Database Cloning for SAP HANA Test Data Management
Accelerate multi-cloud application test and release cycles with rapid cloning of multi-TB SAP HANA databases to test environments.
Every enterprise wants to roll out new features, security patches, and perform analytics faster than ever. These activities need high fidelity copies of production SAP HANA in-memory databases.
Actifio software helps enterprises to provision rapid clones of SAP HANA databases to test environments in a self-service manner.
Enterprises struggle with an increasing number of SAP HANA database copies.
Enterprises using legacy test data management tools create subsets of production data for testers. Testing software against data subsets leads to high defect levels and poor software quality releases.
To overcome this problem, enterprises create physical copies of large SAP HANA production databases. The result is high storage costs and long wait cycles with unacceptable time wasted creating and refreshing physical copies.
To overcome this problem, some enterprises try using storage snapshots, but these lack self-service automation and lead to a weak security models without automated data masking and role-based access control.
In many environments, this increases costs because users can’t perform simultaneous functionality and performance testing.
Lastly, most of these point tools are not cloud-ready.
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How actifio HELPS
Actifio helps enterprises to accelerate application test and release cycles by enabling users to instantly provision multi-TB SAP HANA database clones in minutes, in a self-service manner.
The database clones are rewritable thin-clones which don’t consume extra storage, and thus help reduce storage costs.
Actifio’s ability to integrate via APIs to CI/CD tools and provision dozens of SAP HANA database clones to test environments enables quality assurance (QA) testers to iterate through testing and refresh cycles rapidly while substantially improving software quality.
For enterprises with sensitive data in SAP HANA databases, Actifio increases security by automating the data masking process and enabling role-based access control.
Enterprises can enjoy all these advantages while strategically employing Actifio on-premises or in any public cloud.
Frequently Asked Questions.
Since Actifio uses the native SAP HANA snapshot API, certification is not required.
SAP can be deployed in the following supported configurations:
- Single host configuration (scale-up)
- One instance and single container – supported by Actifio
- Multiple instances and single container – supported by Actifio
- Multi node cluster configuration (scale-out)
- Multiple host one instance and single container – supported by Actifio
- Multiple instances – supported by Actifio (via filesystem backup)
- Multiple containers – supported by Actifio (via filesystem backup)
- SAP HANA database version: SAP HANA SPS 10, SAP HANA SPS 11, SAP HANA SPS 12
- SAP Supported RHEL/SLES version (Intel-Based Hardware Platforms)
- RHEL 7.2 (SAP Note: 2013638, 2136965, 2247020, 2292690)
- SLES 11, SLES 12 (SAP Note: 1824819, 1954788, 2240716, 2205917)
- SUSE 10, 11, 12 (SP2, SP3)
- Actifio Linux Change Block Tracking (CBT) technology requires Linux LVM
- Storage: CERTIFIED SAP HANA® HARDWARE
Actifio’s pricing model is very simple and easy to understand. It’s based on the amount of source data protected. For example: If an enterprise wants to use Actifio to protect 5 SAP HANA instances, each with 10 TB source database size, the enterprise would need Actifio license for 50 TB of source data. Enterprises can use this license anywhere in private or public cloud.
For more details, refer to this licensing page.
Yes. Actifio supports all the major public cloud providers including AWS, Azure, Google, IBM, and Oracle. It’s also available in some of the public cloud marketplaces.
Actifio stores the SAP HANA copies in native format. This ensures that, after instant mount, there is no performance overhead from format conversion.
The other factor to consider is the storage on which the SAP HANA copies are stored by Actifio.
Depending on the performance requirements after provisioning database clones to test/dev users, enterprises can specify the right storage tier to use with Actifio.
And lastly, Actifio also offers the flexibility to instantly mount and recover over Fibre Channel, iSCSI or NFS depending upon the user preference.
Thus the performance can be as good as the underlying storage and the protocol the user wants to use.
Key differentiators include:
- Low vs High Performance: Many enterprises have invested in Fibre Channel and want to provision virtual database (VDB) clones over their high-performance Fibre Channel network for better performance. Delphix only supports NFS and so cannot leverage Fibre Channel to provision VDB clones. Compare this with Actifio which can provision VDB clones over fibre channel, NFS, and iSCSI, thus delivering not only high performance, but also the flexibility to pick and choose any protocol.
- High Availability: Many enterprises expect high availability when there are 100s of testers using virtual DB clones because any downtime means delays in testing and application release cycles. Delphix does not offer HA capability. Compare this with Actifio which offers the option for enterprises to buy its software in a 2-node HA cluster that ensures that testers don’t have any downtime in the event of losing one of the nodes.
- Total Cost of Ownership: High vs Low: Delphix requires a very large amount of compute and memory to run their software as compared to Actifio Sky software. Additionally, Delphix recommends an on-premises staging server for large or mission-critical databases. Unlike Delphix, Actifio offers a global manager to manage one or more Actifio software instances running in multiple data centers or public cloud. Actifio also offers an enterprise-grade backup, disaster recovery, long-term data retention solution with the same license. Such rich functionality with simple software licensing, the high amount of data managed per software instance, and global management drives down the total cost of ownership for enterprises significantly as compared to Delphix.
There are many more differentiated features. For more details, download this Actifio vs Delphix comparison.
None of these vendors have test data management where they can enable users to provision dozens of database clones with high scale and performance. Actifio’s automated data masking, enables users to pick and choose any storage, any cloud.
Yes. This is possible with two approaches.
In the first approach, the enterprise can use Commvault/Netbackup to backup SAP HANA databases from the primary SAP HANA instance, and Actifio can ingest data from the standby SAP HANA instance or vice versa.
In the second approach where Commvault/Netbackup and Actifio are forced to protect from the same SAP HANA instance, Actifio can still ingest data for Test Data Management in an incremental forever manner using SAP HANA Block Change Tracking (BCT) without impacting Commvault/Veritas backups. But only one product can manage the Transaction log backups.
Yes. In fact, almost all the customers who use Actifio for Test Data Management replace their other backup product with Actifio either on day one or over time. This helps them not only reduce their overall costs, but also simplifies operations with a single platform for backup, recovery, test data management i.e. Copy Data Management for SAP HANA databases.