HANA maintenance strategy – the customer’s perspective
this week I participated the “DSAG Technologietage” (German speaking user group – technology days) in Hamburg, Germany. There was one session which was pretty interesting and completely different from all others: „WIR FÜR UNS – DSAG-interne Diskussion:Gerede/Gerüchte zum Thema „HANA“ => translated „ we in private – DSAG – discussion: repute / rumor around the topic HANA“
It was not a classic speaker – audience session. The audience were parted into 3 groups. Every group got a question to discuss it on the flip chart.
#1 Pro/Cons: The future without oracle in connection with SAP
#2 What do I know about HANA?
#3 What will I do if my company will implement HANA?
The results were discussed all together and I wondered about some questions and the nescience.
Now I’m familiar with the technical topic HANA since the last 3 years. I’m administrating oracle databases since 9i – so I know both databases pretty good. But I was shocked that since HANA was released in 2010/2011 (“SanssouciDB”) the people know so less about whole truth. Although the last 2-3 years SAP talked about nothing else more than HANA.
The audience included I think 80-90% DBA’s (mostly Oracle). Employees of any vendor had to leave the session to guarantee a free discussion. The first moment I wondered about this rule, but at the end of the session it was a good decision to talk freely. Don’t panic there was no bashing against any vendor 😉
There were a lot of questions, just some of them:
- How to handle mixed business oracle/HANA
- Support: OSS + metalink => future? Only OSS?
- Oracle tools (RMAN/Dataguard/brtools/Grid) => counterparts with HDB?
- Maintenance strategy for HDB
- S/4 on oracle?
- Releasing the command pool of HDB for adapting it to the “any DBs”
This discussion inspired me to start the discussion about the maintenance strategy. If you are interesting in one of the other topics, I will create another
I will point out in this blog the questions maintenance strategy. Not the normal details which we can all find by our self via google, sap.help.com and the notes. I will just highlight and critical scrutinize the current strategy.
Some facts to give you a briefly overview:
- For Productive systems are recommended to use the DSP (DataCenterServicePoint – a long term successful test with SAP own productive systems; duration: 2+ weeks) or a newer revision within the same SPS
- After release of the new SPS (e.g. SPS11) there are only maintenance revisions released for the old SPS (SPS10 with 102.x) for the next 3 months
- Every 6 months RTC (release to customer) => new SPS
- Certifications to administrate and install HANA databases which are only valid for 3xSPS => 3x6month => 1,5years after this period you have to recertify yourself on the latest release
Most of the systems which I have administrated could only be maintained with a new patchset once a year, because the testing effort for the application teams are too long to update/upgrade the system, activate new features and verify the functionality. You have to block this people for a long period besides their normal business tasks + projects.
Now you get only 9-months support for your revision. Ok 9 months are short but maybe ok for the most companies. But wait a minute – you have to wait until the DSP is released to test and verify it for your productive system. So this are 6 months minus testing maybe 4-5months. The technical part is pretty easy but the application team are testing the whole year – nothing else! Ok now we shift some application logic from the ABAP application server with CDS (Core Data Services) down to the database. So I have also the responsibility to do regression tests!
After the 3months maintenance revision period, you have to update the system to a newer SPS because no more fixes will be available for it. So if you have an issue there will be no downport to this revision after this period of time, anxious or?
New maintenance strategy starting with SPS12
Maintenance starts with RTC of SPS12 May 2016 and ends May 2019 (3 years)
- SAP HANA SPS 12 customers who do not need new functionalities can apply Maintenance Revisions to their installations for a period of 3 years
- 3-years maintenance is currently available for SAP HANA SPS12 only
- At any point in time customers can decide to adopt a newer SAP HANA release, as all SAP HANA releases are backward compatible
- the 3-years maintenance will be automatically covered by existing and new contracts at no extra cost
- Mature applications that do not require new functionalities benefit the most from the 3-years maintenance offered with SAP HANA SPS12. These include SAP Business Suite and SAP Business Warehouse
- New innovative applications benefit the most from the new SAP HANA functionalities that are delivered through SPSs . S/4 HANA customers also should consider adopting the most recent SAP HANA release as new S/4HANA capabilities are often powered by the newest SAP HANA innovations.
After 8 weeks I have got an answer from SAP education team:
“The certification validity is the release time of the SPS/quarter”
=> This means you have to substract the release time of a SPS from the exam release time:
The latest release is SPS11 which was released at the end of 2015. A training and a certification are still only available for SPS09 (E_HANAINS151). So there is no one for SPS10. SPS11 is going to be released in the next months. I have send an email to sap education to clarify from which date a HANA certification is valid (still no answer since 4 weeks):
– From the date I passed the exam?
– From the date the SPS which the certification based on => so the release time of the SPS (correct answer)
The C_HANA_INST exam is not available any more in 2016! This will be covered in C_HANA_TEC_xx
For C_HANA_TEC_11 you have to pass C_HANA_TEC_10.
So when the exam is available it is possible that one or two newer SPS were released in the meantime. This results in a certificate which is only valid for 6-12 months! How many certifications have you passed for oracle, db2, mssql, maxdb or Sybase? I think max. two – if any. However, but not every year! To install a productive HANA DB you have to be certified.
I know HANA is real fast moving technology with a mass of developers behind and with every release a ton of new features. I love to work with it, test new features and of course discover new bugs. But it has to be fit in the maintenance strategy of the customers. The current strategy is not clearly defined and with more logic on the HDB itself and the coming S/4 it will getting more complex. (still after the updates the maintenance is still not compareable with e.g. Oracle or DB2)
What is your experience and strategy with HANA and the other “any DBs”?
Maintenance strategy: https://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-67586
Certifications 2015: SAP HANA Education – Course & Certification Program 2015
Certifications 2016: SAP HANA Training and Certification Program 2016