In SAP database world, a major shift is happening, silently.
No, I am not talking exclusively about HANA; at least, not to start with.
Refer SAP Note 2214245. The note informs us that if one wants to run Fiori apps for S/4HANA 1511 onwards, on standalone Front-End Server (FES) aka. NW Gateway Server 7.5, they can do so only on SAP-owned database.
That said, if you use that same NW 7.5 for FES purposes, then the database has to be SAP-owned.
When I heard about the restriction earlier this summer, I queried SAP via SCN; there was no soothing reply. Few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend S/4HANA Technical Bootcamp, where I raised the question again. The cautious reply was “there is no technical limitation”.
Now, let’s discuss HANA…
Refer to FES-database restriction along with the shift towards HANA for S/4HANA and recently announced BW4HANA – all of which exclusively run on HANA.
When discussed on this topic with my fellow techies, general comment was “Why not?” with following reasoning:
- Most of other software vendors do the same. For example, while Microsoft .NET supports all database, BizTalk works only on MS SQL
- It will be beneficial for SAP’s clients. In case of database and/or application issues, SAP’s clients have one vendor to go to – which will reduce / avoid ping-pong of issues between multiple vendors.
- SAP allowed their products to run on anyDB when they were not in the database business. Now since they have invested a lot in DB technologies, SAP need to ensure payback on that investment.
All valid points and I agree as well. That said, are they still good enough reasons to move away from multi-product portability to single-product locking?
What are the real implications?
Let’s think again. What are the real implications for companies who run SAP for decades?
I could think of the following:
- The shift is against one of the core believes we techies were snobbish about SAP – that SAP is “portable” on any respectable database, on any respectable Operating system
- Specific to SAP FES, if one uses FES on AnyDB as a standalone hub for Firoi apps running on ERP, GRC and Solution Manager, an upgrade of ERP to S/4HANA will force a heterogeneous database migration of FES – from AnyDB to SAP-owned database.
- This is in contradiction to SAP’s claim on TCO reductions. From data centre perspective, one is now forced to introduce a new database, thereby increasing the TCO – on all matters that touches a database – DBA proficiency, backups/restores, HA/DR config to name a few.
So, does this shift mean that SAP is slowly moving away from database portability?
Is SAP writing codes that cannot run on other (in-memory-enabled) RDBMS and hence forced to use proprietary database?
While there are definite advantages of re-writing ABAP code in in-memory format, does SAP think this re-coding cannot be done in a better way by other (let me stress longer-playing) DB vendors?
Is this just a sales/marketing tactic to push DB vendors out of SAP applications? How else could you explain the SAP-only database restriction for non-analytic FES system running on NW 7.5?
Is this the start of the end of SAP database portability?
What are your thoughts?
[PS: Was originally published in LinkedIn. The opinions expressed in this article are my own, and do not reflect view of whom I am working for. I write for my own purposes, based on my experience and do not accept any form of sponsorship or paid insertions. ]