SAP on SQL General Update for Customers & Partners April 2014

SAP and Microsoft are continuously adding new features and functionalities to the SAP on SQL Server platform. The key objective of the SAP on Windows SQL port is to deliver the best performance and availability at the lowest TCO. This blog includes updates, fixes, enhancements and best practice recommendations collated over recent months.

Key topics in this blog: SQL Server 2014 First Customer Shipment program now available, Intel release new powerful E7 v2 processors, Windows 2012 R2 is now GA and customers are recommended to upgrade SQL Server 2012 CU to avoid a bug that can impact performance.

1.        SQL Server 2014 Release & Integration with SAP NetWeaver

SQL Server 2014 is now released and publically available. SAP are proceeding with the certification and integration of SQL Server 2014 with NetWeaver applications and other applications such as Business Objects.

Customers planning to implement SQL Server 2014 are advised to target upgrading to the following support pack stacks.  Customers who wish to start projects on SQL Server 2014 or if early production support on SQL Server 2014 is required please follow the instructions in Note 1966681 – Release planning for Microsoft SQL Server 2014

Required SAP ABAP NetWeaver Support Package Stacks for SQL Server 2014


SAP SOFTWARE

SUPPORT PACKAGE STACK (SPS)

SAP NETWEAVER 7.0

SPS 29, for SAP BW: SPS 30
(7.0 SPS 30 contains SAP_BASIS SP 30 and SAP_BW SP 32)

SAP EHP1 FOR SAP NETWEAVER 7.0

SPS 15, for SAP BW: SPS 15

SAP EHP2 FOR SAP NETWEAVER 7.0

SPS 14, for SAP BW: SPS 15

SAP EHP3 FOR SAP NETWEAVER 7.0

SPS 9

SAP NETWEAVER 7.1

SPS17

SAP EHP1 FOR SAP NETWEAVER 7.1

SPS 12, for SAP BW: SPS13

SAP NETWEAVER 7.3

SPS 10, for SAP BW: SPS11

SAP EHP1 FOR SAP NETWEAVER 7.3

SPS 9, for SAP BW: SPS11

SAP NETWEAVER 7.4

SPS 4, for SAP BW: SPS06

Java only systems do in general not require a dedicated support package stack for SQL Server 2014.

Note 1966701 – Setting up Microsoft SQL Server 2014

Note 1966681 – Release planning for Microsoft SQL Server 2014

New features in SQL Server 2014 are documented in a five part blog series here

Also see key new SQL Server Engine Features and SQL Server Managed Backups to Azure.  Free trial Azure accounts can be created for backup testing. To test latency to the nearest Azure Region use this tool http://azurespeedtest.azurewebsites.net/

2.        New Enhancements for Performance and Functionality for SAP BW Systems

SAP BW customers can reduce database size, improve query performance and improve load/process chain performance by implementing SAP Support Packs, Notes and SQL Server Column Store.

All SAP on BW customers are strongly recommended to review these blogs:

SQL Server Column-Store: Updated SAP BW code

Optimizing BW Query Performance

Increasing BW cube compression performance

SQL Server Column-Store with SAP BW Aggregates

Performance of index creation

It is recommended to upgrade SAP BW systems to SQL Server 2012 or SQL Server 2014 and implement Column Store.  Customer experiences so far have shown dramatic space savings of 20-45% and very good performance improvements. 

BW customers with poor cube compression performance are highly encouraged to implement the fixes in Increasing BW cube compression performance

3.        SAP Note 1612283 Updated – IvyBridge EX E7 v2 Processor Released

Intel has released a new processor for 4 socket and 8 socket servers. The Intel E7 v2 IvyBridge EX processors almost doubles the performance compared to the previous Westmere EX E7 processor. 

Even the largest SAP systems in the world are able to run on standard low cost Intel based hardware.  Intel based systems are in fact considerably more powerful than high cost proprietary UNIX systems such as IBM pSeries.  In addition to performance enhancements many reliability features have been added onto modern servers and built into the Windows operating system to allow Windows customers to meet the same service levels on Wintel servers that previously required high cost proprietary hardware. 

1. 4 socket HP DL580 Intel E7 v2 = 133,570 SAPS or 24,450 users

2. 4 socket IBM pSeries Power7+ = 68,380 SAPS or 12,528 users

3. 8 socket Fujitsu Intel E7 v2 = 259,680 SAPS or 47,500 users

Source: SAP SD 2 Tier Benchmarks http://global.sap.com/solutions/benchmark/sd2tier.epx   See end of blog for full disclosure

SAP Note 1612283 – Hardware Configuration Standards and Guidance has been updated to include recommendations for new Intel E5 v2, E7 v2 and AMD equivalent based systems. Customers are advised to ensure that new hardware is purchased with sufficient RAM as per the guidance in this SAP Note.

Most SAP Systems exhibit a ratio of Database SAPS to SAP application server SAPS of about 20% for DB and 80% for SAP application server.  An 8 socket Intel server can deliver more than 200,000 SAPS, meaning one SAP on SQL Server system can deliver more than 1,000,000 SAPS. There are few if any single SAP systems in the world that are more than 1,000,000 SAPS, therefore these powerful platforms are recommended as consolidation platforms.  This is explained in attachment to SAP Note 1612283. Many SQL databases and SAP systems can be consolidated onto a single powerful Windows & SQL Server infrastructure. 

4.        SQL Server 2012 Cumulative Update Recommended

SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 CU3, CU4, CU5 & CU6 contains a bug that can impact performance on SAP systems.

It is strongly recommended to update to SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 CU 9 (the bug is fixed in CU7 & CU8 as well).

Microsoft will release a Service Pack 2 for SQL Server 2012 in the future

SQL Service Packs and Cumulative Updates can be found here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/sqlreleaseservices/

Bug is documented here http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2895494

5.        Windows Server 2012 R2 – Shared Virtual Hard Disk for SAP ASCS Cluster

Windows Server 2012 R2 is now Generally Available for most NetWeaver applications and includes new features for Hyper-V Virtualization. 

Feedback from customers has indicated that the vHBA feature offered in Windows 2012 requires that the OEM device drivers and firmware on the HBA card be up to date.