Microsoft released SQL Server 2012 earlier this month.  SQL Server 2012 has many features and benefits for SAP customers.  This Blog will discuss the implementation of SQL Server 2012 at Wei Chuan Foods Taiwan.  This blog will also advise the current release status of SQL 2012.

The Case Study detailing the Wei Chuan Project is released and available.

 

What is First Customer Shipment Program?

 

Microsoft & SAP have worked together to release 6 or 7 versions of SQL Server over the last 16 years. 

During the Development of SQL Server releases SAP receive updated builds to test and validate SAP application compatibility with new SQL Server features.  In addition there are a team of Microsoft & SAP Development & Test engineers in SAP HQ in Germany working on components such as the SAP Installation DVDs.  The objective is that when a new version of SQL Server or Windows is released, SAP customers are immediately able to benefit from the new technologies in these new releases. 

Another part of the Development, Testing and Integration cycle is the controlled release of new versions of SQL Server and Windows to customers. 

This process usually takes place prior to the final release (RTM) of SQL Server or Windows, usually with Beta versions of Windows and SQL Server known as “Release Candidate”. 

SAP does not allow customer Production systems to run on Beta versions of Windows or SQL Server, but it is supported to run Development & QAS systems on “Release Candidate” versions.  During this process we detect any issues and resolve them prior to the release of a new version of SQL Server or Windows.  In addition Microsoft runs the live internal SAP system that runs Microsoft on a Beta version of SQL Server it order to stress test at high transaction volumes.  Microsoft is the only SAP customer with permission to run Production SAP systems on Beta releases of SQL Server.   


Is SQL Server 2012 Supported by SAP in Production Now?


SAP has detailed the exact support status of SQL 2012 in SAP Note 1651862.  It is now permitted to run Production SAP system on SQL 2012 with permission from SAP.  To obtain permission to run SQL 2012 in production environments please send a customer support SAP Message in application component BC-DB-MSS.  Microsoft & SAP will discuss each customer case and assign a contact point from SQL Server Development to each customer.  Technically the development process for SQL 2012 has been finished – the SAP Support Packs, Kernels and Installation DVDs are ready. 

The “General Availability” of SQL Server 2012 will be in the second half of 2012.  SQL Server 2012 will appear in the SAP Product Availability Matrix at that time.


What are the Requirements for SQL 2012?

There are several important Prerequisites for SQL 2012:

SAP Versions : The objective is to support all SAP versions of SAP projects based on Netweaver 7.0 and higher.  Old SAP releases such as 4.6C, 4.7 and those based on 6.40 kernel will not be supported on SQL 2012.

Operating System : Windows 2008 SP2 64 bit or higher (Windows 2008 R2 + SP1 recommended).

It is possible to install SQL 2012 onto Windows 2008 R2 Server Core.  When Windows 8 Server is released SQL 2012 will be supported on Windows 8 Core as well. 

32 Bit versions of Windows are not supported under any circumstances for running SQL Server 2012

SAP Kernel : It is recommended to use the latest 7.20 EXT kernel.  720 Kernel is compatible with all SAP 7.x systems.  See this blog on Downwards Compatible Kernel

Minimum SAP Support Package levels for SQL Server 2012
SAP NetWeaver 7.0: SAP_BASIS = 26     
For other Basis releases check SAP Note 1651862 for general guidelines (some minor changes may occur in the next few months)

SAP Installation Master DVDs : New SAP Installation Master DVDs will be available for download in the coming months. Customers wishing to upgrade existing SQL Server versions can do so with an “in place” upgrade and then run the SAP Tools for SQL Server.  This can be downloaded from http://service.sap.com/msplatforms

Customers wishing to install new systems directly onto SQL 2012 should send a customer support SAP Message to BC-DB-MSS

Windows & SQL Server 2012 Recommendations : There are no special Windows requirements, though we do recommend Windows 2008 R2 SP1 or higher.  AlwaysOn requires some KB articles.  These are addressed in the AlwaysOn blogs.  There are several SQL Server 2012 trace flags recommended.  These are: 617, 1117, 2371, 2549, 2562.  New versions of the SAP Installation Master will set 617, 1117, 2371, 1118 automatically during installation. 

As with previous releases of SQL Server Enterprise Edition is the only Edition Supported for SAP Systems.  SQL Server 2012 Evaluation Edition (which is technically identical to Enterprise Edition except that it expires after 180 days) can be used for testing on Sandbox systems.  The use of Standard Edition is not supported or recommended as features such as compression and partitioning are not activated in Standard Edition.

 

What Are Some of the Benefits of SQL Server 2012?

AlwaysOn : A new HA/DR technology that dramatically reduces downtime for customers.  See other entries in this blog for details

Performance : SQL 2012 delivers many performance enhancements and testing has shown significant performance gains.  See the screenshots in this blog.

Server Core Support : SQL 2012 can install on Windows Server Core.  This reduces the patching requirement of a SAP system dramatically.  This allows customers to run for year(s) without restarting (substantially better than UNIX and Linux patching requirements)

Audit Enhancements : Improved Auditing and Security

Column Store Index : A feature than dramatically improves OLAP type query performance (for use with SAP BW)

Compression : SQL Server is the only SAP database that has “PAGE” type compression defaulted for all new installations, upgrades and migrations. Existing uncompressed database can be compressed with MSSCOMPRESS

Enhancement to Online Index : Tables with LOB columns can be compressed online

15,000 Table Partitions : SQL 2012 has 15,000 table partition support switched on by default 


Screenshots Showing Wei Chuan Performance Gains?


SAP has detailed the exact support status of SQL 2012 in SAP Note 1651862. It is now permitted to run Production with approval from SAP & Microsoft.


Figure 1. SQL 2012 RTM with some additional trace flags.  617, 1117, 2371, 1118 will be set automatically during installation

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Figure 2. SQL 2012 DB Compression running during first week. 2.9TB reduced to 650GBimage

Figure 3. Dialog Performance improves significantly following upgrade to SQL 2012 on 18th March.    DB time is reduced.

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