Do you want a pound of feathers or a pound of gold? | SUSE Communities

Do you want a pound of feathers or a pound of gold?


There’s an old brain teaser that asks “Which is heavier: a pound of feathers or a pound of gold?” For many people the initial reaction is to say that “a pound is a pound” so they must weigh the same. With a better understanding of how each is weighed you might conclude that the feathers weigh more. Why?

Ok stay with me now…

The feathers are weighed using a system called “avoirdupois” with which there are 16 ounces in a pound. This is how we weigh things like food, equipment and ourselves. Precious metals like gold and silver are measured using the “troy” system where there are 12 ounces in a pound. If you normalize everything to mass a pound of feathers is 454 grams and a pound of gold is 373 grams, therefore the feathers are technically heavier. Now if all you care about is weight then you would choose the feathers, but if you want the greatest value naturally you would take the gold.

This reminds of the thought process many IT shops go through when choosing an operating system. There’s the camp that says Linux is Linux so it doesn’t matter which one they choose. Then there’s the idea that Red Hat is the right choice because it’s the market leader and is therefore “technically heavier” than SUSE. When building your SAP landscape you want the operating system that gives you the most value, and that’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications. Why?

Ok stay with me now …

Your SAP landscape is mission-critical so you need optimal performance and high availability. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is a reference development platform for SAP applications including SAP HANA (learn more about why SAP relies on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server to develop, build and test its application software). We work closely with SAP to optimize the performance and reliability of the operating system, and we pass that optimization on to our customers with a dedicated update support channel. SUSE also gives you a way to tune Linux kernel page caching to prioritize SAP application performance over the Linux filesystem. These features are not available with RHEL for SAP Applications.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications includes a full HA solution – SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension with a cluster engine and file system, load balancing and resilient storage. If you want these capabilities with RHEL for SAP Applications, you have to add them on and pay extra. If you want these features for RHEL for SAP HANA, well you’re out of luck because they’re not available. But we didn’t stop there. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications also includes block device mirroring, node recovery and the option to add geographical clustering, none of which are available from Red Hat for SAP landscapes. Notice that Red Hat has two separate OS products for SAP applications and for in-memory databases as compared to a single OS platform from SUSE. Besides the hassle of managing multiple licenses, choose Red Hat and you can’t failover a standby node from NetWeaver to SAP HANA because they aren’t on the same RHEL product.

SUSE was the first to develop a process for automating the System Replication and recovery of SAP HANA databases. Red Hat did eventually see the value of faster recovery for SAP HANA databases with automation, but by then we had fully-integrated it with SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability. Then we worked with SAP to validate Live Patching (another unique SUSE capability) as an add-on for SAP applications and SAP HANA. Now you can protect your SAP landscape from security vulnerabilities by updating the Linux kernel with no performance impact and no downtime. I did say that SAP applications are mission-critical, right?

I could go on and on with more features that neither RHEL for SAP Applications nor RHEL for SAP HANA have like an installation wizard that cuts your SAP application installation time from days to hours, or a firewall to secure the SAP HANA in-memory system, or options for SAP HANA deployments in the cloud, or complimentary 24/7 Priority Support. The bottom line is that you can get two pounds of feathers from Red Hat (RHEL for SAP Applications and RHEL for SAP HANA), get less and pay more than you would for one pound of gold with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications.

But if you’re still considering Red Hat Enterprise Linux for your SAP deployments because it’s what you already have in your data center … well maybe my next blog will start with Newton’s First Law Motion.



  • Avatar photo joanneharris says:

    Another awesome blog from Michael – how smart are you? Smart enough to choose the best OS for SAP?

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