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The Importance of Business Continuity in Your SAP HANA Environment

David_Dichmann

To achieve the business continuity your business demands, combine pre-built, high-performance HPE ConvergedSystem for SAP HANA with HPE Serviceguard.

Blog_SAP_HANA_Business.jpgI think we can all agree that Information is the backbone of any business operation—and that’s why we are generally very good at ensuring we have backups of everything in case of a disaster.

However, a backup alone is not enough to prevent downtime in such an event.  Losing data is one problem. Losing business is another.

So what is the difference between a disaster recovery plan and a business continuity plan? 

Disaster recovery is about getting the business back up and running after the unexpected happens. We’re talking about a reactive plan to respond to such an event.

Business continuity is about being prepared to continue to do business through the recovery period. It’s about being proactive and ensuring no losses occur when a system is down in a planned or unplanned way.

Not being prepared to continue operations is expensive. According to an Information Technology Intelligence Consulting Survey, up to 33% of enterprises report that one hour of downtime costs their firms $1 million to over $5 million. This cost comes in many forms. It includes the cost of lost productivity of employees unable to do their jobs. It’s also the cost of the time and effort it takes to restore and bring new systems online after any damage. And it’s the cost of lost business that comes when customers cannot access your products online. 

Focusing on business continuity and your SAP HANA systems

When it comes to your SAP HANA systems, business continuity is about a highly available infrastructure that takes the uniqueness of the SAP HANA database into account.

To do that, HPE ConvergedSystem for SAP HANA® products come with the optional SAP Certified HPE Serviceguard for automated environments. With unattended high availability (HA) and disaster tolerance (DT) capabilities, HPE Serviceguard makes sure you maintain business continuity when you run your mission critical systems and workloads on SAP HANA.

If your business cannot tolerate more than 30 minutes of lost business, lost data or lost productivity, then HA and DT are essential. You will want to explore the right target recovery time objective (RTO) and target recovery point objective (RPO) for your HA and DT solution—and you will need to design an infrastructure with the capability to support both of those critical business metrics.

How our Reference Architecture can help

HPE has developed a recipe, or Reference Architecture, that combines the HPE ConvergedSystem for SAP HANA portfolio of pre-built, factory-integrated systems optimized for high performance, high availability and unmatched scalability with HPE Serviceguard, a cluster software, which provides key HA and DT capabilities for applications deployed in distributed environments. With automated mechanisms to detect failures and initiate recovery procedures, this solution can ensure continuous availability of application services. Additionally, it employs precise control measures to protect the integrity of application data during the execution of remedial procedures in multi-node cluster configurations.

Why is this better than SAP System Replication on its own?  

By itself, SAP System Replication relies on the system administrator to make the determination that a failure has occurred and initiate the failover to the secondary system. The administration must be careful and not trigger an action that can result in data loss, or even worse corrupt the data. Being dependent on human interaction can also delay the time for the new system to be online, causing service outages. 

When using HPE Serviceguard together with the SAP System Replication on an HPE ConvergedSystem for SAP HANA configuration, you get an automatic, unattended failover to a secondary system. HPE Serviceguard examines the type of failure, and automatically takes appropriate action, without the need for human intervention and without risk of human error in the process. This automation can drastically reduce application downtime and ensure the highest level of business continuity. When the primary system has been recovered, it can be started in a secondary role to ensure HA and DT protections are back and data is protected continuously.

When using SAP HANA, HA and DT are even more challenging when dealing with a scale-out system. HPE Serviceguard introduces the Site Aware Disaster Tolerant Architecture (SADTA), which extends the DT capabilities to include scale-out HANA systems. By focusing on the idea of a “site” instead of an individual system the failover can go to another “site”, and again allow the primary scale-out system to be recovered or repaired without significant loss of business continuity.  This unique clustering technology allows for very large scale systems to have optimal business continuity. You don’t have to sacrifice availability for scale anymore.

Innovation that makes the most of a standby system

We recognize that maintaining a secondary system available in case of a disaster is a costly and in some cases wasteful use of resources. As a result, we have also innovated around the idea of the secondary system having dual-purpose capability. This means that the standby system can be used for some other purpose, when it is not used to run the production system. Many organizations use this as a test or development system or as a production system running much lower priority workloads.

Because business continuity is mission critical

That’s why so many important systems are being migrated to SAP HANA. As a result, we need an architecture for SAP HANA systems that can support our high standards for high availability and disaster tolerance for these critical workloads.  The HPE recipe for replication and dual purpose with HPE ConvergedSystems and HPE Serviceguard is an optimized way to ensure critical metrics can be met—while keeping your SAP HANA=based workloads always available to your business and your customers.

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About the Author

David_Dichmann

David focuses on SAP HANA lifecycle and ecosystem for HPE solutions for SAP HANA. He was previously employed by SAP focusing on SAP HANA Enterprise Architecture tools. David has more than 30 years of industry experience in both technical and business roles, working with small, start-up, and established businesses.