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Author's profile photo Vikas Kumar Singh

HCI- The Sky Is Yet Too Cloudy

Hi Everyone,

It is not long that first time I heard about Cloud Computing and the story of it’s birth from Grid Computing and try making a cloud server using 4 laptops and 2 desktops with Linux. And a desktop Cloud Eye OS. Since then I came in the world of Integration and made my path in SAP PI, then SAP PO and now again the CLOUDS are so fascinating for me even in the Integration world.

There are so many blogs about SAP Hana Cloud Integration from our experts but then everytime my friends and colleague read it, they ask – What is Cloud? What is SAP Hana? What is in-memory computing- And the questions start growing like a woood fire, which made me realise “The Sky is Really Too Cloudy”.

So here is an attempt to gather the scattered information and provide things at one place.

Have you understood “The Cloud”?

“The cloud” is “the Internet”. Cloud computing is sharing of computing resources over the internet rather than having local servers. The computing resources can be:

  • Infrastructure
  • Platform
  • Software

In simple terms, cloud provides you everything as a service; let it be storage to store your stuff, software to use, apps to work with etc. It provides following resources on demand.

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – Servers, Virtual machines, VLANs, load balancers are provided from huge set of data centers on Demand.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) – Operating System, Programming language execution environment, Database and Web Servers. For e.g.:- Microsoft Azure to develop .NET projects and Google App Engine to do programs.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS) – Software is installed over the cloud and licensed for temporary basis as per the demand and use.

SAP HANA – The reason to use HCI?

If you are an Integration consultant then you may look at SAP HANA as an ECC (R3) system. P.S.: This is not really the same, just a logical view.

  • SAP Hana is an “in-memory” database.
    • In-memory? – It means all the data is stored on Random Access Memory and not on slow hard drives. Thus the data processing as well as data loading is very fast.
  • SAP Hana is a row as well as column based database, made up of combination of hardware and software to process massive amount of real-time data based on in-memory computing.

Note: Do browse a little about in-memory computing.

  • Those who are aware of SAP R/3 basics might be aware of the 3 layers Database, Application and Presentation layer. The complex calculation happens in Application layer.

In SAP Hana the complex calculations also moved to Database Layer.

  • Multi-engine query processing provides Relational, Graphical and Text based data loading and processing
  • SAP Partnered with HP, Dell, Hitachi, IBM, CISCO, Fujitsu, NEC for the Hardware and provides SAP Hana Studio as Data Modelling tool.

Having said this much about SAP Hana, you now have a picture of it. But is SAP Hana father of Hana Cloud Integration?

NO, it is not. The HCI is the ideal solution to use when the core business solution is on CLOUD. There are many more reasons and situations based on which we can decide the suitability of HCI as the middleware Integration Solution?

Hana Cloud Integration- Let us get Friendly!

Keeping in mind the focus SAP is giving on SAP PO as the strategic middleware integration tool, I wonder isn’t Hana Cloud Integration a competition a competition to SAP PO as a Product.

This is a good time to put forwards that why HCI is called so?

  • HCI is hosted on SAP HANA, and offered as a managed service on top of SAP HANA.

HCI comes with a Design time where all objects can be designed and configured based on Eclipse tool. It has runtime environment deployed over the SAP Hana cloud. And the HCI comes with a WEB UI for different categories of users to access it.

Features of HCI:

  1. a)      Architecture and Deployment options suited best for cloud-cloud, cloud-on premise
  2. b)      Multi-tenant architecture.
  3. c)       Highest level of security with content encryption, signing of messages, encrypted data storage and certificate based authentication.
  4. d)      HCI runtime supports connectivity via large no of adapters like SFTP, IDOC, SOAP, HTTP, Successfactors and OData.
  5. e)      Predefined Prepackaged Integration content are available at present for integration with SAP ERP/ SAP CRM
  6. f)       It facilitates process integration as well as data integration capabilities.
  7. g)      Comes with a Web UI for ease of accessing by different categories of users.
  8. h)      MONITORING- The central monitoring via Solution manager is available. And here the monitoring can be done in Eclipse IDE itself along with Web UI monitoring screen.

Hana Cloud Integration versus SAP PO

Hana Cloud Integration is a natural growth path of SAP PI server, but it is not an enhancement of existing SAP PI/PO server. HCI is a completely new product and not a successor of SAP PO, thus migration is not possible from SAP PO to HCI.


