SGI and SAP HANA Collaborate For Real-Time Analytics

7/15/2014 @ 2:08PM

SGI and SAP HANA Collaborate For Real-Time Analytics

SGI, once known as Silicon Graphics, is a supercomputer company whose gear is bought by such power-hungry users as US government agencies, Cambridge University, and PayPal which uses SGI for fraud detection.

With SAP’s announcement of its HANA platform for in-memory computing, SGI is launching an appliance that can run up to 24TB in memory in a single instance — no need for clusters and the management issues they bring.

“Freed from the limits and complexity of clustered appliances, large enterprises across industries will be able to perform analytics, transactions, and processes in real time for faster, smarter decisions and greater competitive advantage,” the company said in its announcement, adding that running SAP HANA on SGI will allow bankers to view customers holistically to enhance long-term value.

“What makes us unique is that we can serve the high-end customers, the 5 to 10 percent of the market, that no one else can reach,” said Bob Braham, chief marketing officer at SGI. “HANA moves accessing to disk to having data in memory. Customers with traditional architectures of 2 or 3TB systems are having no problems, but at 6TB or more, the complexity of clusters of servers breaks down.”

Braham said SGI will ship systems with up to 24TB so users can have all of HANA’s main memory on a single node with no clusters. That’s twice the capacity offered by HP, which tops out at 12TB and three times IBM, NEC and Fujitsu, SGI says.

“This will be good for anything that merges online transaction processing with online analytics into a single DB,” Braham added. “Classically that has been SAP’s Business Suite which is not certified on clusters.”

SGI describes HANA as the first complete data platform with support for a broad range of data types, real-time data and no required data preparation or tuning. It can run complex and interactive questions on granular data and do it fast.

A bank could have a customer at an ATM and conduct transaction processing while checking the customer’s other activity with the bank — analytical processing, and then deliver a targeted offer on the ATM screen during the transaction.

“The term SAP uses to describe sharing those databases is complex joins, and complex joins break down when you have a cluster,” said Braham. “Financial institutions love the idea of putting all this on a single instance.”

In a video on the SGI site, Ryan Quick, principal architect for eBay and PayPal, said that in fraud prevention getting an answer in two days doesn’t help.

“Then it becomes a customer support problem, not prevention.”

SGI says the system provides high availability, if you buy two of the appliances, that is.

“To fulfill the uptime demands of global, online environments, maintain high service levels, and guard against costly downtime, the appliance will provide high availability with simplified administration. Utilizing two single-node systems, enterprises will be protected against logical, system, and site failure, and restore critical applications and data analytics in seconds,” says the company’s announcement.

Users are protected against data loss in the event of memory power loss because data and log files are stored on disk using dual NetApp® E2700 RAID arrays. To further simplify deployment, the appliance will arrive pre-racked and pre-configured with SUSE® Linux® Enterprise Server.

“Drawing on the experience gained in the delivery of hundreds of shared-memory solutions to HPC customers, SGI is designing a single-node system with unprecedented scale that will enable our customers to confidently leverage the full power of SAP HANA to achieve their business objectives,” said Jorge Titinger, president and CEO of SGI.


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