Dispelling Five Myths About SAP HANA

According to analysts, the in-memory technology SAP HANA is one of the major innovative feats of the last few decades. After all, it enables existing core applications to be optimized and innovative business processes and applications to be mapped.

At the same time, however, there are a number of myths surrounding SAP HANA. Here, we’ll set matters straight.

Myth 1: SAP HANA is Primarily a Database

That’s in the past now. Over the past few years, SAP HANA has developed from a relational in-memory database to a multifaceted platform. This not only helps to simplify IT landscapes and reduce administration and development costs, in many places it is now a foundation for intelligent business. The platform enables:

  • Sustained acceleration of existing applications;
  • Real-time evaluation of operational data based on key figures;
  • Real-time processing of location-based (spatial) and unstructured mass data;
  • Realization of predictive analytics, data mining, machine learning, and blockchain technologies;
  • Holistic implementation of innovative solutions and applications for intelligent business — from development to deployment.

Myth 2: SAP HANA is Expensive

Many businesses think they can’t afford SAP HANA. SAP’s license policies used to unsettle people who were deciding whether to purchase it, which is why SAP introduced a price model for the SAP HANA full-use license at the start of the year. It groups the investment costs into five tiers — the higher the total data volume, the lower the unit price of individual data packages. With data above 16 terabytes, businesses pay only a quarter of the former costs, while at the same time benefiting from significantly enhanced storage opportunities. Thanks to implicit compression, SAP HANA offers a considerably higher storage volume than conventional data platforms.

Furthermore, investment costs are reduced by careful sizing. Only data that is stored in the production system is subject to licensing — transferred data, development systems, and test systems are not.

Another advantage is that by investing in the data-based SAP HANA full-use license you avoid incurring any additional SAP HANA costs.

This is not the case with the restricted runtime edition, where you incur an additional SAP HANA fee of 15 percent for every new SAP license you purchase. If you want to avoid this in future, you can inexpensively convert existing runtime licenses to SAP HANA full-use. And if you want to test out the scope of services before committing, you can download the free-of-charge version, the express edition of SAP HANA. With this, production applications with low storage requirements of up to 32 GB can be developed, tested and implemented.

Myth 3: SAP HANA Is Only Suitable for SAP Applications

To examine this statement properly, we need to differentiate between SAP HANA runtime edition and SAP HANA full-use license. It is true that the SAP HANA runtime edition is designed exclusively for the use of SAP applications and only enables work at application level. SAP HANA full-use, by contrast, exploits the full functionality of the platform.

To put it simply, the package can be deployed with SAP and non-SAP systems and can process distributed data in hybrid environments. Furthermore, the full license unlike the restricted version, the full license enables you, for instance, to work at database level, to use different function libraries and to develop native applications.

Myth 4: SAP HANA Entails High Additional Costs for Hardware

The notion that SAP HANA can only be operated by exotic, expensive hardware is also false. Infrastructural requirements have decreased over the years. Now the platform can be used on various certified standard industry components. Additionally, hardware costs can be optimized by careful sizing. It is very simple to reduce the size — and therefore the price — of the required in-memory storage. For this, the usage tiers in the warm standby need to be transferred to cheaper tiers, such as a hard drive, cloud, or Hadoop. This minimally changes the time spent calling up actively used data, while notably reducing the necessary infrastructural investments. With intelligent data tiering, this transfer is automated.

Finally, SAP also offers the in-memory platform via different deployment models; if you want to avoid high starting investments, you can also obtain SAP HANA from the cloud or opt for a hybrid deployment model. This means that there is hardly any difference overall between the current hardware costs for operating SAP HANA and those of a classic database infrastructure.

Myth 5: SAP HANA Is Only Suitable for SAP Experts

SAP HANA is an open platform that supports a wide range of programming standards, including the widely used database language SQL. Consequently, in addition to supporting SAP applications, SAP HANA is a database platform for applications of third-party suppliers, making more in-depth SAP programming knowledge unnecessary. In practice, this means that SAP HANA allows tables to be natively — meaning without ABAP — set up, populated, and read by SQL commands. There are also suitable tools available for this.

Furthermore, SAP HANA also supports SAPUI5 and SAP Fiori and therefore the design of native business applications. The interaction patterns contained in SAPUI5 facilitate the development of business applications, while accelerating their deployment.

Learn more about SAP HANA here.