AWS And Microsoft Vying To Offer Memory-Rich Cloud Environments To SAP Customers

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Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure this week elevated their SAP hosting games, enabling their clouds to run much larger SAP HANA in-memory databases than previously possible.

During the SAP Sapphire Now conference, both AWS and Microsoft claimed their clouds offer the most memory-rich environments for hosting the database platform used by many of the world's largest companies.

Amazon Web Services' powerful high-memory instances, the X1 family, became ready on Monday to run much larger SAP clusters in the cloud than they could ever before. The public cloud leader also revealed it is preparing to introduce virtual servers stocked with even more RAM, both later this year and into the next, that will be more adept at powering SAP workloads.

 [Related: 8 Products And Features Unveiled At AWS Summit 2017]

On Tuesday, the day after AWS' announcement, Microsoft upped its virtual machine portfolio with a new instance type called the M-Series that significantly ramped memory resources available for customers to provision.

SAP's latest certification for AWS X1 instances (specifically x1.32xlarge) will enable scaling out HANA clusters to 17 nodes, delivering to those database workloads 34 TB of memory. The previous limit was 7 nodes delivering 14 TB.

The X1 family, introduced at Amazon's re:Invent conference in October of 2015, is optimized for running in-memory applications. With 2 TB of RAM, the instances offer 8 times more memory than any other EC2 instance.

HANA, SAP's popular in-memory database management platform, thrives in high-memory conditions. But there's a tightly controlled process for validating the software that powers massive transactional databases for specific cloud environments.

"Because SAP installations are unfailingly mission-critical, SAP certifies their products for use on certain EC2 instance types and sizes," said Jeff Barr, AWS' chief evangelist, on the company's blog.

"We work directly with SAP in order to achieve certification and to make AWS a robust & reliable host for their products," Barr said.

Amazon's ability to scale out to 17 nodes, with 2 TB per node, delivers far more memory to a HANA database than can any other cloud provider, Barr wrote in the blog post.

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