Availability Out of the Box: SAP on Nutanix

  • 1 June 2018
  • 1 reply
Availability Out of the Box: SAP on Nutanix
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This post was authored by John Williamson, Kasim Hansia, and Anbu Govindasamy

SAP architects and administrators have a lot on their minds, but nothing weighs more heavily than maintaining business continuity. SAP systems encompass nearly every aspect of the business, which means that even minutes of downtime can cost tens of millions of dollars, or more, due to lost revenue, decreased productivity, and damaged reputation.

For good reason, then, SAP Basis administrators have absolutely no tolerance for system failure or data loss. Administrators help prevent unplanned downtime with regular maintenance, including security patches and upgrades, that keep the system secure, operational, and optimized. The problem is that, with traditional three-tier infrastructures, these tasks can require extensive downtime. Administrators are thus forced to choose between two terrible options--bringing the system down for hours, and suffering a cascade of negative effects, or just continuing to run the system as is, thereby incurring security risks and suboptimal performance and functionality.

At Nutanix, we know that neither of these options is acceptable, which is why we designed the Enterprise Cloud Platform with one-click simplicity and high availability from the ground up, delivering both continuity and compliance, SLAs and security.

Highly Available and Resilient

The Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform is web-scale and self-healing, ready to meet even the most stringent SLAs. We developed our software-defined architecture to eliminate single points of failure, ensuring that, no matter which element fails, the system stays up and running. An IDC study of Nutanix customers revealed a 97 percent decrease in unplanned downtime, as compared with three-tier infrastructures, and a 100 percent decrease in planned downtime.

Nutanix provides a true failover solution. If a node failure causes a virtual machine to go down, it automatically restarts on another node. And the more nodes there are in the cluster, the better the resiliency. All key platform components are fully redundant and our hardware heals from disk failure without manual intervention, with little or no effect on performance, availability, or data integrity. Operations continue smoothly while the Acropolis Distributed Storage Fabric rebuilds the data in the background.

Nutanix also achieves availability through policies. Availability domains, for example, distribute replicated VM data (including metadata and configuration data) among the blocks in a cluster so that if a block, or even a rack, goes down, copies of the data are still available elsewhere, without any actions by the administrator.

Most exciting of all for an SAP Basis administrator, however, is how much HA and disaster recovery capability is available on Nutanix out of the box. There is no additional equipment to purchase, no additional cables to connect, no additional software to integrate. It’s all ready to go on Day 1 with a few clicks at the application level. This is a far cry from enabling HA and DR for SAP landscapes on a traditional three-tier architecture, where you have to coordinate with a different administrator for each layer--storage, network, compute, and virtualization--both to set up the system and to test it. This process is so complex that some teams simply forgo the testing, which is an enormous yet completely avoidable risk.

Data Protection and Day 2 Operations

Nutanix offers both crash-consistent and application-consistent snapshots that take up minimal space and have virtually no performance impact. You can schedule both VM and volume group snapshots on a minute, hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly frequency, depending on your RPOs and retention needs. You can also group multiple VMs and volume groups in a Nutanix protection domain, allowing you to operate on them as a single entity with one RPO. This structure is particularly useful when protecting two- and three-tier SAP landscapes, including application and web servers, as well as databases, such as Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM DB2, SAP Sybase, and others.

Nutanix snapshots have a profound effect on routine, yet crucial, operational tasks, such as application roll-outs, data dictionary changes, and data migration cycles. These tasks traditionally require backups and, because they are iterative, waste countless hours. Nutanix snapshots run in seconds and, more importantly, cause negligible downtime for the business.

Figure Caption: Nutanix snapshots reclaim countless hours from SAP application upgrades

Another built-in feature, one-click cloning, dramatically reduces the time, effort, and stress of upgrading a landscape. SAP recommends creating a temporary landscape (a copy of an existing instance), so that one set of SAP systems supports production, while the other set of SAP systems upgrade. Creating a temporary landscape with traditional infrastructures requires you to not only allocate storage, but also provision VMs, databases, and SAP applications, a process that takes anywhere from days to weeks. With Nutanix, you can clone your existing SAP system, including OS, filesystem, and database, with only a handful of steps and in about an hour, decreasing time and effort by orders of magnitude.

Check out these demos to see Nutanix one-click simplicity in action:
As these demos show, on the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform, a single administrator can conduct operations in the middle of a workday that formerly required entire teams, weeks of planning, and working over weekends. Nutanix high availability and one-click operations for maintenance, backup, patches, and upgrades means honoring SLAs and maintaining compliance and security, with virtually no downtime.

Nutanix consumer-grade design frees SAP Basis administrators, and the Ops and IT teams that support them, from devoting a significant portion of their time to tedious administrative tasks. For example, Nutanix recovers two months a year in person hours otherwise wasted on patching, and eight months a year on monitoring, as Nutanix analytics remove much of the daily guess work. Use that time instead to “upskill” your teams to focus more on high touch, value-enhancing tasks, and less on lower-level operations.

Enterprises benefit most from optimizations at the process level, rather than at the system level. Nutanix simplicity and reliability creates the time and mental space your staff needs to innovate and add business value. Today more than 135 companies across 39 countries--such as Excelitas, Valpak, and Kaneka--are reaping the benefits of running SAP on Nutanix, including production, multitier instances of Business Suite Applications, Business Objects, and relational databases (RDBMS).

You can learn about disaster recovery orchestration, backup and recovery, security, and our consumer-grade management plane Prism at If you will be at SAP Sapphire NOW from June 5-7, be sure to drop by our booth to talk with the experts there!

Disclaimer: This blog may contain links to external websites that are not part of Nutanix does not control these sites and disclaims all responsibility for the content or accuracy of any external site. Our decision to link to an external site should not be considered an endorsement of any content on such site.

©️ 2018 Nutanix, Inc. All rights reserved. Nutanix, the Enterprise Cloud Platform, the Nutanix logo and all other Nutanix products and features named herein are registered trademarks or trademarks of Nutanix, Inc. in the United States and other countries. SAP®️ and any other SAP products and services mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP SE (or a SAP affiliate company) in Germany and other countries. All other brand names mentioned herein are for identification purposes only and may be the trademarks of their respective holder(s).

1 reply

Userlevel 1
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Rumors about SAP HANA on Nutanix is next door 😁
Thx @basraayman for the hard work onsite #SAP!