Automate SAP HANA System Replication in Cluster on IBM Power Virtual Servers in One Hour

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SUSE has focused on SAP deployment automation for many years. The innovation started as the Installation with Wizard in SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) for SAP 11, that became the SAP Installation Wizard in SLES for SAP 15. The list of SAP products (along with a database) that the SAP Installation Wizard can automatically install is impressive.

With the growing popularity of SAP deployment in the public cloud, SUSE engineering further modernized and simplified SAP HANA and SAP NetWeaver deployments using Salt. Salt is a configuration management system that is also supported by SUSE Manager and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for any sort of automation. The Salt automation is included in newer versions of SLES for SAP and fully supported by SUSE. There was one drawback, the installation and some configuration of SLES for SAP was still a manual process which had to be done before the Salt automation could be started. Combining Terraform with the Salt automation, SUSE engineering continued to modernize and simplify SAP HANA and SAP NetWeaver deployments by automating the creation of the infrastructure. The combined automation was started with and is available for several of the Public Cloud providers – AWSAzure and Google Cloud Platform. In addition to the public cloud providers mentioned above, the open source automation works with OpenStack and libvirt.

I am proud to announce that the automation is also now available on IBM Power Virtual Servers running in IBM Cloud.

A 10 minute youtube video has been posted which demonstrates setting up terraform and salt along with showing the deployment of a highly available SAP HANA System Replication on Power Virtual Servers in IBM Cloud, all following SUSE’s best practices. Below is the diagram of what is deployed in the video along with a high-level explanation of the steps to prepare and run the Terraform and Salt automation which the video explains in detail:

First, to prepare the automation for your environment, clone the github project locally on a Terraform client. Edit the terraform variable file which defines what the automation will do. The “terraform apply” command starts the deployment by communicating with IBM Cloud.

Second, Terraform instructs IBM Cloud to create PowerVS storage LUNs. Multiple LUNs are being created that will be assigned to the instances where the automated SAP HANA installation will be run. Each HANA instance gets its own dedicated LUN to store data and log. A shared LUN is created and assigned to both SAP HANA instances, and used by SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension (Pacemaker cluster) as a STONITH device. The Pacemaker cluster will automate the takeover of HANA System Replication in case of primary system failure.

Third, Terraform instructs IBM Cloud to create a PowerVS LPAR with an IBM Cloud provided SLES for SAP image that will become the bastion (jump host) instance. The bastion instance is connected to the public and private subnets. Terraform is setting up the bastion instance per IBM PowerVS documentation to be the SNAT router for the HANA instances that will only be on the private subnet. Then Terraform will hand off configuration management tasks for the bastion instance to Salt.

Fourth, Terraform instructs IBM Cloud to create two PowerVS LPARs with a customer-built SLES for SAP image that will become the SAP HANA instances. Terraform will complete the preparation of the instances before handing off to Salt for system configuration, SAP HANA installation, enabling HANA System Replication between the primary and secondary instances, installing SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension (Pacemaker Cluster), lastly configuring the resources to manage the automated failover of SAP HANA System Replication.

The timer in the demo measures the time taken from starting the “terraform apply” command to the end, around 1 hour. Such setup may take days or weeks if done manually. What’s more powerful than the time saving is the avoidance of human errors, and the ability to replicate a test/dev environment using exactly the same parameters.

If you are interested in testing the PowerVS automation in IBM Cloud, you can find the Terraform and Salt in the SUSE github project for IBM Power Virtual Servers running in IBM Cloud. For any questions, you are welcome to leave in the comment section or contact the IBM alliance at SUSE mailing list.

As a summary, SUSE now provides powerful automation of SAP deployment on IBM Power Virtual Servers, and helps customers accelerate the migration to SAP S/4HANA.

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Michael Friesenegger
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Michael Friesenegger

Mike is a solutions architect in the SUSE Global Customer Organization. He works with the global IBM Alliance and closely with many groups in IBM to identify, test and document joint solutions that help SUSE and IBM create unique value in the marketplace. His specialties include IBM Z, LinuxONE and Power Systems, Real Time Linux, High Availability and as a SUSE SAP Champion focused on SAP solutions using SUSE technologies.