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Enterprise Software veteran, with over twenty years' experience on every side of of business, from user and buyer to VP, CEO and Board Member roles; from Procter & Gamble to Oracle, SAP and OQO. Founder of the OracAlumni Network.
Aactively tracks the trends and strategies of the enterprise software world, shares his news digest and analysis at Next Gen Enterprise.

57 responses to “The real (potential) impact of SAP HANA”

  1. Mark Montgomery

    This was very good until we reached the point of pricing — maybe I missed it, but I haven’t seen any pricing anywhere on HANA. So (perhaps by design) how can anyone make any comparisons with a straight face? And where is the comparison for those who aren’t an existing ERP/BI customers? For a company that invested several hundred million dollars in an SAP install primarily for competitive advantage, one of which I am familiar with in process, how will they feel if the value add on top of the stack–HANA appliance, is provided to competitors even for a few million? (Servers alone are reported to be in the $400k range now)

    1. Lacey

      Thought it woudln\’t to give it a shot. I was right.

  2. Jennifer Cowley

    Mr. Moore,
    I read your article and have a couple questions that were not addressed in your article. I have a novice understanding of data warehousing so my questions may seem fairly elementary.
    What is the best way to discuss?

  3. Curt Monash

    Dennis,

    Vertica and Sybase IQ are both relational and ACID. You may question their performance when being updated, but that’s a different matter.

    And Vertica, at least, has some pretty good answers to that challenge.

  4. Bob Millar

    Hi Dennis,
    I’ve a simple question regarding your argument on HANA running “in-memory” which, in turn, makes the difference.
    From what I know, classic RDBMS cache disk pages as much as possible, meaning that in the ideal case all data relevant to a query already sits in a (memory) cache. Following your argument that would mean that Oracle, IBM DB2, Sybase, SQL-Server should run equally fast as HANA. They should simply sit on a server with enough memory … which – to your argument – shouldn’t be a problem given today’s hardware and prices.
    Is there a flaw in my (and consequently your) line of argument?
    Regards
    Bob

  5. LB

    Dennis,
    Excellent write up but could you please elaborate more on this comment:
    “Columnar storage and compression is easily achieved in memory-resident databases for a number of reasons.”

    Telling us there is an issue on columnar database’s with this but not in memory gives a onesided arguement. I was under the belief HANA would have similar problems.

    Second, another analyst, I wish I could find the posted, pointed out it that the Sybase IQ database could return performance similar to the HANA at a much lower cost. Any thoughts to that?

    Finally as an SAP customer, HANA draws no interest. Having a software application that works and works well is what many want from software vendor. Not an overpriced hardware appliance.

    Thanks,

    LB

  6. Ray Li

    Hi Dennis,

    To achieve faster data retrieving, my understanding is that Exadata pushes query from DB server to the hardware as much as possible, while HANA takes use of memory but querying the memory instead of the hardware. Am I correct?

    Thanks,
    Ray

  7. Enterprise Headlines and Summaries, June 2011

    [...] The real (potential) impact of #SAP HANA Larry wants to sell you Exalogic and Exadata machines, costing millions; Hasso wants to sell you a simple, low-end, commodity device delivering the same benefits. If I were SAP, I’d have sales reps with HANA software installed on their laptops, demonstrating it at every customer interaction, and comparing it (favorably) with Oracle Exadata, and suggesting that customers demand that Oracle sales reps bring in an Exadata box on their next sales call – and not to bother showing up without one. Larry wants to sell you a cloud in a box; SAP will sell you apps on the cloud, or analytics in a box for hundreds or a thousand times lower cost than Oracle’s solution. [...]

  8. Dae Jin Swope

    Hi Dennis,

    Nice write up and follow on comments. As a SAP BW consultant, I’ve read a few articles on SAP HANA. Each article mentions the performance improvements and the benefits of querying data that resides in memory but I haven’t seen any mention on how in memory database will impact the delivery of EDW solutions. Simply put, how will my job change? Or from a business perspective, how will the delivery of my EDW solution change? I think we are going to see a fundamental change in that EDW will move away from the storing structured data in multiple layers to more of a virtual EDW model where data is built on the fly from the underlying source tables. For example, when ECC is moved on the HANA platform why extract the data into another environment and build the typical 3-tier data model?

