Intel and German enterprise software specialist SAP have inked a “multi-year” technology partnership that will see the two focus on optimising Intel processors and memory specifically for SAP applications – the latest sign that large enterprise users are looking to squeeze more out of their silicon by customising it for specific workloads.
The two, which are also setting up a joint centre of excellence to demonstrate, optimise the use of Intel Xeon Scalable processors and Intel Optane DC persistent memory for SAP HANA (a relational database management system typically used to process transactions and then run advanced analytics on them) they said in a joint release.
Pointing to a decade-long relationship with SAP, Navin Shenoy, Intel executive VP, and general manager of the Data Center Group, said: “Broadening our technology collaboration with SAP means our mutual customers will be able to achieve faster insights from the largest data challenges, delivering a competitive edge.”
The move comes as – with Moore’s Law effectively dead in the water – large compute users are looking to memory as a way to squeeze out performance boosts. (As Micron VP Jeff Bader told Computer Business Review this week: “The noise is made by compute guys, but data movement is the problem; in and out of the chip to feed the processor.”)
Apparently central to the partnership is wider deployment of Intel’s new Optane DC persistent memory: a storage technology developed alongside Micron that uses so-called 3D XPoint technology: high-performance, non-volatile memory that fills the performance gap between DRAM and NAND flash. This offers a way to scale a server’s DRAM footprint cost-effectively, as it can be meshed with the DRAM layer.
Intel claims that running SAP HANA–based applications within Intel Optane DC persistent memory can reduce the risk of running real-time in-memory applications by providing persistent data that is more resilient to computer outages. (Because application data remains in memory even after a power failure, the technology allows for rapid recovery of applications). Its density also allows for higher capacity with a smaller data centre footprint, and moves data closer to the CPU.
The chipmaker said: “SAP HANA customers deploying Intel Optane DC persistent memory are capable of reducing data recovery times from 50 minutes to 4 minutes on a 6TB SAP HANA instance. Intel Optane DC persistent memory delivers significantly denser memory, which enables customers to do more data processing within the same server… enabling new capabilities for customers converting to SAP S/4HANA.”
Irfan Kahn, president, Platform and Technologies, SAP, said: “The platform innovation delivered across Intel Xeon Scalable processors and Intel Optane DC persistent memory unleash [sic] memory persistence and capacity that allows our customers to become intelligent enterprises in the Experience Economy. [The partnership] will accelerate our customers’ move to SAP S/4HANA by allowing organizations to unlock the value of data assets with greater ease and operate with increased visibility, focus and agility.”