Around the Storage Block

A Look Under the Hood of the HPE Superdome Flex – A Super Computer for SAP HANA

SAPPHIRE2018_400x267.jpgA few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend SAP's premiere customer event SAPPHIRENOW.  More than 20,000 people attended and while talking to a few customers, I asked, “What makes Hewlett Packard Enterprise unique to the SAP business world?”

Without hesitation, one of our customers said, "The Superdome Flex." Throughout the week I heard similar comments; and, that's when I decided….I needed to get my hands on a Superdome Flex.  So with the help from my friends in the Mission Critical Enterprise x86 lab, I can show you under the hood of the Superdome Flex.

In May of 2013, HP and SAP announced that together they had co-created the largest SAP HANA in memory database system.  It was a 16 Sockets, 12 TB system - based on the HP Superdome.  Three years later, HPE announced the acquisition of SGI who was also working on a SAP HANA system using the UV 300.

The Superdome Flex is the best of those two systems and HPE’s next generation super computer.  It has the flexibility of scaling from a single, 4 processor chassis to 8 interconnected chassis to create a system with 32 processors with 896 cores and 48 TB of RAM.  It's memory driven design is what makes it perfect for SAP HANA!

HPE Superdome FlexHPE Superdome FlexThe Superdome Flex supports the Intel Xeon Platinum and Gold processor families.  Each chassis has 4 processors with 48 DDR4 memory slots – each processor mapping to 12 of those slots.  To get 6TB of RAM in a chassis you have to use 128 GB DIMMS and the 8100M series platinum processors - 8160M, 8170M, 8176M, and 8180M.  As your memory compute needs for SAP HANA expand, the Superdome Flex can expand with you.HPE Superdome Flex 4 processor 48 DDR4 DIMMsHPE Superdome Flex 4 processor 48 DDR4 DIMMsThe Superdome flex is based on 4 socket, Non Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) systems. These NUMA systems connect using a proprietary communication fabric called the HPE Superdome Flex Grid which allows each chassis to be wired to other chassis in the rack.  This communication grid allows all chassis to be configured as a single system running a single OS or a chassis or groups of chassis can be partitioned into individual npar systems.  

This means a single chassis can expand using the interconnect ports on the front of the chassis to other chassis allowing a 4 socket system to expand to a 32 sockets system.  For example, a single rack can have multiple Superdome Flex systems like the bottom of the rack including a 20 socket system using the bottom 5 chassis and a 12 socket Superdome Flex in the top of the rack using the top 3 chassis. 
HPE Superdome Flex - Flex Grid InterconnectsHPE Superdome Flex - Flex Grid Interconnects

 Currently the HPE Superdome Flex is SAP HANA TDI certified for up to 16 sockets and 12 TB of RAM.  However, I know of several customer running non-production SAP HANA databases on fully configured Superdome Flex systems with 32 Sockets and 48TB of RAM.

 Although I can’t tell you what our development teams are testing here in the lab, I can tell you the Superdome Flex certifications will be increasing in the future.

So, there you have it!  A quick look under the hood of the HPE Superdome Flex. Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s premier supercomputer and the most advanced TDI Certified system for SAP HANA!

 For more information about the HPE partnership with SAP, see HPE SAP HANA Solutions page or the HPE Storage for SAP HANA page. .

If you’re interested in test driving any a Superdome Flex, contact your HPE solutions partner or an HPE Pointnext representative at

About the Author


HPE Storage Solutions Engineer specializing in servers, storage, infrastructure design, solution architecture and implementation.