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Introduction

AWS has been supporting SAP workloads in the cloud since 2008, and SAP customers in the cloud since 2011. Over these years, our customers running SAP workloads have witnessed unprecedented growth in the data generated by their enterprises. As a consequence, customers have been looking for low latency and enhanced performance for their databases to provide a better customer experience. To address these challenges, we have been delivering continuous innovations for our customers.

For example, in 2014, We introduced Amazon Elastic Block Store General Purpose (SSD) volume type, which provided the ability to burst to 3,000 I/O operations per second (IOPS) per volume, independent of volume size. Fast forward to 2020, we worked with SAP to certify Amazon EBS io2 volumes for SAP. io2 volumes deliver 100x better volume durability and a 10x higher IOPS to storage ratio compared to Amazon EBS io1 volume type. Similarly, we launched io2 Block Express volumes in 2021, the next-generation server storage architecture that delivers Storage Area Network (SAN) like performance in the cloud. io2 Block Express volumes deliver up to 4x higher throughput, IOPS, and capacity than io2 volumes, and are designed to deliver sub-millisecond latency and 99.999% durability.

We certified Amazon EBS io2 Block Express volumes for SAP workloads in March 2022. Customers running SAP workloads on AWS can now leverage io2 Block Express.

Performance Innovations

Performance Improvements with io2 Block Express
io2 Block Express delivers the following performance improvements compared to io2 volumes, at no additional cost:

Sub-millisecond average latency
Storage capacity up to 64 TiB (65,536 GiB)
Provisioned IOPS up to 256,000, with an IOPS:GiB ratio of 1,000:1. Maximum IOPS can be provisioned with volumes 256 GiB in size and larger (1,000 IOPS × 256 GiB = 256,000 IOPS).
Volume throughput up to 4,000 MiB/s. Throughput scales proportionally up to 0.256 MiB/s per provisioned IOPS. Maximum throughput can be achieved at 16,000 IOPS or higher.

Because of the higher throughput, IOPS, and capacity delivered by io2 Block Express volumes, customers do not need to stripe multiple volumes together in order to go beyond single-volume performance. This helps customers to reduce the management overhead associated with striping the volumes.

IOPS yield for different throughput levels

io2 Block Express volumes are currently supported with Amazon EC2 R5b, X2idn, and X2iedn instances, which are certified for SAP workloads. R5b instances are powered by the AWS Nitro System. This instance family offers up to 60Gbps of Amazon EBS bandwidth and 260,000 IOPS. Similarly, X2idn, and X2iedn instances are next generation memory-optimized instances delivering 45 percent higher SAP Application Performance Standard (SAPS) performance than comparable X1 instances. X2idn and X2iedn instances support 100 Gbps of network performance with hardware-enabled VPC encryption and support 80 Gbps of Amazon EBS bandwidth and 260k IOPS with Amazon EBS encrypted volumes.

io2 Block Express volumes with Amazon EC2 R5b, X2idn, and X2iedn instances allow customers to exceed even extreme storage performance demands of SAP HANA systems and other IOPS intensive database workloads. With io2 Block Express and Amazon EC2 R5b, X2idn, and X2iedn instances, customers can load SAP HANA tables into memory faster after a system start or on an on-demand basis.

In our internal test, we were able able to load 1.7TB of SAP HANA data into memory in about 5 minutes with x2iedn.32xlarge instance and io2 Block Express storage. Similarly, faster backup and restore times are possible with io2 Block Express. In our internal tests, with AWS Backint agent for SAP HANA, we were able to backup a 1TB SAP HANA database in about 8 minutes with x2idn instance and io2 Block Express.

To provision io2 Block Express volumes, you can create them via the Amazon EC2 console, AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI), or using an SDK with the Amazon EC2 API when you create R5b/X2iedn/X2idn instances. In the process of provisioning R5b/X2iedn/X2idn instance, when you choose Provisioned IOPS SSD (io2) for storage, the volumes will be created in Block Express Format.

Summary
io2 Block Express volumes is the next generation of Amazon EBS storage server architecture and is now certified for SAP workloads on AWS. io2 Block Express volumes are supported with R5b, X2idn, and X2iedn instances. By leveraging io2 block express, you can gain significant improvements with SAP HANA database start times, get higher IOPS and faster backup/restore times.

To learn more about Amazon EBS io2 Block Express Volumes, visit the Amazon EBS Provisioned IOPS page, EBS Provisioned IOPS documentation, and Amazon EBS io2 Block Express Announcement.

Author: Farrenio