNumReqOutstanding to 256 using the following ESXi command lines:

# esxcfg-advcfg -s 64 /Disk/SchedQuantum # esxcfg-advcfg -s 4096 /Disk/DiskMaxIOSize # esxcli storage core device set -d naa.xxx -O 256

Note: naa.xxx is the NAA for XtremIO LUNs presented to ESXi hosts.

2.

Confirm that VAAI features are enabled on the ESXi server through vSphere Client, as shown in Figure 12.

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Figure 12.

3.

Enable VAAI

Format virtual machines on XtremIO storage using Thick Provision Eager Zeroed as shown in Figure 13. Using this format, the required space for the virtual machine is allocated and zeroed at creation time. However, with native XtremIO data reduction, thin provisioning, and VAAI support, no actual physical capacity allocation occurs.

Figure 13.

Format of virtual disk

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Testing and validation This section provides detailed information about the following test scenarios:

Improving SAP performance



Improving SAP performance



Empowering a full SAP landscape with XtremIO snapshot features



Supplementing an SAP backup solution with XtremIO snapshot features

This test scenario was used to measure SAP performance improvement through the use of the XtremIO array with default system settings. To simulate a massive data transfer we created seven SAP ERP systems, all on one non-XtremIO array with tiered storage (FLASH+SAS+NLSAS), to run client copies simultaneously. After the job was complete, we migrated these systems to the XtremIO array without changing any applications, databases, or the operating system configuration. We gathered the system performance metrics through SAP transaction code ST03N. In addition, we gathered metrics for I/O throughput and latency at the storage level. Notes: The results are highly dependent on workload-specific application requirements, system design and implementation, and underlying infrastructure. Relative system performance can vary significantly as a result of these and other factors. This workload should not be used as a substitute for a specific customer benchmark when planning critical capacity and/or evaluating products.

Test procedure Follow these steps to test if XtremIO can improve SAP’s performance: 1.

On the non XtremIO array, run the SAP client copy operation on all SAP systems simultaneously, as shown in Figure 14.

Figure 14.

Run SAP client copy

2.

Migrate all SAP systems to XtremIO without changing any system level settings.

3.

Perform Step 1 again on the XtremIO array.

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Test results The EMC XtremIO all-flash array effectively delivered higher bandwidth performance and ultra-low latency as compared to the non-XtremIO array. It took an average of 84 minutes to complete the client copy operation for each SAP system. As shown in Figure 15, the client copy operation started at 07:52 and finished at 09:16. The average disk response time was 2.84ms and average bandwidth was 64.53MB/s on the non-XtremIO array.

Figure 15.

Average response time and bandwidth on non XtremIO array

After we migrated the entire environment to the XtremIO array, the client copy operation took only an average of 38 minutes to complete for every SAP system. As shown in Figure 16, the client copy operation started at 19:18 and finished at 19:56, the average bandwidth increased to 181MB/s. The average LUN disk response time was consistently centered around 0.29ms.

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Figure 16.

Average response time and total bandwidth on XtremIO array

Overall, with XtremIO, the client copy operation duration decreased by 55 percent, disk response time was reduced by 90 percent, and the total bandwidth increased by 180 percent, as shown in Figure 17.

Figure 17.

Overall performance evaluation results

Note: We simulated a typical workload using the SAP client copy to show the performance improvement for SAP by XtremIO. For more scenarios, refer to the white paper Redefining SAP Infrastructure with EMC XtremIO on the EMC website.

Empowering full SAP landscape with XtremIO snapshot

This test scenario involved using XtremIO snapshots to reduce the SAP landscape storage footprint and enable extreme storage performance for the whole SAP landscape. As shown in Figure 18, we created two snapshots of the PRD system to be used as the base for quality control (QAS) and production preparation (PRE), and one snapshot of the DEV system to be used as the base for the sandbox (SDX).

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Figure 18.

