VBLOCK SOLUTION FOR SAP: SAP APPLICATION AND DATABASE PERFORMANCE IN PHYSICAL AND VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS

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1 Vblock Solution for SAP: SAP Application and Database Performance in Physical and Virtual Environments Table of Contents V VBLOCK SOLUTION FOR SAP: SAP APPLICATION AND DATABASE PERFORMANCE IN PHYSICAL AND VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS Version 2.0 February

2 Copyright 2013 VCE Company, LLC. All Rights Reserved. VCE believes the information in this publication is accurate as of its publication date. The information is subject to change without notice. THE INFORMATION IN THIS PUBLICATION IS PROVIDED "AS IS." VCE MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND WITH RESPECT TO THE INFORMATION IN THIS PUBLICATION, AND SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS IMPLIED WARRANTIES OR MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. 2

3 Contents Introduction... 4 About this document... 4 Solution overview... 4 Audience... 5 Feedback... 5 Technology overview... 6 Vblock Systems... 6 Vblock System Vblock System SAP ERP Central Component... 7 Architecture overview... 8 Logical layout... 8 Physical layout... 9 Hardware and software components SAP server configuration Solution validation Test environment design Virtual Physical Storage Summary of environments Test procedures Online transaction processing workload test SAP Load Generator test Oracle CBO statistics update with BRTOOLS Test results summary Conclusion Next steps References

4 Introduction Application consolidation and virtualization technologies are becoming more prevalent in data center environments. Organizations are being asked to evaluate the costs and benefits associated with migrating business critical applications, such as SAP, from physical to virtual environments to determine whether a virtualized solution meets their business and technology requirements. Vblock Systems and the Vblock Solution for SAP enables architects and administrators to easily migrate SAP environments from physical to virtual environments with minimal effort and risk. Performance and utilization testing was performed to demonstrate that when comparing physical and virtual environments, moving to a virtual environment can actually improve database and application performance. About this document This document provides a performance overview of moving from a physical environment to a virtualized environment for an SAP deployment on a Vblock System. It documents the results of three separate tests that were performed to validate SAP application and database performance from a physical environment to a fully virtualized Vblock System environment with comparable hardware. This paper does not discuss the methodology for how to perform an SAP migration; however, with no optimization and tuning performed during testing, performance was shown to be close to native performance. With tuning and optimization, overall application and database performance can be increased. The tests performed were: Online transaction processing (OLTP) workload SAP Load generator (SGEN) Oracle cost based optimizer (CBO) statistics update Solution overview Organizations worldwide are looking for ways to control escalating hardware costs and to optimize their use of energy and resources. That is why virtualization has gained momentum so quickly in enterprise IT environments. The increasing importance of application virtualization is due to the need to reduce complexity and costs when managing sophisticated enterprise applications like SAP. Customers demand an IT infrastructure that enables business speed and agility. Maintaining high performance of business critical environments, such as SAP, is of paramount importance as organizations make the transition to virtualized infrastructures. 4

5 VCE is committed to extensive and ongoing innovation with SAP to unleash the benefits of pervasive virtualization using industry leading Cisco, EMC and VMware technology. VCE s Vblock Systems are optimized to meet customer converged infrastructure needs for virtualized environments with integrated best-of-breed technologies in virtualization, storage, computing, and networking This solution demonstrates that there is minimal performance impact after migrating from a physical to a virtual environment on a Vblock System. Vblock Systems provide the capability to move hosts (physical or virtual) across a network for load balancing, SAP optimization, and other administrative tasks using VMware virtualization tools and SAP administrative tools. This enables SAP administrators to manage their SAP environments proactively and efficiently. The following key values are realized in this solution: Measurable total cost of ownership (TCO) benefits with Vblock Systems standardized infrastructure with significant savings for hardware/software investments, implementation, continuous improvement projects, and upgrade projects Increased business agility - Dynamic and flexible infrastructure with automation and unified management Address peak operations Respond to continuous changes in landscape - Reduced complexity with standardized shared infrastructure Enabled uninterrupted 24 X 7 operation - High availability for planned and unplanned events (five 9s of availability) - Reduced risk of litigation and damage to the company s reputation due to outages Increased security and compliance through standardization, template building and Vblock Security Framework Audience This paper is intended for Vblock System customers, SAP administrators and architects, and other individuals tasked with evaluating, acquiring, managing, operating, or deploying SAP in a virtualized data center environment. Feedback To suggest documentation changes and provide feedback on this paper, send an to Include the name of this paper, the name of the topic to which your comment applies, and your feedback. 5