    Do you have any sources that discuss this topic in more detail?

    Thank you,

    Dae Jin

    1. Dennis Moore

      Dae Jin –

      I agree with your supposition regarding how data warehouses will change. As users are able to ask more and more queries in real time, IT’s role will change from a heavy emphasis on structuring the data and managing performance, to a role of connecting as many data sources as possible and exposing metadata to tools so that users can query the system more effectively. In addition, as BPM and rules engines are connected to high performance analytics like SAP HANA, IT will also take on the role of capturing business rules and processes into such systems.

      I don’t know of any sources that discuss this trend. Thanks for a great comment and questions!

      – Dennis

      PS – Are you by any chance related to Will Swope (formerly of Intel)? If so, please give him my best regards!

  9. Enterprise headlines and excerpts, 2011-06-30

    [...] The real (potential) impact of #SAP HANA Larry wants to sell you Exalogic and Exadata machines, costing millions; Hasso wants to sell you a simple, low-end, commodity device delivering the same benefits. If I were SAP, I’d have sales reps with HANA software installed on their laptops, demonstrating it at every customer interaction, and comparing it (favorably) with Oracle Exadata, and suggesting that customers demand that Oracle sales reps bring in an Exadata box on their next sales call – and not to bother showing up without one. Larry wants to sell you a cloud in a box; SAP will sell you apps on the cloud, or analytics in a box for hundreds or a thousand times lower cost than Oracle’s solution. [...]

  10. www.BenStopford.com » Blog Archive » Interesting Articles July 2011

    [...] More drinking of the Hana Kool-Aid [...]

  11. Florian Arm

    Hello Dennis,

    what will be the impact of new high speed SSDs, or other nonvolatile memories (HP IBM) on Hana’s future? Fast devices like Micron P320h or Intel Ramsdale, reading data with speed more and more close to the RAM memory, will be on the market in the near future, probably this year. It is previsible that even faster ones will came into the market in 1-2 years. Will this take out the advantage of Hana reading data, at high speed, from memory?

    Thanks,
    Florian

    1. Dennis Moore

      Florian –

      Thanks for another great question!

      Today’s relational databases were designed for a time when memory was fast but ultra-expensive, processors were much slower than today (and with many other limitations, such as much smaller caches), and when disk drives were small/slow/expensive. There was a lot of work done to optimize which data were brought into limited memory.

      HANA, or SAP’s In-memory Compute Engine (ICE), was developed without these arcane assumptions. Regardless of how fast such memory can get, HANA should outperform a database architected for an outmoded set of assumptions. All databases (including HANA) should benefit from such faster memory, but – assuming you have enough memory to hold your entire database in memory – HANA should outperform traditional databases no matter how fast such permanent storage can get.

      This is because in-memory databases, like HANA, do not have the overhead burdening Oracle, DB2, and other traditional databases. This overhead is related to disk management, cache management, and optimization for disk retrieval.

      I hope this helps, and thanks for another great question!

      — Dennis

  12. Effy

    Hi Dennis

    Great article. As a Basis person, how can I present the advantage of SAP
    HANA to our potential customers with budget constraint but having performance issue
    in their BI/BW systems?
    Secondly, will HANA impact the storage vendors in anyway in the future ( like netapp or emc)?

    Effy

    1. Dennis Moore

      Effy –

      Thanks for the kind words and the excellent questions.

      For customers who have budget constraints, the thing to do is to look at the cash flows over a few years, along with an SAP sales rep I think. Maintaining a big Oracle BI data warehouse (or IBM, or Microsoft) costs a lot in terms of the database license, hardware costs, and DBAs. And, at the end, the users get slow results. Just in terms of costs, for many customers with large data warehouses, HANA can pay for itself in the first year just based on savings.

      However, HANA also has the potential to give users a major improvement in user experience and performance. If you can go from taking five minutes to process a query, to taking a second or two to process the same query, you can create business advantages. What would happen if we ran this discount? What would happen if we changed our manufacturing run size? What would happen if we expanded the sales force by 5%? by 6%? or shrank it by 10%? This could revolutionize business decision-making.

