In September 2016, SAP announced the general availability of SAP HANA, express edition (HXE), for everyone trying to get their hands on a HANA instance for free. Although SAP Cloud Platform already offers a perpetual developer license, the biggest breakthrough with HXE is that it can have a productive use up to 32 GB totally for free.
In my quest to get my own HXE instance totally for free, i.e., free license, free hosting and free Operating System, I have published a set of tutorials to install HXE on an Ubuntu Linux operating system on Google Cloud Platform.
You will need to decide whether you want the database only or you want the XS Advanced Applications too. The difference? The database server includes the in-memory DB with the embedded advanced analytics such as geospatial, predictive analytic library, graph, text, search and you can add the extended machine learning library to it. You can connect to it using any SQL client that supports JDBC (e.g., HANA Studio, DBeaver, etc.). The XS Advanced applications enable many features from Cloud Foundry but on premise (here’s an introduction). It also brings tools such as the Adminsitration Cockpit and SAP Web IDE for SAP HANA to, for example, leverage the Node.js and Java buildpacks, use SAPUI5 as a micro-service or the Enterprise Architecture Designer.
Let’s get the HXE setup started
Following is the list of tutorials where the steps are explained. They have been created for those who do not have any experience with Linux operating systems, so do not be afraid to take one more step closer to becoming a ninja.
- Core Database server (server-only): https://www.sap.com/developer/tutorials/hxe-gcp-ubuntu-db.html
- Database + XS Advanced Applications: https://www.sap.com/developer/tutorials/hxe-gcp-ubuntu-xsa.html
What is the rationale behind this?
Looking to eliminate the economic and resources constraint many developers face. The server-only edition can run on 8GB RAM and the server + XS applications will need at least 16 GB (although 32 GB are recommended). These resources are not available in everyone’s laptop.
You can install HXE on Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. For the latter, you can get a free trial for the first month but, in both cases, you will need to pay for the operating System’s license after their initial trial.
Why Google Cloud Platform?
The reasons are plenty. First, the setup process of a Virtual Machine with an Ubuntu operating system image is one of the easiest I have tried. Second, they will give you a credit for the first 60 days. Once those days are over, they will start charging the lowest rate I have seen so far. Third, the interface and console are friendly even for those who are not familiar with a console.
Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux distributions. SAP HANA is officially supported in SLES and RHEL. HXE is a community support model only. Therefore, I trust the community of both Ubuntu and HANA developers can help each other. In fact, I have been using my instance intensively without any problems so far.
If you think this can help others, please share!