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SAP HANA Data Protection: Predictability in a world filled with uncertainties

Take a look. These quotes1 capture the predicament most customers are facing with increasing business pressure in a highly competitive world:

 

“How can I compete when it’s no longer clear who I’m competing against?”World.jpg

“When did my customers start knowing more about me than I know about them?”

“How can I find and keep the people I need to solve the challenges I don’t even know I have yet?”

“When will my data stop reporting the past and start predicting the future?”

 

 And then come more questions:

"With so much Big Data being generated, how do I separate noise from information?"

"How do I put that information to good use to gain competitive insight and drive business advantage?"

 

This is where the Big Data analytics shines: by making improved decision-making possible. To use the hockey metaphor, analytics helps you predict where the puck is going and not where the puck is.

 

SAP is in the forefront of the analytics game with its HANA platform. For those of you who are unfamiliar with HANA, it’s the in-memory database platform for real-time applications and analytics. It differs from traditional databases that are optimized for transactional (OLTP) workload. HANA is an optimized platform for analytical workloads (OLAP) and use cases. The in-memory data along with the log data is periodically written to persistent disk storage.

 

HANA journey and challenges with data protection

For most customers, the journey for HANA usually starts with a sidecar implementation, then graduates to Business Warehouse (BW) workloads, before eventually moving to ERP, CRM applications—or, in other words, Suite on HANA (S/4 HANA).

 

HP has made strategic investment in HANA and we have several HANA-optimized Converged System appliances to help accelerate time-to-deployment of these systems along with best practices and years of expertise designing and deploying these systems.

Checking in on data protection realities

Last year, I spent considerable amount of time talking to customers to understand how their HANA environments were protected from backup and recovery perspective. In almost every single case, the reason to purchase and deploy HANA system was mainly a business decision (which by the way was not surprising). However, the interesting part was how little knowledge some of the IT teams had managing and protecting HANA systems. This also did not surprise me, given HANA was new and there was no standards for data protection.

So naturally, every customer had a unique approach for backing up HANA. Many of the IT teams were using script based backups, which essentially created a HANA database dump on the HANA appliance, and another script or a backup application that copied DB dumps to a backup target—disk or tape on both local and remote site. There were several key reasons for this. First, limited IT budget prevented IT teams from pulling together a robust data protection solution. What's more, HANA administrators needed greater control and visibility over their application protection which finally led to HANA application owners and backup teams lacking trust between each other.

While it may seem reasonable to justify these approaches, what you get is nothing more than a Band-Aid solution that is:

  • Expensive—Primary storage is expensive and storing backup dumps on HANA appliance is not cheap.
  • Slow—The two-stage backup and recovery process is not only slow and hurts the RPO/RTO customers want to meet for backup and recoveries
  • Kludgy—Learning and maintaining those scripts for a new HANA admin is a steep learning curve and unsustainable in the long run.

All of these factors forced us to rethink HANA database protection and optimization.

Introducing HP StoreOnce plug-in for SAP HANA

At SAPPHIRE in May, we announced modern data protection for SAP HANA with the introduction of new HP StoreOnce plug-in for SAP HANA. The plug-in is a HANA BackInt agent installed directly on SAP HANA nodes which enables direct streaming backups to StoreOnce deduplication appliance.

HANAJ.jpg 

Now let’s break down the benefits of StoreOnce plug-in:

HANA DBA Controlled backups

HANA administrators can trigger backup and recoveries of databases directly from HANA studio or CLI or DBA cockpit (schedule) to StoreOnce. Backups are catalogued and are available for recovery from StoreOnce appliance. The backup admin if needed can set capacity quota for HANA backups on a shared StoreOnce appliance. No more two stage backups and/or consuming precious storage space on HANA appliance for backup copies.

Benefit: Eliminate shadow backup or Bring Your Own Backup (BYOB). Provide greater control and visibility for HANA DBAs over application protection without the reliance on backup admin. Frees up time and bandwidth for backup admin as well. Most importantly, it rebuilds trust between application owner and a backup admin. A win-win for both. 

Faster backups

StoreOnce plug-in optimized for HANA is 2.3xfaster than traditional backups and the nearest competition. It uses StoreOnce Catalyst, a device type optimized for backup and recovery that is more efficient than traditional CIFS/NFS protocols. Why does this matter? Because HANA database only supports full backups, and with multi-terabyte databases, backup solution needs to be fast to avoid breaking backup windows.

Benefit: Meet business SLAs for data protection. 

Deduplication flexibility

HP StoreOnce plug-in for SAP HANA optimizes backup streams and performs HANA database-aware deduplication, resulting in much smaller backup footprint compared to other methods. Plus you get the flexibility to deduplicate at source (HANA nodes) or on the target (StoreOnce appliance) to suit the needs of the business.

Benefit: Enjoy better storage utilization, more recovery points for faster recovery, and tremendous cost savings. 

FREE of charge

You get all the benefits of the StoreOnce plug-in for free3 because the plug-in is downloadable at no charge to customers.

Why wait?

The market adoption for HANA is growing. If it important for your business to deploy HANA, it is equally important to provide best-in-class protection. The good things in life need not be complex or expensive. If you are interested in giving our solution a try, please get in touch with us. (You can start by commenting on this blog.) And if you plan on being at HP Discover in Las Vegas, let’s have a chat.

Learn more now

For more information, visit:

HP BURA Solutions

HP SAP Solutions

HP ConvergedSystem for SAP 

1 Source: Quotes from SAPPHIRE Keynote presentation

2 Based on internal tests

3 HP StoreOnce needs to have Catalyst license enabled

Srik V  HPE Storage.jpegBy Srikanth Venkataseshu, Senior Marketing Manager, Backup, Recovery and Archive Solutions, HP Storage    @srikseshu

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