Full SAP landscape powered by XtremIO snapshot

We implemented snapshots using the redirect-on-write methodology, in which new writes to the source volume (or snapshot) were redirected to new locations, and only metadata was updated to point to the new data location. This method guaranteed that no performance degradation would occur while snapshots were being created. In this solution, we simulated an additional workload on QAS using SAP client copy to demonstrate that the snapshot of PRD (QAS) would have no performance impact on PRD. Test procedure 1.

Create XtremIO snapshots for the PRD volumes as shown in Figure 19.

Figure 19.

Create snapshot on XSMA

2.

Map the snapshot volume to the ESXi server.

3.

Assign a new signature when mounting the snapshot datastore, as shown in Figure 20.

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Figure 20.

Specify a VMFS mount option

4.

Start the virtual machine based on the mounted-snapshot datastore.

5.

Change the IP address and start the SAP application.

6.

Change the SAP and DB SID name to PRE using the SAP provisioning tool and convert the logical system name as shown in Figure 21.

Figure 21.

Rename the SAP system

7.

Repeat steps 1 – 6 to create QAS and SDX systems from the snapshots of PRD and DEV.

8.

Run Client Copy to simulate workload on PRD and measure performance.

9.

Run Client Copy to simulate workload on both PRD and QAS and measure performance.

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Test result Creating snapshots consumed no additional physical capacity. As shown in Table 5, after creating a writable snapshot, the XtremIO overall space saving efficiency increased. After changing the SID and logical system name for each system, only 7 GB of physical storage capacity were required to prepare three additional SAP systems (PRE, QAS, and SDX) for use. Table 5.

Reduction in SAP landscape storage footprint by XtremIO snapshots

SAP systems on XtremIO array

Overall efficiency

Data reduction ratio

Thin provisioning savings

Volume capacity

Occupied capacity

PRD, DEV

7:1

2:1

68 percent

1.56 TB

227GB

PRD, DEV, PRE, QAS and SDX (after changing logical system)

17:1

2:1

86 percent

3.90TB

234GB

We measured the difference in PRD client copy duration between scenarios with and without additional workload added on QAS (a snapshot of PRD). Table 6 shows that performance on PRD was sustained with near zero degradation, while the additional client copy workload was added on QAS. Table 6.

Supplementing SAP backup solution with XtremIO Snapshot

Client copy duration comparison

Scenario

Client copy duration (minutes)

Client copy on PRD

38:04

Client copy on both PRD and QAS

38:23

This test scenario created a snapshot for DEV data protection. We incorporated the command line shown in Step 1 into an automated script to protect against logical corruption in a complete SAP landscape. We simulated a logical error on DEV and recovered the system from the most recent snapshot. Test procedure Follow these steps to generate snapshots at a fixed interval: 1.

Run the add-user-account XMCLI command with the "public-key" parameter as shown below. The user account snapshot does not require credentials to login to the XtremIO CLI from the remote host.

xmcli (admin)> add-user-account usr-name="snapshot" password= “” role="" public-key="" 2.

Create a snapshot with XMCLI. Figure 22 shows an example creating snapshots for all volumes of the DEV system at once. As shown in Figure 22, we created the snapshot with XMCLI on the remote host. The command line can be incorporated into a script to implement, schedule, and automate data protection.

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Figure 22.

3.

Create snapshot using XtremIO command line

Delete SAP Client 812 using SAP transaction code SCC5 to simulate the deletion of a client as shown in Figure 23.

Figure 23.

Remove SAP Client 812

4.

Delete the DEV virtual machine in vSphere vCenter.

5.

Map all the snapshot volumes to the ESXi server as shown in Figure 24.

Figure 24.

Map snapshot volumes to the ESXi server

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6.

Rescan the storage and register the virtual machine in vSphere vCenter.

7.

Start the SAP application.

Test result The snapshot is a point-in-time image of the entire SAP system. During restart of the SAP system on the snapshots, the system automatically performs recovery so that all committed transactions are reflected and all uncommitted transactions are rolled back. As shown in Figure 25, Client 812 is recovered from the snapshot.