      As to the impact on storage vendors, yes, HANA could have a major impact. First, data would not need to be stored redundantly in a data warehouse database. Second, data could be stored in a much more compact form. Third, data would not need large indices to be stored on disk. For these and other reasons, demand for disk drives could be impacted, although there is MUCH growth in demand for disk drives just to capture all the human and machine generated events (like web interactions and sensor readings). In addition, the disk drives that are needed for databases like Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server or IBM DB2 are disk drives at the high end of the cost scale – with intelligence built in, incredibly high speed, etc. Disk drives needed just to capture data for crash or disaster recovery, as with HANA (or web or sensor logs for that matter) can be cheap, commodity drives. Less demand for high end units could be an impact of HANA.

      Thanks, and please let me know if you have other questions, or comments on my responses!

  13. What’s the Future of In-Memory Databases with SSDs Coming into Fashion? | SiliconANGLE

    [...] Dennis Moore wrote a detailed post in June about SAP HANA. A question surfaced in the comments, asking how SAP HANA will compete as SSDs get faster. [...]

  14. What’s the Future of In-Memory Databases with SSDs Coming into Fashion?

    [...] Dennis Moore wrote a detailed post in June about SAP HANA. A question surfaced in the comments, asking how SAP HANA will compete as SSDs get faster. [...]

  15. David

    Hi Dennis,
    As head of BI where I work I am still struggling into some critical issues regarding BW and its reports in reference to HANA. Current information in SAP has a different structure from BW. SAP delivers standard extractors and we developed some of our own. We also cross reference data with multiple files and data from other sources as well as other SAP Servers. From there we can extract our own customized reports. To conclude my questions are:
    1. Does hana will have an interface where I can model my new structures for reporting?
    2. Does hana will have enough logic to extract data from SAP through generic apab datasources as well as other sources (PC_FILE), SQL_SERVER?
    3. Would SAP deliver standard extractors as they did for BW, which I may say they really contribute for fast implementations (with enhancements)?
    4. Is there any way to leverage current BW after acquiring HANA?
    I believe these factors are critical for SAP R3 -> BW current enterprise solutions.

    Thanks for your comments

  16. David

    Forgot to add:
    Not all Business rules are in the extractors but also in the data mart. Does HANA may handle this process of data cleaning or enhancement?

  17. Andre Kooy

    Hello Dennis,
    Excellent article and good feedback on the questions.
    I have one myself:
    You mention in the article that extraction from HANA into Business Objects will become much faster. Will HANA also allow others (like Cognos, Qlikview, Tibco Spotfire) to easily extract (or connect to) large volumes of data in memory?
    As background: currently, getting data out of SAP or BW for those who did not get the keys to the backdoor (hence, anybody other than SAP/BO) is a nightmare: slow and limited in the amount of data to be extracted, needing middleware like Simba or Composite.
    How do you think this is going to change?
    Kind regards, Andre

  18. Dave

    Dennis, you wrote ” Larry wants to sell you Exalogic and Exadata machines, costing millions; Hasso wants to sell you a simple, low-end, commodity device delivering the same benefits.”
    I do not think it is correct approach to compare Oracle Exadata and SAP HANA. It looks like pure advertisement of the last. Could you take Oracle TimesTen product for comparison. This is their comprehensive In-Memory solution. What is real advantage of SAP HANA vs. Oracle TimesTen?

    1. Dennis Moore

      Dave –

      More has emerged lately about SAP HANA’s pricing. If SAP comes to you with a HANA deal, negotiate hard!

      In some sense, a comparison between SAP HANA and Oracle Exadata *is* unfair, but that is because Oracle Exadata provides much lower ROI. However, Oracle will generally pitch Exadata into accounts that say they want better database performance, SAP certification of any kind, and TCO reduction due to landscape simplification – and that is exactly where SAP will position SAP HANA. These products, while dissimilar in many ways, are direct competitors in many situations.

