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Is ignorance an excuse? Yes, says SAP & AWS!

I would like to thank the following people who showed a tremendous amount of empathy, a sense of urgency, collaborative approach, complex problem solving skills, awareness/acceptance of challenges involved in delivering new technologies and above all, accepting my ignorance as an excuse to reverse AWS charges of $4,779.82. The purpose of this blog is to tell the world that you’ll – I did – get a significant, incredible level of support from both SAP and Amazon should you decide to invest your time and efforts on new technologies such as SAP-HANA.

The list of people who deserve a huge shout-out:

  1. Amit Sinha
  2. Juergen Schmerder
  3. David Hull
  4. Vitaliy Rudnytskiy
  5. Ken Tsai
  6. Sapan Panigrahi
  7. Bruce Burns (Amazon Web Services)
  8. David Zipkin (Amazon Web Services)

Thank you, all!

The story of Two Black Boxes…

Black_box.png

Needless to say, I was shocked to receive an invoice from Amazon for US$4,779. I came back from TechEd, signed-up for HANA-ONE and assumed I would be billed only when I “use” HANA-ONE. What I didn’t understand was:

  • the meaning of “use”. This actually meant every second it was up on Cloud, not just the time I spent working on HANA.
  • Each time I hit the Launch button, I started an instance and AWS started billing 99c for HANA-ONE and $2.50 for AWS infrastructure charges per hour

I logged on to AWS and cancelled my services immediately after realizing what happened. I tweeted my situation and I received responses instantaneously from Juergen Schmerder and David Hull followed by Amit Sinha stating they’ve already started woking on resolving the issue.

Two days later, I received this email from SAP:

We realize that there is a learning curve for all of us as we do new things – HANA On AWS as an example of venturing in a new area to lower costs and foster more innovation. As we do this – mistakes do happen – things could be simpler and we could be clearer in our tools and messages.

SAP’s willingness to accept that mistakes do happen and desire to go extra 9 miles to get the issues addressed in less than two days gave me a lot of confidence on SAP-HANA. The fact that so many people from two global corporations were ready to work with me, an independent consultant, demonstrated beyond doubt that they’re determined to take every little step to deliver a huge successful story soon.

Status of HANA-One

As Juergen explained in the comment below, HANA-One is not a good option for the developers. When I signed up in October, I was under the assumption that “pay as you go” meant: Pay only when you use it. Whatever work you do will be saved automatically with no additional cost to us. This is completely wrong. Everyone who signs up for HANA-One will not be sharing the instance with others but would have a dedicated instance. So if you decide to stop the instance to save $$$, you’ll still pay for EBS Volumes (Persistent storage).

I believe in order to ensure smooth working environment, here is what it would cost to own HANA-One:

Fixed Cost:

  • 99c per hour for SAP-HANA for a month           = $   712.80 (assumes 30 days month)
  • $2.50 per hour for AWS Marketplace charges    = $1,800.00
  • Total Fixed Cost                                             = $2,512.80   (We can control this cost by keeping the instance down when not used)

Variable Cost:

  • Storage costs
  • Upload/Download Cost
  • Other costs

                                                                              (We can control variable costs by freeing up the resources when not used; however this would require more administrative work (For example, if you’re working on a very large data file, you need to decide whether you want to keep data on cloud and pay for EBS volumes or delete now and upload later and pay upload costs!). I don’t believe AWS has good cost monitoring tool. HANA-One on AWS was not designed to be used by the developers but meant for corporations who have plans to run their production systems on HANA as Juergen stated).

Next Steps

In my opinion, HANA-ONE on AWS was a bit more complex to use than I thought. Obviously I learned a few lessons. I’ll share them with SAP who, I’m sure, would go extra mile to make the cloud environment better for all.

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12 Comments

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  1. Manna Das

    Thanks for sharing this info Bala. I am planning to buy the same. Can you send me details how to buy HANA one on AWS for self learning (Developer edition). I have registered on AWS, which one (services) to buy there for HANA and location also? Since India is not mentioned there.

    My email ID is mannadas206@gmail.com

    Best Regards

    Manna Das

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    1. Bala Prabahar Post author

      Hi Manna,

      Sure. I’ll update this blog with the details(and concerns) on HANA-ONE sometime today, US time. Meanwhile you can review this youtube video in case you’ve not already done so:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfzKGyywBfE

      Best regards,

      Bala

      Update: I updated the blog with a section called “Status of HANA-One” based on  Juergen’s comment below.

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    2. Juergen Schmerder

      Hi Manna,

      If you are only after the developer edition, and you are not planning to use HANA One in production, I suggest you check out your options on http://developers.sap.com/hana – these instances are meant for development and self-learning only and are much cheaper than the full-blown HANA One Business Edition on AWS Marketplace.

      –Juergen

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  2. Juergen Schmerder

    Hi Bala,

    Thanks for sharing your story. And I’m glad we were able to resolve this. And you are definitely not “ignorant” at all. And if you were, so would be 99.999% of the database community and that would mean it’d be ignorance on our side not to design for all of them to have a smooth HANA One experience 🙂

    –Juergen

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  3. Gregory Misiorek

    Bala,

    thanks for being brave and sharing your pricing experience with the rest of us. this number is pretty scary and i’m glad good people of SAP and Amazon have helped you reverse it. i’m wondering who’s next, though.

    rgds,

    gm

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  4. David Hull

    Glad you were able to get things worked out, Bala. I’m looking forward to what amazing things you can do with HANA, not to mention how you will relay those experiences and learnings to the community! 🙂

    Cheers,

    David.

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    1. Bala Prabahar Post author

      Hi David,

      It took 20+ days for me to write this blog;and I’m yet to write a blog on amazing things about TechEd ’12, Las Vegas and InnoJam ’12. I – sorry for going off-topic- need to share a few thoughts about Marilyn Pratt, Anne Hardy, Gigi Read, Juergen Schmerder, Vitaliy Rudnytskiy and Thomas Jung – I’m sure I missed to mention a lot of names – who helped us understand SAP-HANA Extended Services functionality so well in spite of sickness. John Appleby blog reminded me Thomas Jung and InnoJam:

      Fourth, you have to look after their wellbeing because they will not. When you set unreasonable boundary conditions, I’ve often observed that contributors fail to manage their own wellbeing.

      Thanks for your motivating words;I hope to give back to the community more in days to come. Not that I don’t want to spend time on contribution;my introvert personality is not helpful.

      Best regards,

      Bala

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