Figure 25.

Client 812 is recovered

With powerful XtremIO snapshot scheduling functionality, snapshots can be mounted to different hosts to perform SAP backup without introducing performance impact to original systems.

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Sizing XtremIO for SAP Overview

Sizing the XtremIO for SAP architecture is a departure from traditional array sizing practices due to the unique system architecture and new features. In this section, we discuss the differences and implications of the following aspects to help you navigate your sizing exercise: 

Form factor



Performance



Capacity



New use cases

Form factor

XtremIO XDP not only provides the most efficient data protection scheme, but it also eliminates the need to consider different RAID types to balance performance and capacity. Since all drives are under XDP protection, incoming I/Os are randomized and distributed evenly across the X-brick(s) regardless of the I/O profile. As a result, sizing for SAP applications is simplified by taking protection, I/O profile, and complex drive count calculation out of the equation. The output is simplified to the number of X-brick(s) and the capacity for each X-brick.

Performance

XtremIO’s architecture delivers predictable ultra-low latency and high bandwidth for varying I/O profiles. It allows scale-out for growth while consistently delivering high performance. As a result, sizing for SAP applications (with multiple system consolidation) only needs to take total IOPS and read/write ratio into consideration.

Capacity

With regard to capacity, zeros on XtremIO do not consume any storage space. Together with thin provisioning, sizing for the SAP application should only consider the actual size of the system (consumed space) rather than provisioned space (zeros and reserved space for future growth). On the other hand, for a single SAP system, the deduction rate is low (our tests resulted in a deduction rate of 2). For a single system landscape, expect a high deduplication rate if downstream systems (QAS, DEV and so on) are copies of the production system. For a solutions landscape (multiple system landscapes), expect a low compression and deduplication rate across applications.

New use cases

XtremIO’s full-performance, space-efficient, and writeable snapshots enable SAP landscape consolidation with production systems that do not compromise SLAs. Renaming the system and changing the logical system name do not result in a significant amount of changed data. When planning to use a snapshot for a downstream system, carefully consider the additional workload on the X-brick.

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Conclusion Summary

EMC XtremIO is transforming SAP landscape management. SAP customers using traditional storage face many challenges including limitations on capacity, performance, refresh frequency, and the inability to perform destructive testing. These challenges make it difficult to quickly and thoroughly test changes before moving them to a production system. XtremIO fully addresses these challenges. EMC XtremIO all-flash array technology is designed to maximize effective capacity and provide ultra-low latency for SAP landscape applications. This solution enables you to achieve efficient resource utilization with XtremIO’s built-in thin provisioning, data deduplication, and compression. In this solution, the overall space-saved efficiency reaches 17:1; the SAP client copy time is reduced by 55 percent as compared to the non-XtremIO array. The unique architecture simplifies storage management and drives rapid development and testing for an SAP environment. Taking snapshots of the SAP production system enables you to replicate the production environment for SAP development and testing purposes. The redirect-on-write methodology for snapshots guarantees no performance degradation when taking snapshots.

Findings

This solution provides: 

Fast and simple setup with little to no storage tuning



Significant space-savings and efficiency



Consistent, predictable performance for the SAP landscape with ultra-low latency



Rapid development and testing for SAP environments using snapshot, with zero impact on the production system



Offloading for the backup process using scheduled snapshots capabilities

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References White papers

Product documentation

For additional information, see the white papers listed below, available from EMC.com: 

Redefining SAP Infrastructure With EMC XtremIO



EMC XtremIO High-Performance Consolidation Solution for Oracle



EMC XtremIO Optimized Flash Storage For Oracle Databases

For additional information, see the product documents listed below: 

EMC XtremIO Storage Array User Guide



EMC XtremIO Storage Array Host Configuration Guide



XtremIO Storage System CLI Reference Guide

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