      Oracle Exadata has one significant advantage over SAP HANA, leading to one interesting use case for which SAP HANA is not (yet) appropriate – due to its 100% compatibility with the Oracle database. If your enterprise has a lot of Oracle database instances, you could consider and accomplish a landscape simplification where you replace many/most/all of your Oracle database instances with a single Exadata box, managed centrally, with full 100% compatibility with the databases they would replace – plus full compatibility with your employees’ skills, and easy ability to hire new, knowledgeable employees. You could do this today, even for Oracle databases running under SAP Business Suite, and that can’t be said (yet!) for SAP HANA.

      SAP HANA, on the other hand, is an in-memory database. Even when Oracle has data in cache, SAP HANA will outperform Oracle for many queries, using far fewer memory block move operations and far fewer CPU instructions. The reasons for this will be the subject of a future post.

      Oracle TimesTen is more like SAP HANA than is the Oracle RDBMS, but TimesTen is not “eligible” for this discussion in that it is not (to my knowledge) certified for use with any SAP component. In other words, you cannot run something like SAP Business Suite or SAP BW on Oracle TimesTen, and I have heard of no plan to certify this combination. It may not be possible to get these SAP components to run on TimesTen – see http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E11882_01/timesten.112/e13073/oracle_tt.htm for an interesting discussion by Oracle of the compatibility issues between TimesTen and a “normal” relational database. Of particular interest are the second and third issues mentioned, issues with transactional semantics and cursors. Perhaps those issues could be overcome, although I have no reason to think they can, but again there has been no plan announced by anyone of which I am aware to make TImesTen certified with SAP. SAP HANA is also not currently certified for use as the database under SAP Business Suite, but it is certified for SAP BW and SAP has announced a plan to bring HANA to the point where it shall be certified with SAP Business Suite.

      From a pure performance perspective, there is one other significant difference between TimesTen and SAP HANA – TimesTen uses a row-based storage approach, whereas SAP HANA is generally used as a columnar database (although SAP HANA does offer the option of row storage). Many select-style queries run much faster with a columnar database than with a row store, thus the prevalence of techniques like pre-aggregation/materialized views in row stores. Other queries, like insert and update statements, may run much faster in a row store than in a columnar database. Both these statements are MASSIVE oversimplifications, but as generalizations I believe they will hold true. For more on TImesTen as a row store, see http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E11882_01/timesten.112/e13065/comp.htm .

      Based on the maturity of TimesTen vs. SAP HANA, and their teams’ foci and optimizations, I would expect TimesTen to outperform SAP HANA in most highly transactional applications, and SAP HANA to outperform TimesTen in most highly analytical applications. I would also expect SAP HANA to outperform any Oracle database product when used with SAP software (such as Business Suite, Business Objects, or BW), when SAP HANA has been released and certified for that SAP software – SAP will optimize to ensure this is true, I suspect. Perhaps we can get SAP and Oracle (both for TimesTen and ORACLE RDBMS) to run identical benchmarks based on real-world query loads someday, so we can do an “apples to apples” comparison.

      Thanks for a good topic to add to this discussion thread!

      – Dennis

      1. Nafets

        Dennis, thanks for your interesting informations about HANA.

        I think HANA has capabilities for better performance results in special cases,
        but I think HANA is not the solution for SAP applications in general.
        Why ?
        SAP are the business critical application ,
        and HANA is today a complete new solution !

        How i it with scalability ? –> HANA shared nothing cluster based on HW – Cluster based on Clusterfilesystems –> simplify IT ? I think no.
        How is it with availablity ? –> spare node “warm started” is needed –> additional costs and only failover with downtime (downtime in SAP environments ?)
        How is it with backup / recovery ? –> you need persistenzlayer on SSD Drives –> costs
        How is it with knowhow in the field ? –> less –> costs for workers with HANA knowhow
        How is it with operating system support ? –> only SUSE OS is supported
        How is it with vendor lock in ? –> HANA is a optimized solution for SAP Apps. –> extremly costs
        How is it with interoperability to other databases with nonSAP systems ?
        and and and

  19. Prashant

    Dennis –

    Very informative and important write up (expecially for SAP BI Consultant).

