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HANA Express Edition on Google Cloud Platform and Ubuntu

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.

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.

Why Ubuntu?

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!

Last, I’ll be happy to connect on   or on LinkedIn !

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  • Hi Lucia,

    Great info! Quick question, I assume you did this with HANA Express "1.0"? Any thoughts on this approach working with HANA Exp 2.0? I am not clear whether Ubuntu would support as the only 'official' documentation states SLES 12 SP1 or RedHat RHEL 7.2.






    • Hi, Kris! Thanks for reading!

      I used the 2.0 version. SAP HANA is officially supported in RHEL and SUSE.

      HXE however is a community-supported model, so that applies to either SPS12 or 2.0 which are available for download.




  • Hi Lucia,


    Brilliant! I sort of guessed that would be the answer and am busy moving the installation packages to my Google instance now. I may have to ask some questions if I get stuck 🙂




  • Hi Lucia…


    Up and running ? …had to scratch my head a few times but got there. One thing to note is that sudo su is not needed in Google as sudo alone works. Also, the tutorial on the firewall rules has a small error i.e. rule 8 is defined twice so had to create a rule 15 to fix.

    Question on the application installation for HANA Dashboard and EA Designer, I assume that these are installed as part of hxexsa.tgz? Are these actually installed or just made available for installation on the instance?



    • Hi, Kris! That's great news!

      I'll be publishing some corrections (including the firewall one) between today and tomorrow. I could use your feedback on where you had to scratch your head so that future readers don't have to, if you don't mind.

      About the HANA Dashboard and EA Designer, they are there to be manually installed, together with some other useful tips. This tutorials explains how to:




      Hi, Jelena!

      I've been using it to develop the scenarios in the tutorials site, in demoes at CodeJam events, loading data, integrating with external APIs and doing some modelling. I kept both instances, the XSA and the server-only and alternate between one and the other to see if I run into roadblocks or issues.

      No productve apps in any of them (yet), but would love to know if anyone is doing so.

      Thanks for reading!


  • Hi,


    HANA Express 2.0 now available on Google Cloud...hefty fees for using the approved OS...will stick to Ubuntu for my own playing 🙂




      • Hi Serdar,

        The official Google offering will be what you saw i.e. SUSE. Please note that what you see via the Cloud Launcher will be a preinstalled instance which is pretty much ready to go. I built my own instance from scratch (the Ubuntu OS comes as in image so that is easy) and had to instal HANA from Binaries. The process is perfectly described in the blog that we are both commenting on 🙂

        Also keep in mind that Ubuntu is not 'officially' supported and what I am doing is just for personal tests and exploration. If you have ambitions of using in a productive environment then you would need to look at the official OS offerings.

        If you do not want to install yourself, then going with the Google offering is a good choice. It will be cheap enough even with SUSE as I am guessing you will not be running 24/7?



  • Dear Lucia,

    I tried to following the instructions to install the HANA Express in my GCP. I have done all the preparations.

    But I got the following errors when I was installing it.

    Tcp port ‘50013’ is already in use by process: /usr/sap/HXE/HDB00/exe/sapstartsrv pf=/hana/shared/HXE/profile/HXE_HDB00_XXXX -D -u hxeadm (pid = 2244, user = hxeadm) Tcp port ‘50014’ is already in use by process: /usr/sap/HXE/HDB00/exe/sapstartsrv pf=/hana/shared/HXE/profile/HXE_HDB00_XXXX -D -u hxeadm (pid = 2244, user = hxeadm)

    I have checked the firewall setting advised by you. It’s ok. 50013 and 50014 are bypassed by firewall.

    Could you please give me some suggestion?

  • more log here:

