More Azure VMs supported by SAP now

Version 2.0: Corrected wrong data in first table

As of October 27th, SAP and Microsoft have extended the support for further Azure Virtual Machine (VM) types for SAP NetWeaver based products. In May 2014, when Azure was first certified and supported as a platform for SAP NetWeaver based products, only the A5 VM type of Azure was supported. Based on customers’ experiences and additional enhancements delivered by Microsoft, the base for supporting additional and larger Azure VM Types was built.

A-Series Support:

SAP and Microsoft always saw the A5 VM type with 2 vCPUs and 14GB as the minimum, initial size of VM to be supported. Now, we support the following VM types out of the same series:

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We also have extended support to include the A8 and A9 VM types in the A-series. You’ll note that the A7 and A8 type look the same in regard to vCPUs and memory. However the A8 and higher types were released on newer, therefore more performant hardware. And the performance difference between the A7 and A8 VM type is significant. The reason for the performance difference is that the A8 and A9 data types were originally introduced for High Performance Computing (HPC). But we have since used them as well for pure IaaS scenarios where high demands on CPU or memory resources were required. For this reason, we also qualified and certified them for SAP purposes:

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The qualification of these VM types does not change any documentation aspect as already stated in the related documentation found here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/dn745892.aspx

D-series support

Microsoft introduced the D-series VM types in September 2014. The changes compared to the early A-series (up to A7) are that this series was introduced on a more modern and more performant CPU type. The difference to the A8 and A9 again is that the CPU type used for the D-series types runs on a lower CPU frequency than the A8 and A9 VM types. A common difference to all A-series VM types is the fact that the compute nodes of the D-series offer SSD based local storage which is offered as D:\ drive within a VM.

As for D-series VMs, the following types are supported for SAP:

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Note that for this series of VM types, the smallest that is supported is the D11 with 2vCPUs and 14GB. Yes there are smaller VMs in the D-series with a lower memory to CPU ratio but we did not find those types suitable for SAP NetWeaver and/or DBMS workload. Therefore we have no intention to support the D-Series types lower than D11..

The fact that the D-series VMs have local SSDs, which can be leveraged as the D:\ drive within the VM, will change some of the current deployment recommendations slightly, but only for DBMS deployments. The local SSDs on the compute node would open the possibility to leverage the D:\drive for either the SQL Server tempdb or possibly for the SQL Server 2014 Buffer Pool extension.

These updated deployment recommendation changes for DBMS will be reflected in the November revision of the SAP on Azure documentation that we are currently preparing.

What are the sizing numbers for those VMs?

The SAP Quick Sizer numbers (aka, SAPS) which are used to guide the selection and configuration of SAP systems hosted in Azure Virtual Machine Services are published in SAP Note: 1928533 – SAP Applications on Azure: Supported Products and Azure VM types (SAP logon required). We are deliberately not publishing the SAPS sizing numbers in this blog entry since we want to stay consistent and have the SAP Note being the one place for updates and most recent status.

Even larger VMs announced

Last week we announced amongst other things, a new series of VMs which we call the G-series. These VMs basically double the memory to CPU ratio compared to the VM types we have so far supported for SAP. But this series introduces also another large VM type with 32 vCPUs and 448GB of RAM. We will start the evaluation of the G-series for SAP NetWeaver soon. The support and sizing statements about the G-series VM type will happen through SAP Note 1928533.

Other interesting announcements on Microsoft TechEd this week

There were other interesting announcements this week from Microsoft TechEd Europe that were related to SAP and Azure. One which for sure will find entry into the SAP on Azure documentation is Forced Tunneling. Another feature that could enable new configurations around SAP is the multiple vNIC features. Microsoft EVP Scott Guthrie describes both features in a recent blog entry here.

You can also expect documentation on how to use Azure as DR site for SAP. The documentation covering this topic should be released within the next few weeks.

Additionally we are working on documentation that will show the implementation and deployment of Windows Server Cluster Configurations for SAP Central Services on Azure. The first customer implementations are already deployed. More on this will be published over the next 2 months.

And if you stumbled onto this post by chance and were wondering where you could begin your learning about SAP on Azure, the best place to start would be here:

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/saponsqlserver/archive/2014/05/28/sap-notes-around-azure-released.aspx

And as mentioned in that post, the SAP Notes 1928533 and 2015553 are key information sources as well.