Hardware Defines the MiniSAP Experience

The hardware you use to experience the SAP NetWeaver Application Server ABAP Stack free trial will play a big and un-fair part in your impression of it. While this seems so obvious that your tempted to stop reading, find out why you should not underestimate the latency bottlenecks.

Any hardware choice based upon convenience or minimising cost will leave you with a bad taste. Don’t let your choice in hardware be responsible for that; as the 1990’s style icons will probably do that for you anyway. You can forgive a pixelated image but you will probably give up on a click’n’wait experience a lot sooner and be left with some strong and very negative opinions. The hardware defines the MiniSAP experience, choose wisely.

The biggest contributor to a poor experience is usually traced back to an Input/Output bottle neck which in turn is often a latency issue in disguise. Stated another way, the pipes the data flows through are too small and flow really slowly.

“its like filling a swimming pool
through a drinking straw”

When it comes to your laptop or desktop, the type of hard drive you have will play a big part in the user experience of the BW developer trial software.

If you only have access to a local computer that is using the older hard drives (Platter disks at 5400rpm or 7200rpm) or only 4GB of physical RAM then you need to really lower your expectations about the experience. The hardware will most likely be able to run SAP NetWeaver BW but once you login and start doing anything it will appear to pause / hang for periods of time for no apparent reason. The software is not broken, it is choking due to a lack of required resources and the operating system is spending a lot of time thrashing with virtual memory swapping activities.

To improve the user experience you can upgrade two core hardware components that will give you the biggest return on investment.

“upgrade the hard drive first,
then the physical memory”

If you are forced to choose only one, then upgrade the hard drive from a platter disk to an SSD first and then upgrade the physical memory second. The main benefit is the reduced latency when accessing files on the disk (including the swap file, which is where the virtual memory temporarily lives on the hard drive). A laptop with a small amount of memory using an SSD drive will happily spend it’s time thrashing the virtual memory swap file with only a small performance hit due to the extremely small latency on the SSD drive.

Meanwhile, a 2013 MacBook Pro with Yosemite (v10.10.3) running Parallels Desktop (v10.2.0) with a Windows 7 Professional virtual machine that has SAP Netweaver Application Server ABAP (v7-03) in it, executes very well. The key to a smooth experience is at least 16GB of physical RAM and an internal SSD that is big enough for the virtual machine (which has at least a 20GB Windows swap file configured).

For the SAP BW on HANA trial, you will not regret the experience when you use the r3.8xlarge EC2 instance (32 virtual CPU, 244 GiB Ram, 2 x 320 GiB SSD). Remembering that the HANA technology is fundamentally built to work in-memory. If you significantly reduce the available memory then you will not experience the true capability of HANA.

Any of the SAP BW on MaxDB trials do not have the excessive memory requirements of HANA.

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Reference: Amazon Web Service EC2 Instance Types (r3.8xlarge).