6 Technology overview This section summarizes technologies used in the solution. Vblock Systems The Vblock System from VCE is the world's most advanced converged infrastructure one that optimizes infrastructure, lowers costs, secures the environment, simplifies management, speeds deployment, and promotes innovation. The Vblock System is designed as one architecture that spans the entire portfolio, includes best-in-class components, offers a single point of contact from initiation through support, and provides the industry's most robust range of configurations. Vblock System 720 The Vblock System 720 is an enterprise, service provider class mission-critical system in the Vblock System 700 family, for the most demanding IT environments supporting enterprise workloads and SLAs that run thousands of virtual machines and virtual desktops. It is architecturally designed to be modular, providing flexibility and choice of configurations based on demanding workloads. These workloads include business-critical enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), and database, messaging, and collaboration services. The Vblock System 720 leverages the industry s best director-class fabric switch, the most advanced fabric based blade server, and the most trusted storage platform. The Vblock System 720 delivers greater configuration choices, 2X performance and scale from prior generations, flexible storage options, denser compute, five 9s of availability, and converged network and support for a new virtualization platform that accelerates time to service and reduces operations costs. Vblock System 320 The Vblock System 320 is an enterprise and service provider ready system in the Vblock System 300 family, designed to address a wide spectrum of virtual machines, users, and applications. It is ideally suited to achieve the scale required in both private and public cloud environments. The Vblock System 320 has been engineered for greater scalability and performance to support large enterprise deployments of mission-critical applications, cloud services, VDI, mixed workloads and application development and testing. The Vblock System 320 delivers greater configuration choices, 2X performance and scale from prior generations, flexible storage options, denser compute, five 9s of availability, and converged network and support for a new virtualization platform that accelerates time to service and reduces operations costs. Every Vblock System 320 is available with the marketleading EMC VNX storage arrays. For more information, go to 6

7 SAP ERP Central Component SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) 6.0 was used to validate the solution. The SAP ERP application is integrated enterprise resource planning software that targets business software requirements of midsize and large organizations in all industries and sectors. It allows for open communication within and among all company functions. The SAP architecture, which has changed over time, is the technology framework of the SAP system while the SAP system landscape is the setup or arrangement of the SAP servers. Running an SAP environment successfully requires operating production and additional systems for development, quality assurance, and training. The process of refreshing the SAP landscape is a big part of daily IT operations, especially for large SAP enterprise customers. 7

8 Architecture overview The primary components of the SAP landscape were: One SAP Central Instance (physical) One SAP Central Instance (virtual) Two SAP Dialog Instances Logical layout Figure 1 shows the SAP landscape running on a Vblock System 700 configuration at the virtual, physical, and storage layers. Figure 1. SAP Application Data Performance architecture Note: The Oracle Database Server and SAP Central Instance are installed on a physical host while the SAP Dialog instances are installed on virtualized hosts. The backend storage used for this setup is EMC Symmetric VMAX. 8

9 Physical layout Figure 2 shows the SAP storage layout with 176 disks, Raid 5 (3+1) on VMAX. Figure 2. Architecture diagram Note: Figure 2 shows the SAP storage layout of the SAP ECC6 environment that was used for this solution. Since each SAP customer environment is unique and has different business requirements to meet, be sure to always follow SAP best practices when evaluating storage layout considerations. 9

10 Hardware and software components There are three major components within the Vblock Systems: servers, storage, and unified fabric including network/switches. The following table describes the Vblock System 700 model MX configuration that was used for this testing. Component Configuration Cisco Unified Computing System 1 x Cisco B200 Blade - Redhat Enterprise Linux server x Cisco B200 Blade VMware vsphere 4.0 server - Oracle SAP ECC 6.0 Ehp4 Storage EMC Symmetrix VMAX 1 x Cisco B200 Blades - VMware vsphere 4.0 server - SAP Dialog Instances on 2 virtual machines Storage area network Cisco MDS 9222i switches SAP server configuration This section covers specific configuration information for the SAP server. The key point to note here is that this is a 3-tier SAP systems landscape setup with Oracle Database server and SAP Central Instance installed on one blade server and the SAP Dialog Instances running as virtual machines within the Vblock System. The capability of vsphere virtual machines to be able to directly mount the same LUNs the physical host was using, called a Raw Device Mapping (RDM), enables seamless movement between physical and virtual SAP deployments, when needed. The rest of the two SAP Dialog instances were configured as virtual servers within the Vblock System. A series of tests were first done on the Oracle Database server with SAP Central Instance running on the physical server. Later, the same set of tests was completed with the Oracle Database and SAP Central Instance LUN being migrated to a virtual server. The following table describes the SAP server configuration. Component Database server running on physical hardware (B200 Blade) Configuration 8 CPU cores (2 x quad-core Intel Xeon 2.53 GHz) 48 GB RAM Storage 592 GB Data Volume: 176 disks, Raid 5 (3+1) on VMAX Application servers running on VMware vsphere (B200 Blades) 8 CPU cores (2 x quad-core Intel Xeon 2.53 GHz) 96 GB RAM per blade SAP application server 2x virtual machines with 4vCPU 20 GB RAM each VMware vsphere 4 25 GB boot volume Storage 100 GB host volume 10

