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Author's profile photo Suneel uggina

Why SAP HANA popular over Traditional Database

Hello Everyone,

This blog helps for SAP HANA beginners to understand, what are the features of SAP HANA Appliance over Traditional Data Base. In order to understand the features of SAP HANA we should have a basic idea on

i)   Data Base

ii)  Data Base Management System ( DBMS )

iii) Disadvantages of  Traditional Database

Data Base:

It is a Physical device which contains collection of files that contain data. Every organisation needs a Data Base to store their data.

Examples: SAP HANA , Oracle , IBM DB2

Data Base Management System(DBMS) :

It is a software tool which is used to organize (Create, Modify, Update ) data resided in the Database.We can simply say it as a tool to store and  transform data into information to support making decisions.

It contains the following three elements.

Physical Database   :  The place where the data is stored in the form of Files.

Database Engine    :   The software that makes it possible to access and modify the contents of the data base

Database Schema  :    The specification of logical structure of the data that is stored in the data base.


How data is organised in the database depends on the data model.

Hierarchical Database Model :

If the data schema(logical structure) of the data in the data base organised in the tree structure(Parent- child) Relation ship.This model works best for data that is inherently hierarchical in nature. Many data sets cannot easily be organized in this manner and require a more complex approach.

Network Data Base Model:

While the hierarchical database model structures data as a tree of records, with each record having one parent record and many children, the network model allows each record to have multiple parent and child records, forming a generalized graph structure.

Relational Data Base Model:

A DBMS is said to be a Relational DBMS or RDBMS if the database relationships are treated in the form of a table. there are three keys on relational DBMS 1)relation 2)domain 3)attributes

Disadvantageous of Traditional Database:

Read Performance:

2015-11-27 16_07_32-2015-11-26 16_59_39-HANA Vs Traditional Data Base.doc - LibreOffice Writer - Win.png

Intelligence Reporting & Data Analysis on Large amount of data.

Due to less storage capacity of an operational data base (RDBMS)  we use  operational data base only for transaction data ( current data ).

Through  operational data base we can achieve only OLTP ( Online Transaction Processing ) which includes create ,modify ,update operations.

In order to store large amount of historical data we use  data ware house.

Data ware House( OLAP ):

A data warehouse is a database, which is kept separate from the organization’s operational database which is used to maintain the historical data.

How it helps to an Organisation:


Large amount of Data

One of the best advantages to using a data warehouse is that users will be able to access a large amount of information which helps an organisation in analytical-reporting, ad-hoc queries, and data mining.

Data Integration

The data from different locations  of an organisation is extracted and loaded into data ware house.


High Maintenance:

Data warehouses are high maintenance systems. Any reorganization· of the business processes and the source systems may affect the data warehouse and it results high maintenance cost.

Long-duration projects:

The building of a warehouse can take up to three years, which is why some organizations are reluctant in investigating in to data warehouse. Some only the historical data of a particular department is captured in the data warehouse resulting data marts. Data marts support only the requirements of a particular department and limited the functionality to that department or area only.

Organisational Structure RDBMS.png

We can over come the above limitations using SAP HANA Data base.

Instead of storing the data in database(Mechanical Device) all the data will be resided in In-Memory ( RAM ).

SAP HANA (High-Performance Analytic Appliance):

A Product which is the combination of both software and hardware is called as an Appliance. SAP HANA is combination of both software and hardware .

SAP HANA contains the following components.

1) TREX Engine

2) P*Time

3) Max DB


TREX Engine ( Text Retrieval and information Extraction ):

TREX supports structured data search not only for document metadata but also for mass business data and data in SAP Business Objects. Indexes for structured data are implemented compactly using data compression and the data can be aggregated in linear time, to enable large volumes of data to be processed entirely in memory.

P* Time( Light Weight RDBMS ):

In order to kept all the capabilities of traditional data base we use  a in memory data base called  P* Time.By using  P* Time we can significantly increase the write performance.

Max DB:

The draw backs with the In Memory are

1) Data is volatile in Nature.

2) No data Back up.

In order to over come these two problems  SAP HANA contains a third component Max DB database. It is used to backup & restore functionality.

At regular intervals of time data from the in memory data base stored in Max DB.

Advantages of SAP HANA

We can simply say SAP HANA combines the features of both Transaction Data Base and Analytic database into a  Single Data base.

We can perform both  OLTP  and OLAP operations from In-Memory.

In-Memory Computing:

The time taken to read/write data from/to a data base is very long when comparative to In-Memory.

Read/Write Performance:

We can Improve both Read and Write performance with SAP HANA why because it supports both  Row Format and Column Format for data storage where as in traditional data base it supports only Row format.

Row Format  Vs Column Format:


Row Store Format (RDBMS)

Data will be maintained in Traditional RDBMS in Row format. Let us consider an example how data will be stored in database.

I have a table with the following data.



  Employee Name

Employee ID

  Year of Join













How data will be stored  in Row Format in Traditional Data Base.














Query: Employee’s who are joined in the Year 2013

In this scenario the query need to search all the memory locations in order to fetch the employees of the year 2013.

Column Store Format ( HANA ):










The above table data will be stored in the column format as shown in the above.In this format it will read the first column of the table. It will not allocate memory if there are duplicate records in the column. The number duplicate records in the column are maintained by an internal algorithm. So we need less amount of memory to store the data  which improves write performance.We can store data in HANA using both Row Format and Column Format.

Hope this blog helps SAP HANA beginners.

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      Author's profile photo Kannan Rajendran
      Kannan Rajendran

      Good documentation

      Author's profile photo Akhil M S
      Akhil M S

      Nice explanation!