Friday, 17 March 2017


SAP HANA: Simply Explained

This article is for SAP HANA beginners, who don’t really understand what it is about and are lost in all the marketing and technical jargon.

What is SAP HANA?
SAP HANA is the latest in-memory analytics product from SAP; using HANA companies can do ad hoc analysis of large volumes of data in real-time.

What is in-memory?
In-memory means all the data is stored in the memory (RAM). This is no time wasted in loading the data from hard-disk to RAM or while processing keeping some data in RAM and temporary some data on disk. Everything is in-memory all the time, which gives the CPUs quick access to data for processing.

What is real-time analytics?
Using HANA, companies can analyze their data as soon as it is available. In older days, professionals had to wait at least few hours before they could analyze the data being generated around the company. To put this in perspective, let us take an example – suppose a super market chain wants to start giving you discount coupons when you visit them based on your shopping habits. Before: they could only mail them to your address or give you coupons for your next purchase. Now: while you are checking out, your entire shopping history can be processed and discount could be given on the current shopping. Imagine the customer loyalty for such a chain!

So is SAP making/selling the software or the hardware?
SAP has partnered with leading hardware vendors (HP, Fujitsu, IBM, Dell etc) to sell SAP certified hardware for HANA. SAP is selling licenses and related services for the SAP HANA product which includes the SAP HANA database, SAP HANA Studio and other software to load data in the database. Also, as already announced, the vision is to run all the application layer enterprise software on the HANA platform; that is ERP/BW/CRM/SCM etc /etc will use HANA as their database.

Can I just increase the memory of my traditional Oracle database to 2TB and get similar performance?
Well, NO. You might have performance gains due to more memory available for your current Oracle/Microsoft/Teradata database but HANA is not just a database with bigger RAM. It is a combination of a lot of hardware and software technologies. The way data is stored and processed by the In-Memory Computing Engine (IMCE) is the true differentiator. Having that data available in RAM is just the icing on the cake.

Is HANA really fast? How is it possible that HANA is so fast?
HANA is fast due to many reasons. The followinpicture1 depicts a very simplified version of what’s inside the In-memory Computing Engine.

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