SAP HANA is a large-scale, in-memory database platform that accelerates business processes with next generation analytics and real time data. SAP initially began delivering SAP HANA in the form of standardized and highly optimized appliances, offering companies the option to choose between several SAP HANA hardware partners.  

SAP HANA appliances are built on well-defined hardware specification designed for the performance requirements of a solution such as SAP HANA which leverages in-memory technology. For customers who prefer the delivery of a pre-configured hardware setup with pre-installed software packages that can be quickly implemented by the SAP HANA hardware partner of choice, SAP HANA appliances offer the best delivery model.

Despite its ease and convenience, the appliance delivery model does come with some limitations in regard to hardware flexibility. This lack of flexibility may require customers to change their established IT operation processes. For customers who want to maintain some flexibility with their hardware, SAP offers an alternative delivery approach for SAP HANA called SAP HANA tailored data center integration (TDI).



Unlike a typical SAP HANA appliance delivery model that doesn’t allow customers to use any existing data center resources, the SAP HANA TDI model, provides the use of networking and storage components that already exist in a customer’s application datacenter rather than requiring customers to purchase additional storage and networking resources. In addition, multiple production SAP HANA servers can share the same network and storage resources, consequently enabling customers to reduce hardware and operation costs.

With SAP HANA TDI, customers can mitigate risks and optimize time-to-value by enabling existing IT management processes for SAP HANA implementations. The TDI approach also gives customers more flexibility in hardware vendor selection by leveraging their existing ecosystem.

Although the TDI approach comes with many benefits, customers should be aware that the TDI approach requires several tasks and prerequisites that the appliance delivery model does not. For starters, the implementation effort for the TDI approach is much higher than the appliance delivery model. In the appliance model customers get pre-configured hardware and pre-installed software. The TDI approach however requires the customer to complete the installation once the hardware is delivered.  

In terms of the scenarios supported for SAP HANA appliances and SAP HANA TDI, there is only one difference between the two approaches: The maximum number of worker nodes for SAP HANA scale-out-solutions is limited to 16 hosts in SAP HANA TDI environment. This limit still applies even if the hardware for the SAP compute HANA servers has been certified for scale-out solutions with more than 16 worker nodes.


Responsibility and Takeaway

SAP HANA TDI offers customers an alternative approach that gives them the freedom and openness to configure the layer for SAP HANA with their existing data. This enables a reduction in operational costs, shortens implementation cycles, and allows better consumption of hardware innovations. The benefits offered in the TDI approach comes with some responsibility however. Customers who implement the TDI approach will be responsible for dealing with support agreements and various vendors when it comes to support.

In short, while the SAP HANA TDI model will provide cost savings, easier integration and flexibility, customers should understand that this approach comes with increased responsibility for them. Coordinating the implementation of this model with multiple partners may also prolong the time-to-value period. Before making the decision between the SAP HANA appliance deployment model or the TDI deployment model, customers should evaluate the business case for each option.