More memory now available for SAP HANA on SLES 11 for POWER

sap_hana_scale

Many companies are now running their businesses with SAP HANA on IBM POWER servers. SUSE has seen huge increase in customer demand for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications 11 SP4 since it became available in August 2015.

SAP HANA is an ideal workload for IBM POWER server due to the performance, reliability and scalability features provided by Power Systems servers. SAP HANA customers were able to boost their performance, save time on deployments and protect critical business operations with built-in business continuity capabilities by using POWER system with SLES for SAP Applications 11 SP4.

As our customers scaled up their SAP HANA environments, they found that they needed support for very large physical memory configurations in an LPAR (VM), beyond the 1.5TB supported by SLES 11.

Technically, this was a challenging problem. Expanding memory beyond 1.5TB would require changing the SLES 11 kernel page table structure impacting kernel ABIs. These changes could negatively affect compatibility for applications that use the kernel ABI. Retesting all existing applications would be impractical for a mature operating system like SLES 11 that first became available in 2009.

Fortunately, the product and engineering teams at SUSE were able to come up with an approach that preserved compatibility for existing SLES 11 customers while enabling very large memory support for SAP HANA on POWER. The solution was the introduction of an additional, “Bigmem” kernel.

The Bigmem kernel (kernel-bigmem) is an additional Linux kernel available for SLES for SAP Applications 11 SP4 customers through the maintenance channel. The Bigmem kernel is modified to provide support for up to 32TB on IBM POWER. Customers using SAP HANA can optionally use the BIgmem kernel to support any size memory up to 32TB. Customers who are using SLES 11 for workloads other than SAP HANA will continue to use the standard kernel. Moving forward, both kernels will be supported by SUSE on SLES for SAP Applications 11 SP4.

The Bigmem kernel also increases the number of threads supported by SLES for SAP Applications 11. This is required for systems that have more than 1024 logical CPUs such as an IBM Power System E880 configured with 192 physical CPU core with SMT8, resulting in 1536 logical CPU threads.

IBM, SAP and SUSE have rigorously tested the Bigmem kernel with SAP HANA for several months and the official certification is available. The recommended patch list can be found at https://download.suse.com/Download?buildid=abdTREGeaIw~

Note that the Bigmem kernel is not supported for applications other than SAP HANA.

Also, note that clients implementing SAP HANA on SLES for SAP Applications 12 do not need the Bigmem kernel because the base kernel in SLES 12 already supports up to 32 TB of memory.

Update: With the kernel-bigmem–3.0.101-108.7.1 update, we now support up to 128TB virtual address space on SLES 11 SP4.  See https://kruemcke.wordpress.com/2018/02/06/sap-hana-on-power-feeling-a-little-cramped-128tb-support-for-sles-11-sp4-can-help/

For more information, see:

Jay Kruemcke

Product manager for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for POWER

jayk@suse.com

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About Jay Kruemcke

Jay Kruemcke is passionate about helping customers and partners achieve their goals. Jay is a currently a Senior Product Manager at SUSE. Jay is responsible for the SUSE Linux for High-Performance Computing, Linux for Arm, and Linux for Power servers. Jay released the first commercially supported Linux distribution for Arm in 2016. Jay completely restructured SUSE’s HPC offerings in 2017 to add support for Arm systems, provide longer term support, and continue to enhance the HPC Module. The HPC Module provides support for open software such as slurm as part of the SUSE HPC subscription. Jay has built an extensive career in product management based on being a bridge between customers and engineering teams. He has extensive experience in many areas including product positioning, driving future product directions, using social media for client collaboration, and evangelizing the capabilities and future directions of enterprise products. Prior to joining SUSE, Jay had a long career at IBM including many roles in the Power and Cloud Engineering and Offering teams. In addition to his product management experience, Jay has held a variety of technology roles at including product marketing, manager of a technical architecture team, briefing center staff, SAP systems management consultant, and as a system programmer and administrator Jay also volunteers with the Boy Scouts in multiple roles and with ProductCamp Austin. The postings on this site solely reflect the personal views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views, positions, strategies or opinions of my employer. Follow me on twitter @mr_sles and @phastflyer
This entry was posted in AIX & Power Systems Blogroll, SAP HANA, SUSE Linux. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to More memory now available for SAP HANA on SLES 11 for POWER

  1. Pingback: SAP HANA on Power feeling a little cramped? 128TB support for SLES 11 SP4 can help | The secret product manager

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