Hana Cloud Integration

On-Premise Installation of the product is needed in the landscape.

No installation needed at local hardware. We can get it on-demand on-subscription basis and use for integration

Any-To-Any Integration possible ( A2A, B2B, C2C etc)

Application Edition available only for standard integration contents provided by SAP.

Platform Edition strategic launch with customized integration.

Needs License cost and annual fee

Needs subscription fee

Built-in Virtualization capabilities, and Integration contents only for few SAP applications

No built-in virtualization capability, Integration contents available for many

SAP PO or SAP Hana Cloud Integration – Be Choosy!

Going by the name please do not be confused about the capabilities of SAP PO integration with SAP Cloud customers. But then, which product is ideal for which solution-

  • If we are not using SAP PO already in our landscape then as and when required for SAP Cloud customers subscribe HCI.
  • If you are already using SAP PO in the landscape,  use SAP PO for the integration requirements.

Unclear Conclusions- May be sky is too Cloudy!

We are still exploring the capabilities of SAP PO and we still expect so much from SAP’s strategy towards SAP PO. With HCI already launched for customers it is again a debate to choose the solution. Of-course there can’t be a correct answer for this, but as Necessity is the mother of Inventions, so is Requirements for Solutions.

We must not consider SAP PO and HCI as competitors and compare them but look at them two different products with their own strengths in certain areas.


Useful Links

  • Mariana Mihaylova after so many great contents on SAP PO, she has given a brief and useful content for “Getting Started with HCI”.

  • Thanks to Fons van Nuland for a nice comprehensive comparison of HCI and SAP PI

  • Ginger Gatling’s authored contents are really great. There is one link I have provided here, but there are many more blogs/documents authored by Ginger over SAP Cloud for Customer and HCI are worth going through in this context

  • The interesting blog by Shabarish Vijayakumar. The beauty of blog lies in the diagram present there

  • Last But not the Least- The favorite one on SCN for Hana Cloud Integration is by Abinash Nanda


Vikas Kumar Singh

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      Author's profile photo Bibin Gabriel
      Bibin Gabriel

      Nice Blog Vikas 😎

      Now Sky Seems to be Much CLEARER... 😉 .

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Many of us are looking for this kind of information.

      Good one to get the basic knowledge of what is Cloud, HANA and HCI in simple terms.

      Thanks for sharing 🙂

      Author's profile photo Vikas Kumar Singh
      Vikas Kumar Singh
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks Sreenivas,

      It is my first blog at SCN and I am happy if it is useful for anyone.



      Author's profile photo Siva kumar Devana
      Siva kumar Devana

      Hi Vikas,

      Nice Blog for basics.


      Siva kumar

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Well Written.. 🙂

      Keep it up chamPIon

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      The title "HCI- The Sky Is Yet Too Cloudy" is too nice.

      Too simple to understand. Expecting more articles from you 🙂

      Author's profile photo Holger Himmelmann
      Holger Himmelmann

      Hi Vikas,

      what do you exactly mean with the last table row of the comparison between PO and HCI? So far, there is more content available for PO than for HCI.Also the number of adapters for HCI is currently quite limited compared to PO and other integration platforms. But since SAP is heavily investing in HCI, I'm very optimistic that we will see a lot of progress and new features in the next months and years.

      Regards, Holger

      Author's profile photo Vikas Kumar Singh
      Vikas Kumar Singh
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Holger,


      your statements are true. And even I am also very optimistic about the SAP's strategy. The line "comparison of SAP PO & HCI" is just for people who are already experienced in SAP PO to relate it with HCI as a product and not a competition.



      Author's profile photo Srikanth Mavuri
      Srikanth Mavuri

      Hi Vikas,

      Nice blog ... and thanks for sharing the useful information to us.

      Keep it up...:)

      Author's profile photo Veera Naga Hari Kumar Vemuri
      Veera Naga Hari Kumar Vemuri

      Informative Blog Vikas . Nice Work 🙂 !!!

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Nice 🙂

      Keep Blogging.



      Author's profile photo Samanth Kunapareddi
      Samanth Kunapareddi

      Thanks Vikas. Very informative for beginners. 🙂

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Thanks a lot for the blog Vikas...

      Author's profile photo Baskar Gopalakrishnan
      Baskar Gopalakrishnan

      Thanks and very helpful information in simple words.

      Author's profile photo Rahul Yadav
      Rahul Yadav

      Greattt Work Vikas. Very helpful and concrete info.....  🙂