What is SAP HANA – is it going to change the computing concepts ?

SAP’s In-Memory Appliance (SAP HANA) enables organizations to instantly explore and analyze all of their transactional and analytical data from virtually any data source in near real-time. Delivered on optimized hardware, SAP HANA realizes the efficient processing and analysis of massive amounts of data by packaging SAP’s intelligent use of in-memory technology, columnar database design, data compression, and massive parallel processing together with essential tools and functionality (i.e. data replication, analytic modeling etc.), business content, and the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence (SAP BusinessObjects BI) solutions.

Technology Components that differentiates

SAP In-Memory Appliance (SAP HANA)

SAP HANA is a flexible, data-source-agnostic appliance that allows customers to analyze large

volume of  ERP data in real-time, avoiding the need to materialize transformations.

SAP HANA is a hardware and software combination that integrates a number of SAP components including the SAP In-Memory Database, Sybase Replication technology and SAP LT (Landscape Transformation) Replicator.

SAP In-Memory Database

The SAP In-Memory Database is a hybrid in-memory database that combines row-based,

column-based, and object-based database technology. It is optimized to exploit parallel processing capabilities of modern multi core/CPU architectures. With this architecture, SAP applications can benefit from current hardware technologies.

The SAP In-Memory Database is at the heart of SAP offerings like SAP HANA that help customers to improve their operational efficiency, agility, and flexibility.

SAP BWA – A performance Enabler

The SAP NetWeaver BW Accelerator is an approach for boosting SAP NetWeaver BW performance based on SAP’s search and classification engine, and on specially configured hardware. SAP NetWeaver BW customers adopting the SAP NetWeaver BW Accelerator have seen radical improvements in query performance through sophisticated in-memory data compression, horizontal and vertical data partitioning, with near zero administrative overhead. SAP NetWeaver BW Accelerator has been proven an innovative, fast, scalable and seamless solution that helps speeding up query performance significantly without investing into tedious and resource-intensive performance optimization processes such as creating aggregates, database tuning etc.

Why HANA over BWA

Organizations today are struggling to keep up: more data, more decisions, and increased

pressure to deliver value faster. With the amount of digital data increasing tenfold every five

years, large, complex, global organizations need solutions to help manage their business.

With all the hype around SAP’s latest in-memory innovation HANA many SAP BW customers are wondering whether they should abandon plans to implement BW Accelerator in favor of HANA

There are several SAP HANA scenarios to be consider.

  • SAP HANA can be leveraged as a high performance “side-by-side” data mart to your existing data warehouse or can take the place of a data warehouse (DW) if required.
  • SAP HANA in memory database can be used as a database for SAP BW: This is in ramp up and expected to be generally available by May 2012.
  • A high performance in-memory computing engine and a powerful data calculation engine.
  • Real-time replication service to access and replicate data from SAP ERP.
  • Data integration services to access and index information from virtually any data source.
  • A data repository to persist views of business information.
  • Highly-tuned integration with SAP BusinessObjects BI solutions for insight and analytics.
  • SQL and MDX interfaces for third-party application access.
  • A unified information modeling and design environment.
  • SAP is providing customers an upgrade path to SAP HANA from SAP BWA

  Still there are some product version limitations which will ensure a longer life for BWA 

Methods of incorporating HANA TOOLS within BW environment

Combining the native HANA tools and assets – like HANA modeler or SLT(System landscape Transformation) – within a BW-based environment.

  • BW – as many other products in the BI and EPM space – follows the approach that data models are created on a conceptual level. The best example is an infocube: the user uses characteristics, key figures, creates dimensions, sets properties etc. to the activate the infocube which, in turn, generates the physical layer underlying the infocubes, meaning all the tables that represent the infocube physically. This becomes even more apparent when you look at the differences between the infocube in a classic BW (meaning BW sitting on a classic RDBMS) and in an ORANGE system (meaning BW-on-HANA): conceptually, the infocubes are identical but physically they are represented differently.
    Modeling conceptually andgenerating the physics underneath has a number of advantages like
    • query access generation can be optimized towards one pattern (like a star schema),
    • it is possible to load data into a conceptual / logical object of a fixed structure
    • the user does not need to understand the implications of physical modeling (like do’s and dont’s, when and where to create indexes etc.),
    • standard patterns (e.g. naming conventions) make it easier to maintain a table schema.

  However, there might be a number of restrictions to such an approach. DBAs who are knowledgeable about table layouts, indexes and other relevant parameters for the physical layer might also argue that a hand-crafted schema can be (manually) optimized much better. This is correct but this becomes hard with data warehouses with 1000s of tables.  

Benefits

  • Make smarter Business decisions supported by increased visibility on large values of business data.
  • React to business events more quickly through real time analysis and reporting of operational data.
  • Achieve greater flexibility to deliver innovative real-time analysis and reporting scenarios.
  • Groundbreaking yet non-disruptive to existing landscapes.
  • Simple to deploy and without compromise
  • Allows the creation of new innovative business applications based on SAP HANA foundation.
  • Accelerate business performance while reducing TCO via less hardware, maintenance, and testing. SAP HANA is based on proven technology which are easy to implement whether delivered on-demand or via appliances
  • Enable mix workloads of analytics, operations and performance management in a single system.
  • Allows existing applications to directly take leverage and advantage of the performance power of HANA.
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