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Driving Price-Performance Improvements and Sustainability via Energy Efficiency 

The key to SAP HANA’s innovation and adoption success has been its openness in terms of hardware platform, network, and technology ecosystem support as well as deployment options to work in our customers’ mixed and heterogeneous environments. SAP HANA Cloud is our managed, cloud-native, multi-cloud, multi-tier, multi-model, and consumption-based database-as-a-service. This service has been developed with the same guiding principles around innovation, simplicity, and flexibility in terms of openness and deployment options. SAP HANA Cloud is also realizing rapid customer adoption and consumption growth as the underlying database service for SAP applications and services as well as next-generation customer and partner intelligent data applications in the cloud. 

At last year’s AWS re:Invent conference in November 2021, SAP and AWS jointly announced we would partner to support SAP HANA Cloud running on ARM-based AWS Graviton processors. Powering SAP HANA Cloud with AWS Graviton processors is in line with our strategy to support multiple technology platforms, as well as to continually look for opportunities to optimize price-performance, improve operational efficiencies, and lower total-cost-of-ownership for our customers from the latest chip architecture innovations.

ARM-based technologies are renowned for their efficiency and lower power demand leading to a more sustainable data processing footprint. ARM processors have been used for decades in mobile devices where energy efficiency is key to the customer experience, but increasingly have proven capable of supporting resource-intensive enterprise applications. ARM-based AWS Graviton processors are designed by AWS to deliver the best price-performance for cloud workloads running in Amazon EC2, including memory intensive workloads. To help customers reduce their carbon footprint, AWS Graviton3 processors, just like Graviton2, are more energy efficient. In fact, Graviton3-based instances use up to 60% less energy for the same performance than comparable EC2 instances.  

SAP and AWS have had a strategic relationship for over a decade with thousands of joint customers. This technology driven project and joint investment is significant in terms of bringing together two powerhouse engineering organizations to drive innovation and support our customers’ journey to become a sustainable, intelligent enterprise. In fact, SAP is a signatory of Amazon’s Climate Pledge committing to net-zero carbon and we have also accelerated our sustainability commitment to 2030. 

Today, we wanted to provide an initial update on this strategic initiative. Porting SAP HANA Cloud to AWS Graviton includes adopting SAP HANA Cloud microservices (supporting infrastructure services and SAP HANA Cloud’s Kubernetes layer) and the SAP HANA database container itself to AWS Graviton processors. SAP and AWS have already started to collaborate on multiple aspects of the porting, including establishing the necessary Graviton infrastructure for the development, testing, and performance optimizations. Initially hundreds of Graviton instances need to be added to several build pipelines (CI/CD - Continuous Integration / Continuous Delivery) in SAP HANA Cloud. The largest build pipeline will be the one supporting the SAP HANA database.  

SAP HANA Cloud’s containerized microservices, such as monitoring and backup services, are being prepared to run on AWS Graviton instances. Those include SAP’s own services and those that are based on open-source components, including some without existing ARM support. All microservices must pass a sophisticated compliance process, including security and vulnerability scanning.  SAP HANA Cloud is based on SAP’s Kubernetes project “Gardener”, that will make AWS Graviton-based instances available within the Kubernetes worker pools, allowing SAP HANA Cloud to instantiate its microservices on Graviton instances.  Additionally, SAP is contributing back to the open-source communities that underpin many of these components. 

The SAP HANA database container, which is packaging SAP HANA code line optimized for AWS Graviton, is in development. The groundwork has been done and we are successfully building for the Graviton/ARM architecture.  

These activities are just the beginning. We look forward to continuing this technical co-innovation and collaboration with our colleagues at AWS and the value it will bring to our joint customers in terms of price-performance, reliability, and sustainability. Stay-tuned for another blog post from us around early Q2 2023 to provide an update on this exciting project.