Infosys needed to augment its physical infrastructure supporting its SAP HANA relational database management system (RDBMS) and applications running at the Infosys SAP HANA Center of Excellence in India. Infosys collaborated with VMware and Hitachi to make this a reality. The company deployed VMware vSphere on Hitachi Unified Compute Platform for the SAP HANA Platform (UCP for SAP HANA). Leveraging SAP HANA VM templates from Hitachi, Infosys has gained the ability to deliver a new SAP HANA virtual machine in 20 minutes, deliver an application built on top of SAP HANA from the template in 120 minutes, and reduce the total cost of delivery by 85%.
Infosys is a global leader in consulting, technology, outsourcing and next generation services. The company enables clients in more than 50 countries to stay a step ahead of emerging business trends and outperform the competition. Infosys helps them transform and thrive in a changing world by co-creating breakthrough solutions that combine strategic insights and execution excellence. Infosys (NYSE: INFY), with US$8.7 billion in annual revenues and 176,000+ employees, is helping enterprises renew themselves while also creating new avenues to generate value.
Hitachi Unified Compute Platform for the SAP HANA Platform
Hitachi Compute Blade 500
Hitachi Unified Storage VM
Infosys uses SAP extensively throughout its operations and is a leader in providing SAP services to customers around the world. Infosys operates an SAP HANA RDBMS, which processes a high volume of transactions and complex queries. At the Center of Excellence located in India, RDBMS is used to demonstrate to customers and prospects how SAP systems can deliver efficiencies to their businesses. However, to keep up with requests from customers and prospects, the company needed to accelerate the deployment of SAP applications running with SAP HANA instances for demonstrations. It would take up to a week to deploy a new machine to run an SAP application with SAP HANA, and the business deemed the labor costs prohibitive. The technology team needed to find a cost-effective solution that would deliver a significant return on investment.
To quickly and cost-effectively meet the demand for new applications for customer demonstrations, and to support the rising database transactions and queries, Infosys needed to upgrade the current IT infrastructure. “We thought of scaling up the hardware used to run our SAP HANA RDBMS, but it was aging and couldn’t offer the performance, scalability and robustness of newer best-in-class equipment,” says Infosys Principal Technology Architect Devesh Dadhich. “We also wanted to purchase hardware that could be virtualized so we could maximize the utilization of its resources and minimize our costs. Had we chosen to continue deploying SAP HANA instances in a non-virtualized environment, we would have needed many more appliances.”
Infosys implemented the infrastructure with Hitachi Unified Compute Platform (UCP) and virtualization from VMware. “VMware vSphere was the only product certified by SAP to deliver virtualization featuring capabilities such as dynamic scalability and rapid provisioning through cloning and template-based deployment,” says Dadhich. “The benefits of VMware virtualization include the ability to assign dedicated CPU and memory resources to specific databases, thereby increasing the flexibility of hardware usage.”
VMware vMotion would also enable Infosys to preserve the current state of the SAP HANA instance in the event of an outage, rather than require the business to restart the RDBMS. “We could also improve the management of our capital and operating costs, boosting our return on investment. In addition, the infrastructure can use features such as VMware vMotion to migrate live virtual machines within clusters and VMware High Availability to protect our applications against hardware and operating system failures,” comments Infosys Principal Consultant Girish Yerawar.
Because SAP HANA is certified on VMware vSphere, Infosys elected to move directly to project implementation in November 2014. The company proceeded to purchase VMware vSphere licenses as part of an integrated solution to meet the SAP HANA RDBMS’ production and disaster recovery requirements. The UCP for SAP HANA configuration deployed at Infosys is composed of Hitachi Compute Blade 500 (CB 500) in a symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) configuration with 120 cores and 2TB RAM, integrated with Hitachi Unified Storage VM.
“Selecting the UCP converged platform to run the virtualization layer that would deliver SAP HANA enabled us to take advantage of a ‘common building block’ approach,” explains Infosys Senior Consultant Sharad Pandey. “This would enable us to grow from 512GB appliances to 6TB appliances in the scale-up model and up to 32TB on the scale-out model just by adding more Hitachi enterprise-grade infrastructure components into the same stack, and help us maximize our investments.”
The deployment was completed in February 2015 and the SAP HANA RDBMS now runs on virtual machines with Intel Hyper Threading technology used to double process throughput on the underlying physical hardware.
UCP for SAP HANA is delivering superior scalability and consolidation combined with high reliability, and the persistent data storage and highest availability necessary to run mission-critical applications. Moreover, UCP for SAP HANA is validated and SAP certified for supportability and comes in scale-up (single node) and scale-out (multinode) configurations. UCP for SAP HANA also offers innovations such as logical partitioning (LPAR), VMware virtualization, and storage snapshots and replication.
“Another reason we chose Hitachi was that we had worked with them earlier and their products had provided excellent uptime, while their support team was also understanding,” says Pandey. “Further, they had a great partnership with VMware that they leveraged to ensure the solution design and implementation was hassle-free.” Hitachi’s role included creating a SAP HANA VM template and a SUSE Linux Enterprise operating system to streamline any SAP HANA deployment.
SAP HANA virtualized on VMware running on UCP has met Infosys SAP HANA Center of Excellence requirements for a scalable, cost-effective and efficient infrastructure that delivers high availability and rapid response times.
The Infosys SAP HANA Center of Excellence team is now building customized templates with SAP applications powered by HANA. Using SAP HANA virtual machine (VM) templates, Infosys can deliver a new SAP HANA virtual machine in just 20 minutes, while an application built on top of SAP HANA can be templated, stored in a repository and deployed in just 120 minutes. The new process has enabled Infosys to reduce labor costs, encompassing technology migration and maintenance, by about 85%.
By running VMware, Infosys has reduced costs by two and a half times and lowered power requirements by 96%. In addition, SAP HANA rack space requirements have fallen by 45% and network port savings are equal to 14 times 10Gb/sec.
The new UCP for SAP HANA infrastructure is also being used to demonstrate Infosys’ capabilities to customers and prospective customers, with impressive results. As a result, the company expects there to be a significant increase in new business wins.
Infosys now plans to upgrade UCP for SAP HANA from VMware vSphere 5.5 to vSphere 6.0 once the new release is certified by SAP, in order to take advantage of better performance and reduced use of RAM and storage for operation. “This will enable us to create monster virtual machine configurations, incorporating 4TB RAM per instance, provide a much needed boost for applications that require more resources, and provide an efficient way of scaling up workloads,” says Dadhich.
“Our overall experience working with VMware and Hitachi has been deeply enriching and enabled us to achieve some significant economies. The customer care and account managers have offered their support to us anytime we need it,” he concludes.
SAP HANA virtualized on VMware running on Hitachi UCP has met Infosys SAP HANA Center of Excellence requirements for a scalable, cost-effective and efficient infrastructure that delivers high availability and rapid response times.