11 Solution validation Over time, SAP customers running applications on expensive legacy servers may want to explore the opportunity to virtualize their SAP environment to reduce costs and optimize performance. Application virtualization offers flexibility, scalability, and ease of manageability, potentially leading to reduced IT costs by converting SAP workloads to run in virtual environments. The Vblock Solution for SAP satisfies this need by providing customers with low-cost, high-performance Intel-based processor virtualization across all SAP stacks. Customers can start by virtualizing their SAP application layer while retaining the database on clustered physical nodes. Depending on business needs and corporate requirements, customers can decide when to virtualize their SAP environment. In this testing scenario, three separate sets of tests were performed to validate SAP application and database performance from a physical environment to a fully virtualized Vblock System environment with comparable hardware. This paper does not discuss the methodology for how to perform an SAP migration; however, with no optimization and tuning performed during testing, performance was shown to be close to native performance. With tuning and optimization, overall application and database performance can be increased. The tests performed were: Online transaction processing (OLTP) workload SAP Load Generator (SGEN) Oracle cost based optimizer (CBO) statistics update with BRTOOLS Test environment design When an SAP instance is migrated from a physical to a virtual environment, one of the most important metrics that must be measured is the impact on application performance. Organizations are reluctant to migrate from physical environments to virtual environments unless application performance is minimally impacted; therefore, this use case is needed to demonstrate that a Vblock System environment supports the physical-to-virtual migration of SAP resources and has limited impact on application performance. For purposes of this testing, specific metrics were used to measure the application performance impact on: The maximum number of concurrent SAP users supported in both physical and virtual database environments The user response times for the number of users in both physical and virtual database environments Database server CPU utilization for both physical and virtual database environments The goal of this use case testing was to meet or exceed this requirement and demonstrate that the move to virtualization would not significantly impact SAP application performance. 11

12 To demonstrate this capability, a simplified 3-tier SAP ECC6 system was set up with an Oracle database server hosted with the SAP Central Instance. The Database and Central Instances were first installed and configured on a physical server following SAP best practices. Note: The Oracle Database Server and SAP Central Instance are installed on a physical host while the SAP Dialog instances are installed on virtualized hosts. The backend storage used for this setup is EMC Symmetric VMAX. Virtual The entire landscape was installed using two Cisco UCS B200 half-blade servers running on VMware ESXi 4.0. Each blade server consisted of two 4-core CPUs and 48 GB RAM. Figure 3. SAP Database / Central Instance on a virtual host 12

13 Physical The Oracle Database Server and SAP Central Instance were hosted on one Cisco UCS B200-M1 half-blade server equipped with two 4-core CPUs and 48 GB RAM. All of these blade servers reside on one UCS chassis. A redundant pair of Cisco UCS 6120 Fabric Interconnects was incorporated within the Vblock System to offer both 10 Gigabit Ethernet and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) functionality. By supporting unified fabric, the Fabric Interconnect provides both LAN and SAN connectivity for all blades within its chassis. Figure 4. SAP Database / Central Instance on a physical host Storage The high-end EMC Symmetrix VMAX storage array supports both virtualized and physical servers. The high-density Cisco MDS 9222i Multiservice Modular Switch connects the UCS blades through a Fibre Channel storage area network. 13

14 Summary of environments The following table shows the major configuration for the SAP environment. Summary Database server SAP ECC 6.0 on a Vblock System 8 cores x 2.53 GHz 48 GB RAM Database Oracle Operating system Red Hat Enterprise Linux server 5.4 Central instance Application server environment On database server 2x4 vcpu virtual server 20 GB RAM Number of application servers 2 Estimated SAPS on database server Estimated SAPS on 4-way Application server (each) SAP 2-tier SD benchmark : 17, The Oracle database and SAP Central Instance LUNS were mounted on a physical Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) blade server. The SAP system was then brought up to obtain a baseline comparison of physical and virtual servers. OLTP workload test SAP Load Generator (SGEN) test Oracle CBO statistics update with BRTOOLS The Oracle database and SAP Central Instance LUNS were unmounted from a physical Cisco UCS blade server and remounted to a virtual machine running on VMware ESXi 4.0. The SAP system is then brought up to test the following: OLTP workload SAP Load Generator (SGEN) Oracle CBO statistics update with BRTOOLS 14

