Rethinking Data Protection for In-Memory Databases

By: Adolf Hohl

In-memory databases are gaining market share rapidly from the existing disk based relational database market. They have proven to be the answer for today’s CPU and memory architectures and deliver transactional and analytic capabilities. SAP HANA is the leading In-memory platform that consolidates transactional and analytical workloads into a single database stack. However, because change rates and backup volumes are much higher and managing incremental changes and backups difficult, it is necessary to rethink how to perform business critical data protection.

Is there a data protection solution with less complexity and infrastructure? How about a storage and backup architecture which reduces data movements during backups? Storage Snapshot copies are a fast and elegant way to implement data protection for SAP HANA.

NetApp FAS series storage provides the persistent data storage area for a SAP HANA In-memory database. Those storage systems are aware of data changes and can create and save multiple versions of data in a space and time efficient manner and without performance impact at scale. They allow backups to happen with a fraction of the space requirements and within seconds rather than hours. As a result, it preserves the database data regularly without impacting the SAP HANA servers with any packaging and saves network bandwidth. A storage snapshot based backup does not have an impact to the SAP HANA server and a backup is completed almost instantly. Recovery happens at similar speeds and is at the fingertips of the SAP HANA DB administrator. Recovery of a backup just requires the administrator to shutdown SAP HANA, selecting the backup of choice, restoring the corresponding storage snapshot and restarting of SAP HANA to complete the recovery procedure. Because these backups are stored directly on the storage controller, the restore process is fast and efficient because no data has to be physically moved.

An evaluation of the backup times of SAP HANA on NetApp FAS storage leveraging Storage Based Backup has shown that the average backup time SAP HANA is dealing with is 19 seconds. The vast majority of systems do it in less time than this. All systems were finished in less than a minute according to our evaluation (see figure 1). You don’t need to make compromises on your data protection SLA for SAP HANA any more. The moment storage based backup is part of your backup strategy you can increase backup frequency to the needs of the business and not to the capability of the infrastructure. You find the seconds and minutes to do this kind of backup. But you don’t want expensive infrastructure spending hours on backup with limited value for business.

Figure 1 - SAP HANA Backup Time Evaluation on NetApp FAS


In summary, NetApp FAS Storage provides the following SAP HANA data protection advantages:

  • Instantaneous backup within seconds without side-effects to SAP HANA servers
  • Recovery within minutes
  • End-to-End integration in SAP HANA Studio
  • Unleash the power of your servers for SAP HANA database operations rather than running backup software and congesting the network with backup traffic
  • Shift investments from backup infrastructure to productive components