Dell Designs for SAP's In-Memory Database
Dell plans on shipping a range of scale-out servers optimized for SAP’s HANA in-memory database architecture, part of its focus on designing server solutions for specific workloads. Dell also announced that it would ship a new version of its Active Systems Manager, built on the Gale Technologies IP acquired last fall. Dell’s strategy is to develop converged but flexible systems combining compute, storage, networking, and management technologies, providing simplicity to the customer but also serendipitously making the company a one-stop shop for enterprise computing needs. The mantra here is “workload centric,” where certain applications require—and receive—dedicated configurations. “In short, what we’re doing is giving customers the confidence and agility to implement workloads that matter most to them, Steve Stover, director of product management and strategy, virtualization and cloud solutions at Dell, said in an interview. Dell’s SAP HANA products fall into a pair of buckets: the new, multi-node, scale-out configurations for large enterprises, as well as existing self-contained, single-server configurations for small and medium businesses. Each configuration has been certified by SAP, and includes (as part of the certification requirements) a foundation of an Intel Xeon E7 processor and R910 chipset. There are 1 terabyte, 2 TB, and 4TB scale-out configurations, each running four of the Xeon processors. The single-server configurations, which began shipping last May, vary by the amount of RAM (128 GB, 256 GB, or 512 GB) and each packs a 785-GB SSD caching data for a slower disk tier of either 1 TB or 2 TB. Dell hasn’t framed the expected lifecycle of the new systems. According to a Dell spokeswoman, the Dell SAP HANA pre-integrated system should follow the normal life cycle of PowerEdge servers; Dell’s modular approach to the scale-out solutions allows customers to start at a base and expand nodes and storage as their requirements increase over time, eliminating the need to "rip and replace" as needs change. A number of organizations are using SAP HANA technology in interesting ways. For example, the University of Kentucky has used the platform to help identify students at risk of potentially dropping out. The school uses that list to take early action.