Abani Pattanayak – HANA Distinguished Engineer and Volunteer
You know how it is with buses – you wait for hours and then three come at once. It’s kind of like this with HANA Distinguished Engineers – we had a quiet spot and we have a whole pile of them arriving on our doorstep before SAP TechEd!
So I’d like to Abani, who works for the SAP HANA COE. He is an HDE’s HDE – the sort of guy who solves complex problems in projects. He recently wrote about a use case at a large Canadian Retailer. Vishal Sikka wrote about Loblaws last year. So please join me and welcome Abani, to the fold!
Tell us a little around your background in the industry?
I studied Electrical Engineering, but spent quite some time in programming. So after University, I started as Visual Basic developer in 1997, then progressed into data warehousing and finally SAP BW in 2003. It has been a great journey through numerous large scale EDW transformation /implementations using SAP technologies for customers across 3 continents (North America, Europe & Asia). Worked with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for almost 10 years before joining HP Canada to lead their BW practice and finally landed in SAP with HANA COE in 2012.
Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/abanipattanayak
How did you get into the SAP HANA space?
Let me say.. I was searching for (something like) HANA since early 2007. When BW Accelerator got introduced, It never felt like a finished product. Don’t get me wrong, It was great product for that time, to me it was a glorified Aggregate. (In 2009-10, I implemented analytic solution for a Courier company dealing with 3B rows using SAP BW on Oracle, so you can understand the challenges customers were facing then, but the technology was not there). So the news of HANA in late 2010/early 2011 was very exciting. Also since I did lot of work using BW and BWA, it was natural progression to SAP HANA.
What advice would you give to people looking to transition from classic SAP to HANA?
ABANI: First and foremost. Don’t panic. HANA is not rocket science, It is like any other database (also much more). If you have knowledge of any database, the concepts are similar. So you already know half of it. You just have to get your hands around it. So get access to a HANA instance (If you don’t have within in company, you can also try many Amazon or any other provider). There are lots of HANA materials out there. Try SCN, saphana.com or search for HANA Academy in YouTube for many useful videos.
Can you tell us a little about the projects you are working on right now?
My last project was the single biggest HANA agile data mart implementation (80B rows, 16TB scale-out) in North America. This was for a retail customer based out of Canada. My current project has been for another retail fast food chain out of Canada dealing with high volume (11B rows, 4.5TB scale-out) scenario. This a BW on HANA implementation, but with reporting using HANA agile data mart.
Tell us about one of your HANA war wounds!
There are many. Here is the latest. My current project deals with both hot data in HANA (0-25month) and cold data in Sybase-IQ (25+ month onwards). We went live with 25months of data in HANA and waiting for the SDA fix (with GROUP BY push down) in HANA SP08 to go-live for the archived data. We worked very closely with the HANA developers for this fix. Guess what the SDA fix (with GROUP BY push down) works fine, except for our scenario dealing with Dynamic Join. So it was quite a scene to face the customer stating we’ll have to wait for HANA SP09.
What do you see in the future of HANA?
If SAP delivers what’s in the product road map, I see nothing but great future for SAP HANA. Customers are already heavily invested in BW on HANA, ERP Suite on HANA is about to take off. So with the price of hardware (Memory & CPU) coming down, I see customers realizing their goals data mining and predictive analysis.
If there were one change you could make to HANA, what would it be?
Please give me option to cancel a Query/process/thread. The current implementation is not working very well.
Tell us a bit about yourself outside of HANA and work
Father, husband, artist and community volunteer. When at home, enjoying simple pleasure of life like spending time with family, taking my 6 year old for biking or swimming or just watching TV. I also volunteer with a community based non-profit organization Canada Odisha Society of Americas (CANOSA, www.canosa.ca) in organizing cultural events to promote and preserve the arts, language and heritage of Odisha. I’m also the president of CANOSA, since June 2014.