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Author's profile photo Richard Hirsch

HANA Cloud tales: EPM OnDemand on AWS is important but will it live up to its full potential?

The HANA Cloud platform was announced at the TechEd in Las Vegas.

The official page contains few details but I’d still like to use it as our starting point.

The SAP HANA Cloud Platform, a next generation cloud platform, is based on breakthrough in-memory technology from SAP. It will allow developers to quickly build impactful, highly scalable applications that leverage embedded analytics and the massive speed and scale of SAP HANA. Applications will deliver impactful experiences, including instant mobile access, that delight users and meet any business need.


SAP HANA DBServices: Can help enable access to HANA in the cloud

SAP HANA AppServices: Can help enable next generation applications using multiple languages and frameworks

In this blog, I’d like to concentrate on the DBServices.

The first manifestation of these services is HANA One which is a “deployment option for the SAP HANA platform available for use in production on the elastic AWS Cloud. SAP HANA One is provisioned by AWS on advanced hardware with memory capacity up to 60 GB of RAM per instance” [SOURCE].

The first application to run on this platform is SAP EPM OnDemand for Expense Insight.

Analyzing Enterprise Performance Management OnDemand (EPM OD) on AWS

What makes it different from existing OnDemand offerings?

The fact that “SAP EPM OnDemand for Expense Insight” is offered on the AWS Marketplace wasn’t really emphasized in the TechEd keynote but, in my opinion, it is an important announcement that has far-reaching implications.  This offering is more than just a database-as-as-service – this is a real application with UI, business logic, etc.  More importantly, this is not a SAP SaaS solution but rather an application from SAP than runs in the Cloud. This is a major distinction.   To understand why it is more important, you must take a look at the history of this application. It was initially released on the HANA AppCloud as a SaaS offering sold by SAP which also dealt with hosting and operations of the application. The new AWS offering must be installed and operated by an entity different from SAP – for example, the IT department of a customer. This deployment pattern is closer to traditional OnPremise deployment model except that it runs on AWS.

What options are possible based on this model?


For partners, this offering may be interesting, because the current integration with OnPremise assets is still rather primitive (CSV and CTL files) and could probably be performed by most partners.

To be truthful, I assume that some existing applications in the “HANA AppCloud” are probably already running on AWS. The experience that SAP gained with these applications (installation, configuration, etc) probably represents the foundation for the existing EPM offering on AWS as well as for future offerings.

Partner opportunities

This change also represents an opportunity for partners to offer this solution to customers. What I don’t know if multi-tenancy is possible or whether separate instances of the application are necessary for different customers.


This discussion brings us back to the unfinished discussion whether HANA is multi-tenant capable and whether HANA applications support multi-tenancy. As more SAP OnDemand solutions are offered on AWS, this will probably gain in importance.

This issue probably won’t be of a concern to individual customers but will be important to partners offering such services.

Using HANA for customers with multiple OnDemand applications

If you look at the applications associated with the HANA Application Cloud, you see that there are a variety of applications which are currently deployed in this manner. I assume that many of these applications will also be available at some point on AWS as well.   Yet the deployment of multiple applications on AWS may create other data-related challenges.

What happens if a single customer has two separate but related applications running on AWS? Some data for the two solutions may be the same. Will you have multiple data stores or just one? How will data be synchronized? 


This complexity increases if you have related solutions hosted by different partners / SIs. Or if you use related solutions in AWS data centers in different regions.

Will EPM OD on AWS live up to its full potential? 

Note: I had finished my analysis of EPM On Demand on AWS and was looking at the offering on the AWS Marketplace when I noticed that there was a link to End User License Agreement for SAP EPM OnDemand for Expense Insight – Powered by SAP HANA at the bottom of the page. I’ve blogged about such legal agreements in the past and was curious, so I decided to take a look. What I discovered made me return to this blog and update my assessment.

Before I continue my assessment, I’d like to recall how SAP describes this new offering: deployment option for the SAP HANA platform available for use in production on the elastic AWS Cloud – [My emphasis].

What were the aspects of the agreement that I found interesting?


