AP HANA deployment on Azure enables companies to evaluate and then run development, test, sandbox, and training environments for different SAP products. Deploying SAP HANA in the cloud enables customers to avoid the traditional path of procuring hardware and then installing SAP. Azure offers benefits like scalability, availability, and cost savings.
Hosting SAP HANA on Azure
SAP HANA is an in-memory Relational Database Management System (RDBMS). SAP HANA uses a solid-state Random Access Memory (RAM) to store data. This functionality improves database performance compared to traditional databases that use persistent storage.
You can run SAP HANA on-premises on your own dedicated hardware, or in a public or private cloud. Launching a SAP HANA certified Virtual Machine (VM) or a bare metal server enables you to run SAP workloads in Azure while optimizing costs.
Installing SAP HANA on Azure Virtual Machines
This guide reviews the resources you need to deploy SAP HANA in Azure virtual machines. It also walks you through the necessary checks you need to implement before installing SAP HANA in an Azure VM.
Perform the following steps before starting with the installation of SAP HANA on Azure VMs.
Azure does not support all possible deployment scenarios. Therefore, you should check the document detailing supported scenarios of SAP workloads on Azure. Review the list of all supported scenarios in this doc to determine the most suitable SAP HANA deployment for your needs.
Choose an Azure VM by using a rough estimate of your HANA deployment memory requirement. You can find the list of all certified Azure VMs in SAP HANA in the SAP HANA hardware directory. Note that the units starting with S are not Azure VMs, they are SAP HANA Large Instances.
Each type of Azure VM has different minimum operating system releases for Red Hat Linux or SUSE Linux. Select an entry in the SAP HANA certified units list to get detailed data on each unit. In the hardware directory, you can also find a list of supported OS releases of those units.
Check whether the release of the SAP HANA you want to deploy is supported by that OS release of the virtual machine. You can read SAP support notes to understand the connection between different releases of SAP HANA and the various operating system releases.
After finding the right combination of SAP HANA, Azure VM, and operating system release, you need to check the SAP Product Availability Matrix. The Matrix enables you to determine whether the SAP HANA database of your choice supports the SAP product you want to run.
The following steps walk you through the process of deploying the VMs you need to install HANA. You will also learn how to optimize the selected operating system after installation.
- Choose the base image out of the Azure gallery
You can build your own operating system image for HANA out of SAP installation packages. Another option is to use Red Hat or SUSE images from the Azure image gallery. These images include the necessary packages for HANA installation. Choose an image where you can bring your own license, based on your contract with the operating system provider. Or you can choose an image that already includes support.
- Register the OS image with your subscription
Register the OS image with your subscription if you choose a guest image that requires your own license. Registration enables you to download and apply the latest patches. This step requires public Internet access, unless you set up your own private instance.
- Determine the network configuration of the VM
Remember that there are no network throughput quotas you can assign to Azure Virtual Network Interface Cards (vNICs). You should direct traffic through different vNICs only for security reasons. Therefore, you need to find the right balance between your security requirements and the complexity of traffic routing through different vNICs.
- Apply patches
Once the VM is registered and deployed, you should apply the latest patches to the operating system. When you choose an image that includes operating system support, the VM should already have access to the patches.
- Select a storage type for SAP HANA on Azure
Determine the Azure storage layout for your SAP HANA installation. There are two options to choose from—native Azure NFS shares or attached Azure disks. For non-production purposes, you can configure IOPS or lower throughput. For production systems, you need to configure more throughput and IOPS.
- Configure the Azure Write Accelerator
Configure the Azure Write Accelerator for volumes that include the DBMS redo logs or transaction logs when you are using Mv2-Series or M-Series VMs.
- Enable the Azure Accelerated Networking on deployed VMs
The final step is enabling the Azure Accelerated Networking (AN) functionality. AN provides up to 30Gbps in networking throughput, and consistent ultra-low network latency.
Limitations of HANA on Azure
While Azure provides a lot of benefits, there are some limitations as well. Limitations for hosting HANA on Azure include:
- Resources—resources like memory, storage, and compute are available only in large blocks. This means that if your resource size exceeds the block size, you have to pay for another whole block. To manage this, you either need to pay for unused resources, or downgrade your performance to fit smaller resources.
- Complexity—maintaining full visibility of your services may be difficult, depending on your configurations and what resources you are using. Azure provides support for integrating different applications and environments. However each addition adds to your overall complexity. This complicates the management and configuration of services.
- Compliance—you need to configure your compliance measures, they are not provided by default. Likewise, although Azure offers a Government Cloud for compliance, you must pass certain criteria to use its resources.
When deploying SAP HANA on Azure, you get to leverage the flexibility and scalability of the cloud for SAP deployments. You can save on the capital investment required to set up your own SAP HANA infrastructure. The cloud also removes some of the dependencies associated with on prem solutions and breaks the procurement cycle once and for all. There are some basic steps you can take to install HANA on Azure. These include finding the right combination of SAP HANA release, Azure VM, and operating system versions.