AWS Blog

EC2 In-Memory Processing Update: Instances with 4 to 16 TB of Memory + Scale-Out SAP HANA to 34 TB

Several times each month, I speak to AWS customers at our Executive Briefing Center in Seattle. I describe our innovation process and talk about how the roadmap for each AWS offering is driven by customer requests and feedback.

A good example of this is our work to make AWS a great home for SAP’s portfolio of business solutions. Over the years our customers have told us that they run large-scale SAP applications in production on AWS and we’ve worked hard to provide them with EC2 instances that are designed to accommodate their workloads. Because SAP installations are unfailingly mission-critical, SAP certifies their products for use on certain EC2 instance types and sizes. We work directly with SAP in order to achieve certification and to make AWS a robust & reliable host for their products.

Here’s a quick recap of some of our most important announcements in this area:

June 2012 – We expanded the range of SAP-certified solutions that are available on AWS.

October 2012 – We announced that the SAP HANA in-memory database is now available for production use on AWS.

March 2014 – We announced that SAP HANA can now run in production form on cr1.8xlarge instances with up to 244 GB of memory, with the ability to create test clusters that are even larger.

June 2014 – We published a SAP HANA Deployment Guide and a set of AWS CloudFormation templates in conjunction with SAP certification on r3.8xlarge instances.

October 2015 – We announced the x1.32xlarge instances with 2 TB of memory, designed to run SAP HANA, Microsoft SQL Server, Apache Spark, and Presto.

August 2016 – We announced that clusters of X1 instances can now be used to create production SAP HANA clusters with up to 7 nodes, or 14 TB of memory.

October 2016 – We announced the x1.16xlarge instance with 1 TB of memory.

January 2017 – SAP HANA was certified for use on r4.16xlarge instances.

Today, customers from a broad collection of industries run their SAP applications in production form on AWS (the SAP and Amazon Web Services page has a long list of customer success stories).

My colleague Bas Kamphuis recently wrote about Navigating the Digital Journey with SAP and the Cloud (registration required). He discusses the role of SAP in digital transformation and examines the key characteristics of the cloud infrastructure that support it, while pointing out many of the advantages that the cloud offers in comparison to other hosting options. Here’s how he illustrates these advantages in his article:

We continue to work to make AWS an even better place to run SAP applications in production form. Here are some of the things that we are working on:

  • Bigger SAP HANA Clusters – You can now build scale-out SAP HANA clusters with up to 17 nodes (34 TB of memory).
  • 4 TB Instances – The upcoming x1e.32xlarge instances will offer 4 TB of memory.
  • 8 – 16 TB Instances – Instances with up to 16 TB of memory are in the works.

Let’s dive in!

Building Bigger SAP HANA Clusters
I’m happy to announce that we have been working with SAP to certify the x1.32xlarge instances for use in scale-out clusters with up to 17 nodes (34 TB of memory). This is the largest scale-out deployment available from any cloud provider today, and allows our customers to deploy very large SAP workloads on AWS (visit the SAP HANA Hardware directory certification for the x1.32xlarge instance to learn more). To learn how to architect and deploy your own scale-out cluster, consult the SAP HANA on AWS Quick Start.

Extending the Memory-Intensive X1 Family
We will continue to invest in this and other instance families in order to address your needs and to give you a solid growth path.

Later this year we plan to make the x1e.32xlarge instances available in several AWS regions, in both On-Demand and Reserved Instance form. These instances will offer 4 TB of DDR4 memory (twice as much as the x1.32xlarge), 128 vCPUs (four 2.3 GHz Intel® Xeon® E7 8880 v3 processors), high memory bandwidth, and large L3 caches. The instances will be VPC-only, and will deliver up to 20 Gbps of network banwidth using the Elastic Network Adapter while minimizing latency and jitter. They’ll be EBS-optimized by default, with up to 14 Gbps of dedicated EBS throughput.

Here are some screen shots from the shell. First, dmesg shows the boot-time kernel message:

Second, lscpu shows the vCPU & socket count, along with many other interesting facts:

And top shows nearly 900 processes:

Here’s the view from within HANA Studio:

This new instance, along with the certification for larger clusters, broadens the set of scale-out and scale-up options that you have for running SAP on EC2, as you can see from this diagram:

The Long-Term Memory-Intensive Roadmap
Because we know that planning large-scale SAP installations can take a considerable amount of time, I would also like to share part of our roadmap with you.

Today, customers are able to run larger SAP HANA certified servers in third party colo data centers and connect them to their AWS infrastructure via AWS Direct Connect, but customers have told us that they really want a cloud native solution like they currently get with X1 instances.

In order to meet this need, we are working on instances with even more memory! Throughout 2017 and 2018, we plan to launch EC2 instances with between 8 TB and 16 TB of memory. These upcoming instances, along with the x1e.32xlarge, will allow you to create larger single-node SAP installations and multi-node SAP HANA clusters, and to run other memory-intensive applications and services. It will also provide you with some scale-up headroom that will become helpful when you start to reach the limits of the smaller instances.

I’ll share more information on our plans as soon as possible.

Say Hello at SAPPHIRE
The AWS team will be in booth 539 at SAPPHIRE with a rolling set of sessions from our team, our customers, and our partners in the in-booth theater. We’ll also be participating in many sessions throughout the event. Here’s a sampling (see SAP SAPPHIRE NOW 2017 for a full list):

SAP Solutions on AWS for Big Businesses and Big Workloads – Wednesday, May 17th at Noon. Bas Kamphuis (General Manager, SAP, AWS) & Ed Alford (VP of Business Application Services, BP).

Break Through the Speed Barrier When You Move to SAP HANA on AWS – Wednesday, May 17th at 12:30 PM – Paul Young (VP, SAP) and Saul Dave (Senior Director, Enterprise Systems, Zappos).

AWS Fireside Chat with Zappos (Rapid SAP HANA Migration: Real Results) – Thursday, May 18th at 11:00 AM – Saul Dave (Senior Director, Enterprise Systems, Zappos) and Steve Jones (Senior Manager, SAP Solutions Architecture, AWS).

Jeff;

PS – If you have some SAP experience and would like to bring it to the cloud, take a look at the Principal Product Manager (AWS Quick Starts) and SAP Architect positions.