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Author's profile photo Owen Pettiford

What type of SAP HANA (License) do you need ?

So we have all seen the marketing that “SAP HANA is the Answer !”

So now you want SAP HANA in your landscape how can it be purchased ? And how is it priced ?

Now there are probably more ways than I know about (and SAP often invent new pricing models), but these are the ways that I know / have seen :-

  • SAP HANA Enterprise Edition (Most features of SAP HANA – some exotic features extra – sometimes call “Full Use HANA”)
    • SAP HANA Service – Enterprise Edition on SAP Cloud Platform
    • SAP HANA Enterprise Edition – On Premise version you install somewhere
  • SAP HANA Standard Edition
    • SAP HANA Standard Edition plus Adhoc Features from the full list available in SAP HANA Enterprise Edition (e.g you only want Database plus Geo Spatial)
    • SAP HANA Service – Standard Edition on SAP Cloud Platform
    • SAP HANA Standard Edition – On Premise version you install somewhere (essentially just the database part of HANA)
  • SAP HANA One (SAP HANA running on public cloud AWS / Alibaba – you pay an all in subscription)
  • SAP HANA, express edition (Free HANA for DB’s up to 32GB running on premise)
  • SAP HANA, Runtime edition for Applications & SAP BW – often called “HANA Runtime”
  • SAP HANA Packaged under a SAP Public Cloud Software as a Service (SaaS) application e.g S/4HANA Cloud – Multiple Tenant

Historic Note : In the past you could purchase SAP HANA Base Edition and SAP HANA Platform Edition – if you did check with your SAP AE how to convert these to the above

The above list is broadly in order of the flexibility you get to use all of SAP HANA’s features and hence broadly in price order (although all licenses are different – please ask you SAP AE for specific pricing) . All the options I have listed except for the last 2 are priced based on the size of the database (sold in blocks of memory). This type of usage is often referred to as “native” HANA as you are allowed to develop directly in SAP HANA.

The “HANA Runtime” one is a priced as a % of the cost of the SAP Application running on top of it (like other on premise runtime DB licenses from SAP).

The pricing when packaged in SAP SaaS solutions is normally bundled to a certain level of storage and then sold by database size.

For these 2 “HANA Runtime” use cases, the features of SAP HANA are only accessible via the Application Layer – so if the developer decided to use a SAP HANA Engine for predictive analytics, machine learning, geo spatial, text analytics, graph processing etc then you can use this feature from the application but you can’t dive in and use the engine in “native” HANA. For SaaS this basically means you only get to access what the SAP developer decided you could access, for the on premise Runtime license you can access the SAP HANA engines only via the Applications programming language e.g ABAP which usually means a more limited scope of features compared to using “native” HANA.

You can have a mix of license types in one landscape.

So what is right for you ?

I would always recommend starting from an Enterprise Architecture capability perspective. Figure out which of the capabilities of SAP HANA your organisations needs by mapping them to your organisations strategies and programmes.

This approach will get you a Logical SAP HANA Model. You can then overlay your non-functional requirements (High Availability, Disaster Recovery, Security, Performance, Cloud/On Premise, Budget etc) to get to a Physical SAP HANA Model.

In an ideal world this is what you would get priced by SAP (in writing of course) and off you go. In reality you may end up tweaking/compromising the Physical SAP HANA Model to take account of the licensing metrics, let’s call that the License SAP HANA Model. If you find that the Physical Model and the License Model are very diverged or you feel the License Model is too compromised, I would recommend active dialogue with SAP to see if you can create a customer specific model that works for you and SAP.

Important Note : The information contained in this blog is NOT an official SAP statement and is designed as a guide based on my experience in the field. You should not make ANY decisions based on this information. Before you make ANY decisions on how you are going to use SAP HANA you should get pricing from an SAP AE and have any use-cases included into your contract with SAP. You may want to use this blog to help guide the conversation with the SAP AE.



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      Author's profile photo Eric Bickers
      Eric Bickers

      "SAP HANA, Runtime edition for Applications & SAP BW – often called HANA Runtime”


      Does that include any applications purchased through SAP? Including 3rd party? Because they count toward our 15% "tax". If I'm paying 15% HANA uplift for say BSI TaxFactory and OpenText then I should be able to run those on HANA if the 3rd party vendor supports it.

      Author's profile photo Owen Pettiford
      Owen Pettiford
      Blog Post Author

      Yes I understand that should be that case but as always you need to confirm with your SAP sales person as somethings are contract specific unfortunately.

      Author's profile photo Pavel Tsarevskiy
      Pavel Tsarevskiy


      We have "SAP HANA, Runtime edition for Applications & SAP BW” but some of the use cases are not clear to us.

      It is clear that 3rd party applications cannot access SAP HANA directly for the consumption of data however can we for example build ABAP CDS views to provide data to Tableau in real time or use ABAP CDS to populate 3rd party database?



      Author's profile photo Babu Kilari
      Babu Kilari
      Owen Pettiford Could you clarify a bit more on "SAP HANA, Runtime edition for Applications & SAP BW".  Does it mean, we cannot install XSA and WebIDE to develop native HANA applications although in reality the results will be consumed by ABAP layer ? For example :- A Graph script cannot be created from ABAP layer. In such a case, you need to have a database user and XSA WebIDE login to ensure you logon to HDB and create your HANA Graph script and execute the result and consume the same from ABAP layer through AMDP Procedures. Could you help explain this a bit more. This is really not clear !!
      Author's profile photo Bernhard Sauerteig
      Bernhard Sauerteig

      how can be checked what kind of license is installed - runtime license vs. enterprise license?


      Author's profile photo Claudio Rossi
      Claudio Rossi


      We acquired SAP S/4HANA foundation-promotion in 2015 license without install effectivelly S/4

      Now we want to install S/4 hana 2022 but we don't know if we are elegible to do this with the license SAP S/4HANA foundation-promotion , because we know that now SAP require S/4 hana enterprise management licenses. Can you explain?

      I'm not sure that SAP S/4HANA foundation promotion include all feature that are needed for using SAP S/4 hana 2022... can you explain the differences ?

      SAP S/4HANA foundation-promotion is S/4hana full or another product ?



      Author's profile photo Wei-Shang Ku
      Wei-Shang Ku


      New SAP Kernel requires "Enterprise Edition" of MSSQL for DBCO connection. This restriction increase cost to S/4 Conversion project.

      If we want to leverage SDA feature in S/4HANA (with HANA runtime license) to access (R/W) external MS SQL Database, any extra license required ?