SAP Hana: What is it? Is it useful for my company?

For some time now, we’ve been hearing about SAP Hana, but few actually know what this technology is really made of and more importantly what added value it can bring.

Gregoris Zikos

SAP Hana: What is it?

Let’s demystify SAP Hana straight away: it’s a data base… nothing more! Plainly a data base yes! but with memory AND coming from the SAP company itself. These small details make all the difference.

  1. In terms of performance, since a big part of SAP HANA solutions future clients will be companies in need of heightened performances.
  2. In terms of compression, since a memory solution has to fit within the memory capacity.
  3. In terms of technical infrastructure, since the Hana solution can only be installed on devices shaped by SAP partners just as a company like Teradata would.
  4. In terms of technical architecture, since this technology has a logical closeness to SAP products.

Is it useful for my company?

Coming to this point, the IT reader may think: yet another database! Do I really need this for my company? He’s got a point. Indeed if SAP Hana was only a simple database, we would be quick to brush it under the carpet. But again, let’s go back to these details that make all the difference.

Performance, compression and integration, SAP: a need for “speed”!

In the Big Data era, the capacity to treat huge volumes under acceptable time has become a prime challenge. Without talking about mind-blowing volumes, many aging data stores become huge factory in order to compensate the speedy creation of ever deteriorating reports. With numerous clustering and indexes, IT teams try to put back an even kneel, although it soon comes out to be as useful as treating a wooden leg. Let’s see what SAP Hana can do for them.

Some of the tests carried out by SAP, give 100 000 million of lines brought back under a dozen seconds via complex analytical requests! Tests carried out by us on smaller volumes have brought back millions of lines in a fraction of seconds.

SAP has worked assiduously to allow the highest compression rate possible. Compared to non-compressed databases, the ratio is +- 10x. In the case of compressed data bases, the ratio ‘falls’ to a 5x. Ratio given for comparable data obviously. Which begs the following question: do we still need dozen of intermediary aggregations and indexes composing our factory? Of course not! Knowing that some companies have up to 60% of aggregated data composing their data store to create relations, it does give a dreamy taste of the amount of space and downloading time saved. Since SAP does its pricing on memory blocs, this will push you to avoid redundant aggregates anyway.

By reducing the requests time and by eliminating the waiting time for aggregates, SAP Hana shows its speed to bring data into users relations. What about implementation time?

This is when the strength of SAP as a global solution comes to stage. According to the implementation type chosen; being an independent data store, or being a data base hosting SAP Netwear BW, the implementation time will be more or less short, but in both cases, the synergy between SAP Business Suite, SAP BI and SAP Data Services will act as a facilitator. We will see these different implementations in a upcoming article.