    13:56:09.901 - INFO:     Output line 61: Installing package 'DAT Configfiles (EN, DE)'...
    13:56:10.303 - INFO:     Output line 62: Creating instance...
    13:56:30.466 - INFO:     Output line 63:   hdbnsutil: creating persistence ...
    13:56:51.569 - INFO:     Output line 64:   hdbnsutil: writing initial topology...
    13:56:52.565 - INFO:     Output line 65:   hdbnsutil: writing initial license: status check = 1
    13:57:02.766 - INFO:     Output line 66: Installation failed
    13:57:02.766 - INFO:     Output line 67:   error installing
    13:57:02.766 - INFO:     Output line 68:     Cannot create Instance
    13:57:02.766 - INFO:     Output line 69:       Cannot start sapstartsrv
    13:57:02.766 - INFO:     Output line 70:         Cannot resolve host name 'XXXX'
    13:57:02.766 - INFO:     Output line 71:         Tcp port '50013' is already in use by process:
    13:57:02.767 - INFO:     Output line 72:           /usr/sap/HXE/HDB00/exe/sapstartsrv pf=/hana/shared/HXE/profile/HXE_HDB00_XXXX -D -u hxeadm (pid = 2244, user = hxeadm)
    13:57:02.767 - INFO:     Output line 73:         Tcp port '50014' is already in use by process:
    13:57:02.767 - INFO:     Output line 74:           /usr/sap/HXE/HDB00/exe/sapstartsrv pf=/hana/shared/HXE/profile/HXE_HDB00_XXXX -D -u hxeadm (pid = 2244, user = hxeadm)
    • Steven, I passed this issue, all the steps where the hostname appears must be consistent with the instructions, in my case I didn't realize that the instance name has to be the same as the hostname, so I have instance-1 as my instance so I couldn't have my hostname as ubuntu-1604-lts, that was my error, I changed the hostname by instance-1 and the problem was solved.

      Now I have another error:

      Kindly I ask for your help Lucia or Steve if you could find something.

      Jhon Jairo.

      • Hi, Jhon, have you checked sapstartsrv.log?  Mine is here:


        Also, you may want to start a "clean" installation after the failure from the hosts if you are not already doing so. Program



        will give you the option to uninstall and then use the uninstall option from program


         Please remember to run everything as root (or sudo each command). You may also want to check RAM levels in GCP's console for that instance.

        Fingers crossed!


        • Hello Lucia.

          After left the hostname error, I don’t know what happen and althought I keep now all the steps strictly, the installation doesn’t finish the way it should, instead the installation programs issues an error as you can see in this screenshot:


          Even with this error I could see the database is initiated, when I check the installation (hdblcm tool) it seems to be everything is ok, but I how can I check if advanced tools were installed? this is part of the log of checking installation:

          Best regards.

          Jhon Jairo Teran.


        • Thanks Lucia, now my Hana Express is working like a charm, last problems I faced it was for some permission issues, I miss to give chmod to HANA_EXPRESS_20 directory this way:

          chmod -R 777 HANA_EXPRESS_20

          Now I'm starting to play with my own HANA Express.

          Thank you very much for this blog, may be later with your permission I'm going to publish a blog about this steps from my experience in spanish for my colleagues in latin america (specially).

          Best regards.

          Jhon Jairo Teran.



          • Hola, Jhon!  The chmod -R is in the tutorial for the entire targz file, so I wonder why that didn't work.

            I would love to see any of this translated into Spanish, I haven't done that so far because of time constraints. Nuestros colegas hispanoparlantes estarán agradecidos, por lo que sentite libre de aportar a la comunidad en el idioma que prefieras 😉




          • Wow Lucia I didn't know that you are from Argentina. Muy buena representacion de America Latina en la comunidad, te felicito!. Realmente fue una coincidencia haber encontrado este blog y que fuera de un latino, no es muy frecuente. Excelente trabajo!!!.

            Muchas Gracias.

            Jhon Jairo.

  • Hello Lucia / Steven, I have exactly the same error that Steven, I don't know if I made a mistake with the steps about the hostname but the only difference with your screenshots is the hostname that appears by default empty in my installation steps but not in yours.



    Best regards.

    Jhon Jairo.

    • Hi Jhon Jairo/Lucia,

      I just left that issue and started the services. Seems every service can be started.

      But I do NOT have space DEV installed in the system. I have no idea why??? I just have one space 'SAP'.... Is it normal?


      Best regards,



      • Hi, I think it should be there but I don't remember whether it was DEV or "development".

        In any case, to create your own space you can do it using the XS admin tool at https://hostname:51015/index.html or using the xs client (from the SSH console, as hxeadm):


        xs login
        xs create-space <<name of the space>>




  • Greatpost.  I'm however a bit confused by the stage:

    Step 3: XS Advanced Installation ONLY - Update script


    You write: Replace the first line containing #!/bin/sh with !#/bin/bash so it looks like this:

    << with the picture below text saying #!/bin/sh >>

    so it somewhat contradicts itself.  

    Could you confirm the final intended result?

    • /