15 Test procedures Three types of workload tests were performed on the SAP system running on a physical database: Online transaction processing (OLTP) workload - Used to test CPU (for compilation) and I/O, which is typical of a real-time workload. This tested both the applications and the database. SAP load generator (SGEN) - Used to test CPU (for compilation) and I/O, which is typical of a real-time workload. This taxed the applications and the database. Oracle cost based optimizer with BRTOOLS - Used as an I/O-intensive test to tax the database Online transaction processing workload test Physical and virtual user comparison The Vblock System 700 configuration used for this testing mirrored a typical medium-to-large SAP environment with 1400 concurrent SAP users, which is equivalent to approximately 5000 named users. This testing demonstrated that the number of users supported in a virtual environment compared to a physical environment was within 5%. Figure 5. Maximum number of users during OLTP workload testing Figure 5 shows the minimal difference in the number of concurrent SAP users in physical and virtual database environments. The physical environment is able to support 1476 users and the virtual environment is within 5% at 1404 users. 15

16 Physical and virtual user response time This testing demonstrated that the response time for OLTP users supported in a virtual environment compared to a physical environment was very similar, with the plotted response time improving significantly. Figure 6. OLTP user response time Figure 6 shows the response times for the number of users in both physical and virtual database environments. It demonstrates a minimal impact on the application. Also, better performance is observed in each case, up to the maximum number of users that can be supported. 16

17 Physical and virtual database server CPU utilization The testing demonstrated that CPU utilization for the SAP database server while OLTP user tests are running was nearly the same on both the physical and virtual servers. Figure 7. Database server CPU utilization Figure 7 shows the SAP database server CPU utilization for the number of users in both physical and virtual environments, demonstrating similar CPU utilization on each blade server running a bare bone OS compared to VMware ESXi 4.0. Note that the results show the maximum users that could be supported in each case. 17

18 SAP Load Generator test SAP NetWeaver Administrators use SAP Load Generator (SGEN) to regenerate and recompile the Advanced Business Application Programming (ABAP) programs that are inactive in the system after each system update. This procedure is also common after a new SAP install or an SAP upgrade. SGEN has a parallel processing design that is similar to other SAP business batch jobs. Each time SGEN is executed, a workload is generated that consumes CPU and database I/O. The purpose of this test was to show the runtime comparison for this CPU and I/O-intensive job. SGEN test criteria: Generate All Objects of Selected Software Components was used. Only the SAP_BW related component was regenerated. SGEN was run three times in the background on Central Instance hosted together with the physical database server. SGEN was run three times in the background on Central Instance hosted together with the virtual database server. Total runtime was captured and compared. Figure 8. SGEN selection Note: This test used the Central Instance saper2_er2_00 to generate the load. The instance resides on the same server as the Oracle database server. The Central Instance has a total of 30 dialog work processors configured. The SGEN transaction was run on the Central Instance, which accesses the database during jobs processing. 18

19 SAP Load Generator job runtime on a virtual database server Figure 9. SGEN job overview (virtual) SAP Load Generator job runtime on a physical database server Figure 10. SGEN job overview (physical) 19

20 Figure 11. SGEN total runtime statistics (physical and virtual) The following table provides the information for Figure 11. Physical database Virtual database Test seconds 4993 seconds Test seconds 4865 seconds Test seconds 4891 seconds Note: Figure 11 shows the separate runs of SGEN tests that were performed on an Oracle database hosted on a physical server and a virtual machine. 20

21 Figure 12. SGEN average runtime statistics (physical and virtual) The following table provides detailed information for Figure 12. Physical database Virtual database Average runtime 4530 seconds 4916 seconds Figure 12 shows that when executing SGEN on a virtualized database, the overhead is minimal with a runtime overhead of approximately 8% of that running on a physical database. This shows that the results fall within the widely accepted industry performance standard for physical vs. virtual database (between 5% - 15% change in performance). 21