SAP is under no obligation to provide support or maintenance services for Expense Insight on AWS.  If available, support will be in the form made available on the SAP Community Network (SCN) by SCN members.   At its sole discretion, SAP may provide periodic updates to Expense Insight on AWS. 

The difference between the support for this solution and that usually provided for OnPremise solutions is striking. Basically, the customer who uses this solution is on their own and must rely on the kindness of the SCN community to help. In a platform that should be for productive usage, I find this unacceptable. Even OnPremise solutions which are not installed / operated by SAP still have better support options.


If available, such updates may include bug fixes, new features and/or enhancements.   Licensee shall be solely responsible for deploying such updates at their own risk and liability.

Here you see the difference between this solution and a usual SaaS solution where new releases / updates are usually provided by the service provider.

Data Restriction

Maximum Data Storage: 5 GB

This restriction is strange since the only EC2 instance type that is allowed for this offering is “Cluster Compute Eight Extra Large Instance” which has over 3370 GB of instance storage.

User Restriction

Maximum Number of Named Users: 25 per instance, and not more than 10 Named Users shall Use the instance at any one time. 

This restriction may limit the usage of this solution to smaller companies. A larger company which might be interested in a roll-out to a large user base might have problems with this limitation.   Some might be thinking – no problem – just use multiple instances but this is also restricted by the EULA

Licensee is limited to a single instance of Expense Insight on AWS under this Agreement, and cannot link or combine multiple instances under separate Agreements.


Licensee shall not perform any of the following with regard to Expense Insight on AWS, or any component thereof (including without limitation the HANA runtime license and Expense Insight AMI):  sublicense, sell, assign, or otherwise transfer rights; download or deploy outside of AWS; connect to, or test with, any software licensed from SAP; create additional AWS instances;   copy (other than using SAP-supplied backup/restore tools), reproduce, reverse engineer, re-engineer, modify or otherwise extend, change, or prepare derivative works thereof.  Licensee shall use SAP-authorized methods to backup and restore the user data.

This might impact the ability of a partner / SI to host the service for customers.

A comparison with the SAP Enterprise Performance Management OnDemand Supplemental Terms and Conditions

A quick examination of the legal agreement for SAP-hosted/operated EPM OnDemand solution reveals some striking differences.






Total number of

Employees (including contract workers) in Customer’s corporate organization


None / Community-based

“SAP will offer support for all malfunctions related to the Service”


1 Package


Tiers / packages based on employee size

Allowed users


100 – 800 based on selected tier


5 GB

100 – 400 GB based on selected tier

It almost appears that theoffering in AWS is just for testing the platform and then the customer should move to the hosted version later on for productive usage.

Note: I’m basing this assessment on publicly available legal agreements. If I made a mistake, then I assume that customers will make similar mistakes.


EPM On Demand on AWS is the first manifestation of SAP HANA DBServices in the HANA Cloud and, therefore, it is critical to examine it more closely.  I’m impressed that the version on AWS has the same features as the version hosted by SAP.  Yet, my impression of the restrictions in the EULA of the AWS version reveals that the two offerings are not treated equally – despite the fact that their functionality is identical.   I get the feeling that the AWS-based solution is being handicapped so that SAP-hosted/operated solution is made more palatable especially for larger customers.

The idea of exploiting AWS to allow customers to deploy SAP-developed OnDemand applications on their own terms is excellent and really distinguishes SAP’s cloud offering from other vendors that focus primarily on SaaS deployments. SAP is providing its customers with more choices which is always wise; however, legal restrictions on such AWS-based solutions complicate the decision-making process for such offers and. thus, reduce their attractiveness.

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      Your posts always dig out some "nuggets" of information. The licensing information sounds quite a bit different than what I expected based on Vishal Sikka's keynote announcement. I did suspect it was intended more as a sandbox environment and not for production usage. The data size limitation is also puzzling. My expectation was the HANA "rule of thumb" of using 50% of available memory would apply for this offering.

      Perhaps more clarity will be provided over the next few weeks -- perhaps by TechEd Madrid.