    I work as SAP BI consultant and I have few questions which I think would come up in the coming days:

    1) If HANA’s integration with SAP BW/ECC is successful then what happens to SAP BW Accelerator (BWA)? Many businesses spent huge amounts on buying BWA to improve BW reporting performance. What happens when SAP BWA customer realise that HANA could have been great and far better investment and yet provide better results than BWA? (Although I think HANA would cost way more than BWA and will take time to stabilise in the market)

    2) If one can load its entire data into HANA then why there would be need of SAP BW (as middle layer) as such. Wouldn’t SAP BW loose its key advantage? Why wouldnt customers think that data from ECC can directly be loaded into HANA, structures can be created in HANA (instead of BW) and use of BusinessObjects as query design tool?

    For businesses it takes long time to load data in BW (data load maintenance and monitoring is another cost, effort) whereas if ECC data can be directly made available in HANA, wouldnt that save time and money?

    As far as I can see, many businesses would think of SAP BW as bump (since it would consume the same time to pass on data to HANA memory). Please correct me if you think otherwise.

    Regards,
    Prashant

  20. Rama Shankar

    Dennis: Good job on the SAP HANA write-ups. Please can you share with us your experiences with SAP HANA database for SAP BW. It is currently in ramp-up and it looks very promising!

  21. Rani

    The article was awesome. I have a question for you. Can u describe me the difference between a normal sqlscript and sap hana sqlscript version 2?

  22. Dennis Moore

    Rani –

    I wish I could! You should go to Vijaya Vijayasankar’s web site (http://andvijaysays.wordpress.com/) or John Appleby’s web site (http://www.bluefinsolutions.com/insights/profiles/john_appleby/) – they will likely be able to provide a much better answer to your question. Thanks!

    – Dennis

  23. Pratik

    Hi Dennis,

    If SAP executes fully on its HANA roadmap, how do you view the impact to Teradata? Thanks!

  24. Jorge Hernández

    Hi Dennis, great article.
    We design a system 8 years ago without thinking we´ll have the success and expansion we actually have.
    Our DB is based on MySQL, now the lots of information and the new features on the system and reports requirements have exceeded our infrastructure. Besides our main client is migrating to SAP. What we can do for migrating to SAP and then Hana?
    Thanks a lot.

  25. Ken Owen

    Great article and dialogue here – thanks for sharing so openly.

    Question: when we all talk to our clients about SAP HANA, most will be at least eager to know more, some will want to move quickly in this direction. The very next questions will get into specifics around architecture changes (which I see discussed mostly here), then right into real budget issues to make this real for them … and this info is still very rough, even now. But, one area that still seems very hard to get discussion on is the actual impacts to existing IT infrastructures … servers, networks, core designs, reconfigurations, systems management challenges, performance monitors for this kind of environment, migration priorities, … on and on. Do you see this area being a significant part of the challenges for implementing HANA effectively? I realize there are already some certified platform vendors lined up, but even they aren’t putting out much information on exactly what needs to be tackled and in what order for an effective HANA leverage. Can you share your thoughts in this area too, or offer some additional helpful sources/links for this type of information. Thank you, again.

    1. Dennis Moore

      Ken –

      Super questions. Information is just emerging about sizing and architectural considerations. Some decent information can be found in the SAP HANA Technical Operations Manual (http://help.sap.com/hana/hana1_tom_en.pdf). Some very good blogs can be found listed in my blog at http://dbmoore.blogspot.com/2011/12/my-favorite-sap-hana-blogs.html . Vijay, Vitaliy, and John Appleby have some good experience in the topic. You’ll certainly hear some good sessions at SAPPHIRENOW this May. I saw several great presentations from SAP TechEd online at http://www.sapvirtualevents.com/teched/Sessions.aspx?category=sessiontype&code=Lectures&NavId=10 . I especially liked http://www.sapvirtualevents.com/TechEd/sessiondetails.aspx?sId=132, http://www.sapvirtualevents.com/TechEd/sessiondetails.aspx?sId=124, and http://www.sapvirtualevents.com/TechEd/sessiondetails.aspx?sId=146 . If you learn more on the topic, please reply to this comment and add to your karma!

