Setting The Record Straight on SAP HANA

visionary.jpgOn Feb 22, 2012 I read a blog from Oracle that creates a lot of FUD around SAP HANA (HANA).  Looks like we have touched a nerve there, as we are seeing the competitive response as a whole lot of trash talk from the competition.  It also means we are doing something right…

Should we even deem this with a response? We had tweets dealing with this blog, all with similar content:


@cochesdiez: #Oracle not telling the truth on #SAP #HANA #Inmemory See my tweets in responding to some simply untrue facts

@jdh2n: @oracleEPMBI @manangoel Might want to check your facts on some of the points. Sounds like marketing flare not technical facts. #sap #HANA


Even though SAP has traditionally taken the high road in these matters and while in keeping with that spirit I’ve decided to join the community and not let this disingenuousness pass. I will try to address the FUD factor and misinformation and set the record straight with facts instead of speculation and misinformation that was rife in that blog. Our customers will do the same for us and in the final analysis that’s what matters.

So here goes…


#1 HANA is first to the market with next-generation innovation in databases

SAP has had ample experience in first generation in-memory technologies with SAP APO, trex, ptime etc.   And yes these technologies and others, including TimesTen, BerkelyDB, and MySQL have been around for years.   SAP HANA is the next generation of in-memory and significantly advanced compared to these technologies – with many innovations and firsts.  Some innovation highlights are

  1. In-memory column and row-store
  2. No disk for operation
  3. Dynamic parallelism
  4. OLTP and OLAP together
  5. Standard SQL on structured and unstructured data
  6. Insert only
  7. Multi-node
  8. Lightning-fast Bulk load (something customers love and saying that this capability alone makes HANA worth it)
  9. Application server AND database server 

One can argue that iPhone was not new, but it was the next generation in “smart phones” and did redefine the category by putting everything together – entire database of songs, moving away from disk to flash, new apps. 

#2 HANA is growing rapidly in adoption and revenue

In 6 short months, we have more than 200 customers and $200 M in software license revenue – it’s a massive uptake and adoption of the product no matter how you slice it.  Our competition is comparing it to their mature cash cow product that has been leading the market for many decades.  Plus they are adding their hardware, software, and maintenance revenues while drawing comparisons.  Not bad for a new innovative product.  If HANA weren’t threatening their hegemony in the space you would not be reading this blog response.  HANA is the innovator and not the incumbent, plus we are focused on software innovation to simplify our customer’s landscape and not intent on selling more expensive hardware, repacking existing products into more expensive appliances and increasing our customers TCO.

#3 HANA is enterprise ready with manageability and reliability. 

HANA is available for scale out as of Nov 7th, its high availability is standard, it is fully ACID compliant, has failover to another standby in-memory system and has persistence to the disk in case of complete failure from which it can replay logs to recover rapidly. HANA schemes can be extended on the fly, no re-indexing needed, e.g. since there are no physical layers, structural changes are easier to implement.  Since this is a modern design with insert only and no updates – antiquated locking mechanisms are not needed and concurrency can be much higher than traditional DBMS such as Oracle.  HANA has been deployed for mission critical applications such as smart meter analytics (Centrica), customer segmentation for marketing offers (T-Mobile) and cost based profitability analysis (Colgate, Ferrero, Honeywell).  Our customers have stood up time and again and have highlighted how HANA has helped them deliver new business value while maintaining the enterprise manageability and reliability that SAP is known for. 

#4: HANA is non disruptive with plug and play on layers above and below.

HANA is open and offers customers real choice.  HANA is ANSI SQL compliant, that why companies like Medtronic utilized ERDs built on Sybase Power designer and have it deployed on HANA in no time.   HANA supports standard MDX interfaces.  In addition to SAP products (SAP BusinessObjects, SuccessFactors), BI products on top such as Tableau, data visualization software like TIBCO Spotfire, Salesforce analytics, MSFT clients like Excel and collaborative platforms like Jive, have all been tested to work with HANA.  Even competitive applications such as UFIDA are looking at HANA.  Oracle Exalytics in comparison is closed and packages in Oracle BI products only. Also, it works only on Sun, while HANA is plug and play with 8 hardware vendors.   SAP’s open ecosystem across hardware partners and partners building applications powered by HANA (coming soon) further confirm these facts.   Some more fun facts – HANA runs apps written for Oracle DB without any changes, Given Oracle says that Exadata runs 10x faster than its traditional RDBMS and HANA runs 1000x faster than Oracle RDBMS in customer situations on an average – one can approximate that apps on HANA run 100x faster than on Exadata.

#5: HANA is available as an appliance with proven ease of deployment

SAP provides level 1 support for SAP HANA irrespective of hardware or software issues. SAP HANA appliance configurations are pre-certified providing customers complete assurance on software + hardware design in addition to bringing open innovation, choice and cost competition from multiple hardware providers. SAP is going further by providing rapidly deployed solutions on top of SAP HANA appliance such as SAP CO-PA Accelerator – by using this RDS customers like Provimi have gone live in less than 3 weeks. That’s what we call ease of use and deployment.  Keep in mind that HANA runs on Intel architecture provided by 8 vendors (turnkey) on one operating system.  HANA runs both OLTP and OLAP on this single architecture greatly reducing TCO – and installs and runs in record time – all further underscoring ease of use and deployment

I do believe that this is an inflection point and companies need to rethink their data management strategy. Should they go with aging, and mature DBMS or bring in new innovation to deal with modern day challenges for doing real-time analysis on extremely large data sets, without pre-thinking the questions or queries and without prefabrication and tuning the old systems like Oracle DBMS need? 

Come to a SAP Forum in or near your city and you can see, touch, and feel HANA live in action.  Better yet – if you are looking for more info – including test driving HANA yourself – go to Experience SAP HANA for the real deal – from basic information to deep technical info on SAP HANA from practitioners, product managers, partners, and customers.  Check it out for yourself!