One of the limitations of the SAP HANA in-memory platform is that it’s a single-tenant platform that doesn’t lend itself to the efficient usage of servers typically associated with multitenant environments running in the cloud.
To address this issue, SAP is making use of database containers running in memory on multicore processors from Intel that will enable HANA to become a true multi-tenant platform.
Ken Tsai, VP and head of SAP HANA and data management, says that SAP will show the first fruits of that effort next month at the SAP TechEd conference.
As a lighter-weight alternative to the hypervisors used in virtual machines, database containers have been gaining traction across all of IT as a way to maximize server utilization. Tsai says the containers SAP is building are specifically designed for HANA and they aim to help isolate and manage the workload impact on resources such as DRAM and Intel Xeon multiocore processors in a multitenant scenario. Also, developers will be able to use different cores on the processor to run transaction processing and analytics applications in real time simultaneously, says Tsai.
Being able to deploy SAP HANA in a multitenant environment will go a long way toward enabling SAP to usurp traditional relational databases in the cloud, says Tsai. Rather than requiring two or more instances of a relational database to run transaction processing and analytics workloads in memory, Tsai says SAP HANA provides a platform for running both classes of workloads on top of a single columnar database running in memory.
Obviously, the major challenge SAP faces is convincing IT organizations to replace their investments in relational databases such as Oracle with SAP HANA. To that end, it stands to reason that SAP will soon provide an application programming interface (API) on top of HANA that will make it simpler to migrate applications from an Oracle database to the SAP HANA platform.
With the rise of multicore processors, IT organizations now have access to more compute capability than most applications can efficiently use. Multitenant databases and applications will not only maximize the usage of those multicore processors, they also serve to dramatically reduce the amount of physical infrastructure needed to run those databases and applications.