Running a ERP system for 1000 users on a laptop - is it possible?

7 September 2010

John Appleby

John Appleby

Global Head of Sales

I have been meaning to reinstall ABAP on my laptop for some time – I previously used the 7.0 EhP1 sneak preview and did some BW tests. It was a painful experience and BW performed like treacle on my laptop. When the beta of BW 7.3 was released last week I knew it was time to have another go and see what has changed since I was last here.So here I am again, but this time, with the latest generation of laptop hardware, in this case a Dell E6510.

The E6510 is a bit special in that it has Intel’s latest i7 quad-core 3.06GHz (when in “turbo boost” mode, whatever that means) CPU, 8GB of 1333MHz RAM and 2x 256GB MLC SSD disks in it. All in a sensible package with a 15.6” widescreen and 5lb weight. I ditched Windows 7 for Windows 2008 R2, and haven't noticed much difference (I mean this in a good way).

It's the same kernel as Windows 7 and you just need to activate some of the desktop services from Windows 7 for it to look and feel much the same as it did before.What has shocked and amazed me though is the performance of these new laptops, compared to the last time I had a go – and in fact in comparison with our VMware farm. There's nothing wrong with the VMware farm but check out some of these numbers (and compare this to your system and let me know how it went):


Why is this? I suspect for several reasons. First, the VMware system has faster Xeon CPUs but only 2 of them are available on this VM. All 8 cores would give a score of 16000 SAPS - and that means 2 gives around 4000 SAPS (SAP’s unit of benchmark).The laptop has an Intel i7-820QM which has 4 CPUs.

Now SAP don’t benchmark laptops so we will have to use SPEC ( According to SPEC, my laptop has 120 SPECints to the X5570’s 240 - or 30 SPECints per core, each. So if we assume these benchmarks are equivalently linear (it won’t be far off) – my laptop has some 8000 SAPS – or twice that of the virtual machine.Plus, the laptop has 8Gb RAM (twice the VM) and 2 SSD disks that can do some 450MB/sec of disk bandwidth between them.

What does all this mean? Well it’s pretty obvious – the laptop is much faster in every way. This shouldn’t bother us because the VMware slice costs much less than my laptop and is manageable. More VM resources could have been added to the system and presumably this would have made it faster. But that’s not the point. The point is that we’re now at a stage where we can get 5000+ SAPS out of a 5lb laptop.

This might not be a lot by comparison to the latest server hardware (60,000 SAPS is easily possible out of a mid-range 24+ core Wintel server, and a lot more from the big UNIX systems which can have hundreds of cores). But it is enough (theoretically, don’t sue me if the laptop melts) for 1000 SD benchmark users. On a laptop.

It won’t appeal to everyone to run a SAP ABAP system on a laptop, but there will be those for which there is a requirement. For those of you, it may be comforting to know that you can run your tests, demos and toys on a laptop without having to wait, then technology has at last provided what you need.

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About the author

John Appleby

Global Head of Sales

I've always been passionate about new technology. I cut my teeth helping global financial services and consumer goods companies build data warehouses to manage their business - especially when they wanted to run faster.

These days, I travel weekly across continents, helping clients differentiate themselves using analytics technologies. This then involved building a team to design the solution, make it work and lead it through to successful completion.

I believe that in-memory computing is radically changing the face of business so you can ask me about SAP HANA, or about any other data platform like DB2 BLU, Hadoop or MongoDB for that matter.

I'm passionate that giving back to the community reaps long-term rewards and this has shaped the last few years of my career - being a contributor to knowledge sharing websites as an SAP Mentor; and a sometime advisor to Wall Street investors on emerging technologies and those companies bringing to market new innovations.

When I'm not busy designing in-memory apps, you may find me pounding the pavement to the beat of music in the hilly suburbs of Philadelphia, or traveling the world to meet new people and new cultures.

Bluefin and SAP S/4HANA - welcome to the one horse race

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