      Thanks,

      – Dennis

  26. Ken Owen

    Dennis,
    Thanks for the info links and feedback, contacts, etc. As SAP HANA momentum accelerates, I will be focusing hard on the real and practical issues that accompany a step change like this. This one brings great application and analytics improvements that will challenge many legacy IT architectures to also step up in ways they weren’t originally designed to address. We may see a significant need to reassess/redesign strategic platforms and infrastructures, even as a base enabler, for best realization of SAP HANA capabilities. We’ll be challenged to help our clients know just where to “tweak”, where to upgrade/add, and where to start fresh, and in what sequence. What I’ll be looking for from these early HANA pilot installations are guidelines and metrics, from actual implementations, on what kind of infrastructure changes are required, or recommended; what kind of costs and lead times should we plan for; and what kind of migration road maps are most practical to help our clients “get there” with least disruption and best results, with a real plan. I am looking for these pilot efforts to begin providing this kind of information for us soon, as we are already talking to clients about moving forward. I’ll certainly share whatever I begin to pick up along the way, too.

    Ken

  27. Michael

    Okay, stating the obvious here – but SAP has been building HANA for about 20 months. Kognitio has been building our in-memory row-based RDBMS for over 20 years. All processing done in memory, and proven, mature version 7 of our Software.

    How could SAP HANA compare to THAT?

    1. Dennis Moore

      Michael –

      Thanks for the comment. I believe there are many products in the market that can deliver many of the same technical features that SAP HANA can deliver. However, a few comments regarding your specific points;

      1. SAP has been developing HANA for many years, depending on your perspective. First of all, much of SAP HANA is based on SAP DB, which is a really “mature” code base. Second, some of the “in memory” parts of HANA are based on code acquired around the end of 2005 I believe, and developed continuously since then. The rest of the “in memory” parts of HANA are based on the TREX code base, which is also quite a few years in the making. The HANA concept was revealed at least six years ago, and the company has been working on it since. Your point about 20 months of HANA “building” is not at all accurate.
      2. I have no information on Kognitio, and will take you at your word that the product is mature. This blog was not about evaluating the technology of HANA or Kognitio, but explaining the strategic impact of HANA. HANA will have an impact because it is from SAP – it will drive down the price of Oracle in SAP shops, further the trend of vertical integration by vendors, and will create the potential for innovative solutions. Kognitio could not have any of these impacts without being acquired by a company like IBM, SAP, Oracle, or Salesforce.com.

      Kognitio may become a successful product and company. I wish you all the best. HANA may be a complete and utter flop. It wouldn’t be the first time an innovative product idea from SAP flopped by being overhyped too early, failing to deliver, or because the market passed the product by. However, all signs point to SAP HANA changing the dynamics of the industry, the competitive relationship between Oracle and SAP, the “coopetition” with IBM and Microsoft, and with some nascent customer successes – and with somewhere around $200M+ in sales in its first nine months on the market.

      Feel free to add some links here so I can learn more about Kognitio. Thanks!

      – Dennis

  28. Amit

    Hi,

    i m new to asp hana..How to start with sap hana
    How to istal the s/w in my system
    I want to have hana on top of Oracle,how can i pull real time data from oracle to hana
    Thank,
    Amit

  29. Vikas

    Dennis,

    How does using HANA compare to some of the other “big data” solutions out there such as Netezza (an appliance), Vertica (HP), Aster Data (Teradata), Google’s BigQuery, a Hadoop-based system, etc…. Warning – I’m a business guy with just enough technical knowledge to be dangerous (to myself!), so I’m probably mixing apples and oranges here. Can you help me sort out where HANA fits among these options for a current SAP customer?

    Also, I understand that in-memory provides speed that can be amazingly fast, but I would think that the near-term value to customers is likely to be their ability to do analyses that they’ve always wanted to do, but couldn’t afford the resources required to do them in a practical timeframe.

    I would think every business analyst would know about one or two of these off the top of their head. They may even be implementing them using aggregated or a subset of data and assuming the results they get are applicable across the population. Do you think that’s true? If you do, why hasn’t the acceptance of HANA been even faster? What’s holding back this latent, underserved pool of already conceived of and potentially implemented analyses?

    Vikas

    P.S. I’m being purposefully provocative to get to the root of the problem. Is HANA missing some functionality, do the processes it can enable not exist yet or are we just waiting for the ecosystem and support partners to build up momentum?

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