Better Data Protection for SAP HANA

By Mike McNamara, Sr. Manager, Product Marketing, NetApp


With the traditional or classic backup approach, a backup agent next to the SAP HANA system collects and packages all the data, and the backup software transports the collected data to long-term storage. If the data change rates are manageable, this works fine. However, with columnar in-memory stores, this backup concept quickly reaches its limits. Backups that use the classic backup approach for SAP HANA have a negative performance impact on live production systems and require much more time to complete, putting recovery time objectives (RTP) in jeopardy.


The NetApp Alternative


NetApp® FAS and All Flash FAS platforms provide a persistent data storage area for SAP HANA in-memory databases. They can create and save multiple versions of data in a way that makes efficient use of time (seconds vs. hours) and space, and that avoids performance impact regardless of scale. A storage snapshot-based backup does not affect the SAP HANA server, and the backup is completed almost instantly. Because NetApp ONTAP®-based systems are aware of these internal data changes, the storage system is able to transport only the differences between the primary location and the long-term backup stores. SAP HANA has supported the use of storage-level backups that are based on NetApp Snapshot technology since SPS 07, and the NetApp backups are fully integrated into SAP HANA Studio.


Figure 1) SAP HANA Studio backup window with NetApp backup completed in 11 seconds 


Recovery also occurs at a similar speed, and it is readily available to the SAP HANA database administrator. To recover a backup, the administrator has to shut down SAP HANA, select the backup of choice, restore the corresponding storage Snapshot copy, and restart SAP HANA to complete the procedure. No data has to be moved, since these backups are stored directly on the storage controller making the restore process fast and efficient.


The value of this core backup architecture can be extended to address multiple protection goals and usage scenarios. You can implement disaster recovery (DR) and long-term archival storage either offsite or onsite. Representing each individual backup as a usable copy of the real data makes it an excellent vehicle for DR, and these copies also provide a good source for test systems.


For cloud backup, NetApp AltaVault® can receive backup data directly from your databases, from existing backup software, or from your DR building blocks. For cloud-ready on-premises archival storage, NetApp recommends that you use StorageGRID® Webscale object storage


SAP HANA can store backups directly in NetApp AltaVault and the process can by automated with the NetApp Snap Creator HANA plug-in.


Figure 2) Core backup architecture with DR and cloud archival options


In memory backup challenges can be handled very effectively by taking a storage-centric approach. NetApp has the industry-leading and easiest-to-use backup solutions for SAP HANA.