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Author's profile photo Gemma Durany

SAP HANA, Historical Data, Technology Excellence, and Great Expectations

Good afternoon, dear readers and dear friends.

Today in the morning, before breakfast, I read the following article from LinkedIn Today about the Rise and Fall of The Password as the magic bullet, all-encompassing approach to manage our online security and data privacy requirements in a globally integrated world:

From Wired: Kill the Password… and then what?

This article has given me some further food for thought… Even though I could also report about my own experiences around IT security leaks and ill-intentioned hackers, up to now I have been lucky… not because no one has yet tried, or partly succeeded, in hacking some of my personal stuff, but rather because up to now I have been able to avoid any tragic consequences.

Compared to the experiences reported on the article above, my own experiences with IT security leaks have been relatively harmless anyway.

After reading the article, my neural synapses randomly (or not so randomly?) jumped to a related topic: The topic around historical data in databases. You may remember one of the articles I wrote about time travel with SAP HANA, where I describe, among others, how to create History Column Tables:

Time Travel with SAP HANA

History tables allow you to go back to any point in time for particular tables, and thus retrieve the data which was valid at that particular point in time. Technical fact is that not only history tables are history tables…

State-of-the-art databases use several strategies in order to optimize performance for data entry and deletion of data records. Very often, when you delete a record from the database, this record will not be really, physically deleted from the database. It will only be marked with a Flag as “invalid/inactive/deleted”. SAP HANA uses a similar strategy, for performance reasons.

This strategy is not really new and is not SAP HANA specific. However it gave me some further food for thought…

Technically, this clever performance feature is generally well intentioned, but it also means that if you ask a company to delete your data from their database, they will probably not physically do it, even if they do it… which brings us to some data privacy consequences.

Of course there is a legal framework which does not allow companies to use your private data without your permission, even if the data is still officially or unofficially available in their database.

However, we are not only worried about the legal framework, but also about the power of hackers in a globally connected world…

SAP HANA is no more responsible for this dilemma than the rest of participant companies in the universal Cloud landscape. However, I have great expectations about SAP HANA, and they go beyond pure technological aspects. For me SAP HANA represents a chance to philosophically rethink a couple of other important things, for example, around IT security, the meaning of big-data, environmental consciousness, responsibility taking around human matters…

Technology excellence alone no longer impresses me much…

Gemma Durany

Founder and Managing Director

WeeDooCare Business Solutions GmbH

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