22 Oracle CBO statistics update with BRTOOLS SAP NetWeaver Administrators often use BRTOOLS to update the statistics on the CBO-based Oracle database. By performing these updates regularly, administrators can verify database statistics are up-to-date, thus improving database performance. The Oracle cost-based optimizer uses these statistics to optimize access paths when retrieving data for queries. If the statistics are outdated, the CBO might generate incorrect access paths (or use the wrong index), which can result in poor database response time and performance. The purpose of this test is to find out if CBO statistics take longer to update on a database hosted on a virtual machine than that on a physical server. CBO test criteria: The same set of BRCONNECT command was used on both the physical database and the virtual database. The BRCONNECT stats update command was run three times on the database on the physical server. The BRCONNECT stats update command was run three times on the database on the virtual server. Total runtime was captured and compared. Figure 13. BRCONNECT parameters The telnet terminal screen in Figure 13 shows the BRCONNECT parameters used to update the CBO statistics of the Oracle database. 22

23 The following table provides a description of each BRCONNECT parameter used. BRCONNECT parameter Description -u User root -c Force without password -f stats Use function statistics -t all Update stats for all tables allsel collect Update stats for all objects Update stats without checking -p 8 Use 8 parallel CPUs Figure 14. Oracle CBO run time statistics The following table provides detailed information for Figure 14. Physical database Start time End time Total runtime (in minutes) Virtual database Start time End time Total runtime (in minutes) Test 1 13:28 13: :36 4:54 18 Test 2 14:04 14: :02 5:20 18 Test 3 14:22 14: :24 5:

24 Figure 14 shows the separate runs of CBO statistics updates done on an Oracle database hosted on a physical server and on a virtual machine. For the physical database, it took 16 minutes to complete each test run. For the virtualized database, the runtime was 18 minutes for each run. The runtime difference for running CBO update statistics on an Oracle database on a virtual machine is approximately 12% more than that on a physical server. Figure 15. Oracle CBO runtime statistics (physical and virtual) The following table provides detailed information for Figure 15. Physical database Virtual database Total runtime (in minutes) Figure 15 compares the total runtime of an optimizer statistics update between an Oracle database running on a physical server and on a virtual machine. Our finding confirms the CBO statistics update does take a longer time to run on a virtualized Oracle database and has a runtime difference of approximately 12% of a physical Oracle database. Test results summary The SAP environment was tested on the Vblock System using a set of industry-standard tools to measure database and application performance. By gathering statistics and metrics, this testing shows that the migration of SAP instances from a physical to a virtual environment, including the database, was non-resource intensive and had a performance loss of between 5-15%. 24

25 Conclusion This paper demonstrates the operational and performance results that can be realized when migrating SAP instances from a physical environment to a virtual environment. While the widely accepted industry performance standard for physical vs. virtual is between a 5% 15% change in performance, virtualization of an infrastructure provides significant cost savings, increased flexibility, agility and speed when considered from an overall application perspective. SAP virtualization using the Vblock Solution for SAP provides a number of key values: Significant savings for hardware/software investments, implementation, continuous improvement projects, and upgrade projects Increased business agility through a dynamic and flexible infrastructure with automation and unified management Reduced complexity with standardized shared infrastructure High performance and scalability, including a significant performance improvement over nonvirtualized, non-vblock System environments Uninterrupted 24 X 7 operation capabilities - High availability for planned and unplanned events (five9s of availability) - Reduced risk of litigation and damage to the company s reputation due to outages Increased security and compliance through standardization, template building and Vblock Security Framework Testing results, along with the testing methodology and key performance indicators, can be found in the Vblock Solution for SAP: Use Case Performance and Results available on Next steps To learn more about this and other solutions, contact a VCE representative or visit References Previous SAP testing performed by VCE to validate performance in a non-vblock System-to-Vblock System environment demonstrated significant performance improvements (in some cases, 50% or better) in application and database performance due to best-of-breed hardware, and optimization and tuning. These results, along with the testing methodology and key performance indicators, can be found in the Vblock Solution for SAP: Use Case Performance and Results available on 25

26 ABOUT VCE VCE, formed by Cisco and EMC with investments from VMware and Intel, accelerates the adoption of converged infrastructure and cloud-based computing models that dramatically reduce the cost of IT while improving time to market for our customers. VCE, through the Vblock Systems, delivers the industry's only fully integrated and fully virtualized cloud infrastructure system. VCE solutions are available through an extensive partner network, and cover horizontal applications, vertical industry offerings, and application development environments, allowing customers to focus on business innovation instead of integrating, validating, and managing IT infrastructure. For more information, go to Copyright 2013 VCE Company, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Vblock and the VCE logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of VCE Company, LLC and/or its affiliates in the United States or other countries. All other trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners.

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