It’s been too long since I put up a new HDE, and there has been a ton of new eligible experts come into the market this year. Around the SAPPHIRE time frame, we invited two people to join and I haven’t posted them yet – so here is the first, Peter Murphy from EMC.
The HDE program is all around real engineers with real practical experience, and Peter has been leading the charge in EMC’s own SAP HANA deployment. A warm welcome to Peter to the program.
Tell us a little around your background in the industry
I studied Software Development and Networking in the Cork Institute of Technology and was always more interested in the application development side. After college I spent a couple of years based in Dublin contracting with IBM, supporting and developing clients Oracle based Vantive CRM systems before rejoining EMC in 2004 (I had spent 6 months on placement during college in 2001).
With EMC I worked for several years in the Oracle 11i space before joining our PROPEL project in 2010 which was our first SAP implementation. I was a development lead focusing mainly on the SRM and ECC spaces.
How did you get into the SAP HANA space?
Shortly after our PROPEL project go-live in July 2012 EMC purchased a HANA appliance and hooked it up as a sidecar implementation to ECC using SLT to replicate tables over to HANA. Having been at TechEd the previous year I had heard all the buzz around HANA and couldn’t wait to get stuck into it.
One of our big pain points in the operational reporting space was our ECC Backlog report which reports on open sales orders. Due to the complexity of the ABAP report logic, this was taking up to an hour to execute at EOQ due to volume of data. There were a number of failed efforts at developing the report in HANA using Modelling because of the complexity and number of tables involved (40+ tables) so as a PoC effort I attempted to develop it using SQLScript. Eventually I got the report working using a combination of Modelling and SQLscript code to implement the more complex logic. It was now executing in approx. 2 mins. With the help of my colleague Sean Holland we set this up to run as a batch job every few minutes from ECC using a secondary DB connection to the HANA sidecar and what started off as a PoC quickly turned into a critical EOQ development. The business straight away could see the benefits of HANA and now had up to date backlog data every few minutes.
From there I worked on a number of real-time operational reports whilst also delving into HANA Extended Services and SAPUI5 development to help support uploading of serial numbers into HANA to be used in the reports.
I was hooked on HANA by then!
What advice would you give to people looking to learn SAP HANA?
Get access to a HANA instance. Read, try it out and read some more. There is a wealth of detailed documentation out there on HANA development. Download and read the development guides, read the SCN blogs, there really is some fantastic stuff up there. Chances are if you come across an issue it has already been answered on the discussion forums in SCN!
Other sources of knowledge I’ve used are the openSAP courses plus the videos on saphana.com which are excellent.
Can you tell us a little about the projects you are working on right now?
Right now we are on release 3 of our PROPEL project. As part of this we are implementing CRM on a HANA backend. This will be our first suite on HANA implementation. So we are getting to grips with all the various ABAP on HANA features such as ABAP Managed Database Procedures, CDS views, etc…
In parallel there is a separate project going on to implement BW on HANA – one of our big challenges here is integrating our existing HANA sidecar implementation into BW.
On top of all this we are also in the process of implementing Fiori mobile apps. Exciting times to be working in EMC IT!
Tell us about one of your HANA war wounds!
Shortly after going live with our Backlog report we upgraded our HANA revision. Whilst everything looked good in our dev and test environments, when we upgraded production the upgrade broke our report (a bug to CE_LEFT_OUTER_JOIN had been introduced!). This wasn’t noticed in the other environments as they had a different data set. So we had to do some scrambling to implement a workaround before waiting for a later revision that had the fix for the bug.
A couple of days later a new release was made available on the marketplace.
Whilst we have upgraded a couple of times since then, it was definitely a case of lesson learnt when it comes to upgrading. Datacenter Service Point revisions defined as revisions that have been running for at least 2 weeks in production at SAP provide us more confidence now in the performance and reliability of the revisions.
What do you see in the future of HANA?
Stability. I think this is the key for HANA going forward. We can see the power of HANA and all the innovation that comes along with every release. The introduction of new features with each release is great but it makes it very challenging to define best practices and approaches for development.
Customers also want to have more confidence in the reliability of HANA especially when considering putting suites on HANA and so I think there will be a big emphasis on this in future releases.
If there was one change you could make to HANA, what would it be?
There are a few but one thing I would like to see improved is the visualize plan. If a view or procedure is in any way complex it can be very difficult to read and analyze the viz plans. So a better presentation is definitely something I’d like to see here.
Tell us a bit about yourself outside of HANA and work
Love sport. I played Gaelic hurling and football up until last year with my local GAA club Castlelyons and I help coach our under 18 teams now this year. I also play golf at the weekends when I have time and like to follow football and rugby.
I’m also getting married to my fiancé Aislinn later this year so she has me busy